Posted in Hot Topics, Kitchen Trends, Who Knew

Can you get sued for bad taste?

 
Gramercy Park Hotel lobby

The short answer is yes! You can get sued for bad taste. When you scroll the website of New York City’s Luxury Hotel, Gramercy Park, you immediately get a sense of luxury with photos showing luxuriously appointed rooms and private residences with custom designed bathrooms and kitchens by British designer John Pawson.

If the stellar photos are not enough, quotes from reputable publications flash on the web page confirming that this is the place of true luxury. 

“TRULY GRAND COMFORT RULES”, The New York Times
“CHIC SENSUALITY”, Travel & Liesure
“RAISING THE BAR”, Vogue
“UNIQUE, Another Lifestyle Revolution” Time Magazine
“IAN SCHRAGER’S NEWEST MASTERPIECE”, Hospitality Magazine

 And then there is the case of power couple, Jon Asgeir Johannesson and Ingibjorg Palmadottir, owners of a swanky New York apartment, (one of the twenty three private residences), located on a full floor in the Gramercy Park Hotel Building. I was tipped off about this story by Sara Blask, who writes for the informative Oyster Blog, Insights from the Hotel Authority. Apparently the couple, hit by hard times, decided to save a buck and install Ikea Cabinets in their luxury apartment. 

There is more irony to be found in this story, so with no further delay, I will point you towards Sarah Blask’s article:

IKEA doesn’t fly at the Gramercy Park Hotel

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Posted in Consumer Research, Ethics in Blogging, Ethics in Interior Design, Happenings around the Blog, Hot Topics, Who Knew

A Cautionary Tale: Identity Theft on the Internet


Things are not what they appear to be on internet blogs. I send you over to Nicolette’s, “Comfort and Joy” Blog, to read her eye opening experience.

Of Scruples, Scams, Divas, and My Evil Twin

“Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive!”

Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

photo credit: Daniel Rozin’s Weave Mirror

Posted in Designing with pets in mind, Hot Topics, Humor in the Kitchen, Kitchen Faucets, Managing Expectations, Who Knew, Working with a Kitchen Designer

Managing Design Expectations: The Client -Designer Relationship

The Kitchen Designer: Hello, this is Laurie. How may I help you?

Client: Oh Hello, before you come out to my house to take measurements, I have one other request for my kitchen design. At our first meeting you asked us if there was one primary cook or two and if we had any special needs we want you to take into consideration.
The Kitchen Designer: Yes?
Client: Well, yes, we thought about your question and realize we do have a family member that uses the kitchen quite frequently and we think we need to take his special needs into consideration.
The Kitchen Designer: Oh?
Client: Yes, you see we have a cat that won’t drink from his bowl. He drinks from the kitchen faucet. Actually, our cat is very fond of water. The only problem we have with this is that he can’t turn the faucet off when he’s finished. We need you to help us with this. Can you specify a sensor into the faucet that will turn off when there is no motion?
The Kitchen Designer: Well… sensor faucets are on the market and they are becoming more popular…I would have to check specs to see how we could make this work…I suppose…can I get back to you with an answer?
Client: Sure, that would be fine. Here is a video we took of our cat, perhaps it would be easier if we could just show you what we mean. If you can just review this, and maybe if you can also show this around to your vendors to get the best deal, we want the faucet to be triggered by a sensor…our water bill is getting pretty high with the faucet on all day. Can you show us all the best possible options to help us out?

This is a hypothetical story, of course, using a very funny cat video submitted on line by Kim Tasky at You Tube. (She is neither a client nor the person in the above scenario.) I use this very amusing cat story to make a “tongue in cheek” point about a universal problem regarding the client-designer relationship.




The point is this:
There are some clients working under the impression that Kitchen Designers should spend time on your project researching, sourcing, evaluating, planning the best possible options to incorporate a client’s every last desire on the wish list before paying for services. There are no professions that work for free. So why do people expect to be dazzled with a design before paying for it?

