A few days ago I was speaking about how good residential design must be client driven. That’s absolutely true. And no, residential design hasn’t moved up any on my “list of things I’d like to be doing.” (and really, I’d like to be able to stop making that disclaimer every time I mention it but I probably won’t for a while. Consider it my own personal neurosis.) But even good residential designers often find themselves turned off by things that aren’t inherently *bad*- they’re just inherently bad *for them*.
Case in point:
I’ve been reading over at the Kitchen Designer’s blog about some new kitchen furniture designed by Hansen. I read her blog in the first place because I find kitchen (and bathroom) design to be the least odious parts of residential work(interestingly, they’re often easily the most lucrative, though that’s coincidental. No, *really*, it is. Stop it, all of you.) because they require a *designer*, always. A decorator *cannot* do this work (see: differences between decorators and designers, part #3,254). Remember people- if there’s WATER involved, it’s *different*. I’ll expand on that in another post maybe this coming week.
Anyway, back to what I was reading.
She’s been speaking about this stuff in glowing terms. And so help me I keep looking at it…and looking at it… and looking at it…
And I just can’t find a way to LIKE it. It’s not a matter of aesthetics. I think it’s really quite lovely. It’s not a matter of quality. It looks and sounds like it’s excellent craftsmanship. So what is it, then? It’s because of a personal bias. I, personally, fail to see how this kitchen furniture works for people who really cook. Because as far as *I* am concerned, a kitchen is a WORK space, as its primary function.
Let me specify here what my problems are, so it’s understandable. I like this look. I think it’s clean and organic. I think it’s very nice. What I don’t like is that there’s no actual handles on these drawers. First of all, that little gap at the top so you can stick your hand in? All kinds of crap can fall in there when you *really* use your kitchen as something more than a museum exhibit and a place to store takeout. Also, every cook I know? Gets dirty. Those cabinets will be FILTHY around the opening in no time, requiring constant maintenance, and even with that, they will age unevenly, which is not a bad look if you like it- it’s the way real things age. But this will happen at a drastically increased rate.
I like the LOOK of the furniture being raised on feet. In *reality*? It’s going to get *disgusting* under there, particularly if you a)use your kitchen in any real way b) have pets, c) have kids.
Let’s look at another photo from this same product line:
While I have no particular objection to open storage, this arrangement can be classified as…. well, just plain DUMB. I don’t get it. There’s no reason for open storage in this configuration. It doesn’t save space, it doesn’t allow for easy access, you’re still stacking things, which means unstacking them in order to get them out (as opposed to a hanging rack for pots and pans which allows for a much easier time of it) and I am not sure what that open rack is designed to do for you, other than drip water on your floor if you put your pans up before they’re fully dry. Also, stacking stuff like that? It’s not attractive. Why leave this open? Unless of course, you don’t really use your kitchen as anything other than a showplace. So you have like, one pan, one pot and two bowls. Nice and neat. But not a kitchen for a cook.
“So what? Not everyone really cooks in their kitchen, and these pieces look great!”
Absolutely *TRUE*. Which is the reason for the title of this post. In order to keep your design client driven, you have to be able to identify that this is YOUR bias. Not an inherent problem with the pieces themselves. That these pieces have legitimate applications- just not in YOUR house. You have to be able to put that “turned off” feeling aside, because again, residential design isn’t about the designer. It’s about the client. And with the right client, these pieces are perfectly acceptable. It’s their house. Not yours.
Ego. Check yours. It helps your clients.