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Kitchen Design Don'ts

Designer Dave Stimmel deconstructs the successful kitchen.

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Photo 5 of 5"The hardest thing for people to do in their own spaces is to envision what they are going to have, as opposed to what they have now," says Stimmel, who insists on having all meetings in clients' homes, not in a showroom.

Don't Take the Short View(5 of 5)

"I say to every client, it's a process: you are not going to nail this down in one meeting." Clients will argue to add more counter space to a design, for example, saying they don't have enough room to sit four people and still do food prep. "And I'll say, that's true in the kitchen you have now, but when it's bumped out five feet you're going to have plenty of space."

He's even encountered the problem in his own home. When he and his wife bought a small second home on the Chesapeake Bay, she wanted a "house where I can have 10 people for Thanksgiving dinner." Stimmel said it was easy to look at the space and realize that the little kitchen they had would never accommodate that, so it would be necessary to knock down a wall to join the kitchen to the large dining room. "But then I looked at the house as a whole and said to her, 'Think big picture. If you want to have 10 people for dinner, will you need a living room that's going to fit 10 people comfortably, too?' People don't usually let the ball roll down the hill that way."