Since YesterTec’s inception over 23 years ago, we have found that there is an extreme resistance to creating kitchens with furniture instead of cabinetry. Mostly because designers and home owners alike have been brought up using the standard concept of filling a room with 2 ft deep base cabinets, continuous countertops with wall hung cabinets above and the latest hi-tech appliances exposed to view. For most people (except for our pioneering clients) a ‘furnished’ kitchen has been way beyond their imaginations. For this entire time, I’ve believed that there is a real need to break out of this mold, not for every kitchen mind you, but for many, a furnished kitchen can be an enlightened and most appropriate solution.
So in our upcoming Newsletters and Blog posts, I am going to highlight thoughts and features concerning the Alternative Kitchen Design Concept of Kitchen Workstation Furniture. These very short paragraphs are purposely disjointed, designed to jog your thinking about ‘kitchen’ in a whole new way. And hopefully, the images attached will complement the points that surface along the way.
First, let’s talk about the CONCEPT of designing kitchens with YesterTec’s Kitchen Workstation Furniture (instead of cabinetry).
It’s a Revolutionary concept! It’s nothing short of it! Designing kitchens with furniture instead of cabinetry is a major conceptual revolution. Substituting the continuous ‘laboratory-like countertop for highly efficient work-centers is a major re-organization of design thinking. Now there are two major choices; cabinets or super-efficient workstations.
Though difficult to describe, the idea of a furnished kitchen is intriguing! And once a YesterTec kitchen is experienced, it is thoroughly engaging. People simply don’t look at their old kitchens in the same light ever again. Why are our clients so charmed? It’s because the idea is so simple. It’s one of those, “Why didn’t I think of this” ideas. Simply stated, it’s furniture. It’s super efficient, well-designed furniture. Once people realize that, they are hooked! At consumer and designer trade shows alike, we’ve watched as the attendees discover the concealed appliances and disguised storage systems in our workstations. It is the same reaction that our customers have reported to us when their friends are introduced to their own unique YesterTec kitchens.
Unlike cabinetry, every workstation has three finished sides, and island pieces have four sides finished. The depth dimension is the most crucial in defining how efficient each piece can be, and it is also the dimension that most kitchen designers have not had to think about until now. Being able to vary the depth from piece to piece creates an entirely new 3-dimensional look as well as a new efficiency standard in the kitchen.
YesterTec’s workstations that conceal cooking appliances are completely unique in the industry. NO other Major Appliance, Cabinet or Furniture Company in the WORLD can legally and safely conceal ovens, cooktops, microwaves, warming drawers and standard dishwashers. YesterTec is the Trailblazer, setting a new standard of innovation. Even the major appliance companies that make ovens never could have imagined how their technologically advanced products could fit so well into period homes. By concealing the best hi-tech products in low-tech looking furniture, incredible design opportunities are now possible for the first time EVER!!!!
When we first started marketing our workstations, we really didn’t realize how completely different they were. But we soon realized that designers were completely unprepared to mentally handle the concept. It was almost too simple for them to handle. They had been accustomed to shoehorning cabinetry into every nook and cranny for so long that leaving spaces between YesterTec’s super-efficient pieces was too difficult to comprehend. Conversely, in one of YesterTec’s showrooms, a teenager was seen explaining the entire concept to her baffled mother in a matter of two minutes! Granted, it’s different, as different as apples and oranges, but that’s a good thing!
A YesterTec kitchen is a statement of independence. It’s not your mama’s kitchen. It’s not your Grammas’ kitchen. If you are a baby-boomer, it is more like your Great Grammas’ kitchen….with attitude! Lots of attitude! Those old kitchens contained independent pieces of furniture, but now YesterTec has made them beautiful and filled them with all the labor saving technology that we now can’t be without. A YesterTec kitchen combines the comforting qualities of days gone by with cutting edge technology that allows today’s high-tech appliances to be used, but not always seen. It’s the best of both worlds! Now, for the first time, the consumer can control what he WANTS to see. No longer does the Appliance Company or the Cabinet Company dictate what MUST be seen!
