January 31, 2013

Kitchen Remodel - Concept to Completion

Kitchen designers can work in non-traditional ways.

Last summer I was referred to a family who had recently purchased a new home. They loved the home but despised the kitchen.  They consulted with me to come up with a new design and help with finishes.  From there, the client took over and managed the rest of the job themselves.  While this isn't the standard way of working, and playing your own general contractor can end up in disaster for many homeowners, they pulled it off.  I stopped by to see the kitchen last week, and it turned out great.

Here's what the kitchen looked like before (they had just moved into the home the day before these photos were taking - nothing was unpacked yet):

I proposed reorienting the kitchen to make it more functional and more open.  We looked at several options, and eventually settled on this design:

With this finish collage:

The rest was up to the clients.  

And, with a few changes and plan evolution, this is what they ended up with:

These are obviously not professional photos, and I didn't take time to stage the space (hence the ladder in the foyer!), but I think the final product looks great and I'm so excited for my clients and their new kitchen!

January 17, 2013

Guest Posting at Utah Style

I briefly mentioned this before, but I'm currently a guest blogger at Utah Style & Design's website.  I'll be posting every 2 weeks, on Thursdays.  So if you feel like I'm not blogging enough here, feel free to wander over to Utah Style to see what I'm saying.

This week's post is all about home office space, and how to make it functional and clutter-free (i.e. how to conceal the mess), regardless of size.

So, hop on over to Utah Style and check it out!

January 9, 2013

Healthy Kitchens

How many of you have already given up on your New Year's resolutions?   I'm not typically one for resolutions, but I was definitely feeling that a detox was in order after the holidays, so my husband and I decided to do a 3-day juice cleanse.  And this got me thinking about how to encourage better health in kitchen design. Not only does this apply to your own physical health, but also your psychological health and the health of the environment.

I've come up with a whole list of things that contribute to a healthy kitchen:

Healthy Appliances

There are plenty of countertop appliances that encourage healthier eating.  For example, we purchased this juicer from Breville and have used it everyday since.  Whether it's a juicer or another specific appliance, evaluate your own habits and make sure you think about whether you'll actually use the appliance before you invest the money (and countertop/storage space).

image via Sub-Zero/Wolf

For built-in appliances, steam ovens are the way to go.  Not only do they cook foods faster, but cooking with steam also allows optimum retention of vitamins and nutrients.  AND you typically don't need to add oils or fats during the cooking process.

image via Sub-Zero/Wolf

Eating healthy means buying more produce, and needing storage for more produce.  Refrigerator drawers right at your prep surface make veggie storage ultra convenient.

Healthy Aesthetic

Aesthetics can impact how healthy you feel.   A crisp white kitchen with subtle (not overpowering) citrus tones can make you feel healthier and more cheerful.

Natural Kitchen

Nature plays a role too.  Any way you can bring the outdoors into your kitchen will impact your health.  The easiest ways to do this are through natural lighting and indoor plants.

Healthy Pans

Many people are concerned about Teflon non-stick coatings, which can release toxic fumes when overheated.  (The chemical is polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE).  Many new non-stick surfaces are being introduced, including this set recently launched by West Elm Market in partnership with GreenPan.

image via West Elm


Composting is a great use for all those leftover healthy food scraps, and is an environmentally-friendly option compared to garbage disposals or landfills.  I did an entire post about working composting into kitchen design, using anything from countertop containers to full composting built-in units.  (See here for a good article about landfills vs. garbage disposals vs. composting).