Client Collaborations: Layout and flow

Sep 10, 2013 by Hiromi Ogawa

Our proudest and most successful designs are a product of true collaboration between us and the client.  When the client can articulate their needs and wants, and we, in turn, can respond to those needs with a design solution that incorporates function and aesthetics, it’s like magic.  And we really can’t do it on our own; an open, trusting, and design-savvy client is the key to a successful design solution.

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This kitchen used to be in a small, enclosed room.  The owners wanted an open kitchen, a place that can be the hub of family activity.  By adding a family room to the rear of the house, the kitchen really opened up and the whole house flowed better.

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The owners for this home wanted to use their existing space more effectively, while finding better storage and flow overall.  By converting the rear breakfast area into a mud room, the family gained a useful back entrance, and kitchen became more defined.

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While designing a two-bedroom two-bath addition to this house, the owners expressed interest in a "book nook" - a multi-purpose niche for relaxing.  By making the nook large enough for a futon, it also doubles as an extra bed for guests.  I love this idea of creating a space that is neither public (living room, dining room) nor private (bedroom).  And it doesn't need to be big!

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It's hard to believe that there was only a 2'-6" wide opening between the dining room and kitchen when we started this project.  The owners are wonderful cooks and wanted to really open up to the kitchen and the back yard.  There are a series of small moves - oversizing the wall opening, extending the kitchen cabinets into the dining room, placing a large bifold window at the end - that helps make this kitchen feel spacious and open. See our previous post for more client collaborations!

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