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10 Questions for Christopher Peacock

1 Where should a homeowner start with a kitchen project? What are some of the first questions you ask a new client?
We begin by discussing how the client wants the space to feel and what things are important to them and their family lifestyle. It is very important for us to understand the family vibe and the vision before we start to draw and make our suggestions. We want to become involved early in the process so that we can have input on any changes to the footprint of the room.

2 What are some kitchen trends that are also worthwhile investments?
One should always purchase quality and not make a purchase based on the lowest number. Buy a good dishwasher, great cabinetry, and high- quality lighting, and start with a good designer who knows what he or she is doing. Trendy things come and go, but quality products withstand the test of time.

3 Have any innovative appliances caught your eye recently?
Yes. There is so much going on with new appliance technology. I particularly like the Miele refrigeration systems and the induction cooktops.

4 How do you ensure a good “flow” in a kitchen? What are some rules of thumb in kitchen design?
The way a kitchen functions or flows is very important from the outset of the design process. We think through the logical steps of how the space is used (not just for food preparation) and who is using it at what time of day. Good kitchen design will encompass and address the many tasks that the room must perform, and when you think it through, there are regular, everyday logical steps that create that flow.
We walk through the imaginary space and perform those tasks to see if it works.

As far as a “rule of thumb” is concerned, I have a few that are drilled into my designers’ minds: Don’t overdesign, leave plenty of room between counters, and never make the island too big. Lastly, don’t kid yourself that you will change the habits of a lifetime when remodeling a kitchen; embrace what makes sense and accommodate the ideas into the new space.

5 Where should you splurge in your kitchen?
Lighting and hardware. If you go cheap on either, it will make the whole room look cheap.

6 Where can you save?
“Value engineering” is something I hear a lot these days. The biggest mistake is to try to save by cutting out the specialist advice and use a woodshop to copy a product. You always tend to get what you pay for, and it shows. If there are sensible areas to “save” money, it might be on flooring and backsplash tile and ancillary items such as special wall finishes and fabric. I am amazed at how people tend to spend too little on cabinetry and hardware and then pay way too much for a wall finish or decorative item that won’t last. Tastes change, and so the room decoration becomes replaceable long before the fixed items such as cabinetry and countertops need to go.

7 Renovating is big right now. What are key ingredients of a successful remodel?
The right team of professionals is the most important element. In this economy suddenly everybody is an expert. Beware, because bad advice will lead to a bad job that typically costs more than it should. While the time is right to invest in your home, don’t underspend on the products you put into the project. Do lots of research because there are fantastic new products available for each element of a kitchen remodel. The new technology being applied to appliances, countertop materials, and “green” materials has made this a very exciting time to design.

8 Any tricks of the trade for keeping a new kitchen looking beautiful? Do you use special cleaning products in your showrooms?
Mild detergents and soft cloths are really all one needs. I like the Meyer’s natural products.

9 What distinguishes Christopher Peacock from other kitchen design firms? What led you to expand into paint and other areas of home design?
I’m glad you asked, because I rarely get to speak publicly about why we feel so strongly! Honestly, we are the best at what we do. We have unparalleled experience in our area of expertise, and we have all the skills in house to pull a project together. I have seen a million copies of our look, and I am yet to feel threatened by any of them. There are many reasons why. First, we construct extremely well made cabinetry. It is our sense of proportion, our design and the expertise that my designers can impart on a project. We have people coming in to pick our brains all day long, and then they go off and hope to complete their project for half the price with half the experience guiding them through the process. You get what you pay for, and if you want the real thing, whether it’s an Hermes scarf or a Patek Phillipe timepiece, then understand why it is what it is. I have seen far more costly cabinetry become very fashionable and disappear altogether because the product and project management didn’t match up to the marketing and glossy brochures. To survive and prosper as our company has done since 1991, you have to deliver on the promise time and time again. Many people think we are more expensive than we are and that is a shame because we offer very good products at a very fair price.

Regarding our new ventures, our clients are very demanding, and they understand quality and value. It is because of them that we have developed new products like the paint and are getting into hardware and lighting as well. They look to us for advice in other areas of their homes and appreciate our sense of style and proportion. It makes sense for us to develop products to meet this demand.

10 What’s your favorite meal to cook for your family?
Simple, organic food that is easy to taste and present. I love to cook fish and use local vegetables and salads, with simple dressings and not too much on the plate. In the summer I become the weekend warrrior BBQ expert(ish), but I love cooking in the fall and winter, probably because of my English heritage.

What’s your favorite feature in your kitchen at home?

The color of the walls (Abbey Walls CPP1 20) from my paint collection, and the Heron lanterns, by Remains Lighting, that hang over my island. They make the room yet don’t compete for attention with the other elements.

Christopher Peacock Home
2 Dearfield Drive
Greenwich, CT 06830
(203) 862-9333