KBIS 2011 Kitchens

I always like to walk the kitchen and bath show and take pictures of the kitchen displays. Having just been at IMM Cologne in January, the kitchen designs were dramatically different at KBIS and I MUST gather together the images I have of full size kitchen displays from the IMM Cologne show.

There is much more detail in the KBIS kitchens (that is not a positive or negative, it's in the eye of the beholder.) The first image is from an Italian manufacturer and all others are American manufacturers - the style contrast is clear!

My opinion: in some cases, more is not better. Restraint is a good thing...less is more and all that. We also need to remember that we will have reactions to these different styles and there is a kitchen design for everyone, just like there is a guy for every girl and vice versa. Enjoy!


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Images From IMM_Cologne - Living Kitchen Trade Fair in Germany

Here are some random images I would like to share with you. Truth be told, I uploaded 1054 images yesterday evening...one day's obsession with kitchen design (what else would you call it?)

Fresh Update On White - Blanco Beautiful Sink - Indestructible Silgranite II Blanco Concealed Ovens Pop Up Backsplash Organizer Hafele Incredibly cool matching glass and cabinetry - Bosch and Alno Position your cooktop to where you need it! Hettich Very cool oven "framing? Lots more to come, LOTS!

Show Me Your Kitchen!

So, I took a look at my google analytics and I saw that I had visitors last month from 175 countries. How incredible and amazing is that??

I want to see your kitchens please and the more different or humble or personal or charming or over the top or WHATEVER, the better! I'm looking for one particular type....YOURS! :)

It would be best if you send me an email with a link to your photos that are on a photo site, say, something like flickr.com, which is free and easy to access. Images from any photo website will do. Just send me a link. Tell me why you love your kitchen and please give me permission to use an image if I choose to include it in a future post (or posts.)

I love my country, the USA, but this time around, I'd like to see kitchens from the other 174 countries, other than the US! Let's make the world of kitchens a little bit smaller! 

Come on world, show me your kitchens and tell me your kitchen love story! I can't wait!!

OK, it's a little long, but please send the link to: SUSANSERRACKD @ THEKITCHENDESIGNER.ORG

Want To Sell Your House? Clean The Kitchen!

My new Twitter buddy, Julia, from hooked on houses, has a post today on images that a realtor takes for a home listing. This struck a chord with me, having just bought and sold a house (not in that order!) And, having gone nuts over staging, tweaking images...and cleaning.

In my months of house hunting recently, I cannot tell you how much an unkempt kitchen was a total turnoff. It didn't even have to be a dirty kitchen (that's a definite turnoff.) But, even a slightly messy kitchen was...distracting, yes, that's the word. Distracting in a negative way is a negative thing (oh, how profound.)

Every realtor will tell you that a house, these days, needs an edge to be noticed. The house has to stand out among its competition. The chances of standing out greatly diminish if a home is in disarray, especially if the competition in the same price range shines...literally. The kitchen and bathrooms are viewed as utilitarian spaces, where cleanliness is important. That's sort of an undercurrent in one's mind, I think, when one visualizes oneself cooking and living in the kitchen. Therefore, it should be a clean slate, devoid of clutter and mess. 

In addition to the tips I previously mentioned on getting your kitchen ready for resale, in which I mentioned cleaning, I'd like to go a bit further... 



  • floor
  • window glass
  • window trim-oftentimes it's just a wipe with a rag. If the trim needs to be painted, paint it!
  • baseboard molding - clean or paint it
  • cabinets - clean your cabinets and all their cracks and crevices on the outside
  • cabinets - clean your cabinets on the inside as well
  • joints - such as at the floor and the cabinet toekick molding, the baseboard molding and the floor, anyplace where grime accumulates
  • walls - does your kitchen need a fresh coat of paint?
  • dust all surfaces, shelving, decorative items, and so on
  • clean the garbage pails - take them outside and hose them down/clean them
  • clean out toaster/toaster oven
  • clean/wipe down all countertop appliances. Move them from their places and clean all around them.



