This space saving, classic kitchen, that we completed 2 years ago, is loaded with traditional charm. It has recently captured the attention of Houzz viewers making it the 6th most popular kitchen on Houzz in 2019. This kitchen has now been published four times, twice as a featured project on Houzz, and it has also been featured on Bob Vila.com as part of a recent article, and again yesterday as a featured article. Since this kitchen seems to be a viewer favorite right now, so I thought I might take you behind the scenes a bit to tell you a little more about this project and the design of this kitchen.
This kitchen lives in a beautiful classic 1800’s home. The current owners, my clients, were not in love with the 1980s remodel that was done by the previous owners of this home as it stripped the kitchen of any of its traditional architecture. It really didn’t blend well with the rest of this beautiful home. So after working with them on numerous other projects throughout the home, these long-time clients turned to me to design and build their new kitchen space.
I created a design plan creating a beautiful large kitchen, expanding the space into the adjacent rooms and opening up to the backyard. My clients loved this design plan, but other projects took precedence, so after a few additional years, my clients were now ready to proceed with the kitchen project. Their overall goals for the property did change since we first looked at this project, and my clients decided that they did not want to enlarge or expand the small kitchen by opening it up to the adjacent rooms, as this would mean losing an adjacent study and bathroom. So, I went back to the drawing board to create a kitchen in the existing kitchen space that fulfilled their new goals and created a beautiful functional space within the existing kitchen area.
This kitchen design consisted of additional storage and cabinetry, additional countertop space, and a small space to sit and have a cup of coffee in the morning. We added new cabinetry, which now extends to the ceiling removing the old soffits. We worked around 3 existing doorways which were to remain in place, old radiator piping which remained, and we replaced the 2 existing windows with larger windows which were more proportioned to the space and took full advantage of the natural light. Careful planning allowed for additional cabinetry adjacent to the peninsula, which added more storage. A metal pegboard in cobalt blue created a small pot rack on the side of the refrigerator panel, creating more storage.
This new design, like my former design, honored this home’s traditional architecture but added light, and a fresh feel to the space using updated colors and material selections. A custom mix of glass tile created the backsplash, white quartz with the look of classic marble, created a classic but user-friendly countertop. A white porcelain farmer’s sink is a focal point in this kitchen, custom window treatments, maple flooring, and gleaming hardware added to the milky white cabinetry allowed this kitchen to now blend with the classic architecture in the rest of the home. New stainless steel appliances were also added, and really update the way this kitchen looks and functions.
The adjacent pantry area was also renovated, just off the main kitchen, we removed old dark pine cabinetry, added a doorway to the adjacent dining room which created a better traffic flow through the home. We designed and installed beautiful custom navy blue cabinetry with lots of storage and counter top space, which the owner uses for entertaining.
My clients are now loving this newly renovated kitchen space. This new kitchen contains many of the elements of a much larger kitchen and melds beautifully with the rest of the house which we have also designed renovated over the last few years. Finally, my client’s get to enjoy their new kitchen space as much as they enjoy the rest of this beautiful home.
Step 1- Choose China or Dishware
Creating a beautiful Easter table starts with choosing dishware. You can mix a few china or dishware patterns together or use just one pattern. If you are starting from scratch, white plates are a great choice because they are so versatile. You can use white plates and dishware with so many different tablecloths and flower options to create different looks for every holiday throughout the year.
Step 2- Choose a Tablecloth
Use a solid color or a boldly patterned fabric that will complement your dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you don’t want to use a tablecloth, look for some inexpensive placemats. You could also add color and texture with a table runner. Choose something that pulls together your color scheme.
Step 3- Create a Centerpiece
Arrangements of spring flowers make a great centerpiece. Individual blossoms of spring color and also be grouped in individual vases to create a great Spring table arrangement. Choose one color or use a mix of 2-3 colors. Use something unusual to hold your flowers, an old antique pitcher, a clear canister filled with jellybeans can add lots of colors and create a fresh springtime look. Also, remember to create a centerpiece that allows you to see everyone at the table.
Step 4- Choosing Glassware
When creating an Easter table design, we can’t forget about the glassware. I believe that glassware one of the most important details of your whole table design. Whether you are doing a simple table setting for a casual gathering with just one piece of glassware per table setting, or a formal dinner with numerous pieces, this adds sparkle and dimension to your table design. If numerous pieces of glassware are being used, I like to vary the heights as much as possible, but be sure to keep all glassware pieces proportioned to each other, this creates movement and balance across your table. Choose clear glassware or a color that complements your table, I like to mix colors to create a nice balanced yet interesting look. Glassware doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many options to choose from when purchasing, think about your china colors coordinate your selections with items that you already own. Sometimes I use different items at each place setting, don’t be afraid to mix and match. You might only have 3 glasses of one style and 3 of another but if you alternate each place setting, it will look cohesive.
