If you’re a Mid Century product of Florida, like me, you probably grew up in what’s fondly known as a “ranch style house”. Our friends over at Wikipedia define the ranch abode as “a domestic architectural style originating in the United States. The ranch house is noted for its long, close-to-the-ground profile, and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style.”
In addition to the above, the Florida ranch house usually came in pastel colors with what we call a “Florida room”. Read more
One of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light, contains a very interesting article that I love this month. It’s about something called “mindful eating”. I agree that we, as a culture, me included, eat way too much because we don’t do it mindfully. Simply put it just means that if you make yourself 100% present and focused at the task at hand (eating) during mealtime you will enjoy your food more and you won’t feel the need to eat as much. I happen to believe that you can easily carry this concept over to the kitchen design and remodel process. These days when we are trying to get the most out of every dollar we want to know that every aspect of the complicated process of remodeling a kitchen has been well thought out. Here are five ways you can do it.
1) Don’t be in a rush– When you impose a drop dead date such as Thanksgiving or Christmas you will be more likely to rush your choices. This is a complicated process and it needs to be planned out properly and executed in a certain order. Collect your thoughts and ideas beforehand. This should included concept photos, and ideas for products. In this day of social media there is no excuse not to do the research. It will allow your professional partners to do an even better job for you.
2) Work with someone you feel good about– I don’t care how knowledgeable your designer, or salesperson seems, if they don’t feel right for you, you’ll probably save much aggravation by partnering with someone you feel is your ally and can see your own unique vision. Many designers are adept at working in a variety of styles. However, if you love sleek, modern, minimal designs don’t select a designer who’s work is typically very traditional. They’ll probably be able to help you but it not with the insight, enthusiasm and access to products as someone who specializes in your style.
3) Prepare for the downtime– Always insist on a schedule for your project. This is NOT to say it won’t have to be tweaked from time to time but it’s always best to have a starting point. It helps keep all the players on the same page. A big part of this is to plan how you’re going to get by when you’re without a kitchen. Where are you going to put the refrigerator? Do you have convenient place to put your microwave? How close is your temporary set up to a sink? Keep most used cups and utensils easy to access.
4) Pick your battles– Everyone has a budget and most of us can’t have it all. That said, there are usually a couple of areas in which a judicious splurge can make all the difference. One biggie is springing for a counter depth model refrigerator which is nearly flush with your counter top. This makes a big difference in a small space. Although they’re more expensive they’re still a lot less than the super high end true built-in models.
5) Don’t rush to judgement– If you are living on site during your remodel, resist the impulse to go into a seizure over every nick or crooked drawer front. Again, it’s a process with a million details and steps. At this point you should be trusting (if you did step 2) your professionals to do what they do. Typically all doors and drawer fronts will be aligned before your installation is finished. It is also typical practice for you and your designer to get together on a punch out list so all concerns, including touch ups are addressed before completion.
If you have a question about your kitchen design or remodel I’d love to hear from you!
Granted I’m biased, but I have to say that Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen is the most engaging exhibit I have had the pleasure of attending. It opened at the Museum of Modern Art September 15th and closes on March 11th. The thing about this show is that we can all identify and connect with the topic of kitchens. They are an integral part of how we live but we seldom give thought to exactly how they came about. You can find just about all there is to know right here. Read more
So where were we? As I recall, we were examining the roots of the heart of the home (Click on Part I here.) to see just how we got from our origins to where we are now. Today I will show you the first MOD(ERN) kitchen.
Although cooking made it to the indoors pretty quickly, water pipes in cities were not commonly laid until the end of the 19th century. Open shelves were the original go-to storage and coal fired stoves ruled. Cupboards, or cabinets, were first used by the upper classes to protect contents from dust, steam and smoke. The middle class kitchen was were the family lived with the living rooms and studies saved for special times. Sound familiar?
The first standardizations for the kitchen came from the German brand Poggenphol (est. 1892). In case you ever wondered, this is where we got the ergonomically pleasing counter top height of 36″. These new guidelines were the result of time-motion studies known at Taylorism. As women increasingly found the need to aquire factory jobs, the need for efficiency in the kitchen increased and the Frankfurt Kitchen was born in 1926. I guess you could call its creator, Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky the first kitchen designer! The design was influenced by railway dining cars of the day with two main objectives, to save precious time and make modern convenience affordable to the masses. These two priorities still endure so we’ll keep them. What can we chuck? Maybe the closed-in tight quarters and the limited counter space?
The pre-historic Chemex Coffee Maker also on show at the MOMA
Margarete’s Creation on Exhibit at the MOMA
Check out this exhibit which opened September 15th at the MOMA in NYC. This examination of modern food prep is called Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen. spanning the last century of Western cookery — from the architecture of the kitchen itself to the introduction of newer and stranger gadgets, like Chemex coffee pots and even Tupperware! The show runs until March 11, 2011, and yes I’m already planning another jaunt to the B.A.!!