Create Healthier Lifestyles Through Design: Expert

Create Healthier Lifestyles Through Design: Expert

When designers begin discussing changes to a client's kitchen, perhaps they should seek to change more than just the design of the space. Indeed, remodeling the kitchen offers numerous opportunities to review not only your clients' design preferences, but their eating habits, cooking habits and lifestyle, as well. And, perhaps that also means designers should consider what it means to have the opportunity to improve these.

Such are the sentiments of Florence Perchuk, CKD, of New York, NY-based Designs by Florence Perchuk, Ltd. who, in conjunction with Weight Watchers International, headed up the "Eating Healthy, Living Healthy" seminar at this year's Kitchen/ Bath Industry Show.

Citing an increase in overweight families throughout the U.S., Perchuk used the seminar as a platform to suggest that designers promote and support building healthy lifestyles for clients through the rethinking of the residential kitchen.

According to Perchuk, elements such as large food preparation surfaces, pantries, separate baking centers, self-contained areas and sinks positioned in different areas for children and adults are good ways to facilitate a healthier kitchen design by encouraging homeowners to make cooking part of a healthy lifestyle.

"Make the kitchen fun," she offers, "using soft, primary colors that will induce children to spend more time in the space."

Other suggestions include incorporating butcher blocks and small cabinets for a more user-friendly, stress-free space.

To help facilitate better eating habits, Perchuk also suggested building a stir fry as part of the cooktop area that will help create easy, low-fat meals. Other design elements that could accomplish this include a portable grill, separate hot- and cold-water units, gourmet spice racks, a healthy bar area or even an electronic, wall-mounted menu planner.

"Smaller is better," she offers as advice for designers when choosing products.

She concludes that microwaves can also be very useful in this vein, as are plastic storage containers.