The Kitchen Designer

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. 

 

Open%20Plan%20Kitchen.JPG 

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

White Kitchens - And Your Kids!

I spoke with a Consultation client today, a mother of two very young children. She was struggling because she could not decide which white to choose for her cabinet color.

blue.jpgHer kitchen, at the rear of the house, could be seen from the front door, first through the living room, then through the dining room, then, into the kitchen. She also needed to select paint for her walls in these rooms. This entire space, these rooms, I'd consider to be relatively small in size.

Here's what occurred to me. First, as a mother who raised three kids in a white kitchen(!) I needed to discuss the inevitable...dings, nicks, marks, wear, even non-kid wear combined with kid-wear! It's a bad scene, and if it doesn't happen right away, in time, it will. When asked when will it show, I replied, it could be the next day or much longer, but show, it WILL!

khaki3.jpgWhat I suggested was a soft, neutral, elegant shade, such as a light/medium greigy/beige shade. This type of shade can serve many purposes:

 

It will serve as a foundation for many other colors

It will not call attention to the kitchen from other rooms close by

It will hide marks better than a bright white shade would

It can look very sophisticated 

 

 With a similar shade on the walls, a bit lighter, this kitchen can really flow, when you are in it, or when viewing it from a distance.  Many, many colors can be coordinated with this type of shade.

Alternatives we discussed were more creamy/yellow shades, but this top image of a kitchen I did, that's a nice shade too, has a bit of blue in it. Consider shades. They make a statement, hide the bad stuff (marks), and are just as easy to love as white, I promise! In the end, if you've just got to have white, of course, do it.

mom%20child%20kitchen.jpg
  

 

 

 

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Scandinavian Kitchen - Luxe Living

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OK, I think it's time for another really fabulous Scandinavian kitchen! I haven't put one up for quite some time, I'm very much overdue and wow, do I have a fantastic backlog of kitchens to show you over time, so stay tuned! I can't tell you one single thing about this kitchen, as, sadly, my parents never taught me Danish! But, since pictures are worth 1,000 words, I'm sure you'll come up with some of your own descriptions. Me? I think this kitchen is quite awesome. Love the texture, the rich feeling of the cabinetry color, the sharp, white, accents, and always a favorite to look for, the lighting. Images from Bo Bedre.

Maybe it's because I went back to Denmark, I'm not sure, but I'm loving light oak herringbone floors right now. They are everywhere, for ages, in Copenhagen, but I think there is a (small) resurgence in herringbone flooring patterns in the U.S. It's a fresh, attractive, pattern and texture to use in wood flooring. I also love the shelves in this kitchen. Anyone else see herringbone patterns heating up? Enjoy!

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1151/1445484302_01c6a8310a_o.jpghttp://farm2.static.flickr.com/1203/1444622231_5b8b61faa3_o.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1427/1445484832_3b999980ef_o.jpghttp://farm2.static.flickr.com/1184/1445484962_7ac6301c02_o.jpg
1445484696_a7a32b4b16_o.jpg
Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Scandinavian Kitchen - Luxe Living

1445484412_268baf7ae2_o.jpg

OK, I think it's time for another really fabulous Scandinavian kitchen! I haven't put one up for quite some time, I'm very much overdue and wow, do I have a fantastic backlog of kitchens to show you over time, so stay tuned! I can't tell you one single thing about this kitchen, as, sadly, my parents never taught me Danish! But, since pictures are worth 1,000 words, I'm sure you'll come up with some of your own descriptions. Me? I think this kitchen is quite awesome. Love the texture, the rich feeling of the cabinetry color, the sharp, white, accents, and always a favorite to look for, the lighting. Images from Bo Bedre.

Maybe it's because I went back to Denmark, I'm not sure, but I'm loving light oak herringbone floors right now. They are everywhere, for ages, in Copenhagen, but I think there is a (small) resurgence in herringbone flooring patterns in the U.S. It's a fresh, attractive, pattern and texture to use in wood flooring. I also love the shelves in this kitchen. Anyone else see herringbone patterns heating up? Enjoy!

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1151/1445484302_01c6a8310a_o.jpghttp://farm2.static.flickr.com/1203/1444622231_5b8b61faa3_o.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1427/1445484832_3b999980ef_o.jpghttp://farm2.static.flickr.com/1184/1445484962_7ac6301c02_o.jpg
1445484696_a7a32b4b16_o.jpg
Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Kitchen Designs - See The Plans!

I'm feeling good right now. I'm seeing a client later this morning. Even though I've been designing kitchens for a long time, I have the desire to reinvent the wheel each time I plan someone's kitchen. Now, that doesn't mean that wild and crazy things are happening in my design process. But, what it does mean is that I try to be open to new ideas, new details, to present to the client.

This stage is, at once, the most exciting and the most nervous for me, for lack of a better word. It's exciting when I know that I did good work and I cannot wait to show the client. I'm nervous because I hope the client is thrilled with the possibilities before them.

And, yes, I provide numerous design solutions. I do this so that what I present is not solely subjective (if I were to present, say, one or two floor plans) and because I feel the client should see multiple possibilities, to avoid a "could have, should have" feeling later. Sometimes, a nuance in the floor plan makes all the difference...

This process for me is fairly slow. It's thoughtful, it's creating shapes and forms to see where we can go with this kitchen. At this first stage, the goal is to select a floor plan. After a plan is selected, then we fill in the blanks with cabinetry. But, for now, the foundation is set:

1) countertop/other shapes, 2) acceptable clearances, and 3) appliance locations, no more!

While the plans look simplistic, much design time and thought lies beneath them. This is nothing, (only) in the sense that more and more design work will build upon the chosen plan.


This is the most important part of the entire process (and that's why I like it clutter free.) Alternative storage ideas are always a part of my design process. Upper cabinets are not always the answer to storage issues and therefore, open up the possibility for entirely new design solutions.


So, at this moment, I'm feeling good. I like what I have prepared for this client (and I'm my own worst critic, trust me.) I'll let you know the response!

These are some of the parameters for this kitchen that I had to work within, although a good size, it has its real challenges:

  • The window cannot move
  • The doorways cannot move
  • The view beyond the table is incredible - expansive views of Long Island Sound (maybe we will change the existing door configuration to the outside)
  • Client wanted the cooking area on the wall shown
  • Seating for EIGHT!
  • Note: Styling is fairly traditional. If this were a modern style kitchen, the shapes/forms would be different. Note too, the wall behind the cooktop is not an exterior wall, I need to draw in the hallway wall, below, and continue the exterior wall on the left side.

 Update: The meeting went well. I laid out all the plans on the kitchen table. They may have been a little overwhelming, but my client quickly got into the groove. Not ten minutes later, (that may be a record) she confidently chose a plan she knew was right for her. She liked this one. Onward!

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 12 years ago
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