Organization and space saving are hugely important to any home design, especially for homeowners who like to spend summer months entertaining. How can you organize outdoor areas, living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens to be functional yet welcoming to groups both large and small?
Kevin Briggs can help. In addition to over 30 years of experience designing residential kitchens and being certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association as well as the National Association of Homebuilders, he brings another important trait to the table.
“Coming out of the restaurant industry, I’ve cooked and done pretty much everything you can do in a restaurant, working in the back and front of the house, managing, and helping people open up smaller, private restaurants,” he said.
Kevin’s experience and passion for preparing and serving food has lent itself to designing kitchens that bring together the elements of making and eating meals with social interaction.
“Everybody wants to open things up. I’d say 95 percent of the time, I’m working with a big open great room/dining room/kitchen area,” he said.
To further the entertainment concept, bar areas, wine coolers, and beverage refrigerators are being incorporated into home designs with focus on organization. Unique, functional spaces for all the accoutrements -- liquor, glasses, serving ware -- are along for the ride, often accompanied by a small bar sink.
In open kitchens, Kevin is seeing a proliferation of big center islands. These serve dual purposes: one as a barrier keeping guests out of the working area, and also as a reliable spot to lay out a buffet.
Here at the coast outdoor kitchens are becoming all the rage, with built-in grills with extra burners and overhead hoods for screened-in areas or ones with roofs. Outdoor refrigerators and coolers for storing ice, as well as ice makers, are also growing in popularity.
“The companies specializing in these components are producing very high quality pieces that aren’t going to deteriorate over time,” Kevin said, adding, “We have them in beautiful patterns, the designs have really come a long way.”
Whether designing entertainment spaces inside or outdoors, storage is a big consideration. Cabinetry is a favored solution, from built-ins to seats with drawers or overhead spaces. And it’s not just in the kitchen anymore.
“We’ve got people coming home from the beach, wanting somewhere to sit and change out of sandy shoes and beachwear while having a place to store things like umbrellas and chairs. A lot of times this is in the garage, or a mudroom just inside the main house from the garage,” Kevin explained.
Garage cabinetry and storage takes on simpler style, Kevin said, while rooms transitioning from the garage into the house take on the feel of the coast with lots of whites and nice blues, with some other beachy colors as well.
Kevin Briggs and his fellow professional designers at Markraft are ready to share innovative indoor and outdoor living design concepts with you. They consult by appointment, but drop-in visitors are always welcome. The Markraft Design Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane just off Castle Hayne Road.