Ooooh nooo! Don’t do this!

Cheryl Kees Clendenon In Detail Says, Oh Noooooo! 15 Comments

We love it when you share!

I may be compelled to admit I am bi-polar. Yes, it is true. At least with my blog. Nice (mostly) girl one minute and then the next…whipping out a new blog category called  “oh noooo” I dedicate this to Mr Bill, whom I adore. So off the tile subject for a few days and on to something new! Oh, and for full disclosure: I am not being mean…but am just sayin…..

Don’t do this!

The Devil dishes on design.

So this kitchen is nice enough. Of course, I do not care for the tile on the floor but I have an entire post dedicated to that issue…But why blow it with the two tone legs and island? I don’t get the appeal. And, please do not say all that fava about to each his own or beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This blog is my eye. And my eye says no go on the furniture styling that looks contrived and/or gratuitous. I use legs on islands all the time but not like this. It could be better.
Valium needed. For the kitchen. Not me. I do not like so much going on. The shelf supports again seem gratuitous. No counterspace. Hip busting bump outs. Odd use of space for cabinetry. And, not wild about the vgroove panelling with the tile and all the rest. Oh yeah, and picture my Aunt Nonnie trying to get a knife from the knife block…she would be stuck in that little hidey hole created by the bump out  for days!

I know I will get toasted on the pix above but have to call it like I see it. At first blush, it “reads” nicely but with closer inspection, I ask you, does this work? And good design is all about making “it” work. This is why people hire a designer in the first place.

I am pretty sure there is not one single piece of symmetry anywhere in this picture. Maybe in rest of space. Who knows?
A hint here: if you want something to “disappear” paint it black. The toe space could have been painted black where the legs are and would have helped the legs work, Maybe. I do not do legs unless on an island. Angled pretty decorative fillers perhaps..yes! But legs need to support something. I do like what I see on the side with the mix of natural woods. And, why the open storage in the base cabinet near corner? Huh?? Ok, so ending on a postive: I like the crown…nice details and I love inset cabinetry construction. (and exposed hinges too but in this case, less would have been more and they might have considered using hidden hinges here to minimize MORE eye clutter)

I am not sure I even know what to say about this tub. And, I never want to say never when it comes to products..because sometimes you just do not know what you might find a creative use for…but this one stumps me.

Comments 15

  1. That tub is impossible – I don’t see the step ladder, or is there a diving board somewhere? That second kitchen must have been a case of “I only get to do this once so I’ll put EVERYTHING I want in it”. Thanks for a great giggle

  2. Have a cup-a-Joe… and his lovely wife! (ba-bum-bum) What’s up with that tub?

    As for the kitchens, I’m not a big fan of contrived anything. In and of themselves the individual components are great, but throwing them together just because you like them and not because they work in harmony, they cancel each other out. Just like my dad and I on voting day. I tell ya –editing is key!

  3. Oh yes, the Tupperware tub! From their new line of Stay-Fresh Fixtures with bubble-dispensing lids. I wonder where they keep the matching doggy tub for two and the loofah-crisper?

  4. I’m with you all the way. If cabinetry is going to imitate furniture it has to be logical. Attaching turned legs to a cabinet just because you can is a terrible waste of money and it never ends in a good place.

    That tub looks like a prop from a Cialis commercial.

  5. I don’t get that tub…tubs should be used for either washing your dogs, or relaxing. That one wouldn’t serve either purpose.
    Oh well- to each their own, right? 😉

  6. That’s what you call packing them in like Sardines! What’s with that tub?

    Oh dear, oh me~ Those kitchens forgot about scale & proportion. My eyes are tired from looking at so much. Simon Cowell couldn’t have called it better. The truth can be painful.

  7. Well, hmmm, not sure I can resist this one. I don’t really like to write things slamming the work of others, because I’m not sure I have the chops to do it. I’m really a sawdust maker (a.k.a. wood butcher), so I tend to just rave about designs I actually like. But that said….

    I don’t like the first picture for a number of reasons, starting with the pot rack over the island. The mess hall in Berlin had such a contraption, and I hated it. I’m six feet tall, and those pots were ALWAYS in the way! From that day to this it’s been a word association thing with me: you say, “pot rack,” I say “hand grenade.” I also object to pot racks on purely utilitarian grounds. There are a handful of people who regularly go into the kitchen and rattle them pots and pans, using every utensil at least once a week. The rest of us have a handful of utensils we use on a regular basis (with us it’s two skillets and two frying pans), and the rest of the stuff just sits for occasional use. Leave them out in a pot rack like this, and all they’ll do is collect a lot of kitchen grease.

