KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Aug 03 2011

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“Strangled by stuff”—keeping it simple

Kevin Henry’s latest blog for this collaborative got me thinking. He wrote about the amount of choices we have today, not just limited to kitchen or bath design, but across the board. And how perhaps our choices are too many. Clients start to get that “glazed over” look when he starts to review all the options that are available in materials today. He also mentioned that you can’t even get a cup of coffee today without a plethora of choices, and although we are all fortunate to be able to have all these choices in a land of plenty, it can backfire on you.

This morning I picked up a design magazine that’s strictly focused on homes in my state. I won’t mention the name of the magazine, as I really like the folks who are associated with it (not to mention the fact that they have published several of my projects in the past), but some of the content leaves me shuddering. If overblown, over-done, over-the-top decorating (I won’t call it design) is what people want, stop the world, I wanna get off…

For some reason, people seem to equate large size, overdecorated grandiose rooms with good design. I’m guessing it started back in the ’80s with the emergence of the McMansion. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been in and admittedly designed several homes that could double as bus terminals. Thankfully, this trend has gone away, replaced with better-scaled, more energy-efficient smaller homes.

The current economy has made most of us not only scale back, but there are still a lot of people out there who equate bigger with better. And designers who will load up these homes with way too much “stuff.” I’m talking not only about the living rooms and bedrooms, but also the kitchens. Are any of you designers out there still doing those huge “French”-style kitchens with tons of corbels, crown molding and center islands that you can’t even reach across? When I’m in one of these kitchens, I feel like I can’t breathe and that I’m being strangled by stuff.

Maybe you’re already thinking that I’m shooting myself in the foot by eschewing this type of work. The more stuff you pile in, the more money you make, right? Perhaps I have too much of a conscience, but I can’t do it anymore.

As a green designer, my first priority is to deliver a well-designed space that not only meets the needs and requests of my clients, but is also kinder and gentler to the planet. I can still do this and make money without going completely crazy with an over-the-top, overblown design.

Designing spaces with high-quality materials, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, as well as water-saving toilets and plumbing fixtures, can be just as beautiful and profitable, without all the overblown “stuff.” I love designing simple, classic kitchens that work. Kitchens that give me a good feeling when I walk into them, and let me breathe.

Patricia Gaylor

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Bath Design, Green, Kitchen Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.