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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One thing I can surely say...I've admired Holly Becker, Founder and Editor of Decor8, well before I started blogging in February, 2007. Holly's blog was, and is, more than ever, a top model for super creative and relevant online interior design content. I definitely do not know how she does it, seemingly, with such ease and always with style. The quality of the content is amazing. I know Holly, as we have cross paths here and there, to be focused, yet wide open to inspiration! 

I asked Holly if I could pose a few questions to her. I was curious to find out what her current design aesthetic is, how or if it is changing, and a few questions about kitchens, of course! Let's get to know Holly a little better...

But first: Holly is featured as an ex-pat American blogger living in Europe in the premier issue of Rue Magazine! Holly's feature is on page 41. I must add that I was thrilled to see Copenhagen as a very favorite place...it's mine as well...home is #1, Copenhagen is #2!


How is your personal design aesthetic changing, now that you are settled into Europe, Germany in particular?  

The light is so much different here in northern Germany - much cooler - and I love it. It has given me the opportunity to finally embrace the color palette that I love - white walls, wood floors and colors that make me happy like pale grey, lavender, blue tones, yellows, greens, pinks, gold and silver... I felt in New Hampshire I was very limited since the light was very warm and the windows in my 1875 carriage house were quite small. Here, at least in northern German cities, the buildings are large and rooms have large windows and often high ceilings, so this is ideal for me. I also have the old Jugenstil architecture in my city, Hanover. 

I live in a district called List and we have some gorgeous buildings here with amazing places to live - either to rent or own. Most rentals here do not have closets, in fact none do, so you have to bring your own closets in the form of wardrobes so I've had to change how I approach storage. Some rentals have closets off of the kitchen; these are for food storage usually, but that is only common in the buildings built in the 1800-early 1900s. 

I also have acess to very different products and supplies here, from paint manufacturers and colors, to wallpaper vendors, furniture showrooms, you name it - it is completely different from my life in the states. Back home, I'd drive into Boston and know exactly where to go for lighting, flooring, furniture but here I'm still learning and sampling new brands so that has also impacted my design decisions.

Having seen countless images of kitchens over the years via the amazing quantity and depth of posting that you do, what is the general type of aesthetic and/or design elements that "speak" to you, and are there any kitchen images that you can think of that you're crazy about? I know your fans would love to see that!

Oh yes, the older I get (I guess it has to do with staying home and entertaining more now in my thirties over socializing at bars and restaurants as I did a lot in my twenties) the more influenced I am by having the right space for cooking and storage - the kitchen is becoming more and more a part of my life like never before!

I've recently embarked on going from a renegade experimental cook to one who follows cookbooks (most people start cooking the other way around!) and I guess as a result I'm finally learning about all of the gadgets needed to make some of these new recipes! I usually cook the same things over and over again and they usually do not require more than my two hands for rolling out dough, pots, pans, a spatula, a blender, a whisk and some good wooden spoons! With cookbooks come responsibility and breaking your own rules, which I am trying more and more now, mostly because I became bored with my meals.

I'm suddenly excited to get involved in this whole new world of lingering in foodie shops and am finally putting thought into purchasing a Kitchenaid stand mixer. I want a kitchen that feels authentic and real, not fussy, and I think counter space is critical. I also like it when stove tops are separate from the oven, I find it easier to bake with a wall oven, for instance, but I also like having less visual clutter by keeping cabinetry unified below. I love open shelving, but not for everything, just for glassware that is used daily along with some plates and bowls, again, things that are used and washed regularly.

I was storing wine glasses (I drink wine maybe a few times a month) on open shelves and that was a huge mistake because they became huge dust magnets. I also stored mixing bowls and it was the same thing -- dust, dust, dust! Now I store only items on my open shelves that are either eaten (I put nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cereal) in clear storage containers with white lids (keeping healthy foods visible is better than showcasing the candy, I keep that tucked away in my "no no drawer") or items that again, are used daily like my mugs, glasses, bowls and plates.  

Opinions! Yes, that's what makes a highly personal kitchen function perfectly!  ...Susan

Coming Next: Holly's personal design aesthetic described, and her dream kitchen!

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Reader Comments (7)

I totally agree with the difficulty to find products and supplies, although I see it from the opposite side as a German (moving back to Hamburg soon) with a home in the U.S.
A very interesting experience! All the knowledge you grow up with about brands and their reputation are worthless when you move to another continent. But hey, that's part of the fun!

September 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

I never even considered how lighting in different locations may change your design style. I recently moved from the midwest to sunny California and having the sun brightly shining here everyday has definitely raised my spirits and given me a desire to bring brighter, bolder colors into my design.

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLily Potter

Thanks for sharing the session with Holly.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGrundfos Pumps

Good read...great ideas...I have to keep my eye on is site.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRemodeling Chicago

One thing I admire about Decor8,they share information,tips and creativity in making a trash Item into a creative and functional decoration.They give you ideas and procedure on how you will achieve the given project.

October 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterplumbing

Great Ideas

October 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInterior Design

Great idea i really enjoyed to read this article great post keep it up.

March 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterled high bay lights

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