  • sink(s)
  • refrigerator
  • dishwasher
  • microwave - there are numerous solutions, but it's a must-do
  • backsplash
  • cooktop and especially grill
  • vent hood

Basically...clean everything. Wipe down everything. Dust everything. Leave time before showings and open houses to do it again and again and again, as the showings present themselves. 

I promise you your house will have much more of an edge than it did before. I know how important this is...I just sold my home in a very tough market. Tough, because my home's price bracket was completely stagnant - lower priced homes were selling to first time home buyers and much higher homes were selling, although a bit less so. But, the middle/upper priced homes were, and are still, simply not moving in my area. Fortunately, ours did! And, every time we had a showing or an open house, we all pitched in and strived for near perfect cleanliness (and not because we enjoyed doing it.)

I think that helped immensely, and I remember how I reacted as I looked at potential homes for our family. Here is a link to eco-friendly cleaning supplies


Apartment Therapy Kitchen Features

It seems that I've come across a variety of kitchen features on Apartment Therapy as well as the kitchn so I'll point out a few kitchen related links for your brief reading enjoyment.

First, on AT, take a look at this post in the New York version. Brick, a fireplace, big TV, open kitchen (I love an open kitchen.)

Here, in the LA version, is a discussion on TV's in the kitchen. (Me, I like 'em big.) This comment: "It's a great concept... especially for dysfunctional families" I would call classic AT (but then, I'm from the New York area so I like snarky!)

Not to be outdone, the San Francisco version of AT shows 10, count 'em 10, galley kitchens!

On the main AT page, here's an unusual island (I don't love it but it's interesting to see.)

More galley kitchen love on AT's DC page right here with lots of images.

In Boston, a discussion on where to put the microwave (above the fridge?)

And, the kitchn has a bunch of images on pot racks along with frequent random kitchen design features. Also, an interesting post on recession eating and cooking.

So, that's the roundup on AT's mother and sister sites (or whatever they're called.) Have fun!


Simple Kitchens

All right, all right, I admit it. If you've been following me on Twitter, I will admit to being just slightly obsessed with it. I think I'm over my initial obsession, but I do think that it is the perfect supplement to this blog! The problem, as with everything, is balance! But, throwing out those random thoughts and pieces of information on Twitter works hand in glove with the more expansive blog posts that I do. So, for expanded discussions, obviously, this is the place, right here. For random musings and piecemeal information, follow me on Twitter!

Today on Twitter, I'm compelled to share my thoughts on social kitchen design tips, so here is the search page for those tips.


I was contacted by a designer, Danielle Mac Innes, from Ireland, who asked me if I'd like to see her work. Of course, I'd love to see what's happening in Ireland! Following are just a few images, but I think they are interesting. I like the restraint used. The look is simple but with a great, and simple, use of color. Diane's company is Fuse Interiors.

Goodbye Home Expo

I couldn't believe my eyes when I glanced at the big orange Home Depot logo on my newsletter sent from upscale Interior Design magazine. Right there in black and white it stated that Home Depot is closing all of their Home Expo stores, along with other cuts within the corporation. It went on to say that even in the boom times, Home Expo stores underperformed. 

First let me express my sadness at the loss of 5,000 jobs. It comes at the worst time imaginable, with fewer job prospects out there. I'm sure it will be a difficult time for many. 

You know what? I was going to put down some thoughts (not necessarily all positive) about Home Expo, but, given the sentence I just wrote, above, I'll just keep it as news and will spare you and myself more than that. Not a good idea to do otherwise.  I'm sorry for those losses. They just keep coming, don't they?

