Ask the Expert: Kitchen Designers

Ask_NancyBither

Nancy Bither, Atlantic Design Center
(207) 363-3004 - atlanticdesignctr.com

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
My approach is a little more technical than some. While style is critically important, I tend to think function is the priority. I want to know the appliance details and the storage needs before I talk about what my client wants for a door style or finish. However, coordinating the whole picture successfully is still the most satisfying part of my job.

What is a common mistake homeowners make when planning a kitchen?
The two biggest misconceptions are how much time is necessary to design and estimate a project as well as remodel or install a new kitchen. Good contractors and successful designers are very busy. Then trying to coordinate three or four subcontractors to both estimate their end of the project and install their product in a timely manner is a challenge the homeowner rarely understands.

Do you enjoy cooking and does that inspire your kitchen designs?
Well, I guess my secret is out now. For the last 20 years my wonderful husband, who is a fantastic cook, does all the meals—and the clean up too! He even spoils me by making me lunch every day. However, I believe just because I haven’t cooked in the kitchen of late doesn’t mean I don’t know how one works efficiently. Just ask my clients!

What exciting trends do you see in kitchen design?
Clean lines and low maintenance are still strong trends in kitchen design. Therefore, recessed panel doors and quartz countertops are our number one sellers.  And here in northern New England, white and off-white will always be the most popular color choices. However, the excitement is in using bold accent colors like “Tequila Lime,” “Deep Ocean,” and “Hawthorne Yellow,” which can really make the design sing.

Ask_ScottPurswell

Scott Purswell, Dovetailed Kitchens, Inc.
603 433-9918 - dovetailedkitchens.com

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
My personal style starts with and revolves around my clients’ vision and dream of what they want their kitchen to feel like, what they want the ambiance to be, what they want the kitchen to communicate, and how they want it to work. I want them to like it as much in 15 years as they like it the day it goes in.

What is a common mistake homeowners make when planning a kitchen?
“Let me count the ways…”  No, seriously, I would have to say that avoiding the assistance of design professionals would be the biggest mistake. Everyone can use some experienced design help. I’ve helped architects design their own kitchens, and I received assistance on my personal kitchens from architects, interior designers, etc. It’s advisable to hire someone certified by his or her particular professional organization.

Do you enjoy cooking and does that inspire your kitchen designs?
I love to cook, and even better, I’ve enjoyed living with an extremely gifted cook for over 30 years. Watching and helping prepare exquisite meals and seeing them served with thoughtful and beautiful presentations has been the background music of my kitchen designs. Imagining the meals being prepared in the kitchen and imagining what happens during the meals—that is inspiring!

What exciting trends do you see in kitchen design?
In the longer arc of kitchen trends, the kitchen being integrated into the living space is the most exiting. I hear frequently, “Everyone always ends up in the kitchen!” and it’s true for almost everyone. Another trend revolves around the tremendous, almost overwhelming, amount of choice.  Whatever your personal style or vision may be, there are whole worlds of materials and choices to help you achieve it!

Ask_LindaCloutier

Linda Clough-Cloutier, Lifestyles Kitchens and Baths
603 964-1771 - lifestyleskitchens.com

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
I design each kitchen as if it were my own. Listening to my clients’ needs, wishes, and goals is so important. Do they enjoy cooking? Do they have children that like to help? What is their style? The size of the space is also critical. The list can go on and on and I love that! The more information I have, the better the design.

What is a common mistake homeowners make when planning a kitchen?
Sometimes people don’t know about placement of the elements that make a good working design. Occasionally, they want to fit very large appliances into a smaller kitchen. That can be a challenge. For the most part, though, my clients are coming to me so I can help guide them to the best design, and we work things out so they don’t make mistakes.

Do you enjoy cooking and does that inspire your kitchen designs?
I love to cook. Cooking is my way of relaxing. Because I take such an interest in cooking, I find that I can share my experiences with my clients. I have learned how important it is to have all the spices in the right location and all the cooking and baking utensils right at your fingertips. All of this is so much fun, and sharing it is even better!

What exciting trends do you see in kitchen design?
I have been designing kitchens for almost 30 years and I have seen it all! The trend today is sleek and heading toward contemporary with clean lines and easy maintenance. Painted finishes and painted glazed finishes or stained wood have been popular for a long time. Two-toned or even three colors are trending. But whatever the trends, your kitchen should be anything you want it to be!

