Spokane Kitchen: My Sentimental First
I am excited to be starting something new with my blog and newsletter... well, a few things really. Past newsletters may now be viewed on the website at any time simply by going to the now-published blog! Secondly, as projects are completed, we will do a little 'story' for each one, sharing the process, experiences, goals, and what we did to meet those goals.
Rather than starting with our most current projects, I thought it would be nice to backtrack a bit and catch up to modern times. What better way to start than with my first professional project? I still remember the phone call as clear as if it were yesterday. A flustered woman with an English accent calls the office I was working at and says "can you do a red, high-gloss kitchen?" When I tell her that of course, we can do this, she was so relieved. She had called every kitchen designer in town and all said they couldn't do this. Amazing that anyone would pass on this amazing and fun opportunity- and boy, what they were missing with the incredible client!
I had the extreme pleasure of developing the concept for this kitchen with a fun and funky layout, brilliant colors, and an edgy approach. Here is the sketch I did for one of our first presentations.
I'll never forget the fun I had tile shopping with the owner, then we would head to the nearest restaurant for martinis and fries to celebrate our shopping successes. Red, high-gloss cabinets were created with an Italian laminate that replicated the pattern of Bubinga wood, but with an opalescent finish. We introduced a green, glass tile with a similar, subtle opalescent finish. While I do not have the ordering sheets, I'll tell you this- it was terrifying to place the cabinet orders. The toe kicks are one unit, ordered by length, and excess is needed to serve as fillers... and the right amount of fillers. It is important to note which cabinet sides are finished, paneled, or unfinished. But, the real terror was in being sure those tall cabinets would end before the wall returned. Well, that and making sure that I indicated the toe kick on two sides of the island base cabinets instead of just one. In fact, that turned out to be my one mistake with my first order.
Something that is fun to note is that the sketch is not an exact replica... or even close to being a replica to the actual constructed space. In fact, when this is seen in design, the sketch is usually completed AFTER the project has been installed and complete. Designers will fine tune the feeling and give a very good idea of what to expect, but the only way to really know what the final product will look like is to see it. There are just too many variables (for the most part) to be that spot on.
After selecting tile and cabinet color, my lovely client came to me with orange glass-blown light fixtures to place in front of the windows.
When the homeowner sent me some photos of purple vases to put on the island, I finally had to critique a home owner's choices for the first time. I was so nervous, and I think the way I said it was along the lines of "Ha, those are so great, but we have to be careful that the house doesn't start to look like an episode of the Flinstones!" We were getting a bit cartooney (it's a word if I say it is).
This is a sad story though. Because I left the firm I was working for before I ever saw it fully completed. These photos were sent to me by my replacement, who eventually bought the firm and still runs it successfully today as a design-build. While the kitchen and a few bathroom shots are all I have today, I had so much fun working with this family to design the bar in the basement, the laundry room, and all bathrooms as well as selecting colors and assisting with exterior finish selections.
Please feel free to ask questions about this home and the decisions and challenges we faced. It was a very exciting process and will always be a special memory in getting to know these fantastic people and having such trust placed in me to create their dream home!