25 April 2019


Forty-five plus years ago, while still living a post-hippie lifestyle, I attended my first Earth Day in Los Angeles. I was working at one of the first 24-hour gas stations in Los Angeles, where gas was 25 cents a gallon. A couple of bucks would fill the tank of my, mint condition, 1955 VW Bug, almost to the brim.

I was invited to attend a day in the park by a young woman who wrote for an ecological magazine, a “commie rag”, as my father would say. She would come in late at night to get gas and we would talk about movies, politics and the world around us. Her passion and main train of thought was about the environment and her involvement in the upcoming Earth Day festival. At the time, Earth Day had the overtones of a “love-in” or anti-war rally of the sixties with music and speeches, but instead of the war in Vietnam, the direction had shifted to the environment.

The focus of Earth Day in 1970 was about the quality of our air and water as well as the use of pesticides in farming and toxic waste being dumped in the ocean. And on that sunny spring Saturday in the park, with the sun shining down, out of a clear blue sky, global warming or the thought of climate change was far from the minds of this eclectic group of people, holding hands and singing along with Joni Mitchell’s, 70’s hit and anthem of the fledgling environmentalist movement, "Big Yellow Taxi", one of the most prophetic songs ever to be written.

During the day’s event of music and speeches, my friend invited me to the podium to say a few words during an open “mic” period in between sets. I remember my stomach feeling like it was tied in a knot, as I had never spoken in front of a large group before. A light breeze blew through my shoulder length hair and I can still feel the way the sun played upon my face. I don’t remember much of what I said that day, a blessing of time I think, other than these few words, “the future is deeply rooted in the actions we take today”, and from that moment forward I become an environmentalist.

Now after all these years the movement is under attack from all sides, challenging and dismissing years of recorded data, attacking the credibility of thought-leaders, scientists and engineers, but the worst part is that the confidence of the American consumer has been shaken and they have begun to question an idea that had touched their lives. Simple things like recycling their trash or driving a fuel-efficient car or purchasing energy star appliances has begun feel silly as if they were the butt of a secret joke.

It all became very clear for me one evening as I sat at the kitchen table, helping my son with his Earth Science homework, when he asked me “what if all these things we do around the house, don’t change anything?”  POW!...right between the eyes by one of my own. It was like being asked if I believed in GOD. I sat dumbfounded for a minute or two and looking him straight in the eyes I said…”Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?

I explained to him that we, as individuals can make a difference, by the choices we make and the actions we take, we can make a lasting impact on the world around us. So, yes…the things we do around the house to lower our carbon-footprint, like taking shorter showers or changing out light bulbs or compositing or bring our own bags to the market…do make a difference.

So even if climate change or global warming were not an issue, I ask, is it wrong to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and seek alternative energy resource? Is it wrong to want a more energy efficient automobiles or home appliances? Is it wrong to conserve and protect our limited natural resources? Is it wrong to want to make a difference in the world around us? No, it is not wrong to want and expect these things, but we have to take action and we cannot wait for the government or a group or committee for the answers, we, as individuals, hold the power to make a difference and by the choices we make and the actions we take, we can alter the course of life on this planet, now and for generations to come.

Happy Earth Day 2019

17 April 2019


Free and easy, open and inviting…these are the new adjectives that best describe the modern kitchen. A room with out boundaries or barriers, a room free from conventional thought, a room seeking a new name to clarify its new role in the American home. A room that has gone from the “heart of the home” to the  the new command center for daily American life.

The modern kitchen is open to the rest of the home and as such the room most function on several levels, from food preparation to social interaction, from entertainment center to living-room. The modern kitchen must blend seamlessly into the living and family areas of the home, it must impress as well as be useful, successfully achieving the delicate balance between form and function. To this end, extremes must be avoided, volumes must be contained and styles measured.

It is a given that the kitchen must look nice, but the cabinetry and appliances must be of the utmost efficiency, creating a space that is neutral in character.
The modern kitchen, in its new domestic role, finds itself reflecting a family style based on the sharing of traditional roles and function. The living area embraces the kitchen as a multifunctional arena, were food is prepared, people talk, homework is finished and guests are entertained.