You can call a plumber for a service call and he will charge you $75.00 just for the trip charge before he pulls out his plumber’s wrench.

You wouldn’t call your attorney and ask him to review your lease agreement
without expecting a bill would you?
And you wouldn’t tell your attorney “I want to see what ideas you can come up with first and then I will let you know if I will hire you.”
Perry Mason

Kitchen Designers receive a myriad of special requests for a remodel project. Some details more complex then the next to specify and execute. And most every time, the client is on a deadline because they did not budget the time to allow for the design details to be fleshed out. All projects, no matter the size, require thought and research before recommendations can be made. Here in lies the problem. How do you value your designer’s time?

How much free design do you think you are owed before paying a retainer?

Solving Design Problems: What is this service worth to you?
There is a perception problem about what a design is worth to the client. Here is the issue Designers are continually facing: a prospective client has a design problem they want their Kitchen Designer to solve for them. Designers expect a prospective client to interview with two or three designers before making a final selection. Qualified designers expect to be interviewed and are able and ready to prove their qualifications to prospective clients. But ask a Designer to pull out the “dog and pony show” for you and you may get a polite response declining your request. Internally the dialogue going through that Designer’s head may be something to the effect of “I have been doing this for 30 years, I don’t need any more practice to prove I can design.”

Ask a Kitchen Designer their opinion about “HGTV” type shows where three designers are trotted out for the client to compare three fully detailed designs and you will get very opinionated answers.

“Ideas are free but designs must be paid for.” Laurie Burke

Home improvement shows have done a disservice to the design community and have built up unrealistic expectations for clients. You would be surprised to know that a majority of potential clients expect that several design options be presented in detail before paying a retainer to contract for design services. It happens at all ends of the spectrum from the high end client to the budget minded client.

A fully detailed dimensioned design plan with elevations and renderings, before a retainer is paid is just not a workable business model for designers as it involves time without money, and giving ideas away with the ‘hope’ of getting the business is just bad business.

Charles Schulz

Hiring your Kitchen Designer should be based on several factors, creativity being one if them. Secondly, the ability to complete projects in a timely manner and within budget. Third, the ability to communicate with you, your architect, your engineer, your GC or subs throughout the job as needed. Fourth, the ability to manage obstacles as they arise, and lastly the ability to see a project to it’s completion.

Posted in Hot Topics, Ventilation

What’s in a hood? A stimulus package valued at $4,400.00



If you were in the market to redo your kitchen but afraid you would have to curb your budget due to the economic uncertainty, well here is your chance to get the beautiful custom hood you wanted at an amazing savings, plus free design services to put the look all together. Act now or you may miss your chance to win a $3200 gift certificate from Metallo Arts and 10 hours of design time from Paul Anater.

$3200 gift certificate from Metallo Arts Contact: Paul Anater

plus 10 hours of design time from Paul 727-204-8928

Anater equals a real stimulus package. p.anater@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

URLs: http://paulanater.blogspot.com , http://www.metalloarts.com

Kitchen and Residential Design, St. Petersburg, FL-based kitchen designer Paul Anater’s daily design blog; and Metallo Arts, the York, PA-based manufacturer of exquisite custom range hoods and metal counters, have teamed up to do a little market stimulating of their own.

Beginning on Friday, March 13th 2009 kitchen design fans are encouraged to direct their browsers to the landing page of Paul Anater’s daily design blog, Kitchen and Residential Design. Once there, they can enter for a chance to win a $3200 gift certificate from Metallo Arts and 10 hours of design time from Paul Anater.

Entrants must submit via e-mail their names, contact information and a short essay in which they’ll describe their fantasy kitchen. “I want people to imagine what’s possible and $3200 from Metallo Arts and $1200 worth of my time is a great place to start,” says Paul. The winning entry will be selected on April 3rd at 5pm EST and the winner will be contacted immediately.

