Thursday, February 2, 2012

Design With A Fresh Perspective

This is Martin Rennie, the new coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps.  I introduced you to him at the end of last season, and since training camp for the 2012 MLS season began last week I thought it was a good time to talk about him again.  So what does a football (soccer) coach have to do with kitchen design?  Perspective.

One of the complaints we fans had with last year's team was its inflexibility.  The formation was the same, players were used in pre-determined positions ... there was little attempt to look at the collection of players and determine how best to use them.

Marin Rennie is doing just that.  True, certain players will always play certain positions (e.g. goalie) but Rennie's approach has been to use player's to the best of their abilities.  At first glance the Whitecaps squad seem to be very thin in the midfield (players between the defence and forwards).  And yet the management seems to take that in stride, feeling that some players who were slotted as defenders or wingers may be suitable in the midfield.  Martin Rennie has taken the time to get to know his players, and is bringing a new perspective to the team.

It's amazing how many of my clients simply want to stay with the kitchen layout they have had for years.  Old "rules" like the sink must be placed at the window or the kitchen must be designed around the "work triangle" may not necessarily result in the best functioning kitchen.  That doesn't mean that all rules are bad or must be broken, but sometimes trying things in a different way will result in something amazing.

When I meet with a prospective client I try to bring fresh perspective to the room.  But before I even think about where the sink will be located, or whether a cooktop & wall oven combination is better than a single range, I spend time getting to know my clients and determining how they work in the kitchen.  Once I know that I have the perspective to plan a kitchen around them.


  1. I have been in some kitchens where the sink has been at a window and the window literally faced a wall. LOL Then when they went to redesign the kitchen, they insisted the sink must be at the window! Really? Why must the sink be at a window that faces a wall?

    This is a great article and we do need to break past our old ideas of what should be and start thinking about what we actually need. For me, I need lowered counters for my height and accessible shelves.

  2. Great post Arne. Understanding how your clients live and how they actually use their space is vital to a good functioning design and that should be the first focus.

  3. Vanessa Vera PalframanFebruary 2, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Yes, actual living breathing people live in the kitchens we design. It's important to remember that and take the time to design around them and not just the "guidelines." thanks for the post!


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