The team at Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is continuously improving processes and educating ourselves in the world of interior design—it is truly never-ending with the technology, techniques, tools, and certification available in our industry! Recently, our team had the opportunity to experience “Customized Design,” a live, virtual course from NKBA University, a cross-industry professional development and continuing education program from the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
Our NKBA U instructor, Richard Landon, CMKBD, is from Seattle, WA, and his unique views on how clients connect with their spaces is turning the way designers look at projects on its head. “Customized Design” could also be described as a course in “Personalized Design.” With trends like digital printing and companies allowing us to design our own shoes, more and more products in our lives can be created to our own specifications. Increasingly, that mentality can be applied to our homes, as well. The ramifications are endless and exciting! Richard says, “Customized design is now inherently about relationships. It is not enough, anymore, to simply fit cabinets into a space. Our spaces have to ‘feel right,’ as well. That means we want personalized design.”
Throughout Richard’s four two-hour-long courses, he reminded us that design is no longer just about metrics and measurements. For our team, it is more about the following takeaways:
- Dig deeper to understand what the Pinterest boards and magazine clippings evoke in your client.
- Beyond aesthetics, clients are drawn to photos of spaces that resonate with their own “place history”—a space from their past where they felt connected, welcomed, safe, and inspired. Uncover this by asking,” Is there anything about this image that reminds you of a place you’ve visited or lived?” That information can help form your foundation for shapes; from there, we add texture, color, and pattern. When you can tap into a client’s place history to wed emotion, function, and aesthetics, you experience one of the most rewarding aspects of a designer’s work.
- Use the Work Triangle and the LIFE Triangle
When it comes to kitchen design, we are drilled to build our design around an efficient work triangle. In this class, Richard introduces the LIFE triangle to achieve efficient, distinctively beautiful, and emotionally-connected The LIFE triangle has the following points:
- Looks Great: When you walk into a space with an amazing “wow” factor, you dream about realizing that beautiful vision in your own home. This naturally happens, as Donald Norman relates in “Emotional Design,” because we believe beautiful designs somehow make us feel beautiful, too.
- Works Well: A functional space harmonizes all its possible activities. The Work Triangle certainly applies, but Richard took us deeper as we explored over ten “activity zones” where distributing, collecting, or circulating activities weave together, driven by primary and secondary orders of importance.
- Feels Right: To connect a homeowner’s place histories into our design, we capture elements connected to the shapes, textures, colors, and patterns residing in that history. The resulting spaces reflect the homeowner in a way other spaces cannot. Plus, resolving disparate place histories creates distinctive designs! These projects get published, as Richard’s have—over 70 times!
- Master functionality by removing P.O.P. Blockers
When it comes to good flow throughout the space, these three things must be considered and resolved:
- Pathways: Connect the space to the most desirable views, inside and out; open it up to sources of natural light; adjust the plan for people to easily navigate through the space without abrupt or awkward changes of direction.
- Openings: Whether they are doors, windows, or portals, all paths need to be intentionally located for ease of movement and energy throughout the space.
- Positions: As homeowners gravitate toward more open floor plans, we must pay attention to this. Ask, “Where do you envision yourself standing or sitting in this space? In this or that position, what are you able to see and hear, in the space itself, as well as the adjacent rooms? Does that feel right to you?”
The above teachings are just the tip of the iceberg too. We appreciated the convenience of attending the class online as opposed to being in a classroom setting– even the relationships we made throughout the group activities in class have led to friendships and we can’t wait to see our new friends at KBIS in January.