The Kitchen Designer

Viking Range Color - What To Do?

Here's a question from Maryann:

viking.jpg"We are remodeling our kitchen.  The look we're going for is whitewashed custom cabinets with chocolate glaze and a large black  island.  We planned on stainless steel appliances - 42" fridge and 48" viking range.  We were considering the 48" white viking range - would that color work in this kitchen or would a white range be better suited in another style kitchen?"





Maryann, right off the bat, it sounds to me like you will be dealing with two different whites...a bright white (if that is what you are referring to) for the Viking, and a glazed white cabinet color, which will be somewhere in the ivory/cream family.

I'd be very careful when mixing whites. Some whites have a pink cast, some a green, some, a yellow, for example. It is critical that you see the actual Viking color samples alongside of your cabinet color, preferrably in your own home during different times of the day and lighting conditions. Pay attention to the tones.

oyster%20gray.jpgI'll tell you what you may consider. Check out the Oyster Gray. I've used it before. It's deep enough to be enough of a contrast with your cabinets, but only you will be able to tell if the tones work well or not. It's a great neutral shade.

I will also tell you that a lesser used, but beautiful combination IS using white and cream colors together. You may want to carefully think through using white and cream elsewhere in the room as well so that it is viewed as a theme of sorts, rather than one item white and one item cream. Done well, I actually really love this look.


I hope this was helpful!

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

The Post

The post is gone. It's best to move on. While the world of kitchen remodeling is fraught with anxiety, project difficulties, and communication differences, many of which are helpful to dissect and talk about, sometimes a post needs to have a lifespan. That's the case here.

Thanks very much for all of your positive feedback. It was very helpful to have received it, and it's also best to, once again, move into positive territory, so let's do that. Trust me, all is not wonderful and carefree in the remodeling world, so I expect something, somewhere will come up again that I will want to discuss. I'll look forward to your input again at that time.

Warm regards, Susan

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

I'm (Kitchen) Floored!! (Again!)

Had you there for a minute!

I've talked lots about the lightness in Scandinavian kitchens. Light tones are seen in many kitchen materials such as walls, cabinets, countertops, backsplashes and so on. But, I think what is, really, a very cool look, and one that is very UNcommon here in the U.S. are super light floors as are often seen in Scandinavian kitchens. There is SOMETHING about a light floor, and I'm not even sure I can express what it is, but I'll try.

I think light toned floors contribute a number of interesting attributes to a kitchen design:

  • The space appears larger than it really is.
  • If the walls are light as well as the floors, the space seems to float, almost suspended, and there is a flow to the space that, in all light tones, almost defies description.
  • If the large elements such as cabinetry, are dark, the expected contrast is reversed and is a very cool look.
  • The space looks clean! One may want to choose an imperfect light floor, so the inevitable nicks and spots are not so offensive.
  • In my opinion, it is, at once, modern and elegant.
  • The light reflecting work of a light floor contributes to well being, especially in the winter months 
  • A light floor helps reduce the need for artificial lighting, a good green solution.

What do you think of light floors? Me, I'm crazy about them! If I didn't have red oak in my kitchen/family room area, I'd definitely bleach it, but it comes up pink. MAYBE, I'll paint them. Here you go, what do you think of light flooring?

Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

Beware of laptops in the night

I'm really connected. Probably a bit too much at times. You'll see why soon. I have my iphone which handles my email when I'm away from the office, and my laptop in the bedroom on the night table. It's my routine to ease into the night with my laptop. Call it recreational time on the computer (mostly) and then, much later, an aid to avoid "trying" to get back to sleep.

Then, there is my work schedule. It is full time during the day and as desired in the off hours, which ends up being when quite a bit of work gets done, truth be told, and communication with clients is also done during off hours, holidays and weekends (as I choose,)

Last night I woke up around 2 am, which happens quite frequently, I reached over to the laptop to check my email (as I'm far from the only one writing messages in the night) and I see an email from my client Marty (Denise and Marty) telling me that I did great design work for them over the last 1 1/2 years on various parts of their new home, but they are electing to purchase their cabinetry elsewhere...because they can get it cheaper.

I worked for Denise and Marty for 1 1/2 years planning their kitchen, second kitchen, master bath, closet, and hallway cabinetry.  It is finally time for Denise and Marty to order their cabinetry. I worked during business hours, and typically, we corresponded, sometimes for hours, on Marty's timetable which was from 6 am or after 8 pm. During the course of our working together, I uploaded literally 247 drawings on to a project website and we had countless conversations as we tweaked the plans...for 1 1/2 years. I made three trips up to the middle of New England from Long Island and conversed with their contractor and architects on many occasions. At the end, the drawings were highly detailed, really, nearly finished working drawings. They printed them out and used them for the trades...and I'm sure, for this other cabinet company.

