Designing the Kitchen

Creating Beautiful Spaces for Culinary Endeavors

Each time Katie Ott and Sue Shinneman design a kitchen for clients of Kitchen Studio: Kansas City, they listen to the client’s needs and work to create a space specifically for them. 

“Every project is its own unique project,” Shinneman says. “We don’t have a standard look we go for that we replicate.”

As such, they sometimes go to client’s homes to see what would make their kitchen more functional and beautiful. After all, some of their clients don’t cook much but still want a great-looking kitchen. At the same time, others might enjoy baking or have a large family to feed. The way each of these clients uses their kitchen is different, and Ott and Shinneman see it as their job to design their spaces appropriately.

Shinneman says functionality often plays a bigger role than actual design aesthetic, and there is a difference between simply putting cabinetry in a space and designing a kitchen someone can work in every day.

Shinneman and Ott describe their style as clean and simplistic without much traditional design. Their goal is for clients to enjoy their kitchen for years to come, and they don’t want these spaces to become quickly outdated.

“We tend to design things that are more timeless and classic and not super-trendy,” Sue says. 

They have a 2,900 square-foot showroom with eight displays, including one fully functional kitchen that can be used for cooking demonstrations. They have offered such demonstrations in the past and hope to host more in the future.

Ott said she loves all of the projects they have completed, but one of her favorites was a job where they installed an orange-colored range. She said they completely re-worked the kitchen to function better for the client and added a custom table to abut the island with a built-in bench under the window. They also created a more functional walk-in pantry with pocket doors and obscured glass. Additionally, they painted the pantry orange.

Shinneman said they are seeing a shift away from having numerous wall cabinets and a move toward taller, shallower cabinets and countertop storage for appliances. They are also noticing requests for interior cabinet organization and unique features such as coffee bars, pet stations and wine bars. 

Ott and Shinneman opened Kitchen Studio: Kansas City in 2007 and take pride in their hands-on approach to the business. Ott says she has always loved the complexity of kitchen and bathroom design, and her first job was for a kitchen showroom. Shinneman got interested in kitchen design when she worked for a kitchen designer. 

Both women always wanted to own a showroom where they can be involved in all the details and give the customer service they would expect to receive if they were the client.

“When someone comes here to get a kitchen, they are working with the owners of the business,” Shinneman says. “We follow the entire project through from start to finish.”

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