Kitchen & Bath Design News recently interviewed our president Charles Tiber regarding designing kitchens for Midwesterners. The resulting article was published in their March 2022 issue on page 22-25 with the title “Midwesterners Gather Round the Kitchen.”
Tiber’s two main ideas found in the interview answers below are rooted in the familiar terms of kitchen design: functionality and style. What is new is how we design kitchens and bathrooms for our clients in the Midwest with their desired functionality and style, whether a large or a moderately sized home.
Q: Are clients concerned (or not concerned) with specific elements, such as functionality, maintaining a home’s style, wellness/safety, sustainability, technology, following trends?
A: Most of our clients are not consumed about following popular trends. They do not want to go in a direction that may “date” their kitchen. Rather, it is more about using good design principles while maximizing their space for functionality and beauty.
In the Midwest, living and entertaining through all seasons must be considered. Entry spaces, drop zones and buffer spaces are important when designing a kitchen. Entering the home and the kitchen can present different challenges when it is 90 degrees outside versus when there are subzero temperatures with the realities of snow on boots and shoes. The desired air movement through the kitchen would be very different in summer or winter, while the moderate climates of spring and fall can demand certain other expectations in design.
Q: Has design style changed in your area in the last 10 years? What are customers looking for now that they might not have been a decade ago?
A: The most dominant change we have seen in our area is the desire for design that fosters relationships. The kitchen has long been the gathering place in the home, but that meaning is deeper than it was before the pandemic and the distancing that came with it. The relationships that have close contact are even more important, and kitchen design can help keep them close.
The kitchen should be inviting, should draw people in, and can create interaction, avoiding isolation. One way our firm is doing this is through linear design. In linear design, the work triangle is disrupted, and the focus is to have room for more bodies in the workspace while not causing bottlenecks. Multiple cooks can work, even in a smaller kitchen, and clean up can go on simultaneously. We recommend a workstation sink big enough for two.
As for the kitchen design itself, the workstation is in the island and a smaller clean-up sink is at the window. A good workstation does not reduce counter space but rather expands working space by providing multiple levels for prep, cooking and serving tools directly on the workstation.
We love to see families getting involved in cooking. A workstation brings people together and, as more personal home entertaining comes back, a workstation can help create opportunities for great meals and memories with family and friends.