Kitchen Open Shelves and More

Wow, you'd think I was on vacation or something! No, just occupied with a wide variety of things. Potential posts go in and out of my head, topics, images, and then time goes by. But, before any MORE time goes by, I want to do some show and tell. I hope you're all enjoying the summer. Please say hi! And, yes, I'm still watching le Tour every day! Everyone is skinny over there, they all need to eat a little something.

 THIS image propelled me into action right now. Come on, how absolutely "feel good" is this image? I found it at the kitchn, always good for wonderfully random good stuff. Really, the kitchn is so much more than recipes, it's very well rounded. Come to think of it, I've been meaning to add some food related info to the blog, after all, without food, what's a kitchen??

And, THESE IMAGES by Habitually Chic, are really fantastic. Showing open shelving in a kitchen, I love how it has caused such a great discussion. It seems one either loves them or could NEVER live with them. I've done posts on open shelves and have lived with open shelves. I love them, they work for me!

Another Kitchen Weekend For Me

And, so this is another weekend of total kitchen immersion for me...lots of work to do!!! And, here I sit, with the music cranked WAY up. For a moment, there, we almost got crazy and booked a flight to the jazzfest, but can you imagine, coming back on Monday, leaving at 11 am (the only flight) and arriving at jfk (an hour from home) after 6 pm for a typical 3 hour flight, if that? Not even I am that crazy!

But, turn it on and crank it up, that's what I recommend...


Oh, and if the music cuts in and out...that's sort of how it goes down there, stuff happens, you get what you get (hmmm, sort of like kitchens!) No, I'm kidding, really, no one get nervous now!  I'm loving this music, enjoy your weekend!

The song now is something about needing eyes behind your head. :)


Fun first, and then products and all the rest of KBIS stuff, ok? Here are some images from my first day at KBIS...as I think of the images, there's not a whole lot that I need to say, the images will say it all! Oh, the first image is the same image from yesterday...only finished!

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I'm here in Chicago for KBIS

Hello kitchen fans! Had a great flight yesterday on JetBlue. JetBlue is either fantastic or horrible. Yesterday, on a week's old plane, it was great.

Today, I attended two half day seminars. The first was on kitchen ventilation (use your hood or else all these little particulates will get over everything...heat, vapors, and food particulates, yuck.) Just use it. But, a lot more on this later, I'll expand on what was covered in the seminar (I know you're on the very edge of your seats for this but you'll have to be patient.)  ;)

And, I attended a seminar on green residential design. As things, products, and philosophies change fairly quickly, it's important to keep up to date. Took tons of notes and will expand on that too.

Then, off to a GE press event (LOVE those press events!) More on THAT too. Meanwhile, here's a photo I took of a small spot of the show floor, but trust me, this is what the whole show floor looked like this afternoon, and this was less than 24 hours before the show starts! This is typical, and somehow miraculously, the displays get constructed, wall to wall carpeting goes down on the entire show floor, and the show begins! I REALLY need my sleep now, more soon!



Going to KBIS in Chicago!

One of my most favorite things to do year after year is to go to KBIS. My husband usually comes with me, I see old friends, attend fabulously fabulous press events (massage event, anyone? IMAC event?) and just love the whole thing. I've been inundated with pre-KBIS emailings, postcards and other good stuff, and I look at everything.

I will be spotting trends, perusing kitchen design both good and yawn-worthy, extricating myself from nonstop talking marketing people, and watching those super-bending dancers at the hourly show at the Kohler booth. Please, kitchen Gods, don't bring back the Maxewll smart schtick at a booth I can't remember the name of, I can't deal with that again...

I am SO ready to go...leaving Wednesday and coming back on Sunday. I'll be blogging for Glam...more soon!

Kitchen Blog Anniversary

Talking about kitchens...does it ever end? It's been a year since I wrote my first post on this blog. I started with a little hesitancy, a bit unsure of where this was going. Somehow I just kept thinking of kitchen related issues to talk about. At this moment, I have so many kitchen focused things to talk about, I don't know what to talk about first!