Step 5- Decorative Details
Add personality to your table by adding decorative details. With the addition of 2 young grandchildren in my family, numerous types of bunnies, both chocolate and gilded, have once again appeared on my Easter table. Use what you have, heirloom salt and pepper shakers, napkin rings, unique items that pull together the entire look of your table. It can be fun to incorporate meaningful items from family members, like great grandma’s crystal bowl, filled with candy or flowers. Just be sure it all ties in together in theme, color and proportion. Too many different things together will look cluttered and messy. Layer your table carefully, and just like putting on jewelry, if you are not sure, remove a piece. A little decorative detail goes a long way when mixed with the other elements of your table.
Tips for hiring the right interior designer.
Hiring an interior designer isn’t always as simple as just calling the closest interior designer in your town. Interior Designers vary greatly in their range of services and areas of expertise.
Here are a few questions that you can ask to determine if you have the right designer for your project.
What area do you specialize in?
Hire the right type of designer for your project. Some designers specialize in a specific area of design, for instance furniture arrangement and procurement, some designers might focus on just custom draperies, some specialize in producing a specific style or look. Others might be decorators specializing in a quick spruce up, some might specialize in staging houses for the real estate market.
Companies like mine, specialize in designing residential renovation projects, including kitchen and bathroom design and renovation, and some also provide full service options, providing everything down to the furnishings in these renovated spaces if desired.
All are interior designers, all with varying skill sets and interests. So consider the type of project that you are looking to do, and reach out to a designer who specializes in this area.
What type of experience does your designer have?
So, you’ve asked about what the designer specializes in, but now, you should also ask where their experience lies. Be sure a designer designing your master bathroom has actual experience designing bathrooms for clients. Just because someone has learned design principles in school does not mean that they have experience working with clients, or designing and implementing complicated design and construction projects at a professional level.
One of the main benefits to hiring an interior designer is that you will benefit from their experience in the field. Be sure your prospective designer has the experience needed to design your project.
Is the designer you are considering a full time designer who owns a business or a freelance part time designer who only does projects occasionally?
Both could have great design skills, but the full time designer will most likely have more resources and vendor connections to bring to your project and will be able to complete your project more efficiently. Most full time designers will cover a wider service area depending on the geographic location, and many will travel well beyond their area of service to reach clients that need a designer with their area of expertise. Also, just as in any other well run business, a good designer also has processes in place to help the client reach their goals and ensure the outcome of the project. This is very important because clients sometimes armed with more enthusiasm than knowledge sometimes want to skip important steps in the process.
A full time, established designer knows where the common pitfalls are in the design and renovation project and has implemented organized systems and processes in place to avoid these pitfalls and guide the client through the project without jumping around and making mistakes.
This is not always the case with designers who only do projects occasionally, this is also why many contractors shy away from working with part time designers.
How responsive is your designer?
Does the designer get back to you in a timely manner to answer questions? This becomes even more important when you are in the middle of a large project or renovation. Be sure you use a designer who shows professionalism and communicates with clients and contractors efficiently.
You also want to be sure to hire a designer who listens to your initial thoughts and ideas about your project.
Are you being asked about your desires and needs for the project? Is the designer listening and responding to create a design that reflects your personal taste? Or, are they trying to sell you on a hot new trend that they are dying to try out?
Sometimes a client’s initial ideas might need some enhancement or may not be possible due to construction or budget constraints but a good designer definitely listens and hears what the clients goals are, and uses their skills to create a design that is right for the client, communicating throughout the process and creating something that truly reflects the client.
- Invest a little time and money by hiring the designer you are considering to come out to your home for a consultation. Most professional interior designers do charge for this service as they are always providing value with their ideas when they visit your home.
- An onsite design consultation can give you an opportunity to see how the designer works.
- Ask the designer for some general thoughts about the proposed project or about some other design dilemmas that you might have in your home.
- Ask some of the questions provided in this article and see how comfortable you are with the meeting.
Hiring an interior designer can be the best thing you can do to ensure the success of any design project. We are a profession of passionate, creative, and inspired individuals who aspire to please their clients. I hope some of these ideas will help you to find the right professional for your project and help to clarify that not all designers are in fact created equal.
I just received the final photos of one of our recently completed projects. Here is a quick BEFORE and AFTER.
Complete design and renovation project