How your space works is as important as how it looks

There are so many different aspects of a good design that need to be taken into consideration when planning a space. It is critical to consider every detail of who will use a space and how they need to use it. There are functional and unique options available to solve most any design dilemma.

Blending the unique needs of the client with the best options in their budget, allows for a beautifully finished project! The final blend of materials and textures and finishes make the design look fabulous. However, it is just as important to ensure the design maximizes the functionality for the family now and for years to come.

For example, basic kitchen planning starts with floor plans. How do we plan a design that maximizes a functional floor plan within the available space? Cabinet styles, colours, countertops, paint, flooring and lighting are all typical aspects of the design. When we create a floor plan and colour scheme properly, we are left with a beautiful kitchen that looks amazing!

However, most clients want a kitchen that not only looks amazing but also makes their life easier when working in the kitchen. This is where the design details can make or break your renovation. Have you allowed for drawers that were deep enough for the small appliances or storage containers that you intended to store in the drawers? It’s a small detail but so many people do not measure what space they need and are disappointed when they try to fit their bread maker or deep fryer only to find that it is too tall. Most cabinet designs allow us to select the depth of drawers or pull out shelves so we can plan exactly where you will put which small appliances and build your cabinetry for the storage you need.

If you are a home chef and love to cook or bake, having easy access for oils and vinegars and spices, or baking pans & rolling pins so everything is easily accessible makes the activity so much more pleasurable. This can make a huge difference in how a space functions for you.

Working with a designer is one of the best ways of ensuring you end up with a space that not only looks beautiful but also meets all of your needs!

We want to know about your family using the space. This can include young children, adults, guests and even pets! Having taller bar stools with a higher counter for young children can be a safety risk. A child climbing into a high bar stool unsupervised could easily tip and fall over. Children under five years are at the highest risk of these injuries and account for thousands of injuries a year with a small percentage of those being fatal. This becomes an important point for young families planning a kitchen renovation.

However, if your children are older, higher counters and bar stools may be a better option for your family. We have customized counter heights for clients who loved to bake and found the standard height counters caused back pain. A standard height counter was hard on their shoulders and back when cooking/baking for long periods of time but lowering the counter in one section became their favorite workspace!

Never hold back your concerns or frustrations about your old space. If we do not know what bothered you, we cannot provide options to fix it. Another favorite is the hidden pet drawer. This is a wonderful feature that easily slides into the cabinet for a fully seamless look. However, it cleverly hides your pet’s food and water, as well as storage for large bags of pet food. A small appliance garage allows storage for your mixer while having a convenient workspace that folds right out for your mixer. Electric plugs pre-planned and you have a ready-made workspace!

One of my favorite design projects is working with individuals with special needs. Often when we think of special needs, we think of modifications to make things easier. As an Aging in Place Specialist, we have many universal design options that are creative solutions allowing ease of use of any space.

Last year we did a kitchen design for a client with deteriorating vision in one eye. As a result, lighting and contrast colours and surfaces were very important in the design. We used lighting strategically placed so it could be adjusted based on the visual needs of the client at the time. We also incorporated contrasts in flooring, and counters to allow for easy recognition. The whole plan came together beautifully and won a Manitoba Home Builders Association Renomark Gold Award.

Whether planning a regular kitchen renovation, or renovating to accommodate special needs for someone in your family, working with a professional designer will ensure you maximize the functionality and the cohesive design of your renovation. Remember, how a space works is just as important as how fabulous it looks! I can be reached at Or at our office 204-668-7500. Happy Renos!!