The Kitchen Designer

Granite Kitchen Countertops 1+1 = ?

two%20granites.jpgHere's an interesting question about a countertop from Meg...

"I have a dark green granite table that I am moving into a  new house.  It matches my current kitchen counter.  The kitchen counter in the new house, although not yet chosen, will NOT match the uba tuba granite of the table.  Should I sell this table?  How can I incorporate a table with a different granite from my counter into my new decor?


My first reaction is that it appears to be assumed that you will be selecting another GRANITE countertop. It also assumes that you can't have enough granite, that you really love it. If that is the case, you are entering an advanced countertop selection process zone! Blending two granites is possible, but must be done with great care.  

The easy way, of course, is to pair Uba Tuba with a Black Impala, a solid black granite. Easy, done, perfect. But, what if you don't like black?

Then, you must begin to be aware of two things: color and grain pattern.

Color, that's easy. I'd recommend looking for a granite with a very different color. Too close to what you have, and the grain patterns can get confusing. At least the color is a start at differentiating your countertops...successfully. 

Pattern is a different issue. Granites have such a variety of patterns. Some granites have movement, some have large chips of pattern, some have tight grain. A very tightly grained granite can have a more contemporary look in many cases. That said, how far apart your granites are will also be a factor in what goes with what and why. In general, be aware that the overall effect will be more busy, than more calm and simple,due to the expanses of grain.

In the upper most image, the raised, light, countertop, has a more distinct grain pattern. The lower, darker, surface, has a somewhat tighter grain pattern, but not super tight. Beyond this image, across from the island the countertop is dark, surrounding the cooktop and it is light surrounding the main sink area.

That all said, above, forget everything I said. Sometimes, in a rare occasion, you can find two granites in a similar color which simply work together. I wish I had better images, but this project is a great example.  Although the island looks busy too, in real life, the island looks quite consistent and the perimeter granite looks substantially more strongly patterned, and they work well together. It was important to my client to have an interesting granite pattern on the island, not just something with very tight grain, and with lots of time spent looking, we found the right combination.

Of course, Meg, you may want to consider an alternative, more quiet, surface, other than granite, to "feature" your granite table in a more focused way, especially if you love your table. But, if it's granite you love, and want for your coutnertop, here's how to do it.






Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Kitchen Details That Might Bore ...

I've talked about this before. The period of time just before an order is submitted to the factory. It's the time with the most pressure, as once released to the factory, that's it forevermore. The right and left sides of the brain collide but must work together...or else. End of story.

Here's an entry for a kitchen order I'm doing that is going to the factory today, and which is the culmination of months of creative thought and engineering on my part, and later, includes even more detailed collaboration with a designated person at the factory. This entry reflects an effort to provide a chef in a small residential kitchen the absolute maximum in storage and ease of use. This is one cabinet, and I've had two highly detailed kitchen orders I've had to make 100% perfect before I go away...oh, did I slip and say "go away?" I must be referring to the TOP SECRET project! But, I digress...

This level of detail and, really, engineering, when working with custom cabinetry, doesn't make kitchen designers good people or have the ability to create world peace. But, I include this to illustrate the interesting result of both sides of the brain working together. The next time you see your kitchen designer dressed fabulously, and laughing about something or other, remember, he/she may also be delving into the dark side of detail behind the scenes, unbeknownst to most.

I'll also share with you that, again, this particular cabinet happens to reflect a good deal of risk on my part, to absolutely maximize storage for this home chef (but a real chef.) His kitchen is an orchestra pit and he's the conductor. Does that make any sense at all? I can predict what will happen is that I will watch with utter excitement as this cabinet is put into place and the adjacent cabinets and appliances are put into place and i will stand there and AUDIBLY marvel at the symphony of all these fractions of inches working together, each fration of which I chose.

I tend to get very excited, when I design a risky, expensive (thousands $$$) piece of custom cabinetry, and people around me tend to shrug and look at me strangely when I say "YES!!!!" (IT FITS.) It's really true. That's ok, I can celebrate by myself. :) In the meantime, however, my fingers are CROSSED.  But, if you're the client reading this, don't worry...I can't remember the last time a cabinet didn't fit. Really.