Ask_JanicePage

Janice Page, PKsurroundings Owner/Designer
603 817-6347 - PKsurroundings.com

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
A home should always feel like a client’s personal sanctuary. I listen carefully to my client’s thoughts and intentions and also pull from my experiences of travel, schooling, and past projects to create an individualized and proprietary space. Every project I design is built on trust, quality products, and following through on every detail.

What is a common mistake homeowners make when planning a kitchen?
People who plan their own kitchens without the benefit of a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) can make mistakes in space allocations and layout. There is also huge value in working with a Certified Kitchen Designer, who is also an interior designer, because the designer can help make the most efficient use of the space.  Kitchens not only have to be beautiful, they have to work beautifully, too.

Do you enjoy cooking and does that inspire your kitchen designs?
I enjoy cooking and believe it requires a combination of art and science to make a medley of tastes come together just right. I also am inspired by many of the arts— culinary, theater, and the study of masterful painters. Being a cook is one element that is helpful when designing a kitchen because it can make you attuned to the use and feel of the space.

What exciting trends do you see in kitchen design?
I see simple and classic lines in cabinetry with either specialty woods or painted finishes; functional storage options; “mini living areas” for more intimate seating within the kitchen; pantry storage; considering lighting as “jewelry” and appreciating how it can change the room; and designing with walls, ceiling, and floor in mind to create a well thought out and finished space that includes color and texture.

Ask_KathyBox

Kathlyn G. Box, Adaptations Unlimited
603 319-4765 - adaptationsunlimited.com

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
Often design kitchens for historic homes, which are my favorites. My designs are a balance between the wants and needs of my clients, integrating new appliances and conveniences into a space, and maintaining the classical character of the home. I enjoy the challenge of making the kitchen look like it has always been there by utilizing older- looking materials that are not dated or trendy.

What is a common mistake homeowners make when planning a kitchen?
The most common issue I see is that homeowners tend to underestimate the space that is needed between countertops. Frequently, people try to make the space between an island and the opposing countertop just 36 inches, which is barely adequate for one person to work in, but it wouldn’t allow two people to work or even pass each other. I recommend 42 inches as a minimum.

Do you enjoy cooking and does that inspire your kitchen designs?
I do enjoy cooking, especially soups and stews in the cold weather months. These meals usually require a lot of cutting of vegetables and prep work. Because of this, I have found over the years how very important the countertop area between the refrigerator and the sink is. I strive to give my clients the largest countertop space possible in this critical preparation area.

What exciting trends do you see in kitchen design?
An exciting trend is the increased use of electronics, from cooks using iPads for recipes to the use of computers to schedule and keep track of the children’s activities, to listening to music and watching TV. It’s important to have a central place for the smartphone, iPad, and MP3 players to be charged. The kitchen has always been the hub of the household and still is today!

Ask_MariWoods

Mari Woods, Kitchen Bath Home
603 319-8910 - mariwoods.com

How would you describe your design style or philosophy?
My design style is best described as intellectual. I spend a lot of pre-design time interviewing my clients and understanding their tastes, their functional needs, and their personalities. Although every design I create is unique, the common thread is that each will be grounded in precision and will reflect the aesthetics and unique personality of the owner.

What is a common mistake homeowners make when planning a kitchen?
The biggest mistake is hiring the wrong designer, or not hiring a designer at all. For the average homeowner who only plans a kitchen once or twice in a lifetime, it is impossible to think of everything. Hiring the right designer, who knows the proper questions to ask, listens to their clients’ responses, and who capably fulfills their clients’ needs and desires, is critical.

Do you enjoy cooking and does that inspire your kitchen designs?
I do enjoy cooking, but I can’t say that it inspires my kitchen designs. The kitchens I create are for the use and enjoyment of my clients, and to impose my own personal preferences would be irresponsible. I do think my own cooking experiences give me insight into what my clients may enjoy in their new kitchens and what may frustrate.

What exciting trends do you see in kitchen design?
Technology and the “Smart Kitchen” are truly exciting trends! I started designing kitchens almost 20 years ago and couldn’t imagine a computerized refrigerator that would teach you how to cook, or a faucet that would turn itself on when your hands were too dirty to touch the levers. Now those technologies exist and it is only going to get better and even more fascinating!


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