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MY DESIGN PROCESS: A CASE STUDY

I write about a lot of varied things on this blog.   Today I’m going to open my  mind to you so you can step inside the creative (or whatever you want to call what goes on in there) process, as it pertains to cabinet design.  The thing about designing kitchens and baths is that it  doesn’t  only require vision in the aesthetic sense but also in the functional sense.  We have to be creative in terms of the space constraints while being very aware of  function.

 

Yikes! I prefer to believe they left in a hurry. The pressure's on with all those doll eyes upon me.

WHAT HAVE WE HERE?

This is a nursery equipped to serve the nanny.  She’s got an under the counter refrigerator to store bottles, baby food and wine whatever she wishes for herself.  In addition there is a small sink and a microwave.  There is also storage and counter top work space (underneath all the debris).  That’s a lot of function packed into less that six lineal feet!  The lucky owners of this oceanfront abode are away for the summer, as is the custom in Palm Beach.

MY ASSIGNMENT

I have been asked to replace this set up but to keep the same foot print and function.  The cabinets are to be more in keeping for this  traditionally styled beach house.

MY  OBSERVATIONS

The backsplash (area between counter and upper cabinets) is really high, about 22″.  Not only does this mean less cabinet space but it’s a bit of a stretch unless you’re a very tall nanny.  In addition, there is nothing tying the upper cabinets to the lower cabinets and since they do not go wall to wall it looks as if the uppers are just hanging out, hovering over the base cabinets, not a great look.  In general the layout is off kilter.  The microwave requires a deeper cabinet and it sticks out unattractively on the left.

WHERE DO I START?

The appliances are old and will appear even older surrounded by new cabinets.  Remember that if you are investing in a new kitchen it’s penny wise and pound foolish to try to build your new cabinets around your older appliances.   I will suggest that we replace the microwave with a small built-in model in stainless steel.   For this I know I must use a minimum of 24″ out of the 70″ I have available.  The refrigerator is important too.  This one is old and it’s an odd size, about 19″.  The new one will have to be 24″ and I will reccommend that we build it in for a more custom look and to unify the small space.  These types of built-in panel- accepting- under- the- counter refrigerators are either 15″ wide or 24″ wide.  I certainly can’t detract from the function by going smaller so I will give them more refrigerator space by going with 24″ wide.  Now that I know what I’m doing with the appliances I will work the cabinet layout around that.

Testing the waters...

 

Here’s phase one showing the larger ref, a built-in micro and an attempt to even things up and connect the uppers to the bases but it’s still not quite there yet.  I usually draw a free-hand sketch to work out my initial thoughts.  The final solution (I drew it using Chief Architect) is to use 42″ upper side cabinets instead of the existing 30″ uppers.  Then since the microwave needs a deeper cabinet (15″), I moved it to the middle and raised it up to create some design interest and to take advantage of the tall ceiling.  I made the side backsplashes 16″ high with the center at 19″.  I centered the 24″ upper microwave over a 21″ wide sink cabinet which allows the bigger refrigerator on the right and does not lessen the size of the existing drawers on the left.  I’ll need a minimum of 3/4″ panel to the right of the ref.  That makes a total of 24 3/4″ with ref and panel.  I will duplicate that on the left making the 4 drawer cabinet 24 3/4″ wide as well.  This allows the upper side cabinets to be equal at 23 1/4″ each.  Last but not least, I am going to suggest using matching wood beadboard above the 4″ backsplash to tie the uppers to the lowers and add a small crown moulding on the top to finish it off.

There you have it!

PRODUCTS

Here are the goods and why I picked them:

Kholer faucet K7342 in brushed nickel finish– It’s a traditional faucet in a finish that will blend with the stainless steel of the microwave.  The height makes it user friendly yet it will fit perfectly in the space.

If you have your hands full the handles are easy to turn on and off.

Kohler undermount entertainment sink K5848– I love the shape of this sink.  I double checked the size and it fits in our 21″ wide cabinet.  It’s a more updated undermount model but it’s still cast iron.  I’m specifying Biscuit to go with the cabinets but I will also suggest a stainless option which would also work.

SHARP R1214OVER THE COUNTER MICROWAVE– This model fits into our 24″ wide space.  It requires a 15″ deep cabinet, check.  It has a light below and I happen to know that Sharp makes a kick-ass microwave.

CABINETS BY HOLIDAY KITCHENS– flat panel with applied moulding. Finish, selected by designer, to be Snowdrift paint with Mink Wash.  I chose Holiday cabinets because we have some custom size requirements and I can order Holiday in fractional increments.  They also offer a wide array of finishes and door styles which is important in a higher end application.

Cabinets are something like this.

U-Line Under the counter refrigerator – This model offers an overlay trim kit option which will allow us to apply a door panel to match the cabinets.

