REVOLUTION AND INNOVATION IN THE KITCHEN: The Development of Kitchen Workstation Furniture
Its called Kitchen Workstation Furniture and we’re not talking about tables and chairs! Architect David Beer, president of the YesterTec Design Company, has redefined the kitchen into a collection of beautiful, highly functional pieces of furniture. These classically designed “pieces” evoke a “timeless” quality because they uncompromisingly conceal all of the appliances.
The idea for this company that designs and manufactures Workstations evolved over a long period of time. David, who has designed hundreds of custom homes, always tried to reflect the lifestyle of his clients in the design of each project. For most, the center of their daily lives focused in and around the kitchen. So, many of the homes were designed with greatrooms or family room / kitchens where the kitchen, dining and living areas were all combined into one relatively open room. But it was always difficult designing the kitchen so that it would look compatible with the rest of the room, especially when designing within a traditional or period style. “No matter how much money we put into the kitchen, it still resembled a laboratory because the cabinets were all the same color, the countertops were in a continuous line and the hi-tech appliances were exposed to view.”
After a lot of design experimentation, David discovered that kitchens composed of independent Workstations could be blended more successfully into these multi-purpose rooms. He explains, “Because each Workstation does not attach to any other, the colors, materials, styling and proportions of each unit can vary. This not only enriches the visual quality of the room but it allows the functional characteristics of each piece to be optimized.” (That’s architect talk for they look good and work good too!) In addition, he says, the spaces that are created between the units allow the decorating theme of the living areas and dining areas to drift into the kitchen. Nooks can be created containing full height windows and doors, a favorite rocker or writing desk, or family portraits and collections of all kinds can be displayed on the walls between the workstations. “I am really excited about these full height spaces because they will allow people to personalize their kitchens more than ever before!”
As it turned out, converting kitchens into pieces of furniture was no easy task. “There are many subtle differences between the look of cabinetry and furniture, but concealing the appliances was the key to achieving the look that was needed. He continues, “I had admired the ‘unfitted kitchen furniture’ line designed by English designer Johnny Grey for Smallbone, and I thought that we could expand on his idea by creating more appropriate styles for the American market and hiding ALL of the appliances.” Refrigerators and most portable appliances were easily disguised, but it was impossible to safely conceal all the other appliances. So David, with the help of a few very talented consultants, developed patented technology that allows ovens, cooktops, microwaves, warming drawers and any dishwasher to be concealed behind doors when they aren’t in use. It took more than two years to have the safety features of this technology approved by Underwriters Laboratories. But in the end, it was worth it. “Patience and persistence triumphed because now YesterTec is the only company in the world that can conceal standard, full sized cooking appliances so effectively!”
With that major hurdle accomplished, David focuses on getting the word out to the public. “People have never had the option to think of kitchens in this exciting new way before, so its my job to show them the liberating design advantages that workstations offer.” And designing kitchens using workstations is much easier than designing kitchens from scratch, David says. Each piece is created by selecting from a large assortment of pre-designed and pre-priced components illustrated in the YesterTec catalog. Then the workstations are hand built and can be shipped nationwide. “Pre-design speeds up the design, ordering and manufacturing time line, and insures greater efficiency which reduces manufacturing costs.”
David says the comprehensive line is intended for the new home as well as the renovation market. However, a large part of the business is the existing kitchen market that only needs one or two specialty pieces to create a whole new (or possibly older) look.