Last date? Well, this was my last date as designer and installation technician under the moniker of Certified Ikea Design and Installation Specialist. (the qualifying term being “Certified”) What a great dance, though. I think this kitchen turned out to be quite the beauty. I just finished it Saturday. It’s interesting how a design begins. I left my first meeting with the client with a few ideas– Japanese, white, Ikea Abstract cabinets, a 4 foot wide Liebherr refrigerator, the beautiful trees of Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis outside the windows of her future open-plan revision of a classically confused 1970’s pseudo split level home. All this as well as one cool japanese Muji mechanical pencil I walked out with. My client had some major ambitions as well as a terrific vision.
So, I suppose the criteria listed seems pretty simple and clear, but there is always a challenge fitting desires into a limited space and there are always limits. Sometimes the subjective idea is just a touchstone or a place to begin, identifying the client with a sensibility and stylistic preference. Working the space is a process, sometimes offering solutions that stray from the subjective beginnings, but are more like what they wanted than what they thought. Great resolutions can often be a surprise. The only fast rule that I regularly return to is “always opt for the simpler solution” (even if it requires extra work).
I knew that the new floor plan was to be open and new windows would bring in a spectacular forest view as a dominant element to consider. I wanted a sweeping lateral motion and a very open feel. The client wanted a peninsula with seating and had already picked out the sexy Euro appliances.
We did go through our share of variations and revisions, honing the relationships, setting the visual rhythms of the doors and working out cabinet placements and functions. Kitchens require a lot of care. There is a lot going on. Multiple systems all come together and they need to work perfectly. Restrictions arise where you least expect them and then there is the all important budget. The final solution must feel “right” to the client, the most important “system” to fit in.
I don’t know where “Japan” went, but we do have a clean precise minimalist look. The client chose a beautiful custom concrete with crushed glass countertop. ( made by Dave Foley of Mankato, MN http://www.foleyconstructioninc.com/ ) It’s a beautiful grey/tan color. The floor is a knotty oak engineered plank-style flooring which runs through the house. Together these elements bring the right warmth into the room to harmonize perfectly with the forest views outside. Hey, that’s kind of Japanese.