What do you think?  You see there’s no mystery behind the magic of design.  Those are the steps in a nutshell.  I would love to walk you through the steps of your own potential magic.  It’s really a lot of fun when it all comes together, kind of like solving a puzzle AND you get to continue to enjoy it everyday!

 

 

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LATEST PRODUCTS TAKE THE STAGE

I’m finally feeling better, thank you, after being laid low by a vicious virus last week. You know the one, right? I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say, while I was out going viral (and not in the way I would wish) here’s what’s been happening far and wide.

DREAM20 Features interactive displays showcasing the latest technology from Delta Faucet Company

 

Delta Faucet Company unveiled its flagship DREAM2O(SM) showroom, located in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, during a private grand opening event on Thursday, May 5.   (You’ll remember my amazing experience with them last year in New York.  If not, click here for a flashback.)  The new 3,097 square-foot design center is a hands-on, interactive environment where architects, designers, and homeowners can experience more than 90 fully-functioning faucets and fixtures from the Delta® and Brizo® brands.  What makes this showroom unique is not only the fact that it is the first and only showroom of its kind, but also the innovative displays which are just a perfect way to showcase their cutting-edge products. Read more about it here.

Silgranit Truffle sink paired with new Culina faucet

If you’re in  NYC this weekend you can visit the International Contemporary Furniture Fair or ICFF held at  New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center  through May 17th.  Sink manufacturer extraordinaire, Blanco (another flashback here) is officially launching two new collections including the Silgranit II Truffle Sink and the Culina faucet.

Italian style, courtesy of Scavolini May 16th

Italian kitchen cabinet manufacturer Scavolini is introducing the new quartz surface Santa Margherita on May 16th from 6-9pm in their Soho gallery.  If you’d like to attend contact Daniele Busca  212-209-0910 as this is an invitation only event.

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ALL THAT GLITTERS IS CHROME AT IDS11

 



The new Culina kitchen faucet by Blanco. The sink (also Blanco) is a polished stainless steel.



Now that I’m back and basking in the sun once again, I’m busy creating a whole new Flickr site with all those photos I took to share with you.  Here are just a few to get you warmed up.


Polished chrome faucets by Canadian firm Riobel will be available in the US this year.


Look for the link right here at Kitchens for Living where you can view all the photos and commentary.  As soon as I post you’ll be the first to know.   Just to get us started I thought I’d show you some of the faucet fashion at IDS11.   Incidentally this is the 13th IDS show and it’s Canada’s largest contemporary design show.  This year’s event featured 300 exhibitors.  As an American designer, it was interesting to see the differences not only in taste but in product offerings just over the border.  Products and styling appear more progressive.  When I question why so many of these products are not available to us here in the USA I am told that it is not our market.  I hope they are wrong.  If we can’t get it we can’t buy it.  Right?

 


This stylish Moen 90 degree faucet is also available in stainless. Photo courtesy of Moen.


Plumbing faucet manufacturers from Moen to Riobel to Brizo showed a dazzling array of faucets of all types with one thing in common, a polished chrome finish. Fellow bloggers who had the opportunity to visit Cologne, Germany last week for the “Living Kitchen” event tell me that polished chrome is the choice in Europe as well.

 



This stunning Siderna faucet by Brizo is simple yet elegant and I LOVE the glass detail on the handles!


Next post: The Sink of the future is here today!

Don’t forget to enter your chance to win a free Orgaline drawer organizer by leaving a comment on any post between now and February 15th! Click here to read January 14th post for details


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DESIGN STAR’S ON TO SOMETHING

Emily Henderson Design Star 2010
An apartment that looks like Tom for the win!

I don’t know about you but I LOVE my HGTV.  One of my favorite treats is the show Design Star, quickly followed by The Antonio Treatment, House Hunters International and sometimes Divine Design.  I digress.  The winning designer of Design Star gets their own HGTV show based on their unique concept.  This season’s recently crowned winner was Emily Henderson.  Her concept is Style to Lifestyle, meaning she takes your own personal fashion statement and turns it into a lifestyle design statement.  For the win she interpreted Tom’s look into an apartment decor.  

Tom’s Look

It’s all about the connection between fashion and interior design.  Yes, it’s all connected.  One informs the other.  Another great example of that is the stylish plumbing fixture manufacturer Brizo.  

Brizo’s signature kitchen faucet (posing as a flirty little dress?)
Jason Wu’s flirty little dress! 
Get it?

They are all about style and what better way to emphasize that than by connecting with the world of fashion design, which is just what they’ve done.  Since 2006, Brizo has partnered with fashion designer Jason Wu, a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue fashion fund and the designer of Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Ball gown. As part of this unique collaboration, Brizo sponsors Jason’s shows at New York Fashion Week, and Jason has designed dresses used in Brizo advertising.  Check it out at  www.brizo.com There’s no reason not to add a little fashion to your kitchen. 

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