My Biggest Personal Design Regret

Our Senior Designer, Kylie, has a HUGE regret. It’s true, even designers have moments where they regret a decision……and she’s here to share it with you now….


You all know the trend - open shelving in a kitchen where you can display your beautiful white, clean dishes. It’s a gorgeous look, one we love to implement. And while I LOVE the concept of it - being able to display your prized dish-ware passed down over generations, or perhaps a beautiful set of spice jars.

Beautiful open shelving design by James Baigrie.

Beautiful open shelving design by James Baigrie.

But, as it turns out, I hate it in my own kitchen.

I’ve had open shelving in my kitchen for years, above my “coffee nook”. It’s styled beautifully: our wedding dishes add a pop of color, a beautiful wooden bowl adds texture, and my stainless steel stocking pot that is not only useful, but pretty. I did everything right. Everything by the book. Emily Henderson would be proud.

But I still regret it. And for a while, I couldn’t figure out why. And then it dawned on me.

I hate clutter. I hate looking at “stuff”. I want so desperately to proudly display my dishes, but that’s all my eye goes to. I fought it for so long, but I’m throwing in the towel. The problem is, when you’re juggling two small children while cooking dinner, doing Preschool homework (which is SO HARD by the way….), and generally playing on the kitchen counters, you realize that at the end of the day, after all the dishes and papers are put away, you want the look of simplicity and cleanliness in your home. The open shelving is doing the exact opposite for me.

It’s a personal preference. Even designers make bad choices, sometime we are like the “cobbler’s kids” not enough hours in the day to really contemplate what works for us. I so badly wanted it to work, but as a person who relishes a cleaned up surface, I just can’t do it.

But here’s the thing: that’s why an experienced designer is so invaluable: they know the key to making a home YOURS; and when a client is open to something like open shelving, that’s exciting to us! We are capable of offering solutions that work for YOU. Not me, not your neighbor, but YOU. Each home is so personal and it shouldn’t just look nice, function is key. Mary’s open built-ins strike a happy chord for her. Though she too is getting the itch for a clean slate, perhaps due to our “overexposure.” We are like “kids in a candy store” so much to see and process on a daily basis, retreating to clean and simple at day’s end can be therapeutic?!

For me, I am done with open shelving, from here on out I am going for neat and tidy, behind closed doors, onward and upward….