Kitchen

The Worst Mistakes In Kitchen Design

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I belong to a couple of Facebook business pages where my fellow interior design professionals share challenges, ideas and questions. They’re very helpful and I get to “meet” so many fantastic industry pros, such as Cheryl Kees Clendenon. Cheryl owns In Detail Interiors, a successful retail home decor store and interior design firm in Pensacola, Florida. She wrote a terrific blog post not long ago about kitchen design mistakes that I completely agreed with. I asked Cheryl if I could share her post with my readers and she graciously agreed.

Quick note - I wonder if the tired old stereotype about interior designers being snooty and catty with each other is still believed? It’s always been my experience that interior designers are actually incredibly supportive of each other and always willing to help and share their experiences.

Back to Cheryl’s post. Read on - this could save you a lot of time, money and heartache!

A few of my ‘just say no’ kitchen design mistakes- I rarely see these mentioned so going to just put it out there!

Multiple angled islands interesting or obstacle course?

Kitchen design mistake #1

Ok so just the other day I received a lovely advertising package for a new condo high rise with the most horrible flattened hexagon shaped island- for a cool 3million plus. I died. Maybe it’s just a show kitchen. I cannot bear to even post the plan because so much of it is beautiful- but the flat hex island is no bueno. I know sometimes it’s necessary to cut a corner here and there and we have done it too- but it’s a thing to avoid when you can do so- and always with a light hand. Think curvier than chamfered when possible and remember just how many laps you will do around an island like this and your hip bones will thank you too!

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High-low cabinets – not for the attention deficit folks!

Kitchen design mistake #2

Just today I heard a few people commenting on this and was a bit surprised that so many thought this was an ok idea.  There is no good reason I can see to do this at least in the typical manner of a straight run going higher to just vary it for no real reason. Sure, mid level cabinets full height can be cool and done well by good designers but the idea below is a big NO in my book. This came about from big box retailers trying to make their non custom cabinetry look custom. They are not fooling anyone.

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Raised Dishwashers

Kitchen design mistake #3

Raised dishwashers- I get the concept and why someone might think this is a good idea to save your back-but I’ve yet to see a layout that works.  The reason for this is simply because not only does it look weird as hell, it’s also a major encumbrance right next to your sink! Who needs a 6 inch raised ledge right there? If the reason for the rise is due to an ADA situation, we will make it work- but this “idea” died a while back and was even hard to find a photo to illustrate it!

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 Tile creep- yes there can be too much of a good thing!

Kitchen design mistake #4

Oh lordy this one I see a lot and is an absolute no way in hell. Going above the hood with NO kill point is bad news. Tile transitions are a huge issue for us in any application and is one of the easy things to overlook for a diy-er or a novice designer. Heck, it took me many years to hone these skills but just recently in Destin, we had cabinets taken out and redone because the plan was not followed and the tile ran short of the edge of the countertop. This is serious business for my team.

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Do not sacrifice the knees at the counter or bar!

Kitchen design mistake #5

This is another commonly made mistake by developers of “bigasshighrises” – and for the life of me I cannot understand it. If you do not have room for a few more inches- then redesign the space. Call me ya’ll- I can fix any layout- but sadly developers rarely get expert advice and it is so ridiculous for the price being paid for these units. Living on the coast- I see way too much poor design in high rises- why? Maybe they simply do not care or they are not paying top dollar for the Architectural design- who knows? The kitchen below is cute enough- but why even put stools there when you cannot sit? Regardless of your kitchen layout be kind to yourself and family- allow room for your legs!

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No ventilation- zomg. This is a big deal!

Kitchen design mistake #6

Ventilation is key to removing toxins and grease from your kitchen. It is not healthy to have a non ventilated kitchen. Period. Unless your idea of cooking is calling for take out! The best ventilation is an updraft with an internal, inline or remote blower. Be careful on the coast as remote blowers can have a lot of rust quickly and if that flapper gets stuck and your home is cold and the air outside is hot- well, lets just say you may think you have a faucet running from your hood! Condensation can be a big deal. Been there done that!

