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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« Randomly Gorgeous Kitchen Styles | Main | Kitchen Design Musings »

Kitchen Design Musings...II

Back to contemplating, confronting and exposing potential biases based on this post, regarding a book I was asked to review, in which my immediate reaction to its images was not favorable, having ended with the question "Am I a kitchen design snob?"

I am one who likes consensus, not to follow it blindly, but for the information value it provides. I look for consensus in my own mind, by reacting, then verifying what/how/why I'm feeling, sometimes over and over. It's sort of a "checks and balances" thing, and I'm sure many of you do the same.  Thus, the "kitchen snob" question came into mind to verify my immediate reaction, as I do in my design practice, to make sure my ideas and opinions a) are not too personal to me b) survive the "verification" process I give it c) have real merit. I torture myself! "The images are 'eh' " followed by, "Am I a kitchen snob?"

Each of us, whether professional kitchen designer, or consumer, have, and are entitled to, our opinions...but it's helpful to be open, at least preliminarily, to multiple sides of any issue.

Back to my reaction to the book. I'm a different person than who this book is directed to, and I think I forgot that, when I first opened it up and had a negative reaction to the images. I think each of these images represent dream details or dream kitchens to someone. And that's GOOD. To others, those who do not need to follow the "typical," (and there's nothing wrong with typical, seriously) it won't be satisfying. I also feel the image descriptions are too simple, without any "whys" connected to them, which could have been VERY useful. That makes me nuts, quite frankly. The whys are everything to those just starting their kitchen design journey.

But, regardless of what I or the author thinks, people will buy the book for their own personal reasons known only to them and may not even read the text at all. That's ok too. They may like a rug, or a tile, or a color, or they may read every word, keeping it nearby throughout their process. I think the book has value, but more attention to detail could have been taken in several areas. As a kitchen design professional, I'm bored by the images for the most part and disappointed by the information. Putting my consumer hat on, it has value for beginners in the process, yes. I'm choosing to be honest rather than polite, admittedly, not always easy to do, or enjoyable. I have a couple of other quibbles not necessary to note.

ANYWAY, the flip (positive) side to "am I a kitchen design snob?" is this: I'd say I'm on the right track, as long as I keep those checks and balances happening for the benefit of my clients, encouraging, yet not pushing (for too long!), allowing the client to decide what works for them, and supporting their choices in the end. This secondary reaction I had (the snob thing) is an example of the checks and balances in action..

I couldn't recommend this book for one sort of industry bias that is clearly noted in the book, and which is absolutely, positively, not a "must" for consumers looking to use a professional kitchen designer. The text in question adds confusion and influences consumers buying the book to go down a path that has no compelling merit to it.. Sorry to be a bit mysterious here.

This has been helpful for ME to put this into words, sort of a public dissection, and subsequent reaffirmation of my approach to  issues, as they arise, and what happens next. if it's aided as a nap inducement for some of you, that's good too! 

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Reader Comments (3)

Susan, I am very appreciative of your candid remarks, and as is common for me when I read your blog, you got my wheels turning.

I'm lucky to have a wonderful partner in my small design business, and she and I toss these ideas around from time to time too. Are we snobs as we specify certain details? or are we actually performing our hired task: to bring fresh perspective? We laugh and catch ourselves talking about "critical" color choices, or "vital" light fixture...so silly in the world at large!! But it's what we are paid to do.

As with everything in life, there are many shades of gray. Some clients want WOW and others want mew. Some want innovative and some want conventional. When we are the "artiste" designer, we limit our market tremendously. Our goal is to create an outcome we can add to a growing portfolio, even if it's not to our perfect taste.

Thanks again for your valuable blog!

January 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Forgot a word in my last sentence: proudly

"Our goal is to create an outcome we can proudly add to a growing portfolio, even if it's not to our perfect taste."

That is, we need to be proud of all we design...our rep is at stake! It's not JUST about building the portfolio...and maybe that DOES make us snobs!!! hahaha

Thanks again.

January 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

Wendy, thanks for the comments! I do enjoy hearing from you.

I don't think I knew that you were a designer. And, as I said in this case of a book, in my practice, I do catch myself sometimes, for example, yawning at another granite, when I need to step into my clients' shoes, that it is new for them and very luxurious and interesting. I make an effort at trying to watch my reactions, I guess you'd call it, or question them.

I see you do the same. :)

Important word, proudly. Appreciate the explanation and distinction. But, you know, it's not necessarily an "evolved" thing to feel safe with new, different, innovative materials, while some of our clients are content with more simply traditional aesthetics. Everyone has their right to express himself/herself as feels right for them. I try to remember that!

January 21, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

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