The Kitchen Designer

Kitchen Design Musings

I received a book in the mail as a request to review it, the other day, which I subsequently declined, for reasons not relating to what's written below. Being a kitchen design pro, and especially, a blogger focusing on kitchen design, I see MANY kitchens, many more than I ever did before I blogged. It's been great!

That part alone, to be exposed to new kitchen design concepts, day after day via my blogging efforts, again, has broadened my aesthetic horizons, leaving me, continually, newly inspired.

The vast majority of the pages of the book I was asked to review contained what I'd call "bread and butter" kitchens. At first glance, I found many of the images in the book to be either dated or uninspired, with a few gems here and there, for sure. On second and third glance, my instinct was further confirmed. I didn't care for the layout of the book, either. I've seen it all before. I had an immediate, "eh" reaction.

Then, another voice (there are many voices in my head) interrupted and said, "excuse me, are you a kitchen design snob? Are bread and butter kitchens of no, or little, worth?"

Interesting question!

I will leave you with that question, as I have to get ready for an appointment. The image, here, is of a kitchen I did about 10-11 years ago, which is typical of many of the kitchens in this book, although way too many images were nowhere near even this level of "nice" and should never have made it into the book. And, again, yes, there were those which were of great interest and innovation. But, those were few, and I wanted more from the book...

More later, as I contemplate, confront, and expose potential biases which may be lurking...stay tuned!



Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

New/Cool Kitchen Products!

It seems I'm seeing more and more natural, textural, and exotic themed products coming down the pike. With a mainstream eco friendly trend happening, I think we'll see some interesting product introductions in the months ahead, and I'll keep you informed, as spring is the season for the most new products coming to market. Take a look!


Stone%20Forest.jpgStone Forest introduces a sink made of a black granite polished interior and rim with a natural front apron. The sinks are carved from a single block of stone. Each is unique, and color and texture will vary. The sinks will fit most 3.5" drain assemblies or disposals. Weight: is approx. 300 lbs. It's natural/organic and has non-toxic/low VOC.



mandalay%20hardware.jpgThe Mandalay Collection of knobs and pulls by Atlas Homewares brings the essence of Burma to you. The intricately woven design is reminiscent of the mastery created by Burmese artisans. Available in finishes of brushed nickel and venetian bronze, Mandalay round knobs are $7.90, square knobs, $9.90, pulls, $14.90, and large pulls, $18.90. Coordinate your appliances with Mandalay appliance pulls, new from Atlas.





Elkay%20egranite.jpgElkay introduces its new Gourmet egranite, a family of granite silica and acrylic resin-formed sinks that bring a granite-like luxury material into the kitchen. The egranite sink line features spacious compartments and a non porous surface, which prevents staining and reduces any absorption of bacteria or odors. Sinks are available in black, biscuit, and white.

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Kitchen Week At Design Hole Blog

Lots going on over at Design Hole, on my blog roll for a long time. Jennifer Mitchell, an interior designer, is quite intense about her work, and what she's doing this week on kitchens are, well, kitchens on steroids! Go and take a look, and while you're at it, take a look at my little chat on kitchen trends.  It's all very good stuff. All this week.


Meanwhile, I've played around with my apartment floorplan for a little bit. It's funny how taking a wall down makes one rethink the entirety of the space, not just the kitchen! That's what I'm doing, having had no previous intention to do that. I felt the furniture worked. Now I'm not so sure, and I never really loved the sofa against the half wall.

Here's the thing. My husband and I require, NOT the typical sofa and one or two chairs in our living space, as is found in nearly all apartments of our size. We need the ability to stretch out and gaze mindlessly at the tv, in between napping, doing computer work, or yes, even talking to one another! Stretching out is an absolute must and non negotiable. Forget a chair/ottoman, it's not really nap-worthy.

