I started reading the New York Times' blog, Dream Home Diaries, late last spring.
Let me say that I truly wish Alison and Paul, the homeowners who built a home in Anna Maria Island, Florida, the very best. I hope they love their kitchen, that it works well for them, and I wish them all good things in connection with their home.
I've been a regular on the Dream Home Diaries blog on posts that had to do with the kitchen. My motivation was to help out Alison and Paul, who asked for help, admitting to being completely clueless to building a home, as well as educating the public at large. Many of us helped out. What a great resource of information (and smart alek-y and snarky comments) they had before them. Man, this blog is so entertaining, I'll be sorry when it's gone.
I found myself feeling quite annoyed at times at the authors' complete lack of response to my and others' advice. Advice on fundamentals! Let me give you an example. Alison wrote that John, their builder, recommended that the kitchen not be designed until the plywood was down in the kitchen and then one could mark it up to feel the space.
I've never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life from a builder of a custom home. And, at that moment, the builder will be screaming for rough ins of electric and plumbing. I, and others, oh what's the word, valiantly campaigned to the authors to get a kitchen designer NOW...and I offered specific advice on how to hire a designer.
Unbeknownst to anyone else, I offered my own services way back (not free) because I was so concerned that the kitchen plan was simply not being attended to...and it really bothered me. I wrote and said I would not wish to be known in the blog as the designer, but I'm here if they needed me to step in (which was before they got a designer.) It was a brief, but sincere, offer, which was met with no response and was not published. I have so many complaints about the way things were done by the authors, I won't even bore you with it, I promise. And, my general negative attitude throughout the blog about how this kitchen design process progressed had nothing to do with my rejected offer. Anyone who has read my subsequent impassioned posts know that I care a great deal about the value of making the most of the time available pre construction...as time breeds creativity, attention to detail, and a whole lot of other good stuff.
The bottom line is that, given the amount of money they spent on their kitchen ($60,000?) I feel it was wasteful, very much so, to not have hired a kitchen designer early on, to have had the luxury of time to plan their "dream home" kitchen and not to make use of that time. If you take a look, you'll hear me whining, cajoling, almost pleading at times to pay attention to this or that. Although, educating the readers was always a goal as well. It's really funny how into their kitchen process, or lack thereof, that I got!
Also, one thing to remember is, what looks shiny and new doesn't necessarily mean it's fundamentally sound design for the kitchen as a separate entity or for the architecture it is surrounded by. But, it's their kitchen and they are the ones to be happy with it, no one else. But, they could have known so much more along the way....
This blog gave a lot of us lots of raw emotions from time to time. I also laughed, got impatient, angry, and always hoped for the best. Take a look before it's gone...