Here's the entry for one cabinet:


106 1/4" wide x 34 1/2" high x 24.0" deep - YES, THE CABINET IS 106 2/4" WIDE
Front frame extended down .5" for scribe to be 35" high OA - TO SCRIBE NEATLY TO THE FLOOR
Hold both partitions short 10" from top of cabinet - FOR THE SINK
Left and right dust top recessed .5" from top of cabinet
Do not extend dust top past sink apron - DUE TO SINK
Blind base 43.500" wide - left
Combined cabinet charge
17.063" wide opening left - THIS WAS PLANNED TO THE 1/16" OF AN INCH
Omit drawer above
Full height door opening
False panel and door attached together with center rail to open as one - LOOKS LIKE A DOOR/DRAWER
5" backer
Omit shelf and shelf drillings
Install LeMans Corner System Hafele 541.33.445 - A VERY COOL CORNER  CABINET SOLUTION
Right swing
Full height sink base 19.500" wide-center
Combined cabinet charge
Aprom to hide sink - NICE TOUCH
8.5" high x 26" wide
1" radiused corners at bottom L&R
Apron will extend into far left and right openings 2.5"
See sketch
Blind Corner Susan 43.250" wide - right
Combined cabinet charge
16.688 wide openings left - PLANNED TO THE 1/16" OF AN INCH
Hold drawer box short an extra 2.5" from left - SO THERE IS ROOM FOR THE SINK
2 ea. 14" BCS Swingouts left
Blocking extends into opening 0.688"
Flush toekick
Special valance cutout - per sketch
1-Arch valance - 3 bottom rail - NICE LOOK, CURVED "VALANCE" AT BOTTOM
4" high
2" high at narrowest point
Held up 2" from bottom  

There's four more lines, but I think this is enough.  


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Random Kitchen Meanderings

ann%20sacks.jpgI'm thinking random thoughts today, so I'll jump around and show you some things you need to see.

You need to see the post from Living Well in Westchester, about antique hardware! I mean, come on, how cool is that?  Mark has lots of good insight on all things home related.

Laurie Burke from Kitchen Design Notes has good information on small space kitchens. Laurie says she likes small kitchens. I do too. They're efficient, smart, and any designer worth his/her salt enjoys the unique challenge of trying to get every square inch of function out of a small kitchen!

Kelly from Kitchen Sync has insightful information on seating around countertops, what works, what may not, and WHY. Most important issues to resolve is real lifestyle behavior rather than assumed. Good ideas and solutions, take a look.

Ann from KitchAnn Style is showing new tile from Ann Sacks. Of course, you know it has to be gorgeous! These handmade tiles of glass give an old world look with modern character. I think they're just gorgeous. Good find!

pollock-rangehood-detail1.jpgSpeaking of good finds, here's one from me. How about a Jackson Pollack inspired hood? Yes, that's what this image is, a hood! Inspired by artist Jackson Pollack, a Manhattan museum curator sought to experience the artist's work in a unique way. And, why not? Built, artistically, by Metallo Arts.

Oh, did someone ask about my "Top Secret" project? If all the stars line up, it may be unveiled on the weekend of the 22nd. In the meantime, take a look at this. It is connected to the project. What does it have to do with kitchens? Everything!



Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Decor8 Blogger House Party!

Decor8 is having a blogger house party, and I was tagged to do the virtual kitchen! As usual, I may be a bit late to the party, but it was fun doing it. OK, here's the client info:

Home owner: Young single mom (cookbook author) with a son living in a 18th century Georgian townhouse in Savannah Georgia approx. 2000 sq ft., 2 floors, 3 bedrooms (one is an office), and a large patio off of the kitchen. She loves to entertain, enjoys pastels and Swedish decor, decorating on somewhat of a budget but she can splurge on one expensive item per room. Loves pattern and feminine touches but can't deal with too much clutter.

Since I only had a few finishes to select,  I thought I'd go a bit further and design this kitchen from scratch, exclusively for decor8's virtual client.