    I also would not have glued fake legs on the corners of the kitchen island. If those legs are not going to actually support the island, then why are they there? Form follows function, and those legs have no function. “Decorative addition” is not a function; it’s an affectation.

    I think you’re completely right on the second picture with all that “wild and crazy” stuff going on in the kitchen. It really is too much. For my own self, I much prefer a much simpler design. I like breakfronts sometimes, but not here. In this instance it just looks like something tacked on, and the same is true of the other design elements you have already beaten about the head and shoulders.

    What might be helpful in this regard is to simply put down what a body would like to have seen instead with this particular kitchen design. I think they really did make a good beginning with the white cabinetry and the crown molding, but then they just started sticking things on until a good idea became lost in a meringue of details.

    Earlier this week I commented at length on your “Budget Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Design.” Now granted, I am very much a fan of minimalism, but the other thing I look for in a kitchen design is classical elements that will enable it to thrive long after the “hot colors” have cooled, and the fads have faded. Who in the world wants to spend some forty of fifty thousand dollars (often more!) on a kitchen remodeling that won’t make it to the end of the decade before it’s considered outmoded?

    Both of the kitchens you featured would have benefited from a kitchen designer, but the heck of it is that both of them clearly DID have a kitchen designer. She just wasn’t, um, the right stuff!

    Personally, I would like to see you get a dialogue going about what constitutes good design, and I say that knowing that a good share of it is an aesthetic decision in which they are no concrete rights and wrongs. Well, maybe there are. But what are they?

  8. Post

    The tub seems to be pretty picked on..but deserving of the laughs I think. I doubt it sells well!

    As for the other two projects…I know I am being snarky but the truth is you can learn much from what you DON’T like as well as what you do. I think this is true in many disciplines. I try to balance posts about what makes good work…well, good…but I think it is short sighted to say you can only have “positive” posts w/o deconstructing some projects. Also, it is a strike against the
    status quo that so many people buy into and as a designer..this is not what they are paying their hard earned money for…I am as direct with my clients as I am on this blog. Any of you who knows me, can validate this:) It is my truth and may not be other’s and that is ok by me because that is what is so fabulous about the blogosphere.

    But sometimes, I just get weary of seeing “pretty picture” after “pretty picture” on some blogs. Without a commentary of what makes it nice..or not so nice. To me, that is just a travelogue…of a designer or blogger’s journey through cyberspace and does nothing to enrich the experience or help other’s find their OWN truth.

    That being said, I repeat, that often you can learn about what is good in design as well as what works by having a dialogue about it. Hard for me to explain how I feel ( my opinion) that furniture details should not be used gratititously if not showing an example. I do this in my studio also. Also, hard to explain the overkill of details in a project without showing an example of such. You know the saying…a picture is worth a 1000 words….Some will agree, some will not. But, I promise you ( especially you Joseph!) I will balance the dialogue about what does not work with what does! At least, in my humble opinion. I encourage anyone to debate me or disagree if you feel so inclined…I welcome it. Just don’t say “oh be nice and say only nice things”…bah! Sometimes ideas and thoughts must be said out loud.

    There are no names attached. The pictures do not have feelings…and hey, anyone is able to swipe my pix and have a field day if they wanted to…

  9. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
    William Shakespeare

    I don’t think there is any one right way of doing anything, especially when it comes to writing blogs. I DO think there are many ways to the top of the mountain and that what is right for me may not be right for others. I stay away from negative blogs, simply because I wasn’t comfortable with that kind of writing. I also don’t think I have the cache for that kind of thing because I am not a Certified Kitchen Designer who has spent years and years learning all about design. I have studied design as part of learning cabinetmaking, and I have taken a kitchen design class (just ONE) to learn more about what is involved in the process. I have also read a bazillion books and articles over the years because design is a huge, huge interest.

    You run your own business and are certified and licensed and god knows what all. And opinionated. Actually, we both are. We just express it differently. Also, to be perfectly frank about it, you do snarky a lot better than I ever did. You have a lot of fun with it and it comes across as fun. When I tried it, it just came out kind of “smart ass for no particular reason.”

    But that said, you are totally right in saying that you can’t really discuss design in the abstract. Without a concrete example, what’s the point, really? Some of that is changing tastes. You wrote a blog a few days ago stating your growing distaste for granite, not because of any kind of deficiency in the material, but just because you would like to go in a different direction now. That part of things, in some respects, is always going to be part of designing, and especially so for those who, like you, do it for a living. You’re right up against it day after day, and after a while, the really slick material doesn’t seem so slick any more.

