(Originally published in the Severna Park Voice in 2005)

Written by Mark T. White, CKD, CBD- Owner of Kitchen Encounters

Have you ever wondered how the beautiful kitchens in magazines were designed?

It’s no secret that today’s consumers are more educated than ever before.  There is a wealth of information available instantly on the Internet.  There are more magazines and books than ever before that focus on home design and everyone has seen some of the many TV shows and networks that specialize in sharing ideas and techniques to help homeowners with many types of projects including kitchens.

Since today’s clients are so savvy, the type of help that they will need from design professionals is somewhat different than in the past.  Today’s designer must develop a plan with serious client interaction.  More client involvement throughout the design development can reduce the number of changes, save everyone time, and increase overall satisfaction.

Of course a good design starts with gathering information.  It is essential for the designer to get to know the client’s shopping, cooking, and entertaining habits.

– What are the preferred ways to store various items – in drawers, tall cabinets, walk-in pantry, laundry room, or basement?  There are many storage options to explore.

– What is the make-up of the family?  Is the family going to stay in the home for a long time?  Will there be an increase in the size of the family?  Will elderly parents likely move in at some time?  Do any family members have disabilities or special needs?  Is this a full time residence or a second home?  What are the plans for the future?

– Has there been a budget established for the project?  What does it include?  Is it realistic?  Putting together a price range for each major project category is very helpful.  Your list may include cabinets, appliances, countertops, plumbing and electrical, flooring construction and installation, painting/wall finishes, etc.

– What are the preferred cabinet styles, work surfaces and appliances?  Who will be providing these and what about the construction and installation?  Are there any special pieces of furniture such as cupboards, Hoosiers, tables, or antiques that should be placed in the new plan?

– Does there need to be space to display collections or family pictures?  Don’t forget to allow for wall space for art, clocks, or curio cabinets.  How much shelving should be included for cookbooks?  Should it all be open or do you want to conceal some of the shelves behind doors?  Don’t forget about space for a computer, message center, bulletin board, etc.

– How will the new space relate to the other rooms?  What are the family’s traffic patterns?  Where are the groceries brought in and placed?  What are the views from the kitchen?  What will the kitchen look like from other rooms?

– Are there any options with the placement of the walls, doors, and windows?  In the case of new construction and additions, can the size or shape of the space change if it will help lead to the best design?

These are only some of the questions that need to be answered.

The very best results are always achieved through successful teamwork, collaboration, and exploring numerous ideas.  By exploring options, identifying design elements that seem to be a good fit, and combining them, designers help their clients create the best plan.

What’s Your Style?

_PPS2447_8-Edit Shaughnessy- Rivercrest- 2007- Medallion- White Paint Shaker- Stainless hood, under cabinet hood, dining cabinets, appliance garage, microwave cab- North Severn