Architectural Digest: Words of Wisdom from the Experts

Architectural Digest: Words of Wisdom from the Experts

If you are having a hard time designing your kitchen, check out this interesting article I found from Architectural Digest.

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Designers Tell All

When designing a kitchen, what are the key considerations? What are your favorite materials to use? What are your biggest frustrations?

When designing a kitchen, what are the key considerations? Storage! What are your favorite materials to use? Soapstone, polished slate, and natural wood. What are your biggest frustrations? Lack of space.KARIN BLAKE
I prefer to work with wood, stone, stainless steel and concrete, and I prefer to catch the morning sun—so lots of glass!
Let’s face it, whether designers like it or not, people tend to congregate in a kitchen, so we always try to make them as inviting as they are functional: comfortable seating areas, spaces without harsh overhead lighting, both video and music options. The other big issue is finding a way to get maximum storage, because these rooms do more than just house the pots and pans.
Some clients have the expectation that kitchen finishes will never stain or wear.
My biggest frustration is finding a home for all of the specialty appliances—does anyone really need a bread maker?
Simplicity. I do not like over-designed kitchens.
I always plant an herb garden within 15 feet of the kitchen for ease of use. A kitchen should also have good natural light.
My biggest frustration is balancing openness with enough cabinets and counter space.
I first decide what the kitchen is to the client.
Practical countertops are very important. Corian is a great substance and comes in lots of wonderful colors.
Appliances are key to functionality: I prefer Wolf ranges and Sub-Zero refrigerators.
I like function—restaurant fixtures. Nothing cutesy!
Besides the usual work triangles and gadgetry, I encourage people to consider their kitchen a very important composition of appliances, millwork and plumbing, integral with glass walls, openings and translucency. It’s OK to make decisions based on compositional balance and not just function.
Today’s kitchens are an essential living area and are often integrated into the main living space, so it’s important to keep them streamlined and aesthetically pleasing.
My favorite materials are copper and stone. Considerations are durability first, that’s why I like to use stone sinks and floors. Frustrations? When is someone going to produce a good looking refrigerator?
I am not a kitchen person; however, my favorite kitchens are classic, contemporary, white lacquer and brushed steel. I have recently been using countertops of clear crystal glass—very space-age and glamorous.
The needs of each client are always different whether one has a chef or cooks themselves. My favorite material to use when designing a kitchen is statuary marble—I just love the distinctive luster. Also, I use simple French limestone for the counters and lacquered cabinets.
We take into account the flow of the space making sure that all of the major functions of the kitchen work well together. We like there to be a triangle between the sink, stove and island.

Also, decide how to distribute the large appliances, particularly if there is going to be a large refrigerator and an additional large freezer. If possible, move the freezer out of the kitchen to a pantry area because the enormous side by side fridge and freezer combination is imposing. Add freezer drawers into the cabinets for everyday necessities—like ice—and keep the oversize full height freezer out of the main space.

One of the first considerations is to decide whether you want your cabinets to be paneled or flat. Will they be inset or over mounted, and then, what type of hardware? Do you want to see exposed hinges or use European hidden ones—because this will determine the overall “look” of your kitchen.

We like all drawers and cabinets to have specific built-in functions, such as dividers for flatware, so the client doesn’t have to buy inserts for their drawers. Our favorite materials are durable granite countertops and white kitchen cabinets. We love wooden floors in kitchens—they’re warm and easy on your feet.

The biggest frustration is finding lighting appropriate for a kitchen that hasn’t been seen before—particularly because in a kitchen there are a variety of lights. We often need some sort of flush mounted or recessed lights for general illumination, a pendant fixture to hang over the island and a different pendant—perhaps a chandelier or something else decorative—for over a breakfast table.

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April, 2011

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