    But the other part of design—and the part that was the subject of your blog—is design done poorly, and in order to discuss that sort of thing, you need to use examples. For that matter, examples of good design work too. I took a class on design once that I thought was wretched because the guy who taught it—and was himself a woodworker who was thought to be on the cutting edge of design!!!!—never really taught us how to design. He simply gave us the history of design, from the Egyptians, through the Greeks, Renaissance, Rocco, etc. He never once sat down with the class and said, “These are the elements of a design that works. This is unity of design. This is simplicity that works. This is ornateness that works because of its unified design, and these are the elements that were used to achieve that unity.” His view was that there was no one way to design, so he couldn’t teach us one. So he didn’t teach a damned thing!

    But I still maintain that there is a truth that he used for his own designs, just as there is a truth for anyone who does any kind of design work that ends up in a concept that pops. And by “pops” I don’t necessarily mean something that is showy. Maybe it is; maybe it’s not. Shaker designs, to me and to a lot of people, still pop. But so does a lot of the modern stuff now being done. The blog I posted today was on a tub that my wife thinks is MUCH too ornate, and she told me so when she read this week’s blogs. But I have already gotten two comments from people who think it pops. But what that tub has, like it or not, is a unity of design that makes it work quite well in its own context.

    And that brings us back to what was wrong with the design elements in the second kitchen you posted. It doesn’t work well because there is no unity of purpose, and that is why everyone jumped all over it.

    As for the tub you posted, I have to say that I saw a similar one that intrigued me for a few moments while I was doing my weekly “what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-write-about-this-week blog search.” The one I saw was in some kind of stone, which I found interesting, but as I looked at it, all I could think was, who the heck wants to bathe standing up? And seeing the two of them in the tub in your picture tells me I was right to not pursue that particular topic. But, really, that one is a negative example of the absolute axiom of good design: form follows function. They got so excited about their slick design that they forgot what it was going to be used for.

    But without pictures like that, how can we learn what does not work as well as it might? In the end, no matter what kind of work you do, and no matter how you go about the learning process itself, you do actually learn more from mistakes than from doing it right the first time. Sometimes you do it right because you just lucked out. Do it wrong, though, and you learn that you need such and such to properly support the whatever the hell it was that broke and spoiled the whole project the first time out. And going forward, you know, whenever you design a similar project, that you need such and such for a support element. And, really, when you study with an experienced woodworker, you’re just learning from his mistakes—or the mistakes of the person HE studied with!

    Design works the same way, I think. If the person who designed the second kitchen were to read these comments—and actually get through them without reaching for a razor blade—she might do better with her next kitchen design!

  10. Post

    Joseph: all great points! I love your musings!! I will share with you this: the kit designer of kit number 2 is a man!!! Not a woman!! LOL!

    One other itsybitsy secret: that design won a NKBA award this year. I, amongst others, was appalled. The judges this year had some serious deficiencies in taste and design…in my opinion:)

    Another thing I want to say is this: I have paid a king’s ransom in the school of hard knocks. Truly. I cringe at some of the things I did early on in my career. i am sure we all do. But, I learned from my mistakes by studying them carefully. Analyzing what went wrong and why. We still do this as a staff today: when a problem occurs in business or design or management of a project…we sit down and say, how can we avoid this next time and make this a lesson in learning?

    And, another thing about me. I am not afraid to say I made a mistake and i will rip it out if it was an error on my part. I just replaced a faucet that I felt was too short for the scale of a butlers pantry. My assistant picked it out with the client but I approved it…meaning I said yes I like the style..but did not take the time to question her about the specs or if she had checked them. The client thought it was just fine. But, it was not sized properly and was my fault.

    She now has a new faucet at my expense. I sold the other one (because once installed cannot send back) to another client who wanted a bargain.

    I took this is a lesson in slowing down and reviewing more carefully what I delegate and will not repeat the same mistake again.

  11. Joseph- I’m a kitchen designer that’s been practicing for almost 20 years (10 of it doing kitchens). I am not a CKD, but I have a degree in design. I’m guessing the designers of those kitchens must have had some training, but since I’m not a CKD and haven’t been trained that route, I don’t know if they’ve learned classic design principles and elements. I also don’t know if the designers of those kitchens were CKD’s. For that matter, who know’s if they’ve had any training at all. Maybe they grew up in the business and were just copying ideas they’ve seen others do without really understanding why some things seem to work and some don’t.

