Award-Winning San Francisco Residential Architect Andre Rothblatt Offers Eight Kitchen Design Tips

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Award-winning San Francisco residential architect Andre Rothblatt says there are eight important considerations to kitchen design. He recommends designers begin with the focal point, pay attention to proportions, work within reason of size and scales, define open space, use caution when working with trends, creatively use the backsplash, stick to the basics and hire a design professional.

new construction, residential architect San Francisco

Andre Rothblatt says there are eight important elements to kitchen design.

Designing a kitchen is not rocket science, but it is the most complicated room in the house.

Designing a kitchen can be one of the greatest challenges when undergoing new construction. San Francisco green architect Andre Rothblatt gives insight with eight tips which can overcome challenges in the kitchen design process. From appliance location to hiring a design professional, following these tips can lead to a successful kitchen design.

1.    The stove is the star of the kitchen. Yes, there is an appliance hierarchy, certain appliances and fixtures have greater status than others. The pecking order from most important to least is the stove, refrigerator, sink and microwave. This means that the stove should be the focal point of the kitchen layout. One should place the stove in the kitchen as one would a fire place in the living room, centered in the room in a prominent position.

2.    Proportions, Proportions, Proportions. One design element that distinguishes a great kitchen design and gives it that tailored look is the correct proportions. The correct proportions are achieved by the visual relationship of the width of each cabinet as it relates to its height and then how it relates to the other cabinets and room. A successful design is one where the entirety of the cabinets are well composed and well proportioned.

3.    The size of the space should dictate the design. As with the proportions of cabinets, the scale and size of the room should dictate the scale and size of the cabinets and the number of appliances. A common mistake homeowners make in kitchen design is cramming too many cabinets, appliances, or an island into a small kitchen.

4.    Don’t open up the kitchen too much. San Francisco house plans these days feature a kitchen that opens up into an adjacent room like a dining, family or great room. It’s important to remember that open kitchens need definition. So even though there are no walls to define the space, definition can be achieved by a good cabinet layout that implies a defined space. A u-shaped cabinet plan that has four corners implies a room the way four walls might. Irregular cabinet plans, or those that protrude into adjacent spaces in an unclear manner, can blur the boundaries of each space.

5.    Be aware (and wary) of trends. Design trends come and go; some trends have more staying power than others. It seems that stainless steel appliances will last for a long time for the reason that stainless steel is a neutral color that goes with almost all color schemes. It also looks great in both contemporary and traditional kitchens. Understanding trends is important. Some designers are quick to pick up and incorporate trendy items. It is better to follow trends only if it is consistent with the aesthetics of the kitchen, otherwise it might look passé in a couple of years.

6.    The Backsplash is a great opportunity to be creative and add flair. The backsplash is the small area above the countertop and below the upper cabinets, and it’s a great and frequently ignored opportunity to add a splash of color, unique pattern or vibrant accent to the kitchen. Unlike countertops and cabinets, which need to be functional and practical, the back splash allows the designer more freedom of expression to give the kitchen a visual punch.

7.    Remember the basics. It’s important to remember the basics of successful kitchen design. First, the area within the three main stations of the kitchen: the stove, the refrigerator and the sink should ideally form a triangle or be located in a clear, organized manner where these stations are not too close or too far from each other. Second, the kitchen plan should be integrated into the circulation pattern of the household, and the flow of traffic should not be impeded. Third, bring in natural light by maximizing window sizes and adding skylights when feasible.

8.    Hire a design professional. Designing a kitchen is not rocket science, but it is the most complicated room in the house. The best designs require a lot of coordination and knowledge of technical and practical applications of which first-time kitchen remodeler won’t be aware. The right architect or designer will have the training and expertise necessary to create that beautiful kitchen.

For more information about this project or any of Andre Rothblatt’s services, call him at (415) 503-9655 or visit his website at

About Andre Rothblatt Architecture
Andre Rothblatt Architecture is an award-winning San Francisco architecture firm located in the San Francisco Design Center. Andre graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Architecture in 1983 and has been actively involved in professional practice for more than 20 years. Formerly a licensed building contractor, he established his San Francisco residential architecture office in 1993. His work has been published in Sunset Magazine, House Beautiful, and Fine Homebuilding, as well as featured on HGTV.


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Andre Rothblatt
Andre Rothblatt Architecture
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