Designing kitchens for many is quite a boring process. The results often reflect this. Question: how do we unlock creativity, and unblock our thinking about kitchen design? Can we get away from just thinking like a train on a track, of continuous straight counters and wall mounted cupboards?
This past week we’ve had the press preview and the party kicking off the opening of the Showtime Metropolitan Home Showhouse where we created a kitchen for Dexter, the protagonist in the Showtime crime drama.
Having an imaginary and remote “client” like Dexter gave us the chance to deconstruct our expectations and challenge standard formulas. Could we get beyond the boredom of conventional thinking, such as the “working triangle”? Could we create something original and sensual and fantastic, yet still make a kitchen that works? Yes, of course!
But then in very short order, we had to: 1) gut and prepare the shell of the kitchen room in a landmark house; 2) hand-construct all the furniture – including sink station, cooking island, the fridge and pantry cupboard; 3) fully install a working kitchen, including the countertops, an elaborate lighting plan and plumbing; and 4) add all the finishing touches to the decor.
We did all this in six weeks. Our Connecticut-based sales director Chuck Wheelock laboured alongside the construction teams to make it all happen at the site at 23 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan. The cabinets makers sweated away too, and our USA President, Paul Kropp personally drove his truck cross-country from Michigan to New York to make sure the furniture arrived on time and in perfect order.
At one point, we had six people working in the same room, spearheaded by Mark Corbett, our installer. Finally our collaborative team of artisans worked to prepare the room for the media previews – arranging pictures, lights, blinds, rare tropical plants, a custom made rug, chocolate and every decorative item that makes the kitchen feel as if it is in Miami.
Our kitchen for Dexter was inspected by the bloggers and journalists, and the response was great. Naturally, the partying and glamorous showhouse crowds end up in the kitchen, just like at home. Some find it tranquil – an unintended response but nice to hear – and others said they enjoy its masculine appeal, which is perhaps a response to the strong curved countertops and bold pieces of furniture. Equally we hear from those who think it sexy and feminine. Others think it even homely and reminiscent of the fifties; others say, romantic. By the end of the day I was confused, but amused by the chorus of diverse reactions and reviews.
The lack of a unified response was, I believe, also truly a measure of creative success. We did not want a uniform, predictable public response any more than we wanted to conceive the kitchen conventionally. There are too many traditional, predictable kitchens, and that is just what we want to get away from.
Please come see our Showtime Metropolitan Home Showhouse kitchen from September 13 to October 26.