Creating kitchens for busy families need to look good, be multi-functional and thoughtfully designed inside and out. As a costly home investment, kitchens should be able to grow with a family for years to come. In most homes today, the kitchen acts as a modern-day version of a living room. It’s essentially where life unfolds daily. The house had been the home of a builder who didn’t really put much into the house in the way of quality, but it had a lot of space to work with. The old kitchen was quite typical with a long “U” shaped design and a small island inside of it. The end of the U cutoff the working kitchen area from the table, something I’ve never really liked. I have used this type of design in the past in a couple small spaces where it made complete sense to partition off the area or it provides the only place for some eat up stools but in general, kitchens need good flow, good working countertop space and several zones for different tasks. Small U-shaped kitchens can actually be quite functional but in this case, it cut the kitchen off in half. It didn’t make use of the good overall space that most of us would kill for and it didn’t feel good. So how does our team approach a design for a new client who’s essentially a complete stranger? Think about this for a moment. We’re invited into the home of complete strangers for an hour or so and have to learn alot in a relatively short period of time.
During this time many things are discussed, we ask a lot of questions and then we LISTEN.
- We have to garner enough information to be able to design a space that they’ll live in for years to come.
- We observe how a client currently lives.
- We try to gather what their current personal style is if other parts of the house are finished.
- We assess positive and negative traffic patterns that would affect the future design.
- We ( if we have our contractor) investigate structural issues that could hinder a new design.
It’s just important to learn as much as possible about who our clients are from day one; how they live, do they enjoy cooking or not, do they entertain, how do they communicate with one another, how and where they shop (big box or neighborhood markets) how they approach talking (or not) about money, are they good decision makers or do they ponder the smallest of details in fear…. and the list of questions goes on, because from the initial visit to the final walk through, alot happens. Good communication is essential for a project to run smoothly and on time. Speaking of how people discuss money. It’s a tricky topic. Again remember, we’re complete strangers except for the fact that because most of our work is referral based, our clients have some comfort in knowing how we work, but we’ve likely never met.
Here’s a much-lamented question in our industry?
How can a designer possibly create a new kitchen design without knowing what the budget is?
How much is the client willing to invest in their home to get what they say they want?
Much has been written about this in the industry as to “budget secrecy”
This is a broader discussion for another day, and I promise to cover it with viewpoints from homeowners, designer’s, architects and builders.
This client, past and present, is a rising star in the financial world. She’s a wife, a mother, a daughter and friend. She’s also become an inspiration to me as well as many women around the country. Working in a very high-powered job hasn’t taken the girl out of her roots. While she makes it all look effortless, she clearly has adopted the “it takes a village” approach at work as well as at home. As a busy executive, she doesn’t have time to micromanage projects so it was important to her to work with professionals that she could rely on to complete her renovation in budget and on time.
We designed the kitchen as part of a larger Kitchen/Family Room makeover. The design team at Lauren Muse Interiors created the Family Room design.
We have gone on to renovate many areas in the home to include 4 bathrooms, a master bath and closet suite, a laundry room make-over to include a functional home salon, and an attic makeover into a workout studio complete with all the amenities of a 5 star gym.