    There are no laws anywhere that prevent untrained or inexperienced people from designing kitchens. Perhaps this is why it is so inviting to be sarcastic and negative when we see examples that have so many blatantly wrong components that are presented in glossy publications as exemplifying our industry. It’s insulting. However, if I wanted to see a dry dissertation of the dissection of a kitchen design pointing out the good and the bad, this is probably not where I’d look to find it. Sorry if my comments offended you.

    Anybody can take a basic design class at a community college and get the foundation for any number of design applications from dresses to faucets or cars to kitchens. (It sounds like the class you took was art or architecture history rather than fundamentals of design.) If you are an art student, you also learn the same principles and elements whether your medium is sculpture, painting or photography. The fundamentals are all the same. It’s the ability to apply them appropriately that some folks lack.

    Then again, who knows how much input the owners had? I have a lot of kitchen designs under my belt that I hope will never find their way to the pages of a magazine (at least not with my name attached to them) because they have components within the design the client wanted even if I thought it was a bad idea. This happens a lot even when you explain to the clients why your idea is better. In the end, it’s their money and they’ll get what they want. I’m guessing this is what happened in that funky corner in kitchen number two with the baskets and impossible to get into blind corner cabinet (if that’s what it is) or worse yet -dead space. These are the types of things snarky designers like me notice that negate all of the other lovely features.

  12. Post

    oooh lah lah! I love a rousing discussion!! Pam…for the record, I am not a CKD either and do not plan to become one. I think the appellation is fabulous if you need it. Apparently you do not:) as you have a successful business, and apparently I do not: as I have a successful business. It is kind of one my pet peeves.

    I support my staff attaining their ckd, if we would ever slow down long enough for them to get to take CEU’s that is! But, I find things in the “tranining” manuals that I own from the NKBA that I totally disagree with…truthfully, the NKBA needs to be revamped. With all due respect to the volunteers in this organization, of which I am one, I think there is some serious deadwood in management. But, that is another post entirely!

    I firmly believe that good designers can hold lots of appellations..or none at all. It matters not. What matters is how they visualize things, what they have learned about space planning and the technical aspects of design(via self taught or years of ardous schooling) and their ability to communicate with a client. Some of this is simply an art and some of it is technical skills and a HUGE amount is communicating your ideas to a client.

    I would sit for the test if I had the time. But, I am too busy running a business, working on or with my design staff on 22 projects in varying degrees of execution , tweeting, marketing,blogging, facebooking, traveling and raising two teens. Somewhere my poor husband fits in there also!

    I take nothing away from CKD’s however. They work hard to get the designation and I respect that..but do they all know more than me or you? Not a chance. Some might and most will not.

    I think I feel another blog post coming on Pam!!

    Thanks for the comments to both you and Joseph. I love Joseph’s analysis of many of my posts and always welcome good debate and discussion. After all, this is really the blogosphere working!

  13. Just for the record, Pam, nothing you said offended me. Or anyone else for that matter. In discussing the type of writing I typically do, I was simply expressing a preference that works for me. I like vanilla ice cream; you like chocolate. That’s not right or wrong; it’s just how it is.

    The design class I took was supposed to be a class on how to design. It wasn’t. And you are quite right in stating that the basic elements of design—because they deal with composition—are the same regardless of the medium in which one works.

    As for bending to a client’s wishes… I don’t know. I never had to contend with that, and it’s really not fair for me to comment on it all that much, I suppose. I do think that a client should get the benefit of the expertise of the designer’s skills, but if he really, really wants that funky corner in the second kitchen we’ve all been banging on, what then? Would it be possible to make a better design of that funky corner? Is the client so adamant that he’ll walk if he doesn’t get the funky corner with all its funkiness intact? Am I entitled to cast disparagement on those who eventually accede to the demands of the funky-lover when I’ve never had a business that paid the mortgage and found myself relying on that particular commission to pay this month’s bills? Or did that funky corner come from a designer who just wasn’t up to snuff? And for this last, we have the evidence of the rest of the kitchen to consider, because it really does not work all that well.

    Kitchen and bath design, because of all the things that go into it, and especially the many interactions with clients, is not a particularly easy thing to do well, and I firmly believe that people like myself do better when we just sit back and try to learn from those who are actually in the arena. But it’s a fascinating discussion, and I’m having a hell of a lot of fun throwing my two bits into the mix.

  14. Post

    Hear Hear for fun! Hey, life is serious enough…whats the big whup about poking a few bears? ‘eh? So long as you can run fast…and I always have my running shoes nearby…just in case!:)

    I LOVE all the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *