Tips on ‘Breaking Out of the Box’

by WOHe

Baltimore, MD – Once designers get to a certain point, they need to challenge themselves to think ‘outside of the box,’ says Morton Block, CKD, CBD, IIDA, Morton Block Associates, Elkins, Park, PA. Block offered tips for advanced designers to give their work an “extra edge” at the Kitchen & Bath Design Expo ’98, held here in October.

According to Block, part of designing is about giving customers what they want without imposing what you want on them. Says Block, “Try to get into customers’ heads and lifestyles to give them comfort.”

To do that, designers need to go the extra mile, Block believes. It’s the extra step you take to break out of the box, and challenge yourself as a designer that makes a difference, he says, adding that, “All you can do is recommend. It’s the end user that makes the decision. I tell my clients that they hired me as a consultant, but I can only give them my opinion.”

To that end, says Block, advanced designers need to be armed with ideas, since customers are looking to them for help. They need to approach their designs with an open mind, and allow themselves to inject their designs with “high-end thinking” to bring projects to the next level. That means being able to give customers innovative solutions to their design challenges, instead of simply spouting the basics, says Block.

Block offers up a few areas that offer a designer a chance to ‘break out of the box’:

  • Lighting. “Lighting becomes a crucial element. You want to think about what it looks like at night, how it spreads across cabinetry. Think about general and task lighting, and the types of light bulbs, ” says Block.
  • Varying cabinetry heights. “The way cabinetry is installed depends on the space, whether you have stock or custom, and what look you’re trying to achieve. A lot can be done with cabinetry,” Block notes.
  • Appliance location. “Don’t just put them in standard spots. Make use of them. Think about how your customers will use them,” says Block.
  • Islands. “Think about shapes and different heights,” advises Block.
  • Accents. Use things like glass, tambour, mirrors and tiles to give the space visual impact, says Block. “Expand your visual boundaries.”

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