I’m Josh Cooperman and this is Convo By Design with a look at the modern American kitchen and what the design community is doing in response to changing tastes and new opportunities to create unique functional spaces transforming the heart of the home.
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In May, 2023, a special gathering took place in Long Beach, California. This gathering featured a diverse group of design talent and presented an opportunity to get some of Southern California’s most dynamic and creative designers together for a conversation about kitchen design. Our group engages in an open forum about how the kitchen has changed in form and function since the pandemic began in 2020. This idea started as an exploratory look at what has changed, but developed into an overarching dialogue about what it means to be a designer today. Further, how the design community has learned to lean in on each other for support, direction, inspiration and in the case of showrooms like Friedman’s Home Experience, how to provide designers and architects with opportunities to discover new product and specify with confidence to best serve the client.
You are about to listen in on a real workgroup discussing the issues designers, architects and builders face today. The following conversation is between 7 creatives and at times, it gets complicated, just like conversations in the real world. The conversation was not intended for you to blow through while multi-tasking. There is a great deal of material here and it is intended to be listened to over time and re-listened as well. It is worthy of saving and. added to your resource library.
Before we listen in, I thought you would like to meet the participants. We are going to get to that, right after this.
Lea Biermann – Principal, Lea Biermann Design – @lbkbdesign
- The joy of coffee systems
- Adding secondary color
- Backsplashes that pop
- Maximizing spaces for experiences
- Resale considerations
- The in-home coffee bar experience is here to stay
Cheryl Kaye – Principle, Cheryl Kaye Design Studio @cherylkaye
- Hospitality, front of house focus
- Kitchenette for commercial projects including hospitality
- Visual arts are given and now the ‘function’ and artistry is in meeting client lifestyle demands
- Dining areas away from tables and more on islands
- Exposed kitchens, not just functional but decorative and artistic
- Wet bars for juicing now so they are taking on a different vibe
- More outlets and charging stations
- Kitchens more as work spaces
Paul Fernandez – Principle, @kitchenkoncierge
- Look to new, unexplored appliances
- Speed Oven: Microwave + Convection
- Steam ovens
- Steam oven + oven in lieu of the double oven to maximize functional opportunity
- Cooking with moisture
- Refrigerators with cameras, use the app to aid with shopping
- What is next in countertop materials? What is the most durable material?
- Custom options in wood products. This is an incredible time to be designing kitchens!
John Feldman – Owner, @ecocentrix
- Discovering the opportunities in outdoor spaces
- What is possible in an outdoor kitchen
- How a project can maximize function through discovery of untapped space unlike inside the home where walls define spaces
- Working with better educated clients (product)
- Incorporating outdoor kitchens into complex hillsides
- The joys of outdoor living
- Sturgianni.com, A new company representing family owned and operated Italian faucet lines
Pam Barthold – Owner, Pazzam Designs @pazzamdesigns
- Searching for perfect materials
- Acrylic in shelving and cabinetry that is mainstream and not exclusively modern
- Durability and warmth means more wood products and because hybrid wood products offer a more wide ranging product selection
- More durability, cleaner product and sustainable
- Rise of smart appliances
- Convection ovens and better educated clients
- Seamless flat countertops that are the entire cooking surface
- Less exposed stainless. Color-full and unique in design
- Adding color to the island
Donna Johnson – @luxedesigner
- Luxury kitchen design is more about form and function, but feel
- Accessorizing in the kitchen is more important than ever before and in more ways than is seen. Dividers and separators for sectioning the functions
- The feel of the space is based on treating the kitchen as another living room with a different skill set
- The return of the “triangle”? To this designer, it never left
Now that you have met the players, let me share the conversation that ensued. They were talking about materials. Brass, brushed gold and chrome. Understated glamour. Stamped wood, wood islands with nautical finishes.We are talking about custom organics. Luxury and organic.
Long Trinh – Managing Director of Friedman’s Home Experience – @friedmanshomeexperience
- Panel ready
- Pops of color
- Coffee systems
- Under-counter wine units and columns
- Induction increases over gas
- Refrigeration integrated look
- NEW – Countertops as the full cooking surface with embedded induction elements
You are going to hear an honest conversation about supply chain, lead generation for products and materials.
I started hosting these conversations in 2017 following an event at a design festival. What I found was the moment the mics were off, the conversations started to be real. These real conversations have led to actionable steps and techniques designers can use in a real world scenario because at the end of the day, we are all dealing with the same issues. Some better than others. Enjoy this conversation from Friedman’s Home Experience in Long Beach, California on a sunny day in May, 2023.
Panel ConversationTake Aways:
Just some thoughts and ideas that emerged from this:
Dust is a big issue with open shelving in kitchens now, as is clutter.
Thicknesses and finishes. Technical design details. Products for outdoor uses.
The art of sales and how designers can engage more efficiently with trades and showrooms.
Working with educated clients and the “Amazon Effect”, training customers to just buy and return if they don’t like it as opposed to buying right the first time.
Evaluating new lines and products.
Induction, new tech and new ideas, but what does that mean by way of new upgrades like the electrical panel? Government regulations, utility company specifications…How does this affect the design.
Steel cabinetry is becoming more of a standard in lieu of wood, stone and cement board outdoors and indoors. Durability is becoming more important as temperatures increase.
What I love about these conversations and that I hope you do as well are the real world data points that emerge. These are not preprepared glossy ideas about how wonderful great design is. While that is important, I find it even more important to get past the hurdles that impede the design process. If you are a working designer today, at any level, you are encountering some, many or all of these issues in your own work and I hope hearing that others deal with the same issues and how many are approaching the work helps you in yours.
Thank you Lea, Pam, Donna, Paul, Cheryl, Long and John for your input and for participating in this event. Thank you Freidman’s Home Experience for hosting and thank you for listening, downloading and subscribing to the show. If not already, please make sure you are subscribing to the show. You can find Convo By Design everywhere you find your favorite podcasts.
Thank you to my wonderful partners and sponsors, ThermaSol, Moya Living and Design Hardware. Without you, I would not be able to do this and for that, thank you. Thanks again for listening. Be well and until next week, take today first. -CXD