ABOUT: Designer, speaker, writer, Kevin Henry has been actively developing the luxury kitchen community for over 30 years. He is recognized by both the the kitchen+bath as well as the luxury A+D communities as an influencer and mentor. Kevin is currently the US Director of Business Development for noblessa|usa and can be reched at kevin.henry@noblessa.org

19 March 2019


With space at a premium, imagine a kitchen without boundaries or barriers, an environment free from conventional thought and restrictions, a kitchen created to successfully achieve the delicate balance between form and function, reflecting the needs and life style of the modern homeowner.

The new "kitchen matrix" allows for maximum usage of space with the focus on utilization and optimization of the interiors and exposed work areas, allowing the homeowner, apartment dweller or loft inhabitant to maximize the usage of the space at hand. Like the Roman God Janus, who could see the past and future at the same time, the modern kitchen is centered on the duality of purpose and space.

The new approach to kitchen design is to challenge the way we look at space, so we may better understand the problem. Modern kitchen design must move away from a one-dimensional approach to design and to think of the kitchen as a multi-dimensional canvas. The static, cluttered, restricted and unchanging kitchen of the past must now evolve into a living stage, a place where it is possible

to create an environment that alters old beliefs about space and structure and infuse new concepts that reflect the needs of today’s modern homeowner.

Today’s kitchen has grown far from its primary function of food preparation to that of “the social center of the home”, the family, both nuclear as well as tribal, still gathers to share, rejuvenate and commune together. The walls have come down and this once hidden and isolated feminine domain has now become apart of a

larger social arena. It serves as a meeting place, a dinning room, a home-office as well as a place to do homework or crafts with the kids; it can even serve as a hide away for quite reflection, or a place to gather for family fun and social entertaining.

In its new domestic role, the modern kitchen finds itself reflecting a family lifestyle based on the sharing of traditional roles and functions. The living area embraces the kitchen as a multifunctional arena, were food is prepared, people talk, homework is finished and where family and friends sit by a modern hearth to bath in the warmth of community.

Today’s kitchen is open to the rest of the home, and as such, the kitchen now must function on several levels, from food preparation to social interaction, from entertainment center to living-room. More furniture, than cupboards, the modern kitchen must blend seamlessly into the living areas of the home.

14 March 2018


A few years back, while preparing a marketing study for an Italian kitchen manufacturer looking to expand their presence in North America…I made a startling discovery…kitchens were not just for women.  The industry demographics were all wrong and misleading.  The popular myth that women were the driving point of all kitchen sales was an assumption.  It was believed that the prototypical kitchen consumer was female, married, 35 – 45 with one or more child.  And this was true on the whole…but what we discovered was that economics and age changed everything. 

Middle-class kitchens with children still at home were female driven and functional by nature.  Breakfast and dinner were prepared by Mom and homework was done at the kitchen table…all very “June Cleaver”, all very American.  But when it came to up-market, affluent kitchens…the tables were turned and the kitchen went from one of traditional design and functionality to one of clean and simple lines and cooking as entertainment.  And at the helm we discovered a 55 – 65 year old male, directing the design and purchase of this new playground.  Where the female, middle-class purchaser was focused on function, convenience and budget, the affluent male buyer is focused on aesthetics, technology and value. 

Once considered off limits to the American male, today’s modern kitchen has become the new workshop, a place of refuge that our fathers once spent hours locked away on weekends, tinkering, building, repairing and mostly escaping the pressures of everyday life, as well as the wife and kids. Clean modern lines, sleek glass and chrome surfaces and enough technology to launch a mission to mars…Today’s male has found a new venue for relaxation and self-expression.

In a recent UK study regarding the cooking habits of the British Male, some very startling statics have emerged to further challenge our perceptions and assumptions.   As women move in greater numbers into the workforce and in some cases taking the role of “bread-winner”, it appears that men have taken to their new domestic position with relish.
In the UK study:
  • 86% of males polled cook meals regularly
  • The average male surveyed spends up to 11 ½ hours weekly preparing and cooking meals.
  • Those interviewed said they can prepare 4 meals a week from a repertoire of 11 recipes from scratch
  • 2/3rds of those polled say they cook far more than their father’s simple weekend efforts on the barbeque.
  • 63% prepare weekday meals
  • 37% prepare kids meals and packed lunches.
  • The average male surveyed has spent up to $700 a year on kitchen gadgets and equipment.
  • 44% would rather spend money on kitchen tools than the new tech gadget
  • 28% would give up their season tickets for a new kitchen appliance.
  • The top three kitchen wish-list items:
    • New Cookware (38%)
    • A new Oven or Range (36%)
    • Quality Knife Set (35%)
 With the proliferation of cooking shows, mostly with male chefs in the leading role, 7 out of 10 males polled felt more confident in the their role as home-chef and that most felt that they were far better cooks than their female domestic partners.

