At Robin Heard Design, we believe designing a kitchen takes more than industry know-how and a list of trusted, qualified contractors to execute the design perfectly. It takes more than a love of trendsetting tile or streamlined, top-of-the-line appliances. We believe an ideal kitchen is more than utilitarian; it’s also deeply personal.
Like any other room in a home, to get it right, you need to strike the perfect balance between functionality, style, and personality. Going too far in one direction usually sacrifices the others. But blending each aspect together equally creates absolute magic. And that’s the story we’re telling today.
Designing Yellow Ferry
Our Yellow Ferry kitchen project began as any other might. Our client wanted her kitchen to function better. It was beautiful, yes, but after years of frustration in her cooking experience, she was ready to ditch it all. There was an obvious challenge to this desire, though, because the footprint of the kitchen itself couldn’t be changed.
The question of how to make this kitchen work might seem insurmountable at first glance: If the footprint couldn’t be changed, how could we possibly transform it into a space that would support our client at her core?
Trusting the Process
As always, the answer was for our client to trust our processes and for us to create ideal solutions for her by starting with a return to the basics. Our focus, first and foremost, became flow and function.
You see, once our client walked us through the kitchen and showed us exactly how she was functioning with the existing design, it turns out what frustrated her the most was her overall cooking setup. Sure, she had everything she needed, but somehow it never came together smoothly. Cooking ended up being a laborious affair and the entire zone felt awkward and dysfunctional. So, we dove in deeper to understand exactly what she needed, getting clear on how (and even what) she likes to cook and noting a list of everything she wished she could have - even if it seemed unrealistic.
Mapping out our plan
In mapping out our new plan - complete with all of her must-haves, as well as many of her wish list items - we knew that while we couldn’t increase the square footage, we could physically relocate and reimagine stations while working within the same general layout.
Out went the old cabinets, and in came brand new custom cabinetry we designed to take advantage of every single previously-unused small space. Right-handed sink placement, pull- out drawers, lazy susans, and specialty storage allowed us to work within the confines of the project, transforming a once-despised kitchen into our client’s everyday haven.
Personalizing a Kitchen design
Design - and especially kitchen design - is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It must be tailored exactly to meet each client’s needs, as well as the needs and challenges of the space.
And while the before and after comparisons we see everywhere these days of cramped and small kitchens to large, wide-open floor plans are impressive, the reality is that not every home can (or should) accommodate that type of change.
Historical homes, unique homes (like Yellow Ferry), and homes with completely unexpected roadblocks need a careful assessment to bring out the best in the space before defaulting to what everyone else seems to be doing (we customize our services to accommodate each project’s unique needs).
But these exceptional homes and their owners do still deserve transformational design attention, and that may not always be only skin deep.
The innards of a design - be it cabinet organization, mechanical placements, or electrical rerouting - may not be as eye-catching or “sexy,” but they can be practical and personal solutions that matter so much more beyond just looking pretty. And in the end, they’re exactly what makes this kitchen sing for our client.
Are you in Marin or Sonoma county or the surrounding areas and in need of a customized kitchen design that meets your needs while looking fresh and beautiful? Reach out and tell us about your project.