Metallo Arts is the collaboration of entrepreneur Sheldon Gruber and fine artist Christopher Plummer. Successful businessmen in their own rights, they combine years of business experience with an artistic approach to range hood design to offer a product unlike any other. Metallo Arts is unique in the field that they are truly a company of artists, bringing diverse artistic backgrounds to bear on every project they take on.

Metallo Arts’ driving philosophy has been to take a functional necessity—range hoods—and create works of art that complement homeowners’ kitchens like never before. Clients who are provided a voice in the design process receive a finished piece that represents their individuality and style. As a highly specialized company, Metallo Arts approaches each project as a work of art using only the best materials and never compromising quality or service.

Paul Anater’s daily design blog, Kitchen and Residential Design, is seen by more than 2,000 people each week. Every day, Paul addresses an aspect of design

with an emphasis on kitchens. Readers turn to his blog for advice on everything from appliances to counter materials, from cabinetry to lighting, from wall colors to flooring. Through his blog, he seeks to dispel the myths and misinformation that surround the design process and to share a few laughs about life along the way.

As you prepare your spring home stories, please consider an interview with either Christopher Plummer, the artistic driving force behind Metallo Arts; or Paul Anater, the kitchen designer whose blog has people talking.

Best regards,

Paul Anater

Kitchen and Residential Design

###


Posted in Celebrity Kitchens, Hot Topics, Kitchen Sociology, Kitchen Trends, Men in the Kitchen

Do men like being in the kitchen?

Over at Hospitality Net, there is a question posed to the reader in an article called ‘The New Food Tourist – Gordon Ramsay Eat Your Heart Out! | By Dr Ian Yeoman, Futurologist:

Do men like being in the kitchen?

Sure they do. I am not a social forecaster but as a kitchen designer I can testify to the fact that more men are actively researching and going out to the appliance stores and doing the research on the internet just as much as women. Maybe even more so than women. I have noticed that men are less cost conscious of appliances than women are, in that men are more concerned with getting the best quality and features, and will pay more to get them. Women tend to be more focused on the interior features of the cabinets, focusing on ease of access and the colors in the kitchen and similarly will pay more for cabinets than men will. I do believe men are more focused on the mechanics of the gadgets in appliance design, less so on color of cabinets. Also I do think that it is more than a single focus for men, it does involve self-fulfillment in showing off creative cooking skills and entertaining.

The article states: As pollster Mark Penn observes ‘micro trends are based upon the idea that the most powerful forces in our society are the emerging, counterintuitive trends that are shaping tomorrow before us’. Therefore moving into the future, tomorrow’s food tourist will be the upwardly mobile male, aged 26-44 who will see cultural capital and social cachet in America’s food experiences. In general, men are becoming more interested in food. This means more connectivity between food and wine, whether it is as an incentive product for those involved in business tourism or just more men taking food tours. Deluxe kitchen manufacturers will probably offer cookery lessons with the celebrity chefs in a wonderful location so you can learn how use all those gadgets. Cookery schools with probably offer ‘Man Food’ courses for those that want to know how to ‘cook a decent curry’ for those on urban weekends. Restaurants will be taken over by budding Gordon Ramsay’s, who will fight it out just like ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. Those budding celebrity chefs will pay for the privilege for doing so and they will invite their friends and relatives to consume that food (which you will charge for) and you will then sell them a DVD of the experience.