At the start, I charged my normal retainer of $5,000. We corresponded over a special project website I maintained, and I told them that I do not normally provide my drawings (for this reason) to my clients but this was a large project and I asked them to make a commitment that they would work with me to eventually order the cabinetry with me. They agreed. I thought they were trustworthy people and our relationship was always a very good one. They proved not to be trustworthy.

Time went on, more time than I expected, and I just did not take the time to revisit requesting additional design fees which was my error. However, my retainer did not specify that my service was for a set amount of time, so I honored my retainer agreement and kept working. I'm REALLY big on honoring written agreements. If you don't honor a written agreement, you have chaos. I felt secure.

I guess I must have about 200 hours of design time into their projects (Denise and Marty were very indecisive.) Even at a fair $150 per hour (I'm not a beginner and just yesterday I accepted a check for an hour's consultation in my office at $175) that comes out to $30,000 of my time.

If you're going to drop that bomb, why do it on a Saturday evening? At least wait till business hours. And, why not pick up the phone to speak with me?

Which reminds me...we were in the middle of the process in regard to getting the price more in line where he (Marty drove everything and wanted expensive features in the kitchen and other areas, thus, we were initially over budget) wanted it and I had just come in under the budget on Friday as requested, after making material adjustments, and there could easily have been more work to be done to drop it even further. This part is as much of a "process" as the design process.

The Numbers: The original agreed upon budget was $193,000. The "dream scenario" as a result of all our work, came to $227,000. Gradually, adjustments were made, and the latest adjustment provided last Friday, was for $177,000.

You don't bail when there's been good faith service up to that point. You just don't. You communicate. And, a week prior, I had said that we could explore other cabinet companies, make substitutions, whatever it took, we'd figure out.  As the price kept dropping as a result of these substitutions, he was very grateful and enthusiastic. The end point was my providing the (latest) final number, ending up below the budget.

There's A LOT that I don't write about in regard to what happens in my business. THIS needs to be out there.

This type of thing will not happen again, I'll tell you that.  

Here is the email I received last night at 9:30 pm, which I didn't see till 2 am:


  Hi Susan,
  Your design work to date has been great!
  And I am certain that your "value engineering" would be just as terrific.
  However, it will not be necessary.
  We will be using another supplier for the cabinets.
  First and foremost you were always our first choice.
  However, due to our diminishing budget, time, and energy, we
  have selected another supplier providing a turn-key solution, at
  a price we can afford.
It's ok. There are far more important things in life to be concerned with than this. Yet, I also know that I need to go through a brief (it will be brief) process to expunge this bad stuff that was handed to me, truly, for no reason at all.



Posted by Susan serra, ckd
over 11 years ago

I'm back

The days just go! I'm not quite sure where they go, but I know they pass by so fast. I've been wall-to-wall busy, first and foremost with my clients.

I may have said it's the perfect storm, something I could not have predicted. Projects, highly detailed, large, all needing to be ordered at once, all having come on board at different times, nearly all which should have been finished a long time ago, at different times from one another, except for architectural or construction delays. Or both. I swear, every project gets a life of its own! Will my clients be patient with me as I have been with them? I think they will.

I'm in the middle of all the detail right now. But, here's my philosophy. The day before Thanksgiving, I sometimes don't go food shopping till 3 pm or so (now THAT'S professional procrastination, although procrastination is not the issue), AND, I make everything from scratch, and I'm not kidding. When I come home and start preparing the food, I think, I'm not sure HOW a fabulous dinner will be on the table the next day, sometimes for 20+ people...but I know it will be. And, so, these projects will all turn out as they always do - correct.

Not to mention, 2 weeks back, when 5 Danish Vikings came to invade my home for one week in order for us to exhibit Hansen kitchen furniture at the ICFF. Long days, setting up/breaking down the display, rush hour traffic, talking nonstop, oh, let's add a visit to the Danish Consulate General's residence for a gathering of Danish companies exhbiting at ICFF in there too, and you have a bit of chaos! Fortunately, those Vikings invaded with fresh, new, Scandinavian home magazines. Would you like to see the latest interior ideas from Scandinavia?

In between, our garden of somewhere close to 200 roses is just beginning to bloom with a few blooms here and there. The garden has been a source of real excitement in recent weeks..real anticipation. I planned my kitchen mostly around the garden some years back, adding 20' of windows to have a panoramic view of all that happens beyond the house, which changes by the hour. The view from the kitchen window is always, always, an important consideration in the planning stages.

More stuff topics, Scandinavian kitchens, new products, and just the random things that come up. Good to be back with you!

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