KBB - March 2014 - (Page 14)
Creating a Better Quality
of Life for Your Clients
Going beyond aesthetics and broadening your sense of purpose
This is not another how-to article about air quality or the benefits of steam
for your clients; I will leave that to the manufacturers. Instead, let's focus
more on the "why" instead of the "how." My desire in writing this is to help
instill in you a desire - as designers and specifiers on the front line with
the homeowner - to deepen your awareness and broaden your sense of
purpose for creating a better quality of life for your clients. This phrase is
commonly tossed around, and we say, "Yes, yes, I do this," but I think we
gloss over the real importance of creating this atmosphere and the depth
of our responsibilities in doing so.
For any of you who understand the psychology of color and even a
little about Feng Shui, you are already familiar with how our surroundings
can affect us. Those who specialize in green, universal and aging-in-place
design are also more acutely aware of this reality. Pleasant surroundings
touch our emotions, and we thrive and feel refreshed when the spaces we
enter invite a visual experience. Our relationship to our spaces can be felt
internally and externally, as our homes become an extension of ourselves.
The psychology of how we feel in certain spaces revolves around the
five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing. We are surrounded with
a wealth of product knowledge, classes and webinars about aromatherapy, chromatherapy, sound-deadening materials, lighting choices, smart
homes, temperature control, healthy food preparation and bringing the
outdoors in - which are all important elements for us to understand as we
design for all five senses.
A Sense of Home
How many of you are driven to "nest" when you travel? Once I arrive
at a hotel, unpacking is at the top of the list; I put my clothes away before
relaxing or moving on to the next activity. Some of us have this natural
nesting instinct and know how to answer its calling by creating a sense of
home wherever we go. Many may feel drawn to it but do not know how to
satisfy it. A friend of mine who bought a new home a few years ago has
yet to fully unpack and "move in." He admits he doesn't feel fully settled
and comfortable, which I believe leads to a level of anxiety and unrest.
Speaking from experience - not just as a designer but also as a highly
sensitive end user - I am deeply affected by my surroundings. We are
all constantly confronted on a daily basis by the environments in which
we travel, so coming back home should be a vacation - a place to just
breathe and let our guard down, to get re-centered and grounded. We
look to our home environment for comfort, rest, security and enjoyment,
which all promote our well-being. Yes, aesthetically we want the spaces to
be beautiful, and we need them to be efficient, but a deeper underlying
desire is how the space feels. Attempting to define and understand the feeling part is often daunting, but it is the artful co-mingling of all the elements
that go into design that strikes the right balance that contributes to healthy
living to nurture the mind, body and spirit.
Holistic design is also becoming something of which to take note. Holistic
is defined as "relating to or concerned with complete systems rather than
with individual parts," which can affect physical, mental and spiritual aspects
of one's life. What is it that hinders us from designing from this position and
making it a habit? Schedules, competition that creates a sense of urgency
to push through the sale, allowing the client to overly drive the process, familiarity of how we've always done things - all of these are valid reasons, but I
challenge you to connect with your deeper purpose.
Service with a Purpose
When we are not connected with our purpose, we can still design a
kitchen and bathroom - most of us could design in our sleep - but it'll be
unimaginative. As right-brained, creative individuals, ultimately this is a very
unsatisfying place from which to create, and we will burn out. When this
happens we have to reset the clock and go back to zero.
Service with a purpose is a commonly used phrase, but do you know
what it means? Servicewithpurpose.net defines it as this: Fundamentally, an
organization must ask why it exists (purpose), examine how it interacts with
the outside world (service) and then find that sweet spot where purpose
and service meet. Remembering our purpose reignites our passion to stay
focused on the bigger picture of our client's well-being. As a good reminder,
place these tips somewhere you can easily see them often:
1. Remember the five senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing).
2. Design projects as if you are designing for a family member.
3. Create a professional mission statement.
4. Embrace the responsibility of how you affect the lives of your clients.
5. Reconnect with your resting place, slow down, and design with purpose.
As an NKBA-Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer, I encourage
you to find all the education you need on these topics. When I retire, I
want to leave knowing I helped create a better quality of life for my clients
and designed with purpose. n
March 2014 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
- Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, CAPS, is the owner of
Timeless Kitchen Design in Seattle, Wash.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - March 2014
KBB - March 2014
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
KBIS 2014 and Design & Construction Week
Coastal kitchen acquires more space and customization
There and Back
KBB - March 2014