No picture because well- how can I show toxins and grease?

Tile transitions- it matters!

Kitchen design mistake #7

This is a huge element of design in my opinion and am again shocked at how many beautiful kitchens are ruined by a lack of communication between designer ( or contractor/homeowner if no designer) and the various trades who execute a kitchen- and there must be communication or the project is doomed from the start. Often the contractor is too busy to pay attention to these sorts of problems and they can ruin a beautiful project. These examples below are from just typical remodels showing tile transitions and terminations gone very very wrong- but even on a budget, there is no reason why these mistakes must be made!

*Note from Anne - I recently did a blog post and a video on this one - right here!

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Think of aging in place and also safety when working in the kitchen! No hinged microwaves under the counter!

Kitchen design mistake #8

Microwave drawers are great- they pull out. We have used them many times. But putting a microwave with a door hinging from the side is not wise under a countertop- if no else to place- call me. I can help reconfigure the kitchen to make it work. It just is too much bending to lift out or even look inside-and not ergonomic at all. I can see doing this in an ADA kitchen if dedicated to that person. But that is it. And before anyone says oh but you are not worried about bending with dishwashers- there are also dish drawers for those who have a need to limit bending- one on each side of sink right under counter will work great!

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Happy Remodeling!

Live passionately, Cheryl

Thanks for sharing this post Cheryl!

Ciao,

Anne





A kitchen update that shows personal style and looks great!

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A Kitchen update doesn't have to include tearing out cabinets and replacing appliances.  Let's look at this recent project.

Above is the "Before" of Jody's kitchen.  She wanted to make it feel fresh and a little artsy and she didn't want to rip out the wood cabinets nor take down the coppery mosaic tile backsplash.  Jody does want to replace the white formica countertop with butcher block and she would love to see a piece of stone at the end of the counter.  She saw that idea online and thought it was pretty cool.  Her designer (that would be me) was worried that adding a detail to the end of the counter in a small kitchen would stop the eye and make it appear even smaller.  Jody persisted, won me over and we got it done.

 

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Here's the "After!"  Isn't the Carrera marble at the end of the counter some kind of wonderful?  Jody was right!  It's a cool idea!

We specified White Oak counters with a clear, catalyzed conversion finish.  Signature Custom Woodworking in King, North Carolina made and installed them and they're absolutely gorgeous!  We removed the old formica backsplash, replacing it with very affordable brick tile (64 cents per piece!) and a not-so-affordable copper pencil tile on top to transition nicely with the older mosaic tile.  A very successful transition!

 

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Another photo of the "After." Jody had the painter give the white cabinets a fresh coat after everything was in.  Now this kitchen reflects her personal style which is warm, interesting and fun.

 

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We wanted to use a farmhouse sink in this project, but they weigh A LOT more than other sinks and would have required adding serious support in the existing base cabinet.  Jody didn't want to lose that much storage space, so we switched gears and chose this fabulous Blanco Granit sink.  It's a great choice.  It doesn't have a shiny white finish like porcelain.  It's faintly speckled.  

 

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We took down the heavy woven woods valance over the kitchen sink and replaced the dated track light with a pretty multi-colored glass pendant that adds some nice sparkle. A new oil rubbed bronze faucet and soap dispenser add more warm tones.  And isn't that sweet pig painting by local artist Ana Peralta an awesome addition to this kitchen?  I'm calling him Wilbur (not very original, but it fits).

 

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Sean, our super duper handyman did the demolition work on the old counter and sink.  It was his idea to router out the space for the marble piece so it could sit level with the counter.  Genius!  We were all very excited by that idea.

 

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Wanting to keep the artsy vibe going with splashes of color, we added this sassy little rug by Company C at the sink.  Isn't this kitchen SO pretty now?  Nice update, right?

 

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The kitchen table is right next to the new counters and in a lovely bay window, overlooking a spectacular back yard (think trees, flowers, fire pit, eating and grilling space).  All we needed to do here was to replace the light fixture.  

 

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The new fixture is by Dailey and blends oil rubbed bronze with mercury glass lamps brilliantly.  Sparkle and texture baby!

 

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THEN, we moved into the next space, adding two wood beams to the ceiling and updating the ceiling fan.  The world is filled with bulky old ceiling fans and I'm making it my personal duty to draw attention to them and replace them with new ones that are more modern and visually lighter!

 

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The way these rustic beams from AZ Faux Beams work with Jody's woven wood blinds is simply awesome.  I didn't get a very clear picture of the beams.  Let's try another one:

 

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The beams are stained Fall Leaf Brown.  They add so much character to a room and you would never know that they're made out of high density polystyrene!  Sean has installed beams on several projects now and he says they cut like butter.  He always does a fantastic job.  Attention to detail makes all the difference.

 

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Not every project has a huge budget - this one probably cost less than $10,000, with the biggest chunk going to the wood counters (and worth every penny).  However, every project has a homeowner with a personality and a desire to create a beautiful home that makes walking in the door at the end of the day a pleasure.  Jody didn't want a space like everyone else has.  She wanted to update her kitchen and end up with a space that looks like Jody lives there. 

Now we're moving on to the front of the house to make some changes there.  I'll show you what we do when it's done!

Ciao,

Anne

New Construction Design Details That Make A Big Difference!

Investing in a design consultation during new construction provides ideas that can make a big difference to the end result.  I want to show you a couple of pics I took last week of a new construction project I consulted on.  The homeowners, John and Diane, were wonderful to work with and the builder, John Dunning of Dunning Custom Homes, did a spectacular job.  When Diane invited me to come see the finished results, I was happy to accept!

Totally worth the wait.

Totally worth the wait.

I've been crushing on stainless cable wire for a long time now, but it still gives me a thrill.  When I mentioned this idea to John and Diane, they jumped right on it.  Diane said waiting for it to be installed was like waiting for Christmas morning!  

What a wonderful hallway.

What a wonderful hallway.

Another idea they ran with was to paint the barn door leading to the pantry a true red.  This is Sherwin's Heritage Red, which is gorgeous, gorgeous. Most of the other doors in the house are hickory with a protective coat of polyurethane.  The door to the garage, as you ca see, is white.  I LOVE it when doors DON'T match!  And look at that hickory floor.  Again, just a clear coat of poly.  Amazing.

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Here's a better view of a hickory door in the house.

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We talked a lot about using beams in the house.  Final decisions can't be made until sheet rock goes up and everyone can really see the room taking shape.  These are in the Kitchen and look great!

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John and Diane are big fans of wood.  They put this yummy walnut on the island counter.  Love it, love it, love it.

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The light was really mucking around with my trusty iPhone camera, the art isn't up over the mantel yet and decorating isn't complete, but I wanted to show you that built in shelving doesn't have to symmetrically flank the fireplace.  My suggestion was to have the cabinetry and shelving on one side to display and store what they wanted, but to leave the other side open to create a cozy nook to curl up with a book.  It's going to be a sweet spot in a beautiful room.  I also convinced them to skip putting a soffit at the top of each niche.  Bring the eye up!

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I take no credit for this brilliant bit of great design in the Kitchen.  It's built under the stairs and is out of the way from everything else in the room.  Microwave, wine fridge, glassware, etc. - you can be pouring wine, heating things up, pulling out tableware, napkins, small plates, etc. and still be completely out of the way of the master chef.  Like I said, brilliant!

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That's soapstone on the counters.  Lovely handcrafted shelving with puck lights make everything sparkle.  A Wolf cooktop looks right at home in the center of it all!

The house, upstairs and down, is filled with great ideas, successfully executed.  It's a wonderful example of attention to detail, creative thinking and pride in workmanship. 

Ciao,

Anne