SPE­CIAL FEA­TURE

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...

The Ideal Home and Garden - - Contents - IM­PRES­SIONS: BENOY SE­BAS­TIAN

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.”

DIANE BERRY

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