The author of the popular Kitchen Sync blog, Kelly Morisseau is a second-generation CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer), and a CID (Certified Interior Designer) for a residential design/build firm in Northern California. After 25 years in the business, she just wants to give something back – she does this through her blog. Kelly took some time out of her busy schedule to share some thoughts on what it means to be a certified kitchen and bath designer, color trends and how flooring fits into her design process.
Question: What does it mean to be a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer?
Answer: Designing for seven years before I could even apply and tests and tears and all-night coffee-soaked study sessions – oh, wait. That’s not what you meant, is it?
Here’s the simplest version: a person who has substantial experience and training in both kitchen and bath design as it relates to construction, ergonomics, and safety.
A master designer is one who has held both the individual designations for a minimum of 10 years.
Question: Why is it important to use a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer?
Answer: I don’t know if important is the term! I’d say we’re design- and problem-solvers who eliminate mistakes before the construction starts. It can be as detailed as researching that the heavy-duty hood fan can be installed in a two-story home (some can’t) or – since we’re talking flooring here— watching for different heights of flooring thicknesses in order to avoid a tripping hazard between transitions or rooms.
Question: What is your favorite aspect about Kitchen and Bath designing?
Answer: Even after 25 years, it’s always interesting. There’s always some new material or design application or electronic advancement or home construction technique to be learned.
And every client is different: even two homes with the same layout will never be the same because each client’s lifestyle will dictate different choices.
Question: What is the most common mistake you find that consumers make when planning a kitchen or bath?
Answer: That all materials and fixtures are compatible with each other. They’re not. Some faucets do not work with the sinks, some appliances do not work with the design, some lighting shades that do nothing for actual lighting. That and assuming that the room is always bigger than it is.
Question: At what point do you make flooring considerations in the design process?
Answer: Throughout! We spend a great deal of time discussing the pros and cons of each flooring material. For example, someone who has bad knees or a sore back may choose a softer flooring, such as cork or wood, over a harder one, such as tile or concrete.
After that, we may tentatively select the color at the beginning and fine-tune it as the rest of the other choices are layered in.
Question: What is your favorite floor type for kitchens? Why?
Answer: I don’t have a favorite – no, let me rephrase that–my favorite is a flooring that offers the most pros and the fewest cons to each client’s lifestyle.
Lifestyle often dictates the best fit. Do they have dogs with long nails who like to chase each other around the island? Do the kids leave spills on the floor? I think any major choice should include maintenance education prior to final selection.
Question: What is your favorite floor type for baths? Why?
Answer: Anything non-slip. I love porcelain tile, because there area so many options for both safety and style. Plus, with a straight-edged tile, we can have a narrower grout joint. (The old-world tiles with the serrated edges which require a wider grout joint.)
Question: What color trends do you see currently for kitchens and baths?
Two trends – both warm and cool.
Contemporary design: whites, grays, deep browns
Traditional design: creams, sundrenched tones or more traditional trio of wheat/green/red combination.
Or a combination of both – so perhaps classic white cabinets with sage green walls and chocolate brown furniture pieces.
Question: What trends do you see (in your market) in flooring for kitchens and baths?
Answer: A bit of everything except sheet vinyl. We’re seeing:
Tiles in stone and porcelain in various sizes, such as a 3- or 4-tile pattern. Bigger tiles, such as 12×18 or a 12×24 rectangles which, I should point out, take a very experienced floor setter to lay them perfectly flat and a floor with little flex; otherwise, the tiles will crack.
Woods from oaks to exotic woods, like rosewood or strand bamboo. Definitely wider plank sizes and/or flooring laid in a diagonal or a pattern.
I’m also noticing a slight trend towards glossy floors, perhaps a high sheen on the wood or a gloss white tile. Not my favorite as glossy anything can tend to be quite slippery. There. That’s what the benefit of a CMKBD is: we’re very cautious about safety!
Question: What trends do you see in countertops for kitchens and baths?
Answer: I’m seeing a lot of engineered stone (quartz) and good quality granite for the kitchen. I can’t quite talk folks out of marble for the bathroom (many marbles etch with strong chemicals, such as hairspray or shaving cream.) There is also some interest in recycled counters, whether they are paper-based or recycled glass. Again, it comes down to maintenance and lifestyle.
Adrienne @ Susan Palmer Designs says
Great interview! Kelly is an awesome lady and a great designer, and great blogger too! I have learned a lot just from reading her KitchenSync, and she is quite an inspiration as well as a funny, sweet woman!
I am loving that tiled column in the shower, makes the glass just seem to float!
True, that shower does look amazing, I always think that a nice bathroom is a bigger priority than your bedroom or anywhere else for that matter. Kelly Morisseau is a very knowledgable and talented designer.
Great article, thanks.