The Kitchen Designer

Trends in White Kitchens

I received this email from Elizabeth, a reader, and just had to share it with you. Here it is in its entirety:

"Susan- i ran across your site a few months ago and i am continued to be drawn to your work, photographs and thoughts as a source of tasteful inspiration for our kitchen. we recently purchased a home with a kitchen that needs updating so i am currently living and breathing kitchen design (i am a designer by training and so this is a dream project for me). Anyhow, I wanted to send you kudos on your work and blog. I would love it if you would post your thoughts on the resurgence of the white kitchen. it seems like every magazine i pick up these days has all white kitchens. is it just a trend? is cherry/maple.oak totally dated?"

white%20kitchen%201.jpgElizabeth, this is a great question! Thank you for your lovely comments and for your question. Here's what I think. I think there are a few things going on.

There are no ifs, ands, or buts...white is a classic in kitchen design, and its interpretation seems to continually reinvent itself over the decades.

First, the white kitchen, in recent years, is being looked at as a "fixed architectural element" to the home...being used (although it may not be historically accurate) as a traditional/classic backdrop, becoming one with the other millwork in the home. White, as we know, is often seen in architectural features in a home, in paneling, trim, doors, stairs, etc., and I think there is often an underlying motivation to give built in cabinetry in the kitchen and other rooms a "permanence" in feeling in this (also quiet/safe) way...for many. Surely, white is not practical whatsoever in the kitchen, so it follows this line of thinking. The look, of course, can be one of elegance. Take a look at the white built ins in the dining room shot, you'll see what I mean, how they connect with all the other white doors and casings.












Secondly, it's easy to coordinate other design elements in the room, let's face it, it's a free-for-all design wise...countertops, wall color, tile, accessories. That is also a motivation for some, always. An offshoot of this is to consider that white is sort of a classic "utilitarian" shade, and the kitchen is a utilitarian room to many, wanting to play up that theme. Also, white reflects light, brightening up the entire space, lifting one's spirits substantially, particularly in a room with small or few windows.

The third reason is, I know there has been a reawakening, a redefinition, of the traditional style in kitchen design. I call it "the butler's pantry look." The clean, simple lines of today's white traditional kitchens, evoke the feeling of kitchens past. What was previously called a shaker style kitchen is now an upgraded look with the same door style, yet a bit more embellished in decorative detailing, but not too much. It's an evolution of styling, a redefinition. It's fresh and new.


And, the fourth reason? I can put my finger on it exactly...2003, when the movie, "Something's Gotta Give" came out! The effect on kitchen design as a result of this movie was HUGE. Here's the google search page for it, complete with blog posts by my blog buddies Cote de Texas and Surroundings, even now, four years later! I heard about it and saw its effect with my clients. The U.S. was ready to move away from all of the highly decorative detailing of the decade before and into a "less is more" philosophy as well. And, that look, for those who like the traditional style, is still so very prevelent today, as a direct result of this movie. In fact, I've had these images (shown above) of the kitchen in the movie, that I have been meaning to create a post around since I started this blog, and, so, here they are.

Take a look at a previous post I did on the white model kitchen in one of the last, great, New York City residential apartment buildings to be built, still being finished as we speak. Some similar thoughts in that post.

Is cherry/maple/oak outdated? Quite the contrary. Kitchen design NOW is all about expressing yourself the way you want to, NOT to follow the pack. Although that said, there will always be trends. Watch out for trends, however, that's my advice, they can be quietly addicting. Maybe not the best way to invest in something that needs to last for, oh, a couple of decades or so. Do what speaks to you, be open to all possibilities, and look past the trends.

So, there you go! Oh, one last this look, as I defined it, a trend? Absolutely! Therefore, is it something to run from? No, not this trend, not if it is linked to the architecture of the home. Yet, awareness is a good thing.


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 12 years ago

New, Cool, Refrigerator From Fagor

Rfrigerator%203FCA-68%20NFX%20door%20semi%20opened.jpgJust got word that Fagor is introducing a 24" no frost refrigerator. To me, this is huge news, as I'm in the middle of looking for appliances to plan into my 7' x 7' NYC apartment kitchen. So, I'm doubly excited about this product! Let me tell you a few things about it.

It is 24 x 24 x 78 3/4, meaning that it is true cabinet depth, a huge plus for small kitchens (eyes upward in thanks.) It is a sleek, modern, design, and made of high end, and finger print resistant, stainless steel.  

More features include unbreakable glass trays and drawer fronts, and independent compartments with electronic regulation. The independent "multi fresh" and "double fresh" drawers allow for two unique environments within the refrigerator, great for keep vegetables crisp and meats and seafood at another level of moisture. 

According to Fagor, it is the healthiest refrigerator on the market. Equipped with a unique BIO filter, an antibacterial/odor eliminating filter with indicator keeps the refrigerator hygienic by retaining mold and bacteria from the circulating air. A protection cover disables such bacterial particles from settling and growing, allowing foods to remain fresh for longer periods of time. 

