The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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Drilling for Kitchens

So, I'm at the dentist this morning (a whole hour appointment) and I'm happily under the sweet air, and what do I start thinking about, but this blog. First off, I'm very busy these days, so that's the reason for the less frequent posts.

So, I'm hearing drilling in my head (mind you, all different whirring sounds, not just one type, the high pitch AND the low pitch) and after that I'm hearing beeping, like a truck backing up, yet, I'm relaxed and focusing on details of the blog and what I want to talk about today. Then, I had to concentrate on acting totally normal after I get up from the chair, as if I feel no lingering effects of the sweet air and am in total control! I'll tell you, this is one, painless, dental practice.

But, back to lying down in the chair and thinking of the blog...

What came to mind was just a small detail of the dynamics of the remodeling process and the client/designer relationship, or client and builder/contractor/whatever relationship.

framing.jpgI was emailing back and forth with a client this morning, around 5 am or so, about doing a framing change in the scullery and, of course, the framing is happening now and for this next week (it's a new home.)  Yesterday, I suggested that we increase the width of the scullery by one foot, to not feel confined, when one spends time there. I'm also two states away and it's a new home being built.

The client asked if we could even do this at this point, said maybe we shouldn't, I said, sure, no problem, it will be better, no biggie, and then I heard nothing from the client. Turned out he had left for work earlier than usual. All we had to do was get the blessing from the builder and architect to support this decision.

Here's the point...I think sometimes, with the immediacy and fast pace of building, things like this can be quite stressful for homeowners, where, conversely, us pros are very casual about it...perhaps to the point where the client reads a casual demeanor as either being apathetic, unconcerned, unengaged, however you want to put it.

I'm not sure that's the case here with this client, but I did reassure them that if they want me, I'd drive up tomorrow. I know I've sensed annoyance before when I've acted, perhaps a bit too casual for my clients' tastes. But, homeowners, when we do this year after year, it would be a bad thing if we were to let a little quick pace get us all freaked out, now wouldn't it? A casual demeanor is a good thing, it means steadiness and control, and clear thinking, not apathy.

Just a little fyi...can you relate, pro or homeowner?


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Reader Comments (6)

As a homeowner who finished renovation two years ago, I think the most important thing to remember is that it is your house and will be long after the builder and the architect are gone. I am so happy for the decisions I fought for and for the changes we made that I truly believed in. It is important to get what you want and not to worry about small changes in the contractors plans. A long way of saying, yes, Susan I agree with you.

December 3, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteranne carr

Anne, thanks for your comment. To take it one step further, as with all decisions, when you have the immediacy of something happening "now" and a new idea, that is a recipe for instant stress, which can make clear thinking challenging.

As with many decisions, one never really knows what it will feel like on the "other side" of the decision until that decision is made, with results known. Yet, sometimes things just crop up that really are better ideas. Good planning in advance keeps these unsettling "bright ideas" to a minimum, fortunately!

I'm sorry you had to fight for your choices, but glad you feel great about it "on the other side."

December 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD


thank you for this post (as well as many many helpful glimpses into the processes of a pro). I spent many agonizing months designing my kitchen from scratch around Ikea cabs plus a custom sink and I have an inordinate respect for kitchen designers, as a result. Needless to say, my kitchen is super fab. But along the way, whenever I couldn't do it myself I would work with a professional contractor friend. This nonchalant attitude you refer to i have often (mis)understood as flippant when I encountered it (mind you, in the midst of whatever uninformed, stressed-out reaction I was having to whatever situation).

Thanks for offering a different perspective on this. It makes total sense to me now.


December 6, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterolga

Oh yes, Susan, I can definitely relate. It's striking the right balance of "been there, done that" with reminding yourself that the client doesn't have your experience. After so many years, you know most of the challenges and if there are a few new ones you don't, that's what your experience is for - to solve problems when they occur.

I don't think I know of any one of us who are "casual" but wow, I'd sure hate for a client to think so. If they could see how many times we wake up in the night saying, "Did I remember this...?" they might feel better. *grin*

December 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKelly M

As always Susan, I agree with whatever wisdom you're sharing and wish I could have stated it even half as compellingly. However when I was in the dentist chair yesterday my thoughts went where they always go, "Why don't I go into designing Dentist's offices? The possibilities for interesting ceiling treatments would keep me busy for years - each accoustical tile a seperate TV screen? or an aquarium as a ceiling! It is apparantly an untapped market. Khat

December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKhat

Olga, thanks for the compliment! That's part of what I like to do, to isolate these small details. It's a great forum to bring these little pieces up and talk about them.

Kelly, you are so right, of course! I can count the odd times and places that I'm struck with the bad AND the good (ideas!)

Khat, haha, another dentist chair epiphany! Definitely a tv is needed, although I do enjoy the closed eyes and sweet air!

December 10, 2007 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

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