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29 July 2015

CREATING THE ESSENTIAL KITCHEN

The evolution of the modern kitchen has grown far from its primary function of food preparation, to that of “the social center of the home”.  A place where the family, both nuclear as well as tribal, still gather to share, rejuvenate and commune together.
 Today the kitchen is still the gathering place of the tribe, but the walls have come down and this once hidden and secluded place is now part of a larger social arena.  It serves as a meeting place, a dinning room, a home-office, a place to do homework; it can even serve as a hide away for quite reflection, or a place to gather for fun and entertainment. 
 Today’s kitchen has become a place that defines the home and those that live within it.  This once private domain of the feminine world has now given way to the new social order and reflects the world that we live in.   Today we find that everyone is welcomed in the kitchen.  More and more family members and friends are invited, if not encouraged to participate in the ritual of preparation.  
And with this increased activity and additional bodies in a high-traffic ballet of fire, boiling water and sharp pointy things…we find that the assembly-line kitchen of the past with its uniform horizon of sink, dishwasher, cook-top, oven and refrigerator, forever locked in its limited one-person “work-triangle”, must give way to a new way of thinking.
 In our recent past, the collective thought of modern kitchen design was to create the “illusion of order”.  This was accomplished by hiding the true function of the kitchen.  By hiding the food, the waste and the appliances, we create the illusion of productivity and efficiency by hiding the process.  In the new school of thought, the belief is that the kitchen must be efficient to be productive, an environment that is conducive to the task at hand.  It is about changing the way we think about this space we call “kitchen” and our individual relationships to it.
 It’s about creating an environment that allows us to experience new ideas and to rediscover aspects of our lives that have been lost in the daily rush of life. 
 This new approach is to think first about the fundamental aspects of the kitchen, what we want from it and how this space can be utilized to its full potential.  We must view this space as a whole and understand the relevance and position of every item and detail in it, from the largest stew-pot to the tiniest teaspoon. 
 In the past the appliances dictated the form and flow of the kitchen, the sink under the window, the dishwasher to the right or left of the sink, the cook-top with its 12 inches on either side, the double oven that is used only for holidays and special occasions and the refrigerator, this monolith of modern technology that dominates the space.   Today, we must place the individual or individuals and the task first and then the appliance and the space needed to fulfill the task.  With a variety of people and activities we must create a fluid, interactive, multi-functional arena, where tools and materials are close at hand and within a given task boundary. 
 The 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 an arena, were food is prepared, people talk, homework is finished and guests are entertained.  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 blends seamlessly into the living areas of the home, successfully achieving the delicate balance between form and function.  Summary…when the kitchen is not acting as a kitchen, it must be furniture.
 Simple and clean, open and inviting, the exclusion of all things extraneous, this is the foundation to the Essential Kitchen. A kitchen without boundaries or barriers, a kitchen free from conventional thought and restrictions, a kitchen created to reflect the individual.
 The Essential Rules
  1. The elimination of all things extraneous
  2. Keep it simple and clean, open and inviting
  3. A kitchen without boundaries or barriers
  4. A kitchen created to reflect the individual.
  5. A mult-ifunctional arena
  6. The essential kitchen is open to the rest of the home
  7. Strive to achieve a delicate balance between form and function
  8. When not acting as a kitchen, it must take in the appearance of furniture.
  9. Everyone is welcome in the essential kitchen
  10. The essential kitchen must be efficient to be productive
  11. It must be an environment that is conducive to the task at hand
  12. We must place the individual at the center and then address the task
  13. We must create a fluid, interactive, multi-functional arena
  14. Seek harmony and balance to define the whole.
  15. The essential kitchen is centered on the duality of purpose and space.  

13 July 2015

Red, White and Blue is the New Black


There was a time when people just assumed that their kitchen cabinetry and appliances would be built in the USA. Now we find foreign options to American brands invading the US market, I wonder if the American kitchen industry will go the way of the American steel, auto and home electronics…to some third world country and taking American jobs as well as the American Dream with it?


We, the American people, have been sold a “bill of goods”, that we can somehow maintain our standard of living by purchasing cheaper and good, not great, products, that were once produced here in the US, like cars, clothes, TV’s, phones, even food , now produced from some other country and that our lives will be better. I say, look around you and wake up!


There was a time that American steel, cars, TV’s and electronics were the cornerstone of modern technology and the envy of the world. And now we are willing to buy cheap imitations without once thinking about the ramifications of those actions. We have lost great companies and millions of jobs to other countries that will never come back.


We need to bring manufacturing back to America and we need to buy American products. Its patriotic…it’s the American thing to do...its the right thing to do.


My question is this…Does your client care if it is made in America? Do you care? Does it make a difference? Does “Made in America” still stand for quality, technology, craftsmanship, security and trust? I say “Yes…yes it does”, and we need to educate the consumer on the options they have to choose from and how there decision can and will effect the world around them.


I believe that we are ready for a consumer revolution to halt the tide of foreign imports and encourage consumers to buy American made products to stimulate economic growth and to keep American jobs in America.


For way too long, the American consumer has ignored where products are made and simply sought out products that they perceived to be cheaper without understanding or realizing that their decision to buy a cheaper, foreign product may have caused an American factory to close and that their dollars that would have gone to an American worker, went to pay a worker in China or India at a fraction of what an American worker would have earn. Most people would say, “I bought a good product for the best price and someone made a profit”…but here lies the rub, the worker in China did not pay taxes on his earnings to the US, nor did his employer, so nothing was paid into the system, which effects everyone here.


I say “enough!” and I draw a line the sand and issue this challenge to both consumers and manufacturers to “Buy American”. Buying something made in the USA is something to be proud of, it will make you feel good, and you are helping out the economy by keeping the money at home and protecting jobs here.


Will if cost more to buy an American product than a cheaper foreign item?  Most likely the answer will be yes…but you need to think of those few dollars more as an investment in America, as well as an investment in our future, our children’s future.


I believe in the power of the individual and that the choices we make can change the world. The revolution begins with you and the choices you make. I say choose wisely…choose American.