So, am I really crazy to consider a huge, I mean huge, sofa in this otherwise small apartment? I'm almost embarrassed to say the size of it. It's nearly 12' (yes, 12') long. Oddly, to my eye, it seems to work. We should both be able to stretch out at opposite ends. It would have to come in two pieces. Here's what I'm considering. I'm not afraid to go beyond what's typical, and sometimes, doing something oversized can be exciting, and in this case, MAYBE it would serve to elongate the room as well, especially if it's on legs and in a light color?




Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

The Kitchen Walls Came Down! My ...

I met my husband at the apartment in the city on Friday. I drove in, unloaded my stuff, my son loaded his stuff in the car and drove the car home to Long Island, to return sometime on Sunday, at which time we returned to the Island (yesterday evening, car in front of the building, he again unloaded tons of laundry, still undone.)

So, my husband walks in the apartment door at 2:45 pm on Friday, I had just arrived a little earlier, and we both look at each other and know that noisy work in the building has to be done by 3 pm, Monday to Friday, no weekends. He has 15 minutes to cut through the kitchen walls with his sawzall, or whatever it's called. Twenty minutes later (so shoot me!) the wall is cut in half, via horrible noise! Yay!

Just enough time to get cleaned up and go off to see Martha Stewart, in person, at the NY Times Talks series, her biggest fan (HE is.) The walls remained in place until the next day, Saturday, at which time he removed the sheetrock, twisted out the studs and cleaned up the mess. That's all relatively quiet work.

Me? I was out on a girls' day with my she owed me for my birthday from July! MOMA, lunch, walk through the park, it was lovely. Trust me, my husband prefers to be alone so he doesn't have to tell me what to do. I'm fine with that!

Upon my return, around 3 pm on Saturday, I opened the door to the apartment, and WOW, what a reaction I had! It looks open! So in need of emergency surgery!

What I felt right away was that this kitchen (obviously) needs to "talk" to the living area in an important way. I want to make the place really flow. In an apartment this size, this kitchen is actually big!  I think that's a good thing. I think, to be able to:

a. have great counter space
b. be able to be at the main counter space and communicate with someone beyond
c. stand at the sink and look toward and out the window
d. watch the tv when desired
e. have nearly full size appliances
is a really, really, great thing in an otherwise tiny New York City apartment!

I won't go into ALL the ideas I have, that's for later...but, I wanted to share this progress with you. A few things I WILL tell you:

a. the tv cabinet goes...a flat screen will take its place
b. the cluttered looking green dining chairs will go...maybe an Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chair?
c. the black sofabed will its place will be a loveseat with legs and arms back a bit, for a lighter look, but we definitely want two sofas in the space, and that's the best place, I think, for them to go.  Putting them opposite one another makes the floor space very narrow, too narrow IMO.

I'm also up for suggestions!  Please take a look at the flikr slideshow for more details.

Here's the before, that's a mirrored wall (came with the apt.) behind the black loveseat:



This is the after:


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

More With Martha Stewart

There's more that comes to mind today, as I think about last evening's New York Times' event with Martha Stewart, and I'd like to share it with you!

Interesting bits and pieces...

As Martha sets out for the drive to the city each morning with her hot water and lemon, she carries the beverage in a paper cup, which she reuses. Martha spoke passionately about sustainable living, wanting her products to last. She talked about towels, or was it sheets, that are from her collections, that have lasted 17 years!

In regard to food, Martha was a very early advocate (early 80s) of the locally grown produce movement, a la Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower, notable chefs of that period. Martha encourages everyone to grow their own produce. As a child, Martha had to do many chores in the garden, on her relatives' farms, where she spent time, and her parents believed in self sufficiency in a big way, teaching tasks to Martha and her siblings with expectations that they would be done properly, instilling confidence and a DIY sort of philosophy in the home. Martha, in later years, raised pigs, sheep, goats, and encouraged her own daughter to do chores outside the house for the animals. She also said that if she didn't do what she was doing now (managing an empire) she'd be a veterinarian. It all makes sense!

Cooking with fresh, preferably, home grown, produce and other fresh foods, is very high on Martha's priorities. 

Martha was friendly, quite outgoing, and surprisingly relaxed. It was a very intimate feeling, at least we thought so!


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