Remodeling University: Choosing a Kitchen Designer, by Mal Corboy
The Benefits of a well-designed kitchen
“Good kitchen design involves both function and form; often, kitchen designers focus too much on the form, appearance and aesthetics of a kitchen at the expense of considerations concerning how the space functions. There are 40 design rules that apply when designing a kitchen, all of which involve the function of the kitchen. The form of the kitchen and its aesthetics are for me the requirements I have to fulfill for the client and the overall appearance of the project, regardless of the kitchen’s style.
In this article I would like to outline the benefits of using a qualified Kitchen Designer.
As a designer, I focus on the kitchen area and products that are available to give the client the best of both worlds. When designing a kitchen, the first and foremost thing on your mind should be “what appliances do I want for my kitchen”. The appliances opted for would determine to a great extent the direction the design and layout would take. For example, a double door refrigerator with an icemaker requires water and a fair amount of space in the overall design. It has to be accessible and not ‘hard against’ a wall. It also needs ample adjacent counter space. There are double ovens, which come in many different forms, and are either side-by-side or stacked. The amount of cooking and baking done in your kitchen will determine the type of oven you require and the layout as well. There are various types of cooktops that can be used, from electric to induction, gas and BBQ. When designing these into the kitchen there are several requirements that have to be met so that the construction conforms to the building code, and so that the end-user (you) get to use the space with full facility and enjoyment.
Perhaps you would like a coffee machine built in or a wine fridge. Many of us evolved into a café society and so these items are becoming very popular within modern kitchens, almost mandatory. As we all generally entertain and gravitate towards the center of our home, the kitchen, its look, function and facility are important to get ‘just right’.
Next we need to think about the products and finishes that we need or desire. These will be determined partly by the style of kitchen that you want and by your preferences. For example, if you don’t like to deal with scratches you should not opt for a stainless steel counter (or sink, for that matter). However, if you like the look of stainless steel the scratching eventually becomes part its character. The counters are an area of the kitchen that gets the most wear and tear. The counter is also a large element, visually. So it requires a fair amount of attention, and often investment. A good designer will advise you of all the pros and cons with each surface that is available, but remember it is always best to go with products that are tried and true.
This advice also applies to the finishes, the doors, drawers and the hardware that you choose. There are many hardware companies out there. Your Kitchen Designer would know which one would suite your needs and budget best. In most of the kitchens that I am designing (and in all of our Mal Corboy Cabinet lines), I am specifying the best available hardware on earth, as the hardware has so much impact on how well the kitchen would ultimately serve the clients over the long run.
When you are dealing with a competent Kitchen Designer (and when your budget and the skill-set of your contractor permit it) various materials are available to help create a unique look and feel for your new kitchen. A great example is colored glass. This is a great product to add texture and reflect light around your kitchen that can also provide the sense of bringing the outside in.
A lighting plan is an integral part of a good kitchen design. The kitchen should be well lit, good task lighting is essential as well and nice ambient mood lighting will complete ‘the picture’ nicely. Again, a good lighting plan goes beyond a number of recess cans and under-cabinet lights. Your Kitchen Designer could be a very valuable assent with that aspect of the design as well.
There are two principal aspects of a successful remodeling. One is the design. The other is your choice of a remodeling contractor. As far as design goes, your choice should be easier. Look for and hire a competent Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD).”
Mal Corboy CKD