BY JEANNE WISNER

“So, what have you been doing for the past few months?”  We get this question at least daily from family, friends, clients and neighbors.  It’s not quite right to respond, “just working”, because that makes it seem like everything is normal – that nothing has changed.  Of course, that is not true.  As a design/build firm, and part of the construction industry, we kept our business open, but it certainly has not been business as usual.

Like our family, friends, clients and neighbors, we’ve learned to live and work differently.  After the initial adjustment to life (almost) exclusively in our homes, we settled into a new routine.  Home offices have sprung up in unusual places for a lot of us, allowing for some creative space planning, organization and in many cases negotiation.  Work hours are certainly not 9-5, but maybe 7:30-10:30 and 1-6?  Everyday is different.  New technologies have become our new normal.  Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex and FaceTime are part of our daily routine.  Video conferencing has enhanced and enabled our client meetings but also provided many new avenues for learning and growing that seemed too hard to manage in our old world.  We’ve managed online school, video workouts and virtual graduations.

So, what have our family, friends and clients been doing?  Well, the exact same things.  Carving new spaces out of their existing ones.  Finding a new work/life balance and getting to know all kinds of new, interesting and not so interesting things about their housemates!  Listening to new podcasts, new vlogs and trying some new hobbies.  Organizing and reorganizing their homes to make things easier, but also to make them more functional and better.  

The result for us, as designers, has been a very special, new way to create with our clients.  Having more in common has allowed us to create a new bond.  New ways of communicating have opened up new ways to look at your projects.  We tour your homes at any time of the day and you also have a look into ours.  We’ve cooked with you, had the occasional happy hour, talked with your kids and have even met your pets!  You’ve gotten to know what is really important about how you want to live because you are living more and this has enhanced our conversations and our designs.  

In our new world, we all cook.  Many of us bake.  Trying new things have given us a new appreciation for our kitchens and, in turn, highlighted all the things we want to change.  The appliance list become more detailed because a coffee station seems pretty important, a steam oven maybe for the fresh veggies from the garden and an oven with a baking stone for sourdough bread.  A kitchen island needs to provide space for multiple sous chefs and the kitchen/dining table needs room to complete a 1000 piece puzzle.  

Your creativity has opened our minds and together we are doing some amazing things. The kitchens we are designing right now are informed by lots of good food, good conversation and good times.  As we’ve eased back into our showroom, we’ve been able to welcome many of you through the door.  This feels great and we are taking precautions to keep all of us safe.  We look forward to seeing you virtually or in person.  Your neighbors at Kitchens on Broadway.

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