3 Kitchen Design Ideas that will Ruin Your Home

3 Kitchen Design Ideas that will Ruin Your Home

You may have figured this out by now: I am serious about interior design. I try to study all aspects of design and one way I keep up is by reading other serious (and seriously good!) design blogs.

Here’s a round-up of the blogs that resonated with me. You should definitely read these before your next interior design project.

Why You Don’t Want Restoration Hardware

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During the Initial Design Study phase of the KTJ Design Co process, we question and probe to discover your unique design aesthetic. We ask you to complete a questionnaire. We interview you for two hours straight during the Remodel Clarity Session, and we ask you to create copious inspiration files.

To our dismay, one of my dearest clients went on and on about how she loves Restoration Hardware. When this happens, Sandra (my lead designer) and I just look at each other thinking, “Oh no.”

It’s not so much we don’t care for the style. It’s just that Restoration Hardware is good at one thing, and it’s not furniture design, quality, or value.  I’ve hear horror stories from designers who have had their creations copied and in my experience the quality does not correlate to the price point.

What they are good at is marketing. The lay person is often seduced by their giant catalogs packed full of avant-garde photography.

Last summer, Laurel Bern wrote this blog:  The Shocking Truth about Restoration Hardware and it quickly went viral because she hit a nerve that all designers know.

“They are touting themselves as a HIGH END purveyor of home furnishings and it is anything but. It is cheap crap from China. I want people to buy quality. And while I realize that not everything can be made in this country, a lot of my vendors ARE producing a quality product in the USA and selling it for an appropriate margin.” -Laurel Berns

Why DIY’ing Your Home Remodel is Never a Good Idea

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I get lots of questions from DIY folks in the midst of doing their own remodel (usually panicked and manic cries for help). I get really anxious when I get these calls because I know how many decisions have to be made and how much coordination it takes to have a successful remodel. Doing a home remodel is a big deal.

There are so many components to consider, from the floor plan to the finishes. When I hear of any homeowner trying this on their own, I want to help them immediately.

Dixie Willard is a talented designer who’s done many ground-up remodels, and her recent blog about how an old Cary Grant movie is so apropos even though it was filmed over 70 years ago is completely endearing.

What struck me about Don’t Make These Common Home-Building Mistakes is that this happens on just about every project I’ve managed. Even when a homeowner is smart enough to hire an interior designer to steer the project, they want to make silly changes. Luckily for these clients, I can talk them off the ledge and explain why the thought that popped into their head in the middle of the night is not a good idea. Believe me, the contractor will build whatever you want (whether it makes sense or not).

“Funny thing is, seventy years after the movie was released (and the book it was based on was written), people are still making those same mistakes.” -Dixie Willard

Why Open-Concept Kitchens are Ugly & Inappropriate

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When I read 6 Trends Home Editors Are Tired of Seeing (& What They’d Replace Them With) I literally jumped up and whooped and hollered. All I can say is hallelujah about the case against open-concept kitchens. This is a trend that I am so happy to see go bye-bye.

The problem with an open concept kitchen is twofold. First, removing a wall is generally not a simple thing. These are usually a load-bearing or shear walls, which means they are actually holding up your house!

Sure, it can be removed, but doing so will require a lot of costly and time-consuming engineering. It can be done, but it’s not as simple as taking a sledgehammer to it all (sorry, HGTV…).

Second, designing a large, open space that is supposed to be three rooms in one is a feat in and of itself. You have to figure out how to delineate the area with furniture. This is another pain point that many clients call me about, saying, “I can’t figure out how to layout out the furniture.”

No surprise there!

I know… You think you want your guests to sit and talk with you while you’re cooking, but as Deborah Baldwin, Articles Editor at This Old House said,

“But what people don’t realize is that it’s like cooking on stage. Guests see and smell everything—the icky plates you’re scraping, smoke coming from the oven and more.”

When I designed my new kitchen, I stayed away from completely opening the wall between the kitchen and living room. I did widen the openings from the kitchen to the living and dining rooms, but I left a little separation.

When I do my in-home consultations during a Remodel Clarity Session, I can show homeowners, through quick sketches, how we can open up their space without removing walls and design the living room and family room so that guests will want to hang out in there instead of in the kitchen.


Considering a kitchen remodel? Check out my remodeling services.

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