AS FEATURED in Inspiring Interiors.

Understanding what makes a family unique helps Barbara Vaughn design the perfect kitchen ~ Jenny Wilson

Wish a room as important – and, with built-in cabinetry, appliances, and a wide array of finishes as expensive – as the kitchen, there’s no reason to skimp on the design. “The kitchen is the hub of the home,” says Barbara Vaughn, of award-winning San Jose California firm Almaden Interiors.

For Vaughn, building is the perfect kitchen begins with building a close relationship with her client. Getting to know them and understanding how they live in their space means she can create a new, unique vision for each home – owner, taking into account space planning, storage efficiency, lighting, budget requirements, and anything else that may come up.

Vaughn know what it feels like to be both the designer and the client. “My family needed an open space with a timeless design that would be efficient for cooking yet comfortable for entertaining,” she says, so she transformed her own kitchen from a long and narrow galley to a dramatic and inviting space that screams “social life!”

She designed two double-sink stations for multiple cooks and an island large enough to conceal Sub-Zero refrigeration drawers, an ice maker, storage utensils, and a recycling center. A Viking gas cooktop with a double grill accommodates their big family breakfasts, and custom cabinetry, says Vaughn gives them “specific areas for specific things and also contributed to the overall ‘wow factor’ of the room.”

She may not know the