By Stephen Saint-Onge
(ARA) - If there's one thing I love about being a designer, it's the ability
to create all kinds of spaces for any room of the home. From the bedroom to
the living room, I've had the opportunity to turn some of the most challenging
spaces into warm, cozy retreats for families around the world.
Well, now it's my turn! For the Philips Designing at Home campaign, I'll
be doing a makeover in my very own kitchen. Of course, I've designed our previous
homes, but this time it's going to be a little bit different. This time, with
the help of Philips Electronics, I'll be bringing technology into my kitchen
in a way I haven't done before.
Whenever I begin any makeover, I start by thinking about how the family will
use the space. Like many families, the kitchen is the heart of my home -- a
place for cooking, entertaining, studying or just enjoying each other's company.
Because I love to cook, it was important for me to have open counter space for
chopping up vegetables for our favorite dishes and reliable appliances for cooking
and refrigeration. Since my wife enjoys entertaining, it was also important
to have a well-lit environment that is not only functional, but aesthetically
appealing for the visitors who would be floating through the kitchen during
any one of our yearly family gatherings.
I put my mental notes into a kitchen sketch, then called my contractor Dave
West to get started. Dave owns a reputable building company that is also a certified
member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). He took
a look at the sketch, we talked about the details of the project and then we
Although I know what I love, I don't mind getting input from some of the
industry's best. That's why I'm working with a kitchen designer and a lighting
designer. Together, they will help me create the final lighting "look and
feel" for the kitchen. Lighting is a key element to the design of any room,
so we're working together to create an ideal lighting plan for my kitchen complete
with under-cabinet lighting and pendant lighting over the island. Traditional
white cabinetry from, dependable appliances and classy white, two-inch blinds
from will help round out the mechanics of our family's brand new kitchen.
When I design kitchens for other families, I often focus on bringing color
into the space. After all, most people don't consider a red wall or orange accents
a traditional part of kitchen d?cor. Personally, though, I prefer white. White
walls, white tile, white dishware, white everything! It's so clean and simple
and I can accent with all kinds of color appliances and accessories throughout
the room. For example, I'll be using a blue Senseo coffeemaker in my all white
kitchen. This revolutionary new coffeemaker from Philips makes the perfect cup
of gourmet coffee in just 60 seconds and it'll add just the right touch of color
to my sparkling white tile countertop.
When we think of technology in the kitchen, we may think of the Jetsons.
Remember the voice-activated appliances and robot-controlled gadgets that made
everything seem so fast and easy? While we're not quite there yet (maybe we'll
have robots to do the dishes in 20 years), there are technology solutions for
the kitchen that are customized to suit our kitchen needs and enhance our lifestyles.
For example, a refrigerated storage drawer allows you to neatly store fruits,
vegetables or other dry foods in a cool place that is camouflaged as a drawer
on the island unit. No more overflowing bins in the refrigerator -- here's another
nifty place to store your food!
My wife and I have also decided to carve out some space for a mini-home office
in the kitchen. Creating a separate work space for multitasking within the kitchen
is another option many families have begun to explore. In our kitchen, we're
going to have a small table with a computer that will allow us to quickly access
all kinds of news, tips and recipes or get a little bit of business done just
before winding down for the evening. Maybe your kids can even get their homework
done in the kitchen while dinner is cooking in the oven.
Philips has also introduced its new MiraVision mirror television which is
available in a customized picture frame in either horizontal or vertical orientation.
This unique television looks like it's only a mirror at first glance, but at
the touch of a button, you can start to watch your favorite cooking shows in
the kitchen while you unload the groceries and stock the shelves. This is by
far my favorite kitchen "gadget" because it's aesthetically appealing
and functional all at once -- now that's some great 21st century technology
even the Jetsons would be proud of!
The Finishing Touches
When I look at the space I've conceptualized come to life, I start thinking
about the finishing touches. Like any homeowner, I want our home to be comfortable,
functional and inviting for every member of my family. I love everything from
black and white pictures to knick knacks from my international travels. Many
times, those finishing touches come together after all the major pieces of the
makeover project are complete.
Stay Tuned . . .
Even with all my experience designing for families and production sets, I
know there will be some highlights and some low points throughout this process.
Thankfully, the days here have been clear and sunny while all the delivery guys
and construction workers come in and out of my house all day!
For the next five weeks, I'll be sharing my kitchen "makeover magic"
with you on the www.designingathome.com Web site. Log on to view actual footage
from every aspect of the makeover -- conversations with my contractor, major
product installations and sheer moments of frustration. It'll all be caught
on tape and downloaded onto the Web site.
I'll also be collaborating with many of our Philips Designing at Home partners
to answer your questions about getting started with your own kitchen makeover,
hiring a contractor, choosing appliances and furniture or taking care of the
installation process from start to finish. If you have some specific questions
of your own, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content