Let's go with dessert first...the one special item chosen for the kitchen was a (pricey) 36" induction cooktop from GE Monogram. For THIS client, a cookbook author, it's a dream come true. The super high power burners with faster response than gas, green technology, and super safety attributes (thinking of her child,) won, hands down. She's psyched and ready to cook up a storm!

Interested in living green, where she can, the countertop is made of recycled materials by Avonite. The cabinetry has green components, is painted with low VOC paints, and her appliances are all energy star rated, all this just for starters. The kitchen was designed to cover all sorts of activities beyond cooking. Our heroine will be able to:

a. do the cooking in an "open" setting, gazing out toward her child or the lovely patio beyond

b. prep at the island as well with a great line of sight all around

c. clean up at the sink with a nice expanse of windows

d. have good, and quick, access to all of her cooking items, tools, and cookbooks on the open shelving section

e. communicate with her child

f. watch tv cooking shows easily

g. hang out in the seating area with a laptop

h. spend quality time with her child

i. Have storage addressed in a variety of ways, maximizing storage, yet maintaining an open feeling

Oh, her aversion to clutter? Once she saw the storage and access possibilities of open shelving, she loved the look! She may be storing items in decorative baskets on the shelves as a compromise. So, here we go! But, first, take a look again at all these really great ideas and inspiration in the other rooms of our heroine's home, over at decor8.  Thanks Holly/decor8, it was fun to dream for a bit....

And, let me obsess just a little more on the cabinetry. Look at the floorplan. It IS a very old, Savannah Home. Maybe we need to section off (in terms of a color), say, the sink base section, or the shelving section, and put another finish on the cabinets there. They could be a glazed, golden yellow finish, something like that. May go really well with the supersoft gray finish, shown below. Imagine for a minute...



And, here is a modern version of the informal, Swedish, cotton kitchen rug:

Recycled countertop has bits of yellow, lots of white, and a very interesting grain pattern, unlike most engineered stones

Yellow kitchen tools/accessories!

So, what do you think? Let's do a little more brainstorming. What do you like/don't like/would change, etc?

Participating bloggers were:

decor8, Creature Comforts, Style Files, Design For Mankind, Perfect Bound, Bloesem, SFGirlbyBay, AphroChic, Gracious Inspiration, Design Is Mine. and Making it Lovely.  and moi.

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Kitchen Blog Anniversary

Talking about kitchens...does it ever end? It's been a year since I wrote my first post on this blog. I started with a little hesitancy, a bit unsure of where this was going. Somehow I just kept thinking of kitchen related issues to talk about. At this moment, I have so many kitchen focused things to talk about, I don't know what to talk about first!

This is such a natural process for me...just to toss out ideas, stir up the pot a bit, and lots more. I love this process. I've also met so many amazing bloggers who have welcomed me into the design blogging community from the very start. I actually didn't know about this whole, well, underworld isn't the best word, but universe of blogging, until I started blogging, and then, what a surprise I found! Cool people, great ideas, interactivity at its best.

So, I'm feeling good at this one year mark. I also feel I'm at my prime in life and in my career. I've actually never been more happy, more confident, fully engaged with life in a positive way, than right now, and I'm looking forward to more good things to come, including my TOP SECRET project, soon to be unveiled!

I LOVE reading your comments. Say whatever you want. Disagree with me or challenge anything I say at anytime. Maybe I'll learn something.  Maybe you will. Maybe we both will!

I may be gone from this blog for days at a time, it just happens, but I'm here in spirit. Kitchens are the soul of the home, where all five senses come together. They're special. I love thinking about kitchens. I love cooking with my husband and cooking when my kids come to visit. I love the glass of wine that my husband pours for me while we're cooking. I love the sofa as part of my kitchen table. Good stuff happens in the kitchen. My husband just yelled down the stairs "Hey!" which is sort of our word to say hello. Gotta run and get that glass of wine, as I'm sure he's preparing dinner now....

More good things to blog about later...just wait! Thanks for your would really not be the same without you.  



Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago
Certified Kitchen Designer