Our motto: When a Room needs to be more … and less … than a kitchen! Kitchens are typically used for many functions of daily life, and have been since the Stone Age. YesterTec brings a whole new look to these rooms-for-living. YesterTec furniture was created specifically to integrate leisure activities with food prep activities in a whole new way. YesterTec’s pieces that conceal large and small kitchen appliances, computers, televisions and audio components or just normal clutter can be instrumental in creating a room that must function on many social and visual levels.
To create real kitchen furniture, our design team started designing from the ground up. We did not convert cabinets to suit the needs of furniture. We did not accept the idea that we needed to always see the appliances. We needed to find a better balance between cabinetry, appliances and ‘unfitted furniture’ the kitchen design concept originally popularized by the innovative English designer Johnny Grey. The qualities of properly designed workstations are so completely different that we simply could not rely on cabinetry and appliance standards to get the job done. Dimensions, proportions, and the integrated technology of YesterTec’s oven hiding system all came together in an entirely different form. It had to. The result? YesterTec has invented a new standard!
YesterTec’s magic is grounded by innovative scientific research, design and testing to be sure that concealing heating appliances is safe. Underwriter Laboratories’ engineers have given the U.L. Listed status to YesterTec’s appliance concealing enclosures (furniture) and control systems that include the exclusive controls and switches. The U.L. labels on YesterTec’s enclosures tell every building inspector that these extremely unique products are safe. This is a new invention, unique to the worldwide kitchen industry!
There have been many examples of great design in the centuries that have preceded ours. We chose to use this information to build furniture that incorporates some of the best features of past designs. We have refined our own designs by learning from the great designers who have preceded us. We all live in an age where changes are made just because technology allows us to change things. That approach needs to be questioned from time to time. YesterTec questioned the idea of continuous cabinetry and discovered that refining an old idea (furniture) resulted in a truly unique and viable approach to kitchen design.
Our workstations are most successful when they are placed in rooms and surrounded by spaces. Homeowners can use these full-height vertical spaces to personalize their kitchens like never before. (Most cabinet style kitchens have only a backsplash to use for decorating) Because of this new opportunity, YesterTec kitchens are always completely original. Case Study: One of our dealers took his YesterTec displays to a Home Show, then to a Designer Show house, then to his own Design Studio for display and finally, it was sold to a customer. In every setting, the three pieces looked completely different. Why? Because whatever was going on in the design motif surrounding the pieces changed the entire look of each setting.
YesterTec pieces are real pieces of furniture. All of us use furniture in most of our other rooms every day. We know what it is. We believe in it. But convincing homeowners who are only familiar with cabinetry in their kitchens that furniture can do the job is a real challenge. YesterTec has turned many skeptics into believers, once they witness the incredible efficiency of the workstations.
Remember Avocado and Coppertone appliances? Primary color Formica countertops? Remember the pickled white cabinets, white and black kitchens, stained birch cabinetry? Design trends come and go, but YesterTec kitchens have been designed to become timeless. Stylistically, they represent no established style. They have been created to blend into their stylized environment. In addition, should the homeowner need to change the look of the kitchen, since each piece is separate, perhaps revising a single piece, or selecting a new piece will be sufficient. An entire kitchen replacement may never again be required.
Owners of YesterTec workstations are independent thinkers. They are pioneers. They don’t follow the crowds. Typically they have specific needs and recognize that cabinetry will not get the job done. Many times, they’ve been searching for a different solution for a long time. In the words of an owner, “I had been looking for several years in the U.S. and abroad for kitchen furniture. I was resigned to having it custom made until I discovered YesterTec’s products.”
When creating an open plan room design by combining the kitchen with another living area, using standard cabinetry with exposed appliances usually creates a division between the kitchen and the living area. YesterTec’s furniture concept was designed specifically to make this transition much more graceful. By allowing the living area’s wall, floor and ceiling treatments to meander around and between each piece of furniture, the union of the two rooms is significantly more successful!
