The Kitchen Designer

Kitchen Trends 2008 - What's To ...

Do kitchens really change that quickly, from one year to the next? Should we be looking for trends for kitchen design in 2008 and discard what we saw in 2007? What new things will we see for 2008? What do we look for and where do we look?

uploaded-file-41514Progress is a good thing. Progress brings us new ideas, new solutions, a fresh, creative, look at familiar, comfortable, and sometimes, boring, or cumbersome, territory. Often, progress evolves into a trend. Here's where it gets tricky.

Trends, to me, are singular ideas, seen with little differentiation, across numerous manufacturer's product lines and showcased in mass media directed at consumers, resulting in maximum visibility.

A trend which can become highly influential. Take the color black. It's become trendy to incorporate black in cabinetry, even for all the cabinetry in a kitchen. Black kitchens are seen now in shelter magazines, blogs (yes, here too), showroom displays, and manufacturer's brochures. Top image from HGTV.

I don't think black kitchens have ever been on the radar for kitchen a big way. They are now.  So are tiled walls...wide swaths of walls with tiles, often mosaic tile, or, the same, seen all across a backsplash, inlcluding behind a range. Imagine a tiled wall combined with a black kitchen? See image above. Very cool from 2006 (first seen) till...oh, maybe three to five years as a guess? No, be careful going down that road. Kitchen materials are not accessories as in fashion or smaller interior design accessories, easily changed, such as pillows. A kitchen should be designed to last decades.

Let me say it this's best when "fresh, new, creative" comes from original ideas suited to specific situatiions rather than being influenced by the power, and security, of a frequently seen/published/displayed idea.

So, create your own original ideas for 2008. Don't know where to begin? No time? No vision? Then, look for a creative designer, interview her/him carefully, and express your desire for true originality, something special...just for you! Something that is a personal expression, an aesthetic that is yours alone that may even break the rules. Go ahead, color outside the lines. Make it meaningful.

uploaded-file-07627Interested in what's happening now AND expressing your personal vision? Take a look at this kitchen at left. The clients, from the UK, were inspired, Stilton cheese! Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

I guess that's really my message for all kitchen renovations in 2008. I'll be doing mine this year, and once I started to relax, this past week, the ideas began to flow. It's good advice for anyone. That's the first step.


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

NYC Kitchen Design - My Apartment

My husband and I are vacationing in the city this week. We've been here since Thursday, and we're coming back home on Tuesday. We are loving being here! Our apartment is on the upper west side, such a beautiful area, a real neighborhood feeling to it. Lots of history, charm, great restaurants, and, truth be told, a world class movie theatre!

I LOVE movies, but don't go as oftenas I'd like. So far, we've seen two...The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and I Am Legend (in IMAX...amazing-not the movie (I am Legend), the screen...also $32 for two!) Do you know Rotten Tomatoes? I don't see a movie without it! For the rest of our visit, we just had brunch with our daughter/son-in-law today, I made a random purchase of tickets, yesterday, for a Broadway play ("Is He Dead?") on New Year's Eve at 2 pm on 45th Street, and we'll be milling amongst congregating Times Square revelers (only after the play lets out) and maybe another movie on Tuesday. Mostly, we're enjoying the city!


Being relaxed, and being in the apartment, helps me think about the kitchen renovation we're planning. I have a very different idea for storage, which I have not yet found a solution for. Something I have not seen done anywhere before, either. Perhaps my solution will be a first!

I do believe this design idea could catch on! It's something I first thought of a couple of months back, and, you heard it here first (just remember, NYC kitchens are tiny!) Mine is about 7' × 7' total! Yet, for me, aesthetics must be on an equal level with function, not an after thought.

The image below is of one wall in the kitchen. The opposite wall will be opened up to the living area. 

See the refrigerator on the left? Imagine a line on the right side of the refrigerator continuing from the right edge, up to the ceiling. There, that's the way I should have drawn it, as that entire section is 24" in depth. Disregard those arrows in the image that point toward the refrigerator.

For the section to the right of the refrigerator, I want to visually elongate that area in terms of width. Disregard the note on the image that says that area will be 20" deep. It will be 13" deep. I'll install a slide out vent above the cooktop, and all you will see is a 1" bar x about 30" wide. The front door is to the right of the wall next to the oven.

metal%202.jpgThere will be a facade all across this section, 13" off the wall. The facade may be changeable. it could be a distressed piece of metal. It could be a faux treatment on a removable board. It could be rustic barn siding, constrasting with sleek cabinetry. It could be a quiet color or shade, perhaps with a small beam situated at the bottom of the facade to serve as a shelf for artwork or objects.


