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A Kitchen Design Ethics Lesson From a Past July 4th

Placing ethical kitchen design before sales is the mark of a good kitchen designer. On this July 4th I found a blog from a past July 4th, 2013, particularly relevant.

A lesson in kitchen design ethics. JULY 4TH 2013 had fireworks in the sky and some on the web when many kitchen designers disagreed vehemently with each other on a LinkedIn debate.   The question that got everyone up in arms?

Would you allow or have you EVER allowed a customer to make a HUGE mistake?

As a kitchen professional I found it disheartening that not all designers could even agree that selling a dangerous kitchen was unethical. One designer stated:

“If someone comes in ONLY to buy cabinets.  I don’t interrogate them; I sell them exactly what they asked for.  If they kill themselves with them, that’s their problem.”

What I found the most distressing of all was that some CKD’s and even a MCKD (Master Certified Kitchen Designer) felt that cabinets not fitting or placed at mistaken heights was not their responsibility. One said: “Bad design pays the same commission as good design. If a client is hell-bent on buying a bad design, they might as well buy it from you, as long as the bad design does not include safety concerns.”

One designer told a near tragic story that ended as follows:

The dangerous design was installed. “Within six months, the whole house was lost due to a fire that began on the top of the indoor gas grill.” Thankfully, the occupants were not home and there were no injuries.

See two examples of dangerous kitchens below:

Wooden Hood with a dangerous problem. Selling this design would not be ethical. Kitchen design ethics 101.

The next kitchen below is dangerous to people entering the room. The range at the end of the cabinet run has open flames and pot handles projecting into the doorway.

Dangerous Kitchen. Selling this kitchen would be unethical.

As a kitchen designer, we help customers create a kitchen that they will enjoy for many years. This includes gaining an understanding of what they like and how much they have to spend to help get the best kitchen available within their budget.

I strongly believe that our job also includes protecting potential customers sometimes even from themselves. Certainly, if a design is dangerous Main Line Kitchen Design will not sell that design.   We also will not sell a kitchen with known design errors, such as cabinets not fitting.

I believe all professionals should be held to the same ethical code they use in medicine: “First do no harm.” I want my doctor, my lawyer, my accountant, and my auto mechanic all to care more about protecting me then they care about making a buck.

It was after I posted this comment in the design forum that the sparks started flying and fourth of July was off to a bang in the small world of kitchens. Apparently, kitchen design ethics is not universal upon in our industry.

Hoping your kitchen designer has your best interests and safety at heart!   And of course, as Julia said…

Bon Appetite,


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