The Write Stuff
The essays written by students taking part in K&BDN's 2004 Student Design Scholarship Program contain important insights that should be top-of-mind for both novice and veteran kitchen and bath designers.
"I hope that every space I design will have some signature stamp
of having been designed specifically to meet the wishes and needs
of a special individual client. I hope to become a living example
of someone who successfully matched her skills and passions with an
exhilarating and rewarding career choice.
Sally Langlois, Century College, White Bear Lake, MN
"A kitchen: the home's heart. A gathering spot for families, friends, acquaintances, and solo-souls searching for nourishment, drink and time to consider the day. Its area encompasses a larger part of our lives than its physical form. We carry with us, throughout the day, its warmth, its energy, its memories. To call it merely a room is an insult to the home. It is more. It is the center.
"Where else do proud parents display their children's art as if it were DaVinci's Madonna? Where else do culinary creations come to life when families gather on those too few occasions? What other place is used for homework, breakfast, conversation, laughter and phone calls to friends, often all at once? The kitchen is not exclusive to its function. It can be one or all of those things. It can and should be more than just pantries full of newly purchased groceries and appliances. It should reflect its true purpose as a gathering place, a room of counsel, a place to rest.
"The people who pass through the kitchens I design will probably
never know that my hand and imagination touched their lives. They
won't silently thank me every time they enter, but if my
imagination can create something that quiets their being or
brightens their day, eases their tasks or removes weight from their
burden, if even momentarily, then I have enriched their lives by my
art and craft, and that is gratitude enough. "
Jeannette S. Hickok, Arapahoe Community College, Littleton, CO
"Kitchen design is like coming home. I grew up helping my mom with small tasks in the kitchen, and as I grew, my dad would allow me to assist him there. That was a true coming of age for me. My dad was an excellent cook, like his father before him, and planned his Sunday meal on Saturdays. He often spent entire Sunday afternoons cooking, so kitchen duty became precious time with my father. I believe that was when I learned to delight in kitchen work, and not to view it as a chore.
"Some of the happiest times in my life have taken place in a
kitchen, whether planning a meal alongside my brother and sisters,
pounding meat for rolladen with my step-mom, scrubbing pots with my
cousins, or baking muffins with my mother before the sun came up.
Designing kitchens gives me the opportunity to create an
environment where not only food is created, but memories."
Katherine Parker, Baker College, Auburn Hills, MI
"Passion for creativity, love for design and priority for function are what I believe make a great kitchen and bath designer. I love art, design and the home. Kitchen and bath design incorporates all these things.
"By the age of 10, I was critiquing and gathering ideas for
kitchens. I also started designing floor plans early in life.
Scribbling floor plans in high school classes came naturally. The
kitchen was always the first space I designed.
"The kitchen is a space that demands functionality, comfort and beauty all at the same time. People want a home that they can be comfortable in, but that also reflects who they are. In kitchen and bath design there are rules and guidelines for making a space functional. Creativity is also needed. The kitchen and bath profession provides a world of opportunity for both my creative and engineering sides."
Sandra Prucnal, Baker College, Auburn Hills, MI
"In the beginning of my design school adventure, my hopes and dreams were to design hotels, casinos or anything on a larger scale. Believing that design was all about "the bigger, the better," I truly felt that I would not be interested in any areas of residential design. But I've learned that small can be beautiful. And, in the midst of 'smallness,' I've discovered opportunities to explore three important dimensions of design: complexity, creativity and overall impact.
"In kitchen and bath design, the opportunities for creativity
are endless limited only by the imagination of the designer and the
dreams of the client. Kitchen and bath design challenges me to take
risks and to explore the frontiers of my own imagination. It also
challenges me to understand the expressive interests and desires of
each client I work with, so that each kitchen and bath I design can
be a work of art that expresses their personality."
Darbi Moen, Alexandria Technical College,
"The home that I grew up in held many childhood dreams for me. The house had a huge kitchen, and we did everything in that kitchen, from cooking to sleepovers. I knew I wanted a kitchen like that. When I discovered that this dream could become a reality through my own efforts, I was overjoyed.
"The design and layout of a kitchen can affect a family's life
for better or worse, like it did mine. I want to be able to control
that effect and give the family something to come home to that they
will love and enjoy for as long as they live."
Rebecca C. Simmons, Brigham Young University, Rexburg, ID
"The truth is, I didn't select the kitchen and bath profession as a career. The profession really selected me. Actually, it grabbed me and all of my free time, waking thoughts and nighttime dreams.
"It started innocently enough with a remodeling project at home
that was so successful and so much fun, I didn't want it to end.
During the process, I discovered marvelous showrooms tucked away in
little corners of industrial parks, watched in fascination the
destruction and reconstruction of my home, learned something about
the order in which things need to get done, met a wonderful group
of craftsmen, and got a glimpse of an industry I had no clue about.
By the end of the project, I knew I wanted to keep on doing
Wendy Prehn Wersal, Century College, White Bear Lake, MN
"I chose the kitchen and bath profession because it deals with three things I love to do. I love to be creative and try new things. I also love to work with people. But perhaps the most important reason I want to be part of this profession is that it is a great way to help people."
Kendra Mclain, University of North Alabama, Florence, AL
"Madly preparing my daughter's wedding cake, I realize I need some more powdered sugar, so I get down on my knees and dig through the lower kitchen cabinet, pulling out plastic containers one at a time. Every time I do this necessary cooking maneuver in my kitchen, I wish that things were different. How would it be to have a pantry where I could open a door, and while still standing, quickly find what I want? Who was responsible for planning the kitchen I have anyway? The measurement from the range to the sink is less than five feet, and the distance from the sink to the refrigerator is only six feet. The dishwasher is on the other side of the peninsula from the sink, near the dining room table. It requires two people to load it. Needless to say, we have stopped using it, finding it easier to do dishes by hand.
"I feel there is a need for kitchens to be made user-friendly
for the whole family. There is also an element of fun, a challenge,
to see just how much storage can fit into a designated space. I
want to work in the kitchen and bath profession because I know
first-hand about poor planning and how it can affect a person's
Wreatha Stephens, Brigham Young University, Rexburg, ID
"The dream of imagining, inventing, creating and building for a career is a vision I have had for myself since I was very young, playing with building blocks. Kitchens and baths present the greatest challenges in design, as well as the best chance to create. These designers are constantly confronted with problems and challenges. While some people are put off by constant problem-solving, I find it to be the most exciting part of my day. The only consistent thing about this career is the constant change. This is exactly what I need out of my career.
Alison Lynn Copple, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, NE