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  • Writer's pictureErin Hackett

10 Secrets Designers Use to Create Dreamy, Elevated Kitchens - Part 2

Kitchen design by DISC Interiors (source) |The architectural details speak for themselves in this timeless kitchen

Welcome back! I hope you enjoyed Part One of this kitchen design series and are excited to get in to Part Two. These are going to be the 5 things I would NOT do if you want to achieve a "designer" kitchen. Oftentimes, I find that restraint is so, so important in design which is why these 5 Don'ts are just as important to keep in mind as my 5 Do's.

I did get some feedback on my last post and realized that this is definitely not 101-Level kitchen stuff. I hope that's okay! I think there are plenty of other websites and bloggers out there talking about the entry-level kitchen design tips that I'm excited that these posts will take your take your kitchen to the next level. As always, if I ever get too into the weeds on something, please don't hesitate to ask me questions (either here or on Instagram). I'm always happy to have a conversation about these topics (I do LOVE kitchens, after all) and I don't know if my content is resonating unless I hear it from my readers. So bring on the questions, I'm open to anything ya got!

A few reminders for you before we get into the kitchen don'ts....

This post is for you if want a kitchen that is:

  • Elevated

  • Custom

  • Detailed to the max

  • Functional AND beautiful

This post is not for you if you want a kitchen that is:

  • Plain

  • Unintentional

  • Builder-grade

  • Lacking in character

  • Filled with flaws and irregularities

While not definitive, here are my top 5 DON'TS to round out my 10 kitchen design tips! Click HERE to go back to part one, in case you missed it.




This is a builder-grade hack that is often used to shortcut the time it takes to adequately plan out kitchen corners

Source: Colin King (here) | One of the most elegant kitchen corners I ever did see, and not an angled cabinet in sight

I'm sure you've all seen it before, and maybe you even have one in your home. For a period of time in the 90s and early aughts, almost every kitchen corner was adorned with angled cabinets. It was viewed as being more functional because, as some saw it, it made reaching for items in the kitchen's corner cabinets more accessible.

I, however, am calling BS on that. Even angled cabinets in a corner have a "dead zone" where items are impossible to reach, and ultimately your least used kitchens items end up collecting in these spots untouched for years.

Instead, design your kitchen corners to have nice, neat right angles. This is more aesthetically pleasing and more functional. It takes a little bit more skilled planning, especially if you have to place an appliance (like a dishwasher) close to the corner, but it's worth the extra effort for the elevated and timeless feel it will add to your kitchen.



And know that if they have to be in plain site, there are ways to camouflage them.

Kitchen design by Marie Flannigan (source) | You can barely see it, but it's there! A Bocci flushmount outlet laid into the backsplash

If you don't decide where you want your outlets to go before construction starts, you can bet your bottom dollar that your contractor will decide for you. This is problematic for so many reasons. First, it's not their kitchen, so they don't know how you want to live in it. And second, they are almost never going to think about things like sight lines, interruptions to backsplash tile layouts or the veining in your marble backsplash slab.

This is just another level of planning that cannot be forgotten. I recommend hiding outlets on the edges of your lower cabinets (yes, you read that right) and tucking them inside hutch cabinets or appliance sheds.

I oftentimes forgo the little push button that takes up space near your sink for your garbage disposal and opt to put a switch under the sink instead.

Little details like these add up, and minimizing the appearance of things like outlets and switches in your kitchen is a great way to let all of the gorgeous hard materials sing without significant blemishes or interruptions.

Above left: If you have to outlets or switches in plain site, using a beautiful, antique-style brass or other metal cover plate is a great way to dress them up
Above Right: Hiding outlets alongside a the lower cabinets is also a great way to keep them hidden but still accessible!



Or your sister, or mom, or friend, or influencer you follow on IG.... this is YOUR kitchen. Design it for YOU.

Above: Kitchen by Yond Interiors (source) | Slab style drawer fronts and a moody grey-blue color and not the run-of-mill choices for a kitchen. Thinking outside the box ALWAYS pays off when going for an elevated kitchen design!

This is a tough one because, even as a designer, I have go somewhere for inspiration. But the reality is, just because something worked for your neighbor, sister or friend does not mean it will work for your kitchen. Furthermore, if you're just outright copying a kitchen you've seen a hundred times, you're going to end up using the same boring combination of finishes that everyone else is using and completely missing an opportunity to create something beautiful!

Yes, kitchen trends are a real thing and, yes, sometimes there tends to be an overarching look with kitchens (especially white kitchens) during a particular era. But that's even more reason to spend a little extra time making your kitchen unique. There are literally thousands of bespoke tile options out there... why not use one for your backsplash that no one has ever seen before? And if you're into the look of a stone backsplash -- that's great! But the Calcutta Viola that that influencer used might not be right match to pair with some of the other materials in your kitchen, no matter how beautiful it was. You have to design your kitchen for you, and take some time to pick out some unique finishes. You won't regret it.



Practicing restraint is oftentimes the best thing you can do for a kitchen

Above: Kitchen by Hadley Wiggins (Source) | Simplicity reigns supreme in this beautifully understated (and still elegant) kitchen)

In today's world of oversaturated social media influence and resources galore, I oftentimes see my clients wanting to "throw in the kitchen sink" with their kitchen designs. Here's the thing... we can get so attached and so addicted to the plethora of the beautiful styles and finishes out there. One person can see a totally modern kitchen they love, and also have a penchant for a coastal-grandmother style cottage kitchen, and also be obsessed with contemporary features like under cabinet lighting. But mixing all of these different elements (in a an elegant way, at least) is going to be very, very difficult. Oftentimes, when we focus on using too many of the individual items we love, the whole design is thrown off and a cohesive look is no longer achievable.

Here's the reality, you can't have the super modern cabinets, with the ultra traditional hardware, with the statement marble, with the bespoke tile, and the high-tech plumbing, and the vintage copper pot rack, and the waterfall edge, etc., etc., etc. in ONE kitchen and expect it to look cohesive. If you want an elevated, designer kitchen you're going to have to decide on ONE overarching look you're going for, and be prepared to make sacrifices. It's going to be hard to do, but I promise it will pay off in the end.



This method is outdated - I recommend designing in "stations" instead!

Kitchen design: Neptune (Source)

The working triangle is an outdated way of designing a kitchen, in my opinion. It was developed in the 50s when technology was not as advanced, and in today's kitchens, you'll end up with a better result if you think of designing in "stations" instead. What do I mean by that? A station for prep, a station for coffee, a station for food storage, a station for tech gadgets... etc.

Instead of a working triangle, keep these little tidbits in mind:

  • Keep your trash cabinet close to your sink for easily tossing produce and food scraps without dripping water (or raw meat juice) all over your kitchen floors.

  • A pot filler over the range will eliminate the need to have it close to the sink. Incorporate one if you have a larger kitchen.

  • Storing small appliances in an appliance shed is great for keeping countertops minimal, but we recommend having this area close to your prep station, if possible.

  • Outlets are also a "must" near a prep station, so incorporate them in a hidden way amongst the lower cabinets, if you can.

  • The fridge and freezer no longer need to be right next to each other. In fact, we find that having them at opposite ends of the kitchen is perfectly acceptable, as long as the prep station (or cooking zone) is in the center of the two.

  • We're using our tech gadgets (i.e. our phones, tablets, computers, smart devices, and heck --even water bottles need charged these days) more than ever in kitchens. Make sure to incorporate a drawer with a few hidden outlets to store these items. This can be your "tech station" and is where everyone can drop devices that need charged during dinner or overnight



Especially one that's a member of the NKBA, like Hackett House Studio.

What, you thought I would get through this whole post without a gratuitous, shameless plug? Silly you... ;)

Hiring an interior designer for your kitchen renovation is one of the best things you can do. While many builders and contractors provide "design" as a part of their services offering, the unfortunate truth is that their business model is not set up to support the creation of individualized, high-detailed, and elevated kitchens. Only a full-service interior designer is going to have the resources and motivation to create a kitchen that is well-thought-out and unique to you.

Typically, builders who employ designers (or a design team) still have an selfish financial interest in completing your project as quickly and as easily as possible. This means offering you a minimal, finite set of options for finish materials, plumbing, lighting and more... all while speeding through the planning process and making decisions on the fly once construction has started. All too often, I get calls from potential clients who want to me to come in at the last second to save their kitchen design because they thought they were getting a more personalized service from their contractor, only to find themselves with limited options and costly mistakes racking up when they don't just "go with the flow" of what their contractor wants to do.

On the flip side, at Hackett House Studio we look at every new project as an opportunity to create something new, unique and special. Unless an exact finish material is specifically requested by our client, we are more than happy to never use the same material twice! There are hundreds of thousands of tile, paint and material options out there, all which have endless usage and installation possibilities. So while we might favor natural materials like marble or quartzite for countertops, for example, we know that each stone is going to have it's own unique features that will get even more unique when we combine them with other bespoke materials and apply them to your project in new and fresh ways. We meticulously plan every inch of your kitchen before construction even starts: from the general layout, to every single elevation needed to ensure that the kitchen is going to shine from every vantage point.

The end result: a kitchen that is unique, elevated and, most importantly, a reflection of you.

Getting the kitchen of your dreams starts with a conversation. Hackett House Studio is based in Columbus, Ohio, but we work on projects nationwide.

Click HERE to be taken to Calendly, where you can instantly book a complimentary 30 minute kick-off call to have a conversation about your dream kitchen today.

I look forward to hearing from you!

All my best,




Curated furnishings and decor finds from Hackett House Studio


Hackett House Studio is a full-service residential interior design studio. Using a combination of your exquisite taste and our creative know-how, we bring your vision of a beautiful and balanced home to life. Here at HHS, we use science-backed research to design carefully-styled spaces that have a positive influence on your health and wellbeing.Our processes have been carefully refined so that we can fully appreciate our clients' personalities and aspirations from the outset. After gaining an understanding of your goals and wishes, we get to work creating functional interiors that enhance our clients' quality of life. HHS designs are timeless, elevated, approachable and, most importantly, a reflection of the beauty and opportunity you desire to bring into your life.Click HERE to read about our services and submit your information in our project inquiry form.


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