Even more features include fast cooling (automatically detects and adjust large food additions at once) and super freezing capabilities with a vacation setting, changing the refrigerator temperatove to 57F, preventing odor and bacteria, keeping the freezer at normal temp.

MULTIFRESH%20AND%20DOUBLE%20FRESH%20DRAWERS.jpgAn open door alarm and beeper alarm with warning light indicate any sudden interruption of the cold chain. And, it is said to be less noisy due to one generator source for fridge and freezer. No word on energy star rating, they are currently performing the energy star tests, so that information is not complete.


The unit will be available December 2007. List price is $1699.  


Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 12 years ago

Beyond My Kitchen Window

cape%20cod%20rose%20a.jpgI need a break! I've worked very hard most of today doing computer work in a high level of detail. Time consuming, labor intensive, entry by entry, working on kitchen plans, using both sides of the brain until it hurts! And, I am pleased with what I accomplished. So, let's take a break...

Out to the garden, a beautiful Indian summer early fall day.  The garden is now a jungle, quite unkempt, but it's delightful with aged colors and textures, some beautiful new flowers just hitting their stride, and roses still pumping out the blooms until the frost (hopefully not for a month.)

Please join me for a look at the garden today. Lucky for me, I can see some of these beauties from my kitchen window, a real joy. 

And, how is your day going? Did you get to take a break?


Please see the flikr slide show of the early autumn garden. Best enjoyed s l o w l y !

Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow! All images were taken today.

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 12 years ago

Modern Kitchens - Euro Style

Kitchen%20Showrooms%20_13a.jpgOne of my favorite blogs, freshome, was interested in the kitchen "scene" in Copenhagen, which I have not yet shown on this blog. I went to a good number of kitchen showrooms, every single one of them having wonderful looks and features within. Some features and styling are very subtle, almost imperceptible as being something special, unless pointed out, making the look all the more...I think "organic" is a one descriptive word, following Denmark's great, and historical, tradition for design excellence. So, I encourage you to look closely at these images in the flikr slide show.

Here is what I observed, which I shared with freshome, on that blog: "I LOVED going to Copenhagen's kitchen showrooms, seeing the latest, and very cool, design ideas. Large patterns on walls, beautiful, and textural wood grains, lots of dark charcoal or black, and white, cabinetry, these are some of the latest trends in kitchen design. I also noticed backsplashes with clear or colored glass sections positioned over painted, textured, walls, a very sleek look! Always fabulous lighting and always little splashes of color, a typical, and modern, Scandinavian touch."

Some of these trends are prevelent in the U.S. as well, as I observed at KBIS in May. I will do an accompanying post on those kitchens in the next few days. That should be interesting to compare! You will see a few country kitchens, too, very charming, I think.

Take a look at the kitchen slide show for many more images (all taken by me!)

And, please take a look at the freshome blog, and click on the top banner for the latest posts. There is much inspiration throughout this blog for the entire home. Enjoy!

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 12 years ago

Open Plan Kitchens - For Empty N...

My husband and I changed two rooms of furniture around yesterday, swapping furniture in each room. The dining room furniture was put into the smaller of our two family rooms. The family room furniture was put into the dining area (not the breakfast area), which is open to the kitchen.

We now have a great room floor plan, that I've been designing for my clients for the past, close to, 20 years!

Two of our three kids moved out about 3 years ago, the smaller family room just wasn't getting used, and at the same time, new lifestyle patterns were emerging for us. Our daughter and son in law visit from the city on occasional weekends, our other son, less so, and lots of time is spent in the kitchen along with a variety of activities such as preparing meals with great music playing, laptop use, sports tv with no sound on, hors d'oevres before dinner, relaxing, talking, dining, and any combination of same.

Being on the "other side" of raising children, I can tell you, at least for us, that it is, as, or more, important to have the home conducive to togetherness, since the kids do not come home that often. This floor plan achieves that goal very well. Yet, we still have the large family room, just beyond, with a pair of french doors installed, to "get away" from the kitchen/great room feeling, good to promote privacy and coziness.

So, to empty nesters, or soon to be: Being aware of how your parental role changes often has to do with how your home works for you. And, how it could work better for you in this next phase of life.
I know my kids will be delighted when they see this change in the house. They are 20 somethings adults now, all, and, although a few smarmy comments still sneak through,  they no longer see us as they once did:  a) stupid b) losers c) know nothings d) out of it e) the enemies! Oh man, I thought of five descriptive terms so quickly! Now, I look forward to welcoming them back home to a different experience.

As this configuration was never foreseen, I may tweak it a bit more, still. Change is fun! 

Please look at some additional images of my kitchen/family room. Tell me what you think of an open kitchen/family room concept. 



Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 12 years ago
Certified Kitchen Designer