What is Sensible Style? It is the design philosophy I’ve developed and embraced in nine years of designing hundreds of projects, especially kitchens!
The world is full of stunning kitchen magazines, TV shows and web sites. What’s needed is some smart thinking about which looks, trends, features, technologies, products and layouts make sense for your home. After all, you don’t live in a magazine, online or on television. (Well, at least most folks don’t!) You live in your home.
If you’re like most folks, that home was a major investment for you and your family, one that you’d like to protect. You probably also chose a neighborhood filled with folks and homes similar to yours, and want to remodel your home, rather than move to a new one, because you like that neighborhood.
So to protect your investment should you (or your heirs) need to sell your home, and to make sure what you put in makes the most sense for how you live and for the value of your house, I’ve developed four Sensible Style design principles that underpin almost every kitchen I design.
This kitchen works beautifully for its family
(Photo Courtesy: Jamie Gold Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC)
Sensible Style Principle #1 – Design for how you really live
It’s easy to get tempted into thinking you’re going to create seven-course sit-down dinners after a night watching the Food Channel, or host sophisticated cocktail evenings after a Mad Men marathon, but if your life lends itself more to kids’ birthday parties, small family dinners and pot lucks with friends, there’s really no reason to invest in the equipment needed to produce events that will rarely or never take place. (Chances are, that equipment wouldn’t make most of your neighbors’ final project lists either.) Choose appliances, storage and surfaces that make sense for how you will really use the space on a regular basis.
Engineered stone is ideal for a family kitchen’s countertops
(Photo Courtesy: Silestone)
Sensible Style Principle #2 – Honor your home’s existing architecture
Some styles work well together, like the modern kitchen my parents chose for their San Francisco Victorian. Others clash, like a French Country kitchen in a Mid-Century Modern ranch. Consider the architectural details in adjacent rooms and the overall style of the house when creating a new, open floor plan kitchen. Ignoring those leads to a lot of buyer remorse, (and more changes elsewhere that you didn’t have to make).
Take cues from the architecture of adjacent rooms for your kitchen design
(Photo Courtesy: CWP)
Sensible Style Principle #3 – Invest wisely
Invest in the right appliances, features and finishes for the value of your home and neighborhood. As I often tell readers and prospective clients, a $100,000 kitchen won’t make a $250,000 home a $350,000 home. Spending too much will delight the next owners of your house, but you’ll likely never recoup that money. Spending too little is a mistake, as well. It means your home will suffer in comparison to others in its area and price range.
This Grand Palais range needs a palatial kitchen!
(Photo Courtesy: La Cornue)
Sensible Style Principle #4 – Respect neighborhood values
When planning a new kitchen, keep in mind neighborhood values. Chances are, you chose the neighborhood in part because you shared them. That means you’ll want appropriate storage, surfaces and layout to meet the type of household that you have and that surround you. If you must have fire-engine red in your kitchen, for example, best not to put it on your appliances, cabinets or countertops if you live in a traditional area. Splash it on the walls or incorporate it into your fabrics – choices that are easily changed down the line.
Contemporary works in some areas, not others
(Photo Courtesy: Wood-Mode)