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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Kitchen Trends 2008 - Organic Shapes and Forms

When I look forward, I see shapes, forms, textures, and a blending of styles, often leaning toward nature. I feel it. Just recently, Blink Decor talked about it. Here's what was noted on their blog, as they looked forward to design trends in 2008:

Sticks and Stones: Organic, eco-conscious elements continue to meld with more traditional home decor. Bright white cotton duck looks effortlessly chic paired with aged wood and accented with funky fur pillows. Large river -smooth stones make a great lamp base topped with a classic white drum shade.

Blink Decor then references Bleu nature...take a look at this beautiful site. Now I know why I had this post unpublished for a couple of weeks even being only a few lines, while I galavanted in Denmark...my father loved and collected driftwood for years, only to see this site as I sat down again to think about this post. It was in his yard and in his home. Beautiful pieces everywhere.

I'm not the only one who sees textures, natural elements, natural colors, greens, blues, whites, as being comfortable to live with for the foreseeable future. This is a movement strongly connected to the green design movement. A renewed appreciation of the beautiful materials and textures that are right in front of us.

And, I think it is a powerful pull for all ages and demographics, for lack of a better word. It is for me, one who has been taught well, by our society, to consume. Shockingly, I now walk into my dark office, only turning on one light, rather than all of them in my 18x12 office. It's a start. I'm so rambling...


pic_pi_table.jpgHere are a couple of examples of what I am talking about. Scrapile in Brooklyn, NY, collects and repurposes scraps of wood from New York's woodworking industry to create one of a kind furniture, like this table. I think their practice of using different types of wood in one piece is very exciting.  

This beautiful recycled glass hardware by Paloma Pottery is a great example.  Made of recycled glass, Paloma Pottery's products are environmentally friendly and innovative in design and use of materials.  Their use of recycled glass, plus other natural and found materials reflect their philosophy to maintain a sustainable business model. Check it out.





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Reader Comments (9)

Hi Susan. I admire your brining this line to the US but am worried about it sustainability in the US market. First, the US is not known for keeping kitchens long term. This is the beauty of Hansen. How will you address this? Also, solid wood, transport long distances seems counter to green or sustainable principles, how do you address those?

Thanks.And please, this is not to disparage your new venture but issues many struggle with in today's design world.

March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCamel Smith

Valid points, CS. Hansen will appeal, in my view, to a niche group of those who are designing their kitchens or baths. This happens to be a product which has quite a few features and benefits in its favor. However, as people have different priorities, they will want to own it and use it for different reasons.

To answer your question, some will respond to Hansen as a collector of furniture would, beginning a small shift in how and why one buys kitchen cabinetry, and some will respond to it for other reasons, of course.

Knud Kapper designed kitchen furniture in this style and philosophy for his clients in his general architectural (buildings and interiors) practice in Denmark for many years, well before bringing it to market. With more frequency, those who saw his work in friends' homes and in the press, began to ask him to design their kitchens. In a natural progression, he focused intensively on the philosophy of the kitchen from the bottom up.

Part of this interest in Kapper's kitchens stemmed from a desire to own kitchen or bath furniture which was created with an architect's completely independent vision, as other furniture in the home is collected, to be enjoyed over time. Danes have a very strong appreciation for good design, as many of us in the U.S. do as well. Many are looking for an alternative kitchen design concept. Others will respond to Hansen with a sigh of relief because it is renewable, through simple sanding and reapplication of the oil finish, making long term possession (through growing children) practical.

Both of these characteristics noted above (among other notable reasons) are why Hansen is currently purchased and directly relate to the concept of longevity in kitchen furniture/cabinetry. These philosophies will gradually be welcomed in the U.S.

Hansen is not for the everyone. It is, perhaps, for collectors, and/or for those interested in a warm, modern, design aesthetic, and most of all, those who appreciate good design. Like a boutique, we just want to share our kitchen and bath furniture with those who are looking for something aesthetically beautiful and highly functional.

Some will embrace the idea of longevity, and for others, it may not be a factor.

To answer your second question, it is another valid point. Personally, I see, and live with shades of gray in many areas of my life, where small compromises must be made, as I think, most of us do. In this case, it is about living with shades of green. I see Hansen as a fairly dark green.

Some products have varying levels of green manufacturing methods inherent therein, and, they are made in the U.S., a good thing. Finding and using green finishes and adhesives is very difficult for the vast majority of U.S. cabinet manufacturers. Europe may be ahead of us here, and Denmark has a VERY long history of environmentally conscious thinking and design and is proudly energy self sufficient. Hansen is 100% green, including adhesives and finishes, it is a small factory, so we begin in a very good place.

