Selecting a Kitchen Layout That's Right for You

New York-based interior design team 2Michaels offers their insights into designing everyone’s favorite room: the kitchen.

2MichaelsYour kitchen is the heart and soul of your home. Odds are you, your friends and family spend most of your time gathered in there, chatting over drinks, putting the final touches on a meal, or sneaking in for a snack. As such, there’s often a lot of pressure when it comes to creating a kitchen that will be perfect for you.

Not sure where to start when it comes to designing or renovating your kitchen? We caught up with Jayne and Joan Michaels, the interior designers (and sisters) behind New York design firm 2Michaels, to get their tips, takes and tricks when it comes to kitchen design.

First thing’s first: tell us a little bit about 2Michaels – how you got started, your design philosophy, who you are as designers.

We lived in Palm Springs as teenagers and then moved to Milan for a few years after school. We were influenced by the spare San Jacinto Mountains and the low-slung houses in the desert. The mid-century Italian architects such as Franco Albini, Caccia Dominioni and Carlo Scarpa spoke to us.

After Italy, we both moved to New York and enrolled in the Parsons School of Design and later the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  We each worked for various designers including Victoria Hagan and Juan Montoya until 2001, when we founded 2Michaels.

Our philosophy is simple: Spare use of line and composition balanced against artful silhouettes and color.  A room should not be “decorated”— it should have life and a soul.

What are some of your favorite kitchen layouts and how should people determine what’s best for their home?

The Bauhaus’s concept of the kitchen as an industrial workspace, despite dating back to the early 1900s, still holds true to this day.  It’s important to have enough counter space to work on. Use a utility table, even if the space is tiny.

What are your favorite trends in kitchen design right now?

We love to see kitchens that are unique. Upper cabinets that are in a different color or material from the bottom cabinets, or an island that looks like a piece of furniture rather than a static object. Accents that are bold and different.

What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to kitchen design?

Not using the basic principle of the kitchen work triangle. The sink, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator should all be in close proximity to one another.

Any final advice for someone looking to redo their kitchen space?

It seems simple, but think carefully about the upper cabinets and the hood and how they relate to one another.