Making Room for the Unique in Custom Kitchen Remodeling
Have you ever had clients whose dream custom kitchen remodel project included ornate wood moulding in a contemporary style home?
Kingsley Adegboye’s recent article in Vanguard News highlights both the appeal of custom kitchen remodeling and the difficulties homeowners and designers may face in creating a design that will complement the house. More attention and money is spent on kitchen customization than on any other area of the home. With myriad styles available, including designers’ and customers’ personal interpretations of those styles, it’s difficult to categorize some kitchen designs. Homeowners frequently plan around specific elements to include in their kitchen rather than following a particular style. For the designer, however, one of the challenges is to ensure a unique custom designed kitchen doesn’t contradict the overall style of the home. For example, natural elements like wood may be incorporated into the clean, flat, spacious look of a contemporary kitchen as veneers to add a sense of warmth. (You can read the entire article, “For Uniqueness, Clients Prefer Custom-Made Kitchens,” here).
So what can you do as professional custom kitchen designers and remodelers to capitalize on the wide-open world of unique customer inspirations while turning the customer’s vision into a custom designed kitchen with a coherent style?
Flex the Style
In the face of so many interpretations and re-interpretations, truly “contradicting” a style is not so easy. There is a fair bit of play in any look. Does the customer want ornate carving in an otherwise clean, flat space? Find a place for it. A style is more like a vocabulary than a book. Making space for the customer’s vision is one of the most attractive selling points of the custom approach. Unless the homeowners are design virtuosi, a home’s style is likely to be more eclectic and selective than unified throughout in the first place.
Reincorporate the Elements
If your clients want to add a piece to their kitchen that might seem out of place, find out if it is the material or the element itself that most appeals to them. If it’s the element, show the customer examples of cabinet doors, counters, range hoods, etc. that can be custom made in a medium or style perhaps more suitable for a harmonious look.
Reincorporate the Media
If it’s the look of the material – wood, stone, glass, or metal – that clients find most appealing about a particular problematic piece, let the customer know there are multiple ways of including the media in the kitchen style of their choice. Wood doesn’t have to be forbidden in contemporary design, nor is a manufactured material like concrete off-limits in a more traditional kitchen.
Emphasize the Options
Inspiration can sometimes be myopic. Clients may have a unique vision for a part of the kitchen while overlooking other components, perhaps assuming they cannot be customized. If you show your customers the full range of custom kitchen options available in the style that best approximates their vision, they can make selections that progress naturally from their original idea rather than being shoehorned into choosing something “better” stylistically but distant from their own creative spark.