I want to design or find something that can gently be lowered, perhaps a wire shelving accessory of some sort, to lower close to the countertop, have a shelf or two, for storage, and then be designed to be pushed gently up again into position within the front facade, invisible, yet functional. Any ideas? Let me know...I'm thinking too...much more to come!


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Everyone Ends Up In The Kitchen ...

kitchen%20party.jpgYou know it's say it yourself! "Everyone ends up in the kitchen!" I have a new theory about the "why" of it, actually two. We know it's a social thing, the kitchen is a magnet (obviously) to be around food, and people like to help, but it's more than that. I think the reason people enjoy being in the kitchen is because it's "real." You can let your hair down in the kitchen, be more real, more casual, roll up your sleeves and be more "yourself." Even a formal kitchen is still, well, a kitchen, and has far less of the "pretentious" factor than does the more formal living areas of the house.

Show me a fabulously dressed guest in the living room, and then in the kitchen, and I'll bet that guest warms up to the host and other guests just a little bit more quickly!

Beyond that, the other reason I see the kitchen as an attraction for guests is because kitchen tasks/activities allow people to be DOING something, to be involved, to feel useful. Perhaps guests feel they are at a different level of engagement with their hosts, being more of a partner with their host. And, working in the kitchen, doing lite duty, along with your host and other guests sort of takes the focus off of you and on to a team effort. It's fun, it's interesting, it's goal oriented. Hang out and be casual/social or get in there with preparation, there is something for everyone in the kitchen, as we see time after time.

Enjoy being in the kitchen this holiday season in whatever way works for you, whether guest or cook!

Next....Let's Get This Party Started! Anatomy of a Party Kitchen!

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

My Danish Families' Kitchens

Today is Christmas, I'm the only one up right now. The cold is surrounding me, a candle burns, and I think warm thoughts of my family in and around Copenhagen. I've spoken to a few via email and phone, an uncle who called last night at midnight his time, 7 pm (I think) our time, when he knew our U.S. family was all together. Sweet!

I think of my cousin's daughter (my second cousin?) who just had twins in October with her (married) partner, one of the twins who has been hospitalized since then, having several heart operations. They skipped Christmas at my cousin's home, choosing to stay at the hospital. And, at the other end of life's journey, I think of my uncle who just had his 94th birthday and lives alone, and happily, in his apartment, the orange kitchen seen below. Also, of another uncle and his family who will visit and dine today (12, in a very small dining room) at an aunt's small, log cabin home, overlooking the sea.

Near or far, family is what life's about. And, as we all know, a whole lot of life happens in the kitchen! So, here we go, take a look at some of my Danish families' kitchens, and dining areas, who, I'm sure, have been busy preparing tasty meals for the days surrounding Christmas. Images taken in August '07. Enjoy YOUR holiday cooking, food, dinners, and gatherings!


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

The Kitchen Holidays

Is it the Holiday spirit? Yes, I'm sure it is, in part, that makes me so positive about, well, nearly everything today. I just finished watching Celine Dion sing The Christmas Song, which was done with such beautiful restraint and quietness (granted, for a change!) Lovely. Made me think of my experiences today and how it relates to none other than my kitchen design business.

It began with a trip to the dentist (again.) This time it was an hour and a half visit, and again, it was a piece of cake. But, a little twitch on my part, and he was all over it..."do you feel any pain?" "everything ok?" "just tell me" all of which made me feel very, cared for, I suppose. Nice feeling. A little chatting, pleasantries, just nice all around.

Then, I went to my project (wait till you see THIS ONE-not the one below) and, with four different tradespeople there, plus the clients, everyone was happy, cooperative, collaborative, relaxed, all really good stuff that sometimes cannot be found on a project. Another lift to the spirit. In fact, a real big lift, fed by all these people, including a very positive client. Some minor issues came up with a few of the tradespeople...through patience, respect, and collaboration, solutions flowed to these details at hand.

After that, I went to a business supply store and bought two gifts, one for my long time accountant, and one for his employee, my weekly bookeeper. The customer service I received was truly a model for all businesses! The service was courteous, kind, helpful, going above and beyond to help me find the perfect gift, and then wrapping it carefully with a ribbon. Really nice experience. Again, chatting, pleasantries, a warm experience.

I dropped off the gifts at my accountant's office. I wanted to show my appreciation, as I do every year. I don't think I need to in a material way, but it feels good to say thanks. I arrived, we chatted about our families, our plans for the holidays, and I expressed my thanks to my accountant and my bookeeper. More warmth.

So, among these experiences, I thought of my business and how important it is to stay positive, to go above and beyond to not only please, but to delight my clients. I'm human, and sometimes I fall short, but today was a great day to be observant and a reminder of the dynamics involved in people relating to people in a positive way.

Happy Holidays and a wonderful, positive, 2008!! :) And, have faith, because this:













really will turn into this:


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