This is such a natural process for me...just to toss out ideas, stir up the pot a bit, and lots more. I love this process. I've also met so many amazing bloggers who have welcomed me into the design blogging community from the very start. I actually didn't know about this whole, well, underworld isn't the best word, but universe of blogging, until I started blogging, and then, what a surprise I found! Cool people, great ideas, interactivity at its best.

So, I'm feeling good at this one year mark. I also feel I'm at my prime in life and in my career. I've actually never been more happy, more confident, fully engaged with life in a positive way, than right now, and I'm looking forward to more good things to come, including my TOP SECRET project, soon to be unveiled!

I LOVE reading your comments. Say whatever you want. Disagree with me or challenge anything I say at anytime. Maybe I'll learn something.  Maybe you will. Maybe we both will!

I may be gone from this blog for days at a time, it just happens, but I'm here in spirit. Kitchens are the soul of the home, where all five senses come together. They're special. I love thinking about kitchens. I love cooking with my husband and cooking when my kids come to visit. I love the glass of wine that my husband pours for me while we're cooking. I love the sofa as part of my kitchen table. Good stuff happens in the kitchen. My husband just yelled down the stairs "Hey!" which is sort of our word to say hello. Gotta run and get that glass of wine, as I'm sure he's preparing dinner now....

More good things to blog about later...just wait! Thanks for your participation...it would really not be the same without you.  



More With Martha Stewart

There's more that comes to mind today, as I think about last evening's New York Times' event with Martha Stewart, and I'd like to share it with you!

Interesting bits and pieces...

As Martha sets out for the drive to the city each morning with her hot water and lemon, she carries the beverage in a paper cup, which she reuses. Martha spoke passionately about sustainable living, wanting her products to last. She talked about towels, or was it sheets, that are from her collections, that have lasted 17 years!

In regard to food, Martha was a very early advocate (early 80s) of the locally grown produce movement, a la Alice Waters and Jeremiah Tower, notable chefs of that period. Martha encourages everyone to grow their own produce. As a child, Martha had to do many chores in the garden, on her relatives' farms, where she spent time, and her parents believed in self sufficiency in a big way, teaching tasks to Martha and her siblings with expectations that they would be done properly, instilling confidence and a DIY sort of philosophy in the home. Martha, in later years, raised pigs, sheep, goats, and encouraged her own daughter to do chores outside the house for the animals. She also said that if she didn't do what she was doing now (managing an empire) she'd be a veterinarian. It all makes sense!

Cooking with fresh, preferably, home grown, produce and other fresh foods, is very high on Martha's priorities. 

Martha was friendly, quite outgoing, and surprisingly relaxed. It was a very intimate feeling, at least we thought so!


Kitchen Design - A Brief Pause

So, I've been writing this blog for almost eight months now and I've only touched the tip of the iceberg. I've enjoyed much positive feedback. I want this blog to have substance, not just pretty pictures, and I want to share my thoughts with you on the broad and often complex topic of kitchen design and being a kitchen designer. At this point, I'd like to pause and hear from you! Tell me what you think, I want to know! If you have more then one answer, please comment too!

Update: I'm watching what you want, thank you for the feedback! More emphasis on kitchen images to come. I'm relieved you like the Scandinavian kitchens...just wait till you see what I have to show you! More of what you are asking for, keep voting...

An Amish Kitchen - Via Quality Custom Cabinetry

I had lunch in an Amish home on Tuesday.

What a privilege that was. I have yet to write about it, (more about the event and what I learned soon) but, one of my major cabinet suppliers, Quality Custom Cabinetry, invited all of their representative kitchen design firms around the country, to celebrate their 40 years of business in this two day event, Monday and Tuesday of this week, in Lancaster Country, PA. For the second day of the event, three types of recreation were offered, at no charge. I ALWAYS rush back to the office, and when I heard that an Amish tour was offered, I decided to slow it down a bit and take advantage of this particular tour.

