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 Design Trends 2010

I'd like to share this piece with you that I wrote for Decorati.com on kitchen trends for 2010 and beyond. I spent much time in December contemplating where I feel we are now, and some "whys" too. I've thought about where I think we (many of us) are headed, for those of us who are contemplating changes in the way we live in our kitchens. Maybe these thoughts will ring true for you. 

I'd probably add one or two more things. I want to expand on my feeling about many of us wanting as much permanence or longevity in our design and products as we can get. I think that the recent recession, "The Big Recession" as I'm hearing it called, has truly been a wake-up call. I feel that there is a maturity, a sensible way of thinking, that has evolved. Where we can afford it, I feel we want quality. 

I feel that we want performance from the products we select over the long term. I definitely see that new clients seem to be more involved in the design process, more serious, and dedicated. They/you understand that this new kitchen truly may be a one time purchase, and it needs to be as perfect as it can be. That (importance) has been true all along, but, that call really woke us up! If you are planning a kitchen renovation in 2010, my guess is you will take it very seriously and you'll find it to be a very, very rewarding process. I hope you do!

HERE IS THE LINK FOR MY THOUGHTS ABOUT KITCHEN DESIGN IN 2010 Tell me what you think here, below, or on the Decorati comments page. 

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Reader Comments (14)

Great post!

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaula Grace

Clients really are becoming more involved. The main issues I see for designers and manufacturers is getting paid for the project.

January 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Thank you for this post, it was really informative. I liked your idea about the social kitchen. I feel this is one of the big changes we are going to see in 2010. People enjoy being social online with all of the networking sites, so it would make sense that it would start being implemented into design as well.

January 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPlumberSurplus

This is a great little piece, everything changes when you face a recession. I'm interested to see what other changes come from this economic downturn and recovery.

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

Nice blog - loads of information! We are finding that our consumers are becoming more interested in the process too, a welcome change. The more they understand and become a partner in the process, the more value they end afterward in referring future business.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAwareness Home Funding

I found that http://www.KitchenCabinetDepot.com has a great selection of kitchen cabinets

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

I like the idea of a social kitchen. There are probably more gatherings in the kitchen than any other room in the house.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDianna

This is an interesting post on a lot of different levels. A kitchen remodeling—even for a cabinetmaker like myself—is an expensive undertaking, and the thought of going to all that expense and upheaval for something that may not last out the decade before it’s “outmoded” is a bit odious. So, whenever I see people writing about whatever is “hot” or “trendy” in kitchen design, I find myself getting a bit wary. But yours is a refreshing blog site for a number of reasons, and this blog is very much a case in point.

What you wrote is not just a list of items so stylish they’re bound to go out of vogue in a few years, but is, instead, a thoughtful appraisal of where kitchens are actually going, not because of design trends so much, but simply because of people nesting in different ways. In that sense, I think what you wrote is not so much a reflective blog on changing trends, as it is a report on an evolution in lifestyles.

More and more, as you noted, people are beginning to “do their own thing.” One of the kitchen forums I have visited for quite a while is host to a lot of people commenting on kitchen plans and asking for advice from other members of the forum. From time to time someone will ask for advice about a planned kitchen detail that is out of the norm. Unless it is something that just makes the kitchen totally unworkable, almost invariably the response is “do it; it’s your kitchen; design something you want to cook in.”

It’s something I very much applaud, but, truthfully, my wife and I may be ahead of the curve on that one. We’ve been married for 33 years and working on various designs for whatever homes we lived in. Whenever we have found ourselves dickering back and forth as to whether we ought to do something a bit out of the ordinary, my wife has always said, “But we always do different things.” And, typically, that seals the deal. We don’t want the same house everyone else has. And more and more these days, I think others are beginning to come to the same conclusion.

There was a time when all anyone thought about was the resale value. Now, sadly, a great many of us live in a house that has lost half its value and is not likely to have that lost value restored anytime soon. And for those of us who are lucky enough to have purchased before the real estate bubble, who really wants to sell a home at this time? That being the way of it, we might just as well fix these babies up the way we want them, right?