There has been a social overhaul of the kitchen from the isolated domain of the happy homemaker to the shared open space of The Great Room. Residential kitchens are being designed for two cooks. He has his requests, she has hers. There is a social shift in who does the cooking at home, to shared responsibilities. In contrast, in hospitality kitchens, male chefs have always dominated the industry. It was always harder for women to earn the top spots in fine dining restaurants. The competition to keep women out was fierce. Still, women have proven equal rank in some of the highest rated restaurants and hotels, creating greater competition for the top spots. Cooking shows are equally populated with male and female contestants vying for the title of Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen Champ. The cooking competition shows have contributed to a new enviable social status with a celebrity like presence. Have you seen these twenty something hot shots? I think this will influence how more young men might think about a culinary career like never before. These shows are culinary boot camp. Brimming with competition, bravado and throw down, the kitchen is no place for wimps. The men on these cooking shows, some of them have a mystique to their persona similar to a rock star. Mavericks, swarthy, dead serious about food, enviable knife skills. They make cooking skills look cool. Rock on! It’s all in the competition.

This translates to what men will be requesting in their own kitchen. I do believe the kitchen is a new way for men to show off status and fashion as an extension of their personal identity, the same way a car has been a reflection of one’s identity. Poggenpohl knows this with the first Porsche designed kitchen, designed especially with men in mind. With the return in popularity of the dinner party, and the trend of the great room where the kitchen is included in the living space, I do believe men will play a bigger part of the kitchen scene. No longer will they want to be relegated to the bar-b-que. This will surely be another reason to keep marriage therapists busy.

Posted in Celebrity Kitchens, Hot Topics, Kitchen Sociology, Kitchen Trends, Men in the Kitchen

Do men like being in the kitchen?

Over at Hospitality Net, there is a question posed to the reader in an article called ‘The New Food Tourist – Gordon Ramsay Eat Your Heart Out! | By Dr Ian Yeoman, Futurologist:

Do men like being in the kitchen?

Sure they do. I am not a social forecaster but as a kitchen designer I can testify to the fact that more men are actively researching and going out to the appliance stores and doing the research on the internet just as much as women. Maybe even more so than women. I have noticed that men are less cost conscious of appliances than women are, in that men are more concerned with getting the best quality and features, and will pay more to get them. Women tend to be more focused on the interior features of the cabinets, focusing on ease of access and the colors in the kitchen and similarly will pay more for cabinets than men will. I do believe men are more focused on the mechanics of the gadgets in appliance design, less so on color of cabinets. Also I do think that it is more than a single focus for men, it does involve self-fulfillment in showing off creative cooking skills and entertaining.

The article states: As pollster Mark Penn observes ‘micro trends are based upon the idea that the most powerful forces in our society are the emerging, counterintuitive trends that are shaping tomorrow before us’. Therefore moving into the future, tomorrow’s food tourist will be the upwardly mobile male, aged 26-44 who will see cultural capital and social cachet in America’s food experiences. In general, men are becoming more interested in food. This means more connectivity between food and wine, whether it is as an incentive product for those involved in business tourism or just more men taking food tours. Deluxe kitchen manufacturers will probably offer cookery lessons with the celebrity chefs in a wonderful location so you can learn how use all those gadgets. Cookery schools with probably offer ‘Man Food’ courses for those that want to know how to ‘cook a decent curry’ for those on urban weekends. Restaurants will be taken over by budding Gordon Ramsay’s, who will fight it out just like ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. Those budding celebrity chefs will pay for the privilege for doing so and they will invite their friends and relatives to consume that food (which you will charge for) and you will then sell them a DVD of the experience.

There has been a social overhaul of the kitchen from the isolated domain of the happy homemaker to the shared open space of The Great Room. Residential kitchens are being designed for two cooks. He has his requests, she has hers. There is a social shift in who does the cooking at home, to shared responsibilities. In contrast, in hospitality kitchens, male chefs have always dominated the industry. It was always harder for women to earn the top spots in fine dining restaurants. The competition to keep women out was fierce. Still, women have proven equal rank in some of the highest rated restaurants and hotels, creating greater competition for the top spots. Cooking shows are equally populated with male and female contestants vying for the title of Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen Champ. The cooking competition shows have contributed to a new enviable social status with a celebrity like presence. Have you seen these twenty something hot shots? I think this will influence how more young men might think about a culinary career like never before. These shows are culinary boot camp. Brimming with competition, bravado and throw down, the kitchen is no place for wimps. The men on these cooking shows, some of them have a mystique to their persona similar to a rock star. Mavericks, swarthy, dead serious about food, enviable knife skills. They make cooking skills look cool. Rock on! It’s all in the competition.

