Manchester based kitchen designer Diane Berry believes that a kitchen should be a combination of style, uncomplicated detail and comfort. A chat with the designer...
Into the creative mind of Diane Berry
Why did you opt to be a kitchen design specialist?
I find kitchens to be the most challenging. I also believe that to be a true expert you need to choose one room and become obsessive about every aspect of that room. Not many designers enjoy designing a kitchen. A designer should have enough product knowledge about a large range of products, which are changing all the time. This is my thirty seventh year designing, and I pride myself in keeping up to date with minute details.
The kitchen has undergone a sea change over the years. Agree?
I completely agree. The kitchen is now the hub of the home; in fact, the nerve center. They are often massive spaces that include dining areas, relaxation zones and even bars. Family moments these days are more often in the kitchen, whether it’s delivering good or bad news. I feel happy when I design spaces that are social and easy to live in and filled with family moments to remember.
Kitchen appliances today are really smart. How would you go about designing the perfect kitchen for the right placement of the gadgets?
To help homeowners choose the right appliances, I ask lots of questions, and then enjoy listening. I make sure my clients know all about the various gadgets and their features in order that they can make informed choices to suit their requirements. I have most of the appliances in my own kitchen, so I can talk confidently about them. I think this is the best way to understand an appliance. People always tell me I ask so much more than other designers, but I don’t understand how anyone can design without knowing their clients - their height, whether they are left or right handed - simple, and obvious questions that allow for perfect solutions for each client.
What are the challenges associated with designing kitchens?
The kitchen industry is filled with people who sell kitchens and have no idea about design - people who think units, appliances and worktops make a kitchen and that’s it. Until you’ve had a kitchen designed for yourself, you won’t really appreciate and understand the difference. A well-designed kitchen is like a well-designed car, it can become a part of you and you drive without thinking about it, everything is in the right place. For example - the right height worktop means your shoulders are relaxed while you prepare and cook. Asking the right questions, and understanding the answers can change how you feel. If a designer isn’t noting down your height and which hand you use; then take the pains to find one who does want to know, trust me, it will make your life simpler.
What is the current kitchen trend?
The trend in kitchens now is dark units and worktops, lots of stone finishes mixed with metallic. Trends are to be watched carefully, only choose it if you love it, as trends come and go. Quality kitchens last for years.
I don’t understand how anyone can design without knowing their clients - their height, whether they are left or right handed - simple, and obvious questions that allow for perfect solutions for each client.”