For a long time our goal was that big dream kitchen. My wife and I both enjoy cooking, and the thought of having all that stuff and all that room and all those appliances, maybe even some kind of chimes ringing out “ah, sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you,” whenever we entered the kitchen—it’s just such a glorious fantasy. And at some level, we would still like to do it. But the reality is that we are not willing to remodel our home to get enough room to do it, nor would we want to intrude into the adjacent family room which is where this childless couple spends the bulk of its time, watching movies on our large screen TV. For us, the smaller kitchen that is open to an active family room is just the ticket.

And others, as you stated, have found themselves yearning more for the social kitchen. Some months ago I wrote a blog (http://cft411.com/2009/07/10/kitchen-designs-4/) on that very subject as Electrolux has come up with a concept they call they call the Live-In Kitchen. I titled it “The Evolution of a Revolution,” because kitchens really have gone on a most remarkable journey over the years. A few hundred years ago, all the common people (that would be you and me!) had for a kitchen, pretty much, was a pot by the fire. It was often a fireplace that dominated the room in which it resided, and it became the center of the home, especially in the winter months when it gave both warmth and light during the lengthened evenings when books were often read aloud, and various types of handiwork were done by the flickering light. Later, food preparation was done in a room apart and often became, in consequence, more of a labor. And now it is again where it began, but the load is lightened this time with modern appliances and modern sensibilities, and people often congregate there, as in times of yore. So we have gone from hearth, to apart, to heart.

And that, to me, is probably the most welcome change of all about kitchens, that they have again become the heart of the home. I have always loved Victorian novels, because they are such wonderful, detailed, lengthy stories. That was all the entertainment anyone really had in those days, especially in places like the USA where so many lived on the very fringe of civilization. But think about the values of that situation. A long day’s work, then a dinner from something that has been cooking half the day, to be followed, in the early evening by whomever in the family was the best reader, reading from something like Dickens’ latest novel by the light of the fireplace. Mama is working on sewing of some sort; Papa is smoking his pipe; perhaps the younger family members are working on sums. But it’s a family brought together by the necessities of their life. Nowadays, with so many of us in other rooms of the house with the many electronic inventions of our age—including this computer!—a fair amount of the family interaction has gone by the wayside.

Kitchens as gathering places very much works against the fragmentation of American families. They’re places to congregate now, places to do homework, and places to take place in the preparation of a nice meal, especially on the weekends when there’s time for such things. The family that has spent the entire afternoon first preparing and then smelling the cooking of a wonderful recipe has done so much to bring themselves together. And that, I think, is what has given rise to the popularity of the Social Kitchen. They help build families.

February 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I liked the term "lifetime project" and the kitchen is exactly 'Social' as for me, so I vote for the soft furnishings!

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKitchen

Think Traditional – while contemporary and Shaker style are both gaining in popularity, traditional is still the most popular kitchen design style for 2010.

March 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkitchen

Thanks for such a great post! Just posted it to my twitter.
Shop the UK's largest selection of kitchen furniture and accessories at mydeco.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKitchen

Really thoughtful ideas on lifestyle trends. Chasing the next 'mainstream' 'must have' trend doesn't make for happier lives. Using the latest technology in design is fine but when it comes at the expense of any individuality, personalisation or character then machine like uniformity is an outcome. It's great that more people are chosing to assert their own tastes and using whatever they like, be it quirky, artistic, handmade, individual, human, maybe that's a positive to come out of the recession.

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

I also have had a return to primarily traditional design in 2010. However the Shaker style is certainly still in the picture. My clients want value, and as previously mentioned, lasting appeal. No one has opted for "Over the Top" styles; I haven't seen that since we entered the recession, However, my clients are spending significantly more money than the previous year and are getting what they need. The focus has been on design and most of their funds are being spent on renovation and cabinetry expenses and more modestly on appliances as pre- recession.

The kitchen is the most used room in the home for most families. As primarily a kitchen designer, I feel my job is to satisfy the cooking styles, storage requirements, family rituals and emotional needs of my client. I have always found my clients ready to engage in helping me bring their desires to light. They know my focus isn't on what I think the space should be, but on what they think their space should be. A designer should never dominate the design process, but gently guide it by coaxing out what the room is meant to be, to the family using it – I found that sketching out ideas quickly helps filter through ideas and concepts until the right look is found for all.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Berg

Nice blog. I like the idea of a social kitchen.Thanks

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