When Kitchen Design Feels Like Couples Therapy

Working on projects for individuals with very different ideas can be challenging, but in the end is always worth it
Picture 4 Bulthaup Must Haves

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Together, William Landeros, CKD and Jed Mackenzie, CKD have a combined 37 years of experience as Senior Project Designers, and have seen it all when it comes to creating clients’ dream kitchens. If there’s one thing they’ve learned, it’s that it is not uncommon for people and their significant other to have very different ideas about what that dream looks like. 

With any kitchen remodel (or new-build), there are an astounding number of decisions to be made and seemingly endless options to choose from.The process can be fraught with conflict, if you’re not careful. But with the right approach, and the help of savvy professionals, working together is the only way to bring those dreams to fruition. Read on for a few stories about how these experts helped their clients achieve the results they were looking for. 

Blending Styles

Old Greenwich Builders

A traditional look is achieved in this contemporary kitchen by using a natural wood finish on the cabinets. Joel Silverman Photography

Frequently, partners have completely different design styles. Sometimes one person’s taste is more traditional and the other’s more modern. Perhaps it’s a difference in the types of materials they are drawn to—one person prefers natural materials such as wood and stone while the other tends to gravitate toward metals and lacquer. Navigating these differences requires knowledge, expertise and a gentle touch.

Recently, Landeros and Mackenzie worked with one such couple who were at opposite ends of the design spectrum. One was drawn to modern contemporary style while the other leaned more traditional. Rather than go to either extreme, their conflicting styles were brought into balance with a stunning kitchen that featured the clean lines of bulthaup’s sleek contemporary cabinets softened by a warm oak finish and topped by natural stone. Compromise saved the day. 

Picture 2 Bulthaup Counter Connects

Modern and organic elements are balanced in this kitchen with sleek contemporary cabinets topped by natural stone countertops and contemporary light fixtures mounted below a wood-clad ceiling.

Leaving Room for the Important Things

Picture 3 Bulthaup Must Have

This kitchenette serves as a convenient bar/snack station with easy access to the pool outdoors.

When helping couples with their kitchen design, Landeros and Mackenzie stress the importance of listening to what is important to both partners in order to create solutions that include elements that matter to each of them. They recommend allowing space for at least one “must have” per person. Perhaps one person dreams of being a home barista with a high end coffee station while the other wants an exquisitely organized pantry with all the bells and whistles. 

A couple they recently worked with viewed their project from different perspectives. One person focused on the big picture of the overall aesthetic of the kitchen, while their partner drilled down on the minute details of the quality engineering and unique features of the cabinetry. Together, their operating styles merged perfectly to help them work as a team toward a successful end result. With each project, Landeros and Mackenzie view each person’s priorities as equally valuable and strive to find a way to include the things that, at the end of the day, will make everyone happy. 

Keeping Things Light

Picture 5 Bulthaup Keep It Light

A successful project hinges on both partners keeping everything in perspective

The process of remodeling or building a home can be a stressful process and the best way to get through it is to remember to keep things light. Landeros and Mackenzie always encourage their clients to enjoy the process by keeping a sense of humor and focusing on the positive parts of designing a kitchen.  

One excellent example of this is a couple they worked with that had gone through the process of remodeling their home with one partner adamantly opposed to having any wood in the design. The other partner decided to prank them by leaving one strip of wood in the entry door threshold. After the initial shock, a confession was made and the couple was able to laugh about the easily fixable joke. 

As designers, we have to keep in mind that projects often involve separate individuals with very different tastes and opinions, and many times those people are married! It’s our job to figure out what is most important to each of them, individually and collectively, and then incorporate that into the design. It takes patience, compromise and a hearty sense of humor, but in the end a beautiful result is the greatest reward. 

Carolyn Kreeger is a project coordinator at bulthaup Denver Aspen. With showrooms in Denver and Aspen, bulthaup services all areas of the Rocky Mountain West and specializes in designing signature kitchens. View their profile or contact them at 303.777.5409.

Content for this article provided by bulthaup Denver Aspen.

Categories: Kitchens