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We ask the experts: What's the difference between layout and design?

From left to right: Dr Vanessa Brady, Colin Wong, Mal Corboy, Regina Sturrock, Johnny Grey and Renee Mascari Dr Vanessa Brady OBE, International multi-award winning Interior Designer

"There is no such thing as free design, there are offers when you buy the providers items - but if they only offer their products the design is not the best product for you, it is the best product they sell for you.

"There is a lot of opinion but that is not advice and it generally is not carefully measured advice or compliant. A designer must have knowledge of many things to give advice. An experienced and recognised designer adds value to a space not necessarily by spending more money but by creating an environment that is comfortable to be in for the purpose it is to be used for; kitchen, bathroom, bedroom etc. Choosing the correct scale (size) of items as well as colour and texture are just the beginning. The real value of a designer comes from the success the user has when its in use. Good design will add value and improve the way you move around in the space. The colours and lighting set the mood; relax, energise, excite, shock ..all of these emotions add to the design but the layout must be compliant. Having invested in the property, before you purchase the materials why would you proceed with a purchase before it is checked by an expert? It is such an expensive error when you get it wrong. Designers do it every day, home owners do it once."

Colin Wong, Multi-award winning Kitchen Designer

"Today's kitchen is not just a place to cook anymore! We also eat, work and generally hangout in the modern-day kitchen so to place the power of how this space is designed into a 'salesman's' hands is simply dangerous.

"A considered design factors in the entire space from the lighting, flooring & architectural detailing in tandem with the kitchen design. The design should not result in a scheme that makes you feel like you're cooking in the living room or lounging in the kitchen. The lines should be blurred and as the kitchen is the largest physical component of the space, it is critical that clients handpick a designer that has the skillset to realise an overall 'flowing' design.

"Free design doesn't come cheap as it often results in a scheme where it is obvious a 'salesman' has included too many units & appliances. Bluntly, all you see and feel is a kitchen. "On the contrary, a considered kitchen design undertaken by a skilled designer respects the entire space where the flow of light, air and energy is prevalent. These designs stand the test of time and means kitchens don't need to be changed as quickly as 'trends' change. I personally never consider any of the kitchen detailing or wishlist until I feel I have considered all the components of the room and brainstormed the perfect spatial layout. I feel every space has an optimum spatial layout so the success of any scheme relies on me finding it!"

Mal Corboy, Multi-award winning Interior Designer

"As a designer there is a big difference between layout of a kitchen and a full design. Layout can be a simple sketch on paper giving the basic position of cooktop, sink etc and really has no value.

"Design is bringing in the form, function and specification of the space and should always have a value attached to it as a good design will take the designer several hours to complete."

Regina Sturrock, President and Principal Designer – Regina Sturrock Design Inc

"A beautifully-designed space is never easily defined but is instantly recognizable because it simply feels right; holistic and wonderfully free-spirited. All creative concepts, integrated components, and the accumulated details may only be conceived through thoughtfulness and are guided by a keen understanding of the home and the people who will live there.

"No formulas or quick generic layouts can accomplish this. With cut-and-paste solutions, we lose the liaison between form and function and the beguiling fluidity of the envelope where every small detail is an intrinsic part of the whole."

Johnny Grey, British Designer, Author and Educator

"The average amount of time one of the big kitchen companies sales person spends on your kitchen design is around 90 minutes. After the layout is developed on the CAD system another layer is switched on and up comes a 3D model showing the volumes of the cabinetry and the shape of the room. Does this constitute design or is it a layout? I don’t think this needs answering as it is pretty obvious.

"Design involves bringing time, skill and empathy to the process of making something. I like to think of design as a verb, not a noun, the creating an experience not a product. To justify the cost of installing a new kitchen and the time householders will spend in them over the years it has to be a worthwhile investment. Analysis, careful detailing and good communication will also save money in the long run because it will endure hard use well and you won’t have to replace your kitchen so soon.

"A design service can be offered free and there is a cost to the company supplying the kitchen or to the customer. Either way it is a worthwhile investment as you make a desirable space with authenticity, functionality and character."

“Design involves bringing time, skill and empathy to the process of making something.” - Johnny Grey

Renee Mascari, Kitchen Designer, Interior Designer and CEO

"Preparing a kitchen design concept is so much more than just a plan layout. Today’s lifestyle and passion for open living spaces challenges the designer to consider so much more. "A kitchen design must consider the needs and activities of multigenerational family life. Spaces that have the ability to create mood, stimulate all five senses, sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Good Kitchen design must deliver on all these aspects."

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