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Denis attended McMaster University where he obtained an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in 1993. In 1999, Denis graduated from Queen’s University with an Executive MBA. Denis joined DCC in 2001 as the Marketing Manager, before becoming a part owner and President in 2005. Denis was chosen to participate in the prestigiuous QuantumShift Program at the University of Western Ontario. He completed the program in 2010 and is now a Fellow of QuantumShift.
It's What's On The Inside That Counts
Don’t judge a book by its cover. All that glitters is not gold. Beauty is only skin deep. Diamond in the rough. Most of us have heard these clichés before. Essentially, they all talk about not looking just on the exterior of someone or something but also looking or focusing on the inside.
Unfortunately, in the cabinetry business most people do the exact opposite. Consumers typically focus (and apportion their money) on the look of their cabinetry: the door specie, the door style, the finish, the countertop, etc. And often this is done at the exclusion of the inside or the functionality of their cabinetry. If this is you, then please don’t despair, you’re not alone. In fact, this is very typical, especially in North America. Because housing is still quite affordable in North America, it is not imperative for us to focus on good design, we just add more space and more cabinets and voila the problem is solved.
However, it’s a very different story in Europe. The cost of housing is so high in Europe that many people are limited in the amount of space they can afford. As such, the average kitchen in Europe is much smaller than in North America and consumers have no choice but to use every square inch (or centimeter) of space. You’ll notice that many European kitchens feature a high gloss, flat slab door which often gives the kitchen a clean, uniform and symmetrical look. What we North Americans don’t necessarily realize is just how well designed and organized these kitchens are. Everything is done to minimize movement and maximize storage space.
Good old fashioned research is at the heart of European kitchen design. One of our hardware suppliers, BLUM, who is based in Austria has commissioned and participated in many such studies. One study asked several European families to inventory all the items found in their kitchen. From this comprehensive list of items, BLUM engineers grouped these items into five categories or zones: consumables, non-consumables, cleaning, preparation and cooking. What the BLUM engineers discovered was that organizing these zones in a specific fashion, which they called dynamic space, reduced the amount of movement required while working in the kitchen.
By now you’re probably asking yourself ‘what does this mean for me?’ Well, the point I’m trying to make is that good design is much more complex than determining what your cabinetry will look like. In fact, it’s just as important to think about how your kitchen will be laid out (which cabinets go where), whether you should use drawers or doors (drawers are often better), whether you should use pull outs (yes) and what accessories should you have inside your cabinets. These are things that will help you be more efficient (take less steps), be better organized (spend less time looking for things) and have more storage (need less cabinets). These are the things that will have the biggest impact on how you use your kitchen and your overall level of enjoyment of your kitchen. And while I appreciate the importance of having a kitchen with the wow factor, the wow factor won’t matter much to you if you don’t like working in your new space.
And this will be the hard part for many people; you don’t just need to spend more time thinking about the inside of your cabinets, you need to think about investing in the space within your cabinets. By accessorizing you can achieve maximum efficiency, storage and organization, without band-aiding by simply adding more cabinetry or space. This is where your designer can really make a difference in the design process. They can work with you to determine where it makes sense to spend money and where it makes sense not to spend money. They can help you achieve the look that you want without compromising the integrity of the design. As the old saying goes, it’s important to measure twice and cut once.