We toured the area, saw the horse drawn buggies, saw the corn being cut by men and horses, and entered this beautiful, different world of farms, one room school houses (many) and lovely people with strong values.

I had one of the best lunches in quite awhile, with some of the best food ever. Since the Amish do not have electricity, food is prepared in simple, traditional, ways. They cook with gas, and they may use battery power. There were no lights on of any sort in the kitchen where we had our lunch.

I wish I had taken a picture of all the food on the table, it just kept coming. Here's what was served:

  • several types of preserved vegetables, previously home grown 
    preserved apricots in syrup in a bowl
  • applesauce 
  • fresh beans
  • fresh potatoes, roughly mashed
  • noodles
  • fried chicken
  • ham loaf
  • white, sliced bread
  • homemade jam
  • pumpkin pie (best I ever tasted)
  • shoofly pie
  • iced tea
  • coffee
Here is an image of three generations of women in an Amish kitchen, that I took. They have lovely homes, the Amish. The women grow their hair and put it in a bun. They have a quiet elegance, which perhaps you can see here. No dishwasher, only their hands to wash dishes, serving dishes, glasses, and pots, from a group of 20. Afterward, little recipe books came out, selling for $3.50 each. I bought one.


I must mention this too...
after lunch, we went to a large Amish gift/food shop. As I was lingering outside, I glanced over at the ramp and spotted a woman being pushed in a wheelchair by another woman, with a man accompanying them. These people were my husband's relatives, also from Pennsylvania! I had not seen them since 2003, and shouting, hugging, and more ensued.

They live 3 hours away from the gift store we were at, and were in the area for a doctor's appointment for my husband's aunt. How could that happen? What if lunch were 5 minutes delayed? What if I went back to the bus 5 minutes earlier or to the restroom around the corner...that was a real WOW for me! Serendipity!

This is an image of the open kitchen just beyond the sales counter in the Amish store we stopped at.  


blogging terramia

Take a look at the post from this cool blog, Terramia, on some fresh, spring, kitchens. I'll leave it to Terramia to provide the sources and credits. This image is from the book: Home Cheap Home. She has a bunch more fun kitchen images. Posted today's date. For later dates, the category on the blog is: "kitchens" Happy Spring!






Doing the editor's kitchen

This is a project that was brought to me by the regional southern New England/New York metro area Better Homes & Gardens editor, Cynthia Bogart, who has submitted my work to Meredith Corp. for years.

I'm particularly honored that Cindy asked me to do her kitchen in Rhode Island because she personally handles all design submissions for a large territory.

cindy_newa.jpgHere is the general plan, not the final plan but it shows the thought process. At the end of the island, at one point, we were going to put a separate piece, facing the table, which didn't happen, unfortunately. With several doorways, and large appliances, you can see the challenge.

The project was very interesting. Cindy and her husband purchased a modular addition and joined it to their house, across the street from the bay in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. At first, when we started planning the kitchen, I was blown away at all that Cindy wanted to include, in terms of appliances. The separate refrigerator and separate freezer, alone, took over one whole side of the space, and her kitchen was not all that large to handle all these appliances. But, creative thinking soon began, and, bottom line, it all worked out well in the end. Here are some images, and tomorrow, other images from other parts of the house.


One area that did not read well in the shots is the area of which I am most proud. Cindy had a very short wall but wanted a large range. Had all the cabinetry on the adjacent wall been the standard depth, the range would have been proportionately too large for that short wall with little room to move around and cook.

So, what I did was to break up the adjacent walls into two separate areas by virtue of the black, tall, pantry, and since the pantry was much more shallow than the cabinetry to the left of it, it gave Cindy much needed room both aesthetically and functionally, to the left of the range on the adjacent wall. Unfortunately, you can't really see that, it almost looks like the range is jammed into the cabinetry at the left, but it really isn't.

Questions, comments, let me know...more tomorrow.

























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