This translates to what men will be requesting in their own kitchen. I do believe the kitchen is a new way for men to show off status and fashion as an extension of their personal identity, the same way a car has been a reflection of one’s identity. Poggenpohl knows this with the first Porsche designed kitchen, designed especially with men in mind. With the return in popularity of the dinner party, and the trend of the great room where the kitchen is included in the living space, I do believe men will play a bigger part of the kitchen scene. No longer will they want to be relegated to the bar-b-que. This will surely be another reason to keep marriage therapists busy.

Posted in Concrete, Consumer Protection, Counter tops, Green Design, Hot Topics, Natural Lighting, Rainforest Deforestation, Sustainable Design

Making responsible material selections.

EMOTION DRIVES THE PURCHASE
Love this counter! I just dig it. Look at the color, the patina of it. It reflects light. The direction in counter design lately is for less shiny, more informal matte finishes as well as mixing textures such as glass, natural stone, engineered stone, wood or stainless steel.

I have the same emotional “ooh-ah” reaction when I look at velvety smooth soft marble counters. The creaminess is lovely to look at but the acid etching and staining, not so pretty after years of use. As with anything, surface beauty has a story behind it. Do the research before you buy. Understand how various materials rate for maintenance and the environmental impact a product has before you buy.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Did you guess that the counter featured above is concrete? If you did, you get to pass GO and get another roll at the dice again at the eco-friendly game of design monopoly. Any outsider thinking it is a piece of cake to make selections in materials, has yet to remodel. As design and remodeling specialists in our given field, we have the added burden of keeping up with all the latest information before us to help our guide our clients with the best materials for their remodel. The truth is, it is not really a burden. It’s only a burden if you don’t bother to educate yourself. It’s a fascinating time to be in design with so many wonderful material options and information available.

Getting back to the picture above, evaluating concrete counters we can say they are a good option for a sustainable surface, as they are made from limestone, an abundant mineral. Eco-friendly aside, is concrete for you? How fastidious are you about the materials for your project? For more facts on concrete counters than you ever need to know, click here.

If you love the look of concrete like I do, a quick primer video to watch by Fu Teng Chung, Video: Concrete Countertop Vulnerabilities, will show you a concrete counter that has been installed for over twenty five years. There is no reason to limit yourself to one material. Consider the use of more than one counter surface in your design.

Quick fact: Concrete has the same porosity as marble. Translation: monitored maintenance for counter surfaces, requiring regular sealing or waxing. If the idea of “wax on/wax off” is better suited for the Karate Kid and not a part of your cleaning regimen, consider the alternatives. Or if you are athletically inclined you could work in counter maintenance as part of your arm routine. Lats Tuesday: wax the counters. (Ok, so maybe you don’t need to buff out your counters weekly, but there is maintenance, unless you have the easy going attitude that Fu Teng Chung has about his counter tops. Be truthful, can you live with irregularities and vulnerabilities?).

For a similar look without the added regimen of regular t.l.c. & maintenance, watch for the hot colors coming up in 2009 from Caesarstone. For now, one of my favorite colors with Caesarstone is # 4350, Lagos Blue. You can order it polished (left) or honed (right).

There are other quartz products out there, so don’t write to me to tell me that, I am simply showing Lagos Blue as alternative color to the concrete shown above.

AS FOR THE CABINETS…
featured featured in The New York Times, Home and Garden section, 11/26/08: Of the Sea, and Air, and Sky

…I am shocked.
The design team and homeowners selected, approved and installed Brazilian rosewood cabinets for this kitchen.

