Once upon a time the kitchen was a room only for servants. In fact in many homes, the kitchen was not even part of the main house. With the rise of the middle class, the kitchen moved into the home, but was still reserved for the servant, now called the “little woman.” Jumping a few decades and the ERA: When “the little woman” went to work and both mom and dad started sharing in the kitchen duties, the new kitchen appeared.
When choosing fabric for your upholstered furniture, be painfully honest with how you really live! If you currently eat on your sofa, this behavior will probably continue with your new sofa.
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The evolution of the kitchen didn’t stop there. Today’s kitchen is not just a place to cook; rather, today’s kitchen is Command Central! Cooking actually takes second place to all the other daily activities of a busy household. Coined the “Live-in Kitchen” by Ellen Cheever, CMKBD, ASID, the new kitchen is open to the entire home. Many new homes are being designed and built around the kitchen, instead of the kitchen being put at the back of the house — a “wagon wheel” design is the current approach.
The new centrality of the kitchen allows for more people-related activities to be integrated into the food preparation space. Instead of people gathering in the kitchen, they gather around the kitchen.
This change has led to a design and budget challenge for both the kitchen designer and the client. As a kitchen designer my focus is on, of course, the kitchen. With the kitchen being the central hub of most homes, I find that many people forget about the rest of the house. This creates an esthetic of “old” and “new” — where the kitchen has been renovated, but the rest of the home hasn’t.
Enter the new collaboration between the contractor, interior designer, and the certified kitchen designer.
Your new kitchen is most successful when the team is created at the beginning. When the kitchen designer is part of a team with the client, contractor, and interior designer, you get a more thoughtful, creative, and budget-conscious project. The kitchen designer has access to the contractor, who is constantly aware of project and design costs, the interior designer is privy to how the new space is going to interact with the rest of the house, and you just get a better result. This kind of team is focused on both you and your project!
“Being involved with the design team at the beginning of the project creates a plan that flows smoother and allows me to be on top of the total budget. There are fewer surprises,” explains Paul Hagerty, president of Hagerty Construction, a Portland-based remodeling company. “Clients are happier when I don’t have to question them constantly. Remodeling is stressful enough without having to make rushed decisions,” he adds.
By planning ahead, not only is stress is relieved, but it is easier to stay on budget. “Having to rush-order products adds additional unnecessary and unforeseen costs and project delays,” interjects Hagerty.
This all makes sense for the construction, but what about the interior designer working on adjacent rooms?
“Having input in the early phase of the project allows me to place the client’s lifestyle within the room. A family room functions differently for each client, ” states Garrison Hullinger, principal designer with Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, a full-service interior design firm based in Portland. “I want to know how a client really lives. Do you and your children eat on your furniture? Does your dog watch TV with you? These lifestyle questions are important to the longevity and livability of your furniture and makes for a more productive and budget-conscious room.”
Working with a kitchen designer at the early phase produces a creative flow between the spaces. A finish that the kitchen designer chooses for the kitchen might not be the best choice for the family room (due to availability or budget). By collaborating early, the project becomes a unified whole. “My technical knowledge of fabrics is perfect when choosing upholstered items like barstools and dining chairs. No one is happy when Junior spills grape juice on the new barstool and it doesn’t come clean.” says Hullinger.
With today’s active lifestyle and budget conscience society — incorporating the entire design team results in a “live-in kitchen” that truly “lives” with you!
Robin Rigby-Fisher, CMKBD/CAPS, is a Certified Master of Kitchen and Bath Design in the Portland Metro Area. She has been creating award-winning designs for over 25 years. Her work has been featured in many local and national publications. You may contact Robin at email@example.com or 503-630-3395.