At NYIAD we teach our students a simple Three-Step Method for designing every room they create:
- A successful room is functional.
- A successful room expresses a mood.
- A successful room exhibits a sense of harmony.
This simple Three-Step Method is the secret of every interior ever designed. We teach our interior design students to consider these three steps every time they look at a room. You'll find the great home decorating ideas in our Room of the Month series as well as in the design tips on this site helpful in creating outstanding room designs.
When our students mail in their interior design project for analysis by their instructor, the instructor starts by commenting on these three Guidelines. Of course, the instructor analyzes other elements of the project too – decor, layout, furniture, style etc. But the key to good decor – and the essential element of every great interior design – is adherence to these three NYIAD Guidelines.
How do they work? How can you apply them? It's beyond the scope of this Web site to teach you every nuance, but you will get an inkling from the Room of the Month Analysis that follows.
Here at the NYIAD, we have a tool for looking at the design of any given room. We look at the room in terms of three qualities, the New York Institue of Art and Design Guidelines to Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony.
Let's apply this method to this luxury kitchen. And let's look first at function.
While the basic function of a kitchen is the same for everyone 3 providing a place to prepare food — the particulars differ enormously depending on the family or individual who lives in the home. Here, we see a kitchen that serves the purpose of food preparation at a nearly-professional level.
Look at the photo to the right. The gas stove allows the cook the ultimate in temperature control. The rugged six-burner stovetop can take a beating when the pans are flying fast and furious. And the sliding pan holder allows the cook to add a saucepan in a second.
The pull-out cutting board gives the cook immediate extra chopping space, and the silverware drawer is convenient to the stove.
But this kitchen serves another function as well. It's also the center for entertainment, as a kitchen often is. See the next photo, and you'll see that there are four seats at the counter, allowing family or guests to have a seat while talking to the cook as she works. Often a kitchen becomes the gathering spot at a party or for the family just before a meal, but too many times the kitchen isn't built to accommodate this need. Here, we see this function acknowledged, and space is created to make everyone comfortable.
The counter also serves an additional function, of being a spot for a quick sandwich of cup of coffee.
NYIAD Top Tip
In terms of the mood, this kitchen has a casual feeling created by the open plan; allowing people to watch the cook as she works makes this kitchen feel a little informal. However, this is undercut by the high-end materials used — the granite countertop, the pendant lamps, the over-sized vase with the lemon arrangement — all lend a more formal feeling. This is also emphasized by the formal backs of the stools at the counter.
In terms of the harmony, everything in this kitchen works together. The off-white cabinets pull out the off-white tones in the counter, and the wood chair backs and cabinets bring out the darker tones, as does the hammered copper sink. The swirl in the backs of the stools echoes the swirling pattern in the granite, and the wood floor echoes the lines of the cutting board.
This kitchen — elegant yet informal — is a great example of how function, mood and harmony can all be brought together to make a room really sing.