I’m with Coco!

April 15th, 2010 § 3 Comments

2010 is looking like a very good year. There I said it. Recession, so what? Last year was probably the toughest of my entire career with jobs downsized, coming to a halt or put on hold indefinitely.  There were so many of us in my industry here in Southern California that never saw it so bad. It felt like a depression. 


So where am I now? I will sum it up by saying I’m with Coco! Yes, I took the lemons life handed me and made lemonade. If Coco can do it, why not me I thought to myself.  

 http://www.facebook.com/imwithcoco

What’s that you ask? If you haven’t been following television media news about The Tonight Show and The Late Show, let’s just say Conan O’Brien relationship with NBC ended abruptly.  In Facebook terms, Conan O’Brien’s relationship with NBC just went from “it’s complicated” to “is single.” (MSNBCNews.com The Scoop). The same theory that applies in Conan’s relationship applied to me as well. I am not too proud to say I took my lumps this year with lack of work. I have always enjoyed working in  Kitchen and Bath Design Showrooms, but with showrooms barely surviving, I had to figure out how to reinvent myself, take my job skills and love for all things kitchen and bath related and figure out what I could do with all this experience I have. 


My qualifications and skill set doesn’t translate well into medical or insurance work. Now what? 


I got my degree in something else entirely, attended design school soon after that and then learned everything I know about my industry from on the job training and additional courses and studying. I love what I do, but where do I go from here when everything is at a standstill?  I can keep showing up everyday as an independent salesperson but that ain’t paying the bills. 


O’Brien’s public statement goes on to say “ For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky.” 



A NEW ERA CALLS FOR A NEW PARADIGM
I too considered myself fortunate for 14 years getting paid to do what I love most, in a world with real problems, I too have been absurdly lucky to have had the opportunities that have come my way. I have learned the business inside and out, from selling plumbing fixtures to helping out in the custom shop learning how to sand, stain and glaze doors. (Thanks L. Landsman! You are the best!), to designing and managing a design showroom. I have done it all and I love it! 


Someone (who does not understand the nature of our business) once asked me why I was concerned about what the plumber was doing. It is because what you do not know puts you in a position for getting in trouble. It’s not that I want to do the contractor’s or plumber’s job, but you have to know the language of the business to communicate with your trades. It’s that simple.  


Although I would like to say I came away with the same $32 million dollar golden parachute that Conan did, I came out of this recession stronger for it and with my sense of humor intact! I scrambled when I saw the market drop out. With the Expo stores closing, thousands out of work and even Home Depot maintaining hiring freeze’s it didn’t look good. I felt like Rose in the movie Titanic holding on to the railing for dear life before the ship went under.  I am proud to say I have worked hard to stay off of unemployment and have taken several temporary part time jobs to keep my self going when times where toughest. 


Despite the hard times of this past year, I have been fortunate to have met many wonderful designers throughout the country, no- strike that, through out the world, and have been fortunate to form lasting friendships. One of the great experiences I had this past winter was being invited as a guest of Brizo to attend the Jason Wu Fashion Show in New York City sponsored by Brizo. I wrote about it here. I am grateful for the experience and I owe Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design a great deal of thanks for being part of that brain storm session that resulted in bringing so many of designers from around the country together for the Brizo event. Paul has the right idea, what you put out there in the world comes back to you. I wish the best success for Paul and for all my Blogger19 pals. It’s really great to be able to share in each others joys and success stories. This is the right type of thinking and has kept me positive during the harder days.


My New Life as a Cabinet Sales Rep. 
First let me say I have nothing but respect for outside sales reps. This is one of the hardest jobs ever. There is a lot of rejection and a lot of competition. But that’s OK because I am in it for the long haul.  I now understand why sales reps just show up unannounced. Otherwise you would never be able to book an appointment with some people. So I am still in the biz., still loving what I do, still passionate about good cabinet design, and excited about meeting so many more great designers to come. My new motto: My goal is to make you look good! I will do what it takes to provide the best service to you as your sales rep. Return your calls and get back to you in a timely manner and make sure you are well represented.

So more news on this blog to come, still on kitchen and bath design, and more news from me but this time from the sales rep’s perspective.

Here’s to Coco!

This blog post is dedicated to a great salesman who just passed away. Lee Lubkin, it was an honor to know you. You touched a lot of lives and you will be missed!  

 



Commercial Kitchen Zone Arrives Homes

April 9th, 2008 § Leave a Comment

I was raised around a commercial kitchen and so I have a fondness for cooking and planning for cooking. My favorite place, as a kid, was the cold zone where the tubs of ice cream were kept, and the fountain/beverage service area, where I was so thrilled at “organizing” the mise en place objects . I loved the elegant dishes reserved for serving ice cream, the tall and amusing shape of the ice tea spoons, the white coffee cups with the apple red rims laid out with matching saucers stacked next to them, the glasses in pull out plastic trays below the counter for ease of serving glasses of water and iced tea. (I probably drove the servers crazy when I “re-organized” things for them before service). At the tender age of eight I knew the difference between a steam table and a deep fryer, was enthralled with the glow from the salamander, watching cheese bubble on the hot plates, I loved stirring the sauces in the steam table when the cooks would permit me in the kitchen during prep hours. Kitchens are in my blood. I was a kitchen designer in the making before I even knew it!

As I witness a trend developing into an accepted theory in residential kitchen design, I am delighted to show clients how to embrace zoning in their kitchen too. There is a growing acceptance by kitchen designers and homeowners alike to move away from the notion of a kitchen triangle. There was a time when that worked perfectly when the homemaker was the chief cook and bottle washer.
However, as the kitchen has evolved as a gathering space with more than one cook, so to has the options in appliances we want for our home and how we organize them in our kitchens. As walls come down between kitchen and adjoining family room, and as the kitchen melds into the family room, the opportunity to co-op a commercial kitchen’s work zone is coming into play more often.
Thus a kitchen triangle is out of sync in a larger kitchen and “zoning” is the new key feature to a residential gourmet kitchen. Searching the topic, I typed “commercial kitchen” in Google, and was not surprised to see how kitchen design has evolved with terms reserved for commercial design.

For example, Dornbracht shows off zoning for the kitchen sink: two bowls, each with its own faucet.

Dornbracht Kitchen Zones – new concept of space from Dornbracht

Two sinks, two faucets are desired in the zoned kitchen. It is an idea from commercial design that makes logical sense. A clean up zone and a preparation zone perform better when they do not share a single source of water. A residential kitchen may not have the space a commercial kitchen does for a seperate clean up zone but even a small kitchen can benefit from two faucets to keep wash up chores separate from salad and vegetable prep work. Dornbracht sees the value and is offering it to consumers now.


Kraftmaid, one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the United States has introduced Harmony Kitchen Zones. Kraftmaid breaks it down to great visual marketing material with interactive point and click photos and PDF printable handouts for homeowners to see the benefit with cabinets designed with zoning in mind. Kraftmaid states in their ads, “The best kitchen designs are laid out with work zones Harmony® Storage Solutions for your kitchen are organized by zones as well.”

Viking Range Corporation has published an article in their newsletter, The Edge, “Breaking out of the Work Triangle”. The basis for zoning your kitchen is replacing the triangle with a series of zones: The Preparation Zone, The Baking and Cooking Zone, The Beverage Center, and the Clean Up Zone.
No longer relegated to the back of the house, residential kitchens are now taking their cue from commercial kitchen design, using the theory of zoning to provide a well organized cooking and gathering space for all to come into the kitchen. True, residential kitchen, (with the exception of a kosher kitchen), will never need to have the commercial requirements for a separate fish, vegetable, meat and sauce sections. Although it would be great to have your own personal soux chef once in a while, residential kitchen design can benefit when planned with prep centers, baking & cooking zones, beverage centers and clean up zones. Zoning, a must for restaurants and hotel kitchens that require organization and order to perform with speed and efficiency, with a chef, soux chefs, line cooks and pastry chefs, servers and cleanup crew all working simultaneously to prepare, serve and clean up for hundreds of guests a day. No doubt a residential kitchen can benefit from similar types of zoning, regardless of large or small kitchens. Although a homeowner may not be preparing food at the same capacity as a commercial kitchen, the residential kitchen needs to serve the demands of the household. The kitchen, a daily family gathering space, when well planned with zones, will allow for multiple family cooks to lend a hand or just simply hang out in the kitchen in a inviting, welcoming way.

Suffice it to say, the kitchen has evolved. There are architectural books that detail the entire history of homes throughout the ages, so I will not comment on the social history here. It really is fascinating to read and discover how the home has evolved. If interested in further reading, I highly recommend Witold Rybczynski book, Home: A Short History of an Idea for further reading.