Brazilian Rosewood, (Dalbergia nigra), is listed on the official list of threatened Brazilian plants by IBAMA. It is CITES-listed, (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and illegal to trade. It is one of the most highly prized woods in Brazil.

The New York Times article does not provide all the specifications for the products, so to be fair, I do not have all the facts on this project. If anyone associated with this project can answer the question, I would be willing to post the answer here. Are the woods selected in this project FSC certified as harvested from a “well-managed” forest?

WHAT LENGTH’S WOULD YOU GO…
to own a wood product that is on the endangered list?

Brazilian Rosewood timber has been harvested since colonial times for high-quality furniture and musical instruments. Rates of deforestation are great. Regeneration appears to be poor, possibly because of seed predation by rodents. Source: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/32985

Factoid: Brazilian rosewood became famous in 1921 as an ingredient in Chanel No. 5 and continues to be harvested (often illegally and unsustainably) for fragrances, flooring, furniture, and musical instruments.
reference: Sustainable Development in the Brazilian Amazon: A Tale of Two Community-Based Organizations by Robert C. Tatum1,2 Department of Economics University of North Carolina at Asheville

This newly constructed McMansion Malibu digs featured in the New York Times article is of course, exquisite, and a testament to what money can buy . This could have been an opportunity to promote sustainable design by selecting wood products that are not derived from rain forest destruction.

SHOPPING TRIPS.

We can do a better job at reducing the negative environmental impact with sustainable design selections.

The US is the second largest importer of tropical woods. Ouch! Not really an astounding fact, is it? I am not suggesting you throw out your grandmother’s rosewood jewelry case or the buffet handed down to you from your mother. Exotic woods have always had a cache, a status symbol of wealth. It is up to Design/Build professionals for reversing this trend of unsustainable design/build construction practices and providing our clients sustainable alternatives.

MAKING RESPONSIBLE CHOICES. WHAT YOU CAN DO.

  1. Avoid any wood product that you cannot identify as domestic and second growth.
  2. For plywood, use domestic softwood plywood (pine and spruce) or hardwood plywood (maple, beech and birch).
  3. Avoid tools with wooden handles unless they are oak, ash or hickory.
  4. Buy used furniture or antiques.
  5. Always ask if any tropical woods are independently certified, such as SmartWood™. These are okay to buy.

PEACE ON EARTH: INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.
Ask for manufacturer literature that indicates their level of commitment to protecting our natural resources. Manufacturers are willing to step up their game. One example of responsible manufacturing is Caesarstone. Caesarstone’s Eco Brochure shows the company’s environmental commitment.

Look for cabinet manufacturers that have earned their certification in the groundbreaking Environmental Stewardship Program administered by the KCMA (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association). This program was recently developed in 2006 and grants annual certification to those manufacturers who meet a stringent set of environmental criteria. The criteria, designed to promote the sustainability of natural resources, reduce waste, and to reward those companies who are going above and beyond in their efforts to reduce environmental impacts. The criteria is divided into the following five categories, which manufacturers are required to demonstrate their compliance.

  1. Air Quality: Manufacturers must demonstrate their use of low formaldehyde containing raw materials. They must also demonstrate compliance with all local and federal hazardous air pollutants (HAPS) regulations.
  2. Product Resource Management: Manufacturers must demonstrate their use of recycled and sustainable products.
  3. Process Resource Management: Manufacturers must have active recycling and energy conservation programs in place.
  4. Environmental Stewardship: Manufacturers must have a written environmental policy, as well as environmental management systems in place.
  5. Community Relations: Manufacturer must demonstrate their involvement with the community through service or charitable organizations.

CONSERVATION IS NOT A DIRTY WORD.
Information is all around us. Resources abound. You can be informed. Another good source for further reading on conservation: Rainforest Alliance
Whatever you do, research your products before you buy. Look for the KCMA, FSC symbols as credible labels on your wood products.