The design world has given a lot of attention to the grossly misunderstood term ‘the unfitted look’ (which is rarely defined the same way twice). The ‘un-fitted look’ simply combines standard cabinetry with a few furniture-like details, and then jams the cabinetry all together in a standard kitchen layout. And we have seen so often the trend of concealing refrigerators and dishwashers in period cabinetry while, in the same kitchen, showcasing monstrous, fire-breathing, commercial-look stainless steel ranges. YesterTec’s workstation concept offers an alternative solution by creating real furniture instead of trying to emulate it with cabinetry disguised as ‘the furniture look’. This is a major and refreshing distinction. And the ultimate hypocrisy of creating a period kitchen with the ubiquitous 21st century stainless steel range-center-piece can be completely avoided with YesterTec’s period sensitive, appliance concealing workstations.
Now, like never, ever, before, there is a major first decision to be made when designing a kitchen. To find the ‘best’ kitchen design, the choice of workstations in lieu of, or in addition to cabinetry can now be considered. The best design is typically the one that is ‘most appropriate’ for the particular design problem. It solves most of the design parameters of a particular problem in a better than satisfactory way. YesterTec’s workstations can usually solve most design problems with satisfactory results, and many times, a YesterTec solution can be the best solution. The point is, without at least considering YesterTec’s workstations, the ‘best’ solution may never be discovered!
What are the comforting qualities of a room? What elements of room design give you comfort? Chances are, sunlight streaming through a window, a fire in a fireplace, the fabric or leather upholstery on your favorite reading chair. It could be an antique desk piled with personal correspondence, or a braided or oriental rug. Perhaps it is a collection of bobble-head dolls, rolling pins or wine bottles. Maybe it is the portrait of Gramma, or the photo with four generations of your family. Did I mention cabinets, exposed appliances and countertops? Sure, for some, they can have comforting qualities, but for most of us, probably not. The point? Independent workstations allow the homeowner to fill the room with the comforting things in life in the spaces that are created between each piece. The personality of the homeowners has many more opportunities to be displayed when using furniture than when using cabinetry (where typically only the backsplash area is available for personalization).
In the same way that your eye (and many times your hand) interacts with a piece of sculpture, experiencing its expressive bumps and curves, you can experience the sculptural qualities of Workstations in the same way. You can lean on them, sit on them, run your hands and eyes all over them. Around its corners and cornice, continuing around its sides and back. In they same way that we are so comfortable viewing and recognizing ourselves (humans) as 3-dimensional beings, YesterTec workstations are easy for our senses to recognize and appreciate! Have you hugged a Workstation lately? Have you even tried to hug a cabinet?
Exclusive, Heirloom quality, Top-of-the-line. These are all terms that are associated with the term ‘upscale’. But because many people have ordered basic pieces, unencumbered by the higher priced options, YesterTec pieces are finding their way into homes of all kinds. Granted a large YesterTec kitchen with more than 6 pieces will not be affordable by all homeowners, but YesterTec’s 3 and 4 piece kitchens are easy for the above average homebuyer to afford. Adding one or two pieces to a design completed with cabinetry is a way that YesterTec breaks into the below average market. And by ordering one piece as it becomes affordable, staging a renovation over time, a young family can work up to a complete furnished kitchen, and they can take it to larger homes as they move along in life. This is impossible to do with cabinetry.
The true measure of a good design concept is how flexible it can be when adapting itself to many different situations. This was a major concern when YesterTec workstations were being developed. How universally adaptable could it be? It turns out that because kitchens can be composed of all workstations, or only one or two that combine with standard cabinetry, it is a difficult to find a kitchen that could not accommodate the concept of kitchen furniture.
Stay tuned to read future articles that highlight the characteristics of workstations, their uses and their future.