Commercial Kitchen Zone Arrives Homes

April 9th, 2008 § Leave a Comment

I was raised around a commercial kitchen and so I have a fondness for cooking and planning for cooking. My favorite place, as a kid, was the cold zone where the tubs of ice cream were kept, and the fountain/beverage service area, where I was so thrilled at “organizing” the mise en place objects . I loved the elegant dishes reserved for serving ice cream, the tall and amusing shape of the ice tea spoons, the white coffee cups with the apple red rims laid out with matching saucers stacked next to them, the glasses in pull out plastic trays below the counter for ease of serving glasses of water and iced tea. (I probably drove the servers crazy when I “re-organized” things for them before service). At the tender age of eight I knew the difference between a steam table and a deep fryer, was enthralled with the glow from the salamander, watching cheese bubble on the hot plates, I loved stirring the sauces in the steam table when the cooks would permit me in the kitchen during prep hours. Kitchens are in my blood. I was a kitchen designer in the making before I even knew it!

As I witness a trend developing into an accepted theory in residential kitchen design, I am delighted to show clients how to embrace zoning in their kitchen too. There is a growing acceptance by kitchen designers and homeowners alike to move away from the notion of a kitchen triangle. There was a time when that worked perfectly when the homemaker was the chief cook and bottle washer.
However, as the kitchen has evolved as a gathering space with more than one cook, so to has the options in appliances we want for our home and how we organize them in our kitchens. As walls come down between kitchen and adjoining family room, and as the kitchen melds into the family room, the opportunity to co-op a commercial kitchen’s work zone is coming into play more often.
Thus a kitchen triangle is out of sync in a larger kitchen and “zoning” is the new key feature to a residential gourmet kitchen. Searching the topic, I typed “commercial kitchen” in Google, and was not surprised to see how kitchen design has evolved with terms reserved for commercial design.

For example, Dornbracht shows off zoning for the kitchen sink: two bowls, each with its own faucet.

Dornbracht Kitchen Zones – new concept of space from Dornbracht

Two sinks, two faucets are desired in the zoned kitchen. It is an idea from commercial design that makes logical sense. A clean up zone and a preparation zone perform better when they do not share a single source of water. A residential kitchen may not have the space a commercial kitchen does for a seperate clean up zone but even a small kitchen can benefit from two faucets to keep wash up chores separate from salad and vegetable prep work. Dornbracht sees the value and is offering it to consumers now.


Kraftmaid, one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the United States has introduced Harmony Kitchen Zones. Kraftmaid breaks it down to great visual marketing material with interactive point and click photos and PDF printable handouts for homeowners to see the benefit with cabinets designed with zoning in mind. Kraftmaid states in their ads, “The best kitchen designs are laid out with work zones Harmony® Storage Solutions for your kitchen are organized by zones as well.”

Viking Range Corporation has published an article in their newsletter, The Edge, “Breaking out of the Work Triangle”. The basis for zoning your kitchen is replacing the triangle with a series of zones: The Preparation Zone, The Baking and Cooking Zone, The Beverage Center, and the Clean Up Zone.
No longer relegated to the back of the house, residential kitchens are now taking their cue from commercial kitchen design, using the theory of zoning to provide a well organized cooking and gathering space for all to come into the kitchen. True, residential kitchen, (with the exception of a kosher kitchen), will never need to have the commercial requirements for a separate fish, vegetable, meat and sauce sections. Although it would be great to have your own personal soux chef once in a while, residential kitchen design can benefit when planned with prep centers, baking & cooking zones, beverage centers and clean up zones. Zoning, a must for restaurants and hotel kitchens that require organization and order to perform with speed and efficiency, with a chef, soux chefs, line cooks and pastry chefs, servers and cleanup crew all working simultaneously to prepare, serve and clean up for hundreds of guests a day. No doubt a residential kitchen can benefit from similar types of zoning, regardless of large or small kitchens. Although a homeowner may not be preparing food at the same capacity as a commercial kitchen, the residential kitchen needs to serve the demands of the household. The kitchen, a daily family gathering space, when well planned with zones, will allow for multiple family cooks to lend a hand or just simply hang out in the kitchen in a inviting, welcoming way.

Suffice it to say, the kitchen has evolved. There are architectural books that detail the entire history of homes throughout the ages, so I will not comment on the social history here. It really is fascinating to read and discover how the home has evolved. If interested in further reading, I highly recommend Witold Rybczynski book, Home: A Short History of an Idea for further reading.

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