The small amount of space it takes, stored in a container, on a ship that is sailing with or without Hansen on board, contrasted with Hansen's philosophy to encourage its owners to buy for the long term, a product which is renewable years later and uses 100% eco friendly materials, go a long way to make me, for one, feel comfortable enough to be able to live with this proportionately small (in comparison to the size of the ship and what else is on it) extra usage of energy. This is my personal, small, compromise, all things carefully considered.

If it is not 100% green (and a 100% green goal would be to have the materials and manufacturing process be located within a 500 mile radius from where one lives, assuming one can find a product one loves for the long term and it can withstand the test of time-Hansen's solid wood construction can) I consider this product to be a very strongly green product, when purchased in the U.S. Its easy ability to be renewed over time adds extra points as well.

For some, the shipping issue will be a deal breaker, and for others, they will be able to live with this, what I see as a small, in proportion to its designed-in longevity, sacrifice. I see far more positives in this product, obviously, than this one negative.

My most primary motivation in all of this is that I see Hansen as a product which absolutely deserves to be in the U.S. market. It has much to contribute to the marketplace. Its philosophy, materials, design aesthetic, and history, to me, make it a product with both a heart and mind (so to speak!)

Those were great questions, thank you for asking them. I hope my answers, although lengthy, have been helpful in some way.

March 2, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Great answers Susan. I think the shipping thing will depend on where the consumer is, too. For me, in Mississippi, if I restrict myself to only local furniture and furnishings, I am going to be very very restricted. We just don't have the manufacturer's here. Lots of great artists, but I can't furnish an entire house with only cool bowls. I am as green as I can be within reason. If I were in a location where I had more local choices I could easier make the shipping and transportation part of the equation. It doesn't help for folks who have those luxuries of lots of local choices to be haughty and look down on those of us who cannot be quite as green due to local circumstances.

If we do, however, choose something, we all need to hold on to it for the life of the product or find it a new home to bless and not throw it out simply because we are tired of it now. If I choose a nicer option that must be shipped, I can counter that shipping issue by keeping it far longer than I would have a cheaper item. Thus, balancing the green equation.

March 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

Thanks for the support, Pamela! I agree with your points. They make sense, and it is the big picture which has to make sense for the way we live as individuals and for environmental concerns and issues, because at this moment, there IS more to consider than what is within the walls of our own homes.

March 2, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Using different types of wood in a single piece of furniture does indeed create a very interesting effect visually. But since different woods react to changing weather conditions (expanding, warping) differently, what kind of an effect would such changes have on the furniture?

Contemporary Furniture

March 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Hi Susan. Thought I posted a question here but maybe not.

As the design industry struggles with green/sustainable issues, it would seem that shipping of Hansen might be an issue. Would you explain how all that works for you? I constantly trying to figure this out but struggle. Like to see how other designers think. Thanks.

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBub Smith

Bub, good question, and one that was close to my mind as well. I don't feel that green has to be an all or nothing affair. If that were the case, we, and everyone else, would not be on our computers right now, parts of which, most likely, are made out of who knows what petroleum based components and shipped from who knows where? Funny, I was just looking for office supplies and now, pens are advertised as green. One pen was advertised as being green because it was made of 30% recycled materials. I thought, hmmmm, come back when you're at 80% and then talk about it. 30%?

To answer your question specifically, take a look at my lengthy answer, just above, and go to the "SECOND QUESTION" heading and go down from that heading to the third paragraph (but read the whole section, it's all connected), and I'm specific as to my personal philosophy. The answer for me, is that I feel there IS a compelling reason (actually a number of them) why Hansen does indeed deserve to be in the U.S. under a green banner, one of which is that the product is 100% green....not 30%, not 50%, but that's just one reason. The other reasons, equally impressive, are mentioned in that paragraph.

Thanks very much for your feedback, I appreciate your question. :)

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Really beautiful table, Susan. Nice to be representing products that are so fine.

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermaryam in marrakech

Good to see you maryam! It's the kitchen cabinetry I'm representing. The others are products I like!

As a follow up, I spoke with an exhibitor at the Architectural Digest Home Show, who makes products similar to the table, with many different strips of wood. He said, yes, they "move" at different rates in different climates, but, he showed me a few pieces that were several years old, and they felt very smooth to me.

March 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

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