was donated to the Hospice of Orange and Sullivan Counties,
who received $1,200 in proceeds.
Judges Weeded Out Top Ten from 70 Entries
Gilsenan along with co-worker Interior Designer Judi Price
joined a panel of judges to weed out a “Top Ten”
list based on need, counter space and hardship. The judging
panel included Sarah McHugh from the Warwick Chamber of
Commerce, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, Albert
Wisner Library trustee Donna Applegate, Chris Staritz of
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, and Steven Feldman
of Green Demolitions. Once the 70 entries were narrowed
down to ten, home visits were made and six finalists emerged.
In a turnout that many local politicians dream of, 2,300
voters cast their vote for the contestant they felt was
most in need of a new kitchen. “Some of you families
could teach the local politicians a thing or two about getting
votes,” said Gilsenan, who addresses finalists, friends,
family and well-wishers at a cocktail party held at the
design studio on First Street in Warwick on Thurs., Oct.
15. “When it all came down to it, adds Gilsenan, “the
contest was no longer about who had the most desperate kitchen,
but who best could rally their social troops to vote for
them. The competition was fierce.”
All Six Finalists Received A Prize
The competition took on a life of its own, and Gilsenan
and Price found themselves in a difficult situation. They
wanted to give everyone new kitchens. So, “begging,
borrowing and stealing” from wherever they could,
they managed to get something for everyone.
The four second, third, fourth and fifth runners up each
received a $100 gift certificate to Grappa Restaurant, who
supplied the catering for the cocktail party, courtesy of
Grappa and RAB Associates. As finalists, each were already
entitled to receive a 10% discounted “Desperate Kitchen”
sale price if they did not win, but still wanted a new kitchen.
These four finalists were given an additional 15% off, giving
them 25% off already discounted pricing.
Fierce Competition Warrants Second Prize Kitchen
Because they were just blown away by the fierce competition,
they were able to wrangle up a second kitchen give away,
which was granted to first runner up, Dominick Abruzzese
of Belmar Court in Warwick. “I’m shocked and
happy as can be,” said Abruzzese. “I didn’t
expect to win.” Abruzzese will receive a full set
of cabinets by Marketplace, a Shirestone Countertop by Amazing
Stove Works, a sink and faucet from Gilsenan Designs, dishwasher
courtesy of Michaels Appliances, painting by Michael Cosimano,
and additional design work courtesy of Alston Roberts, Wagner
Woodworking and Chris Lennon.
Robert & Lisa Young-McConnell Win $35K Kitchen
The winners of the Desperate Kitchen contest were Robert
and Lisa Young-McConnell, of Whispering Hills in Chester.
The McConnells received 570 overall votes. “I am so
psyched,” said Lisa Young-McConnell. “We had
a flood, didn’t have enough insurance. My kitchen
is on stilts; I have no cabinets. Everyone worked so hard.
The support is overwhelming.”
For the McConnells, the contest was the answer to their
prayers. Their dishwasher malfunctioned last February causing
flooding in their kitchen, dining room and living room.
The couple had flood insurance, but the policy wasn’t
large enough to cover full damages.
As the grand prize winners in the Desperate Kitchen contest
they will receive a kitchen by Marketplace, granite counters
provided by Integrity Granite and Marble, a cooktop and
oven by Green Demolitions, the rest of the appliances by
Michaels and a sink and faucet from Gilsenan Designs. Dave
Orenstein will be installing, LAM Electric is supplying
lighting fixtures, and electrical work will be done by Dave
Wayne Tile is supplying a backsplash to be installed by
Chris Lennon, American Home Interiors will supply window
treatments and Robert Smith will paint the McConnell kitchen.
The prize has an estimated value of $35,000.
“This is her kitchen design,” said Robert McConnell
about his wife, Lisa. “We won it for her.” Phyllis
Seabrook, who exclaimed: “God is good! God is good!
God is good!” when she realized the McConnells had
won the new kitchen took time to credit the charitableness
of the contest sponsors. According to Seabrook, Gilsenan
Designs donated two kitchens to the Union AME Church on
Forester Avenue; one for the fellowship hall and one for
the Pastor’s residence.