When Dale Kendall of Kendallwood Designs asked me to design a kitchen that he was invited to put in at AllState Appliance showroom, I jumped at the chance! I knew it would be an opportunity to show my creativity and the skill of the work at Kendallwood Designs, whom I have worked with for over a decade. Dale taught me everything I know about cabinets and I’m proud to be the designer for his remodel company.
We studied each and every kitchen in the showroom… there must be at least 20 vignettes, I lost count. How do one go about designing a kitchen surrounded by other great kitchens in a way that it will stand out and be recognized? How does one make sure that the effort and time put into a marketing project will pay off some day? The importance of the project started to weigh in and my heart raced a bit.
This is what I knew:
- This would be a working Viking kitchen that they would serve lunch from (high visibility).
- The drop grid ceiling was ugly and way too high (opportunity).
- The materials needed to be unique and memorable (more opportunity).
- We had to fit about a dozen appliances into a space that is smaller than most kids’ bedrooms. (10’x10′)
- I would be my only roadblock as I was given carte blanche to do whatever I wanted to do… as long as there was no cost.
- Did I mention everything needed to be free?
- There was a huge party planned in 4 weeks.
With no client, no restrictions, and no limits (other than the deadline and cost), I started to have a mild panic attack. You would think this would be a designer’s dream- to only have to please myself, but not for me. I need to connect. I need to design with purpose. I need people to collaborate with. I almost called Dale and told him thanks, but no thanks… however I am obsessed with following through on promises and I couldn’t let him down. So I desperately searched for an inspiration. Okay, Viking, what have you got for me?
Well… you’re boxy, bulky and robotic looking. I do love the Series 7 French Door Oven that was specified to go in the space. I stared at it for what seemed like hours. It was 2pm the day before the final design needed to be presented (at 9am) and I had nothing.
I tooled around their website, reading testimonials and product descriptions and being totally uninspired, when I saw that they offer their appliances in a multitude of colored finishes- AHA! A color palette to work with. About two days after I presented the lime green oven to the showroom manager (which was instantly rejected, just as I expected), Viking dropped the color all together.
The shape of the oven window stared back at me, taunting me, “Is that all you got?!” Then I remembered a pattern that I saw in a my friend Leann’s Ornamentation line of wall panels. Not only did it pay homage to the shape of the oven windows, it was my solution for a brilliant ceiling installation that would disguise the ugly grid ceiling and not block the light. Hooray! Now to figure out the materials to pull it together.
I combed through books and books of wood veneers in my library and found a bright and happy lime green stained pear wood and then a stunning gray, taupe and white striped piece from Tabu. I added one of the new colors of Chemetal as accent and toe kick and that put the cabinet finishes to rest.
The counter top had it’s own restrictions in that I knew I couldn’t get a free slab of granite… the island was a large and strange shape and would need more than one anyway. I was offered Silestone at no cost, but there were sooooo many kitchens in the showroom that already had Silestone. Then I realized they only kind of counter top they didn’t have at AllState was concrete so I put on my best pitch hat and called my friend Eric and Concrete Interiors. They have done some amazing work for me an projects in the past… and it wouldn’t hurt to ask, right? Thankfully, he saw the opportunity right away and said yes!
I designed four different finishes for the counters, specifically to showcase what their company could do. Everyone’s favorite is the island. A warm gray to match the perimeter cabinet veneer with a river of recycle glass from beer and wine bottles runs through the middle, while the raised bar is chock full of the glass pieces. You can see pieces of labels and logos if you look close enough. Be sure to go and check them out.