By LINDA HARBRECHT The Express Times
There are those who want their gleaming new kitchen appliances shown off to great advantage. Then there are those who might want their kitchens to resemble an 18th century keeping room, with burnished wood surfaces that glow in the firelight.
Enter YesterTec Design Co., which claims to be the first company in the country dedicated solely to the production of kitchen workstation furniture. Each workstation is actually a custom-built piece of fine furniture that safely houses sinks, microwaves, stoves, dishwashers or refrigerators. “I always felt that ‘furniture’ was an appropriate concept for American kitchens because it allows you to personalize them, to mix styles and to carry the design themes to rooms beyond the kitchen,” says David Beer, creator of the YesterTec concept. “The designs are timeless, and that means that the appliances will never ‘date’ your kitchen or interfere with the clarity of the design.”
Beer’s designs allow home owners to blend multi-purpose rooms, such as the family room/kitchen commonly found in so many new homes. “Since all the pieces are independent, you can do a little more with the room design,” he says. “And because there are spaces between the pieces, you can take your wall color or whatever motif you’re using and continue it around the entire room. It acts as the glue to hold your whole concept together and prevents the space from looking too much like a laboratory.”
Prototypes of the YesterTec designs are available for viewing in the showroom (called The Kitchen Works) which is located in Catasauqua, PA. A Lehigh Valley native, Beer moved his family back to the area after running an architectural business on Amelia Island, Florida for 13 years.
Beer says he tried to create classic designs that would be as appropriate in an old farm house as they would be in a SoHo loft. The pieces also allow for options sought by consumers: convenience, plenty of storage, generous counter and work space, ample safety features, and flexibility in creating a kitchen that suits the needs of any family.
Beer even designed one unit (an Armoire Mini-kitchen)that is only 66 inches wide, but can easily house a two-burner range, a convection/microwave oven, sink, dishwasher and small refrigerator. This piece, he says, pointing to what looks like a large armoire, would be ideal in a cramped apartment, a senior citizen’s center or any living space where a small, efficient kitchen is needed.
Each of the pieces (with heating functions) is approved by Underwriters Laboratories, making YesterTec the only company in the country whose kitchen workstations meet the stringent UL safety standards. “The approval process took about three years,” Beer says. “It took a little tweaking to get it right, but we wanted to make sure these would pass code anywhere in the United States and Canada. Other people may have done this before and gotten their local inspector to sign off on it. We’re thinking beyond that.”
Yestertec contracted with (a local custom cabinet factory) to be the sole producer of the workstations. Beer is also launching a public relations campaign to attract some attention for his designs in mass market shelter publications, trade magazines and newsletters. “This sort of approach has never been an option before and we want people to see exactly how many options they have and how easily they can all hang together,” he says.
Is the average consumer ready to abandon their continuous-counter-built-in-cupboard look for individual pieces of furniture? “You have to want this look. It’s definitely not for everyone. But we’re not thinking along the lines of this being a trend, either. We have six different finishes right here in our showroom, and somehow they all blend together. We’re thinking in terms of timeless designs that could work in any kind of home for a long, long time.”