To the modern male, today’s kitchen is about lifestyle and it’s about living.  If stress and anxiety are the bi-products of the modern world, then nothing is more coveted by today’s male than relaxation and contentment. 

His kitchen can be defined by the details.  When designing for the male, it’s important to speak about the intangible aspects of the kitchen we must address happiness and comfort, taste and design, exclusivity and uniqueness.  The kitchen must be viewed as a reward for his hard work, a symbol of his accomplishments.

When it comes to the kitchen, he wants the best the industry has to offer.  To him, spending more for quality is worth it and it is expected.  He believes that value is more important than price and that “brand” means security and quality. 
The products he chooses for his kitchen must be manufactured by a well-known and trusted name and is prestigious as well as exclusive.

Socially driven and status aware, exclusivity and appearance is the key to his personality.  He looks for products that are unique and will enhance the way he is perceived by others.  Branding is at the heart of his decision making, as he believes; they are the traditional indicators of quality.   It’s about the pleasure of owning an original.  It’s about exclusivity.  And ultimately, it’s about self-expression. 

Up until recently, the kitchen was designed as a functional laboratory for a single participant, the “woman of the house”, the ‘little lady’, “mom”.  It was laid out with assembly line efficiency with a window centered on the sink so mom, in her frilly apron and pearls, could watch the little ones in the back yard at play.

The evolution of the Male Centric Kitchen has grown far from its primary function of food preparation, and nurturing to that of “social arena”, serving as living room, dinning room, home-office, entertainment and media center.   More democratic than “Moms” kitchen, everyone is welcomed, if not encouraged, to participate in the Male Centric Kitchen. 

Simple and clean, open and inviting, the exclusion of all things extraneous best describes the Male Centric Kitchen.  A kitchen without boundaries or barriers, a kitchen free from conventional thought and restrictions, a kitchen created to reflect the individual.

The Male Centric Kitchen, in its new domestic role, finds itself reflecting a family style based on the sharing of traditional roles and function.  The living area embraces the kitchen as a multifunctional arena, were food is prepared, people talk, guests are entertained and the last email of the day is read and responded too…a space where the day begins and the party always ends.

28 December 2017

Kitchen Sink Evolves from Lowly One-Dimensional Vessel to a Multi-Level, Work Center

In the beginning, when our cousins first climbed out of the trees, they would gather around the watering hole at the end of a long day of hunting and gathering, grunt and whistle about their day, and take a drink to refresh themselves and maybe soak their bare feet in the cool water. As we began to build shelters and move indoors, we created a smaller version of the community watering hole in the corner of our tiny, one-room structures. At first, this indoor watering hole was made from a dried gourd or a clay pot or a stone bowl. It is hard to believe that over the eons, the sink, as we know it, has evolved very little other than adding a hole in the bottom to drain its contents with the advent of indoor plumbing.
PeteWalker, designer, inventor, and founder of theWalker Design Group, and developer of the Proximity PrinciplesTM, says “A kitchen should be organized in a sequence of task-based work centers in specific proximity to each other relative to tasks as they occur in the art of cookery”
To this end, Mr. Walker has created the ProximityBasin™, transforming the lowly kitchen sink from a static, one-dimensional vessel into a multi-task, multi-level work center that forms the core of the Proximity|KitchenSystemTM. According to Mr. Walker, “The Proximity|Basin combines a set of innovative, integrated accessories and functions that make its use far easier, safer and more efficient than a garden-variety kitchen sink”. 
The beauty of the ProximityBasint is that it can be incorporated into a larger integrated prep or scullery center, in stainless steel or teak, or used as a stand-alone element under-mounted to any solid-surface countertop material.
  • The ProximityBasinTM is "bent and welded” 16 gauge stainless steel throughout, not “drawn” or stamped.
  • The drain is located in the right-hand rear corner, allowing for the concentration of piping, providing more efficient use of cabinetry below. 
  • The ProximityBasin is 6” deep; the bottom is relatively flat. This allows the use of the Basin’s floor as an additional work surface.
  • The corners of the ProximityBasin, both horizontal and vertical, are 5/8” radius, the standard required by the National Sanitation Foundation/ for the ease of cleaning.
  • All ProximityBasins are delivered in a reusable, zero-impact, returnable, freight-free crate,
  • Simplified ProximityBasins are available in 36”, 42” and 48” configurations.
  • Accessories may be purchased separately or as packages with the ProximityBasins.
  • All ProximityBasins and accessories are made entirely in the USA.
Courtesy to the trade. Dealer inquiries welcomed.
For more information regarding theProxiityBasin or other Proximity | KitchenSystem products, please visit www.proximitykitchen.com or email your inquiry to info@proximitykitchen.com

30 November 2017

The Natural Kitchen

I remember growing up as a kid in post-war America, where food seemed to be at the center of life in the Henry household.  Sunday was a family chicken dinner, Thursday spaghetti, and meatballs, Friday was fresh bread and pizza from Bruno’s and the other nights we had TV dinners on the sofa watching our favorite shows, or more like my dad’s favorite shows.  Although I can’t recall my mother cooking, other than our weekly chicken dinner, I do have vivid memories of Saturday morning shopping missions to the local Safeway supermarket in the San Fernando Valley.

Living in the shadow of nuclear war with the Russians, those “Godless Commies” as my father would call them, we shopped as if we were shopping for the end of western civilization.  Eggs, bacon, breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, assorted fruits and a few vegetables and cans upon cans of Jolly Green Giant corn and peas. I remember years later, helping my parents to pack up the house for a move to New Hampshire and finding cans of corn and peas in the pantry dating back to the Kennedy administration.  And meat, my God, we purchased and froze more meat than we could ever possibly eat. I have no memory of ever actual defrosting anything, other than my dad driving down to the butcher for fresh steaks because the ones he had were still frozen and far from ready to barbecue.

The point of this jog down memory-lane is to point out that much of America’s shopping and eating habits have changed very little since the 1950’s and I would go so far as to say that they have gotten far worse.  Today we need to worry about everything from an increase in food-allergies to diabetes.  As well as added growth hormones, anti-biotic to genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and that directly affects our overall health.   I believe that it’s time to rethink how we eat, what we eat and most importantly how we shop and prepare our meals.

For years I have been traveling back and forth to Europe for my work as a kitchen designer, and the opportunity presents its self to stay with friends instead of a hotel.  It has always amazed me that the kitchen, like in the US,  is the hub of daily life…it seems as if the same care and thought went into each meal, but something was very different, every meal was a symphony of color, taste, and texture.  From the morning meal of eggs, cheese, and assorted meats, as well as juice and coffee to the evenings' meal of fish or chicken, vegetables, bread, and wine.  For years I thought it was just the fact I was in a different environment than I was used to and that somehow this made the experience different.  And then it came to me.

In the middle of a lively debate, over an after-dinner glass of wine and a plate of assorted cheese, at my friends kitchen table in the Italian countryside, we were discussing the merits of American versus European kitchen design when we happen upon the topic of refrigeration, when the fundamental differences between European and American life hit me…the average American family was still living and buying food on a 50-year-old model based upon an Industrial Food Complex of corporate farming, industrial processing and packaging and national retail food distribution, all which encourages mass consummation and storage of foodstuffs that have been pumped full with additives for longer shelf life. And as when I was a child, we still go out once a week and buy as if the world is about to end…hence the need for a huge, monolithic, stainless steel box we call a refrigerator. 

On the other hand, our European cousins are living an almost Utopian lifestyle when compared to ours.  Thinking that the smaller, 60cm (24”) refrigerator was due to the smaller nature of European kitchens, it was quickly brought to my attention how wrong I was and the smaller fridge was reflective of lifestyle and the daily nature of meal preparation.  Almost everything is purchased for that day’s preparation and consumption.  Fresh bread from the corner bakery, fresh fish or poultry for the evening meal, eggs, milk from a local farm and fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from the weekly farmers market or freshly picked from their own home garden.

The question is whether or not we can change our eating and buying habits for better health and nutrition.  Dr Mark Hyman believes that modern health care is flawed because it is based on the premise of treatment and not prevention.  Dr Hyman believes that the future of healthcare will take place in the family kitchen and not the doctor’s office.  

He went on to say “We ate ourselves into this problem, we can eat our way out”.

I have to agree with the good doctor, I do believe we can eat our way back to a healthy lifestyle and I also believe it starts in the kitchen. I have given much thought to this and feel that we all can make a few minor changes in the way we approach the way we purchase, store and prepare food.

The Natural Kitchen is a healthier as well as a sustainable environment. Here a few simple ways you can change your life as well improve the world around you.

The Natural Kitchen:
1.    Buy local. Buy fresh, Buy daily.      
2.    Plant a garden…Grow your own 
3.    Use your leftovers
4.    Store your food correctly for longer life
5.    Use a larder for vegetables and certain dairy products
6.    Replace your appliances to reduce energy consumption
7.    Compost your organic kitchen waste
8.    Reduce, reuse and recycle!
9.    Support the Non-GMO Project
10.  Use natural lighting when possible, LED’s when necessary.
11.  Live mindfully. Eat consciously. Choose as if it makes a difference.



19 October 2017


I have been designing kitchens for over 30 years and like most of my peers, associates, and contemporaries, I have followed religiously the holy tenets of our faith…the un-questioned “work-triangle”, that was until I met a holy-man from a faraway land called Michigan. Hewas on a pilgrimage to share his vision of how things should work and a set of principles to live by.

It is truly hard to believe that we are still designing kitchens based on an idea born out of the “rational” movement of the 1900’s. The work-tri-angle was created to maximize the efficiency and eliminate unneeded steps and movements in the preparation and cooking of the daily meals, thus allowing the woman of the house to free up her valuable time for more important tasks like cleaning, laundry, and childcare.

This once private domain of the feminine world has now given way to a new social order and reflects the world that we live in. Today we find a more “democratized” environment, where everyone is welcomed in the kitchen, a place where family, friends, and guests are invited, if not encouraged, to participate in the ritual of preparation.

And with this increased activity and additional bodies, all in a high-traffic ballet of fire, boiling water and sharp pointy things, we find that the assembly-line kitchen of the past century, with its uniform horizon of sink, dishwasher, cook-top, oven and refrigerator, forever locked in its limited one-person “work-triangle”, must make way to a new way of thinking.

The pilgrim I speak of is industry thought-leader, designer, and manufacturer, Pete Walker. His evolutionary or maybe more correct, revolutionary concept is called the “Proximity Principles©”. According to Pete’s first principle, “A kitchen should be arranged around a series of task-based work centers in relative proximity to each other and in proper sequence relative to tasks as they actually occur in the art of cookery”.

According to Pete, the Principles dictate the adaptation of the site conditions to various task-appropriate layouts and the results of their use are uniformly functional. As is true of any situation, site and structural issues and the constraints of budget will impact the final result. In other words, no matter the size, shape or budget of the kitchen, the Principles always improve the use of whatever space is available.

To further his beliefs, Pete has created a line of eco-centric kitchens that embody his philosophy; the Proximity Kitchen System™ eliminates the vast number of unnecessary options, elements, and configurations currently found in both domestic and imported mass-manufactured kitchen product lines. His streamlined collection leaves the designer with an elegant intersection of minimalist product and maximizes achievable function.

A kitchen based on the “Principles” is therefore no longer skewed by geometric happenstance; the obsolete “work triangle”, but, based on a set of irreducible “first principles”. These principles organize a clear set of design techniques and protocols which create space that allows an individual to move gracefully through a kitchen where everything comes easily to hand as it is needed or as Pete would say, “Life within reach”.

Like any movement or belief out of the norm, Pete and his “Principles” has its share of nay-sayers and distracters, but there seems to be an ever-growing legion of architects, interior designers and kitchen specialist, who call themselves “Proxies”, that have embraced this new thought in both mind and heart as well as action in the practice of their trade.

If you would like to know more about Pete and the Principles or would like additional information regarding the Proximity Kitchen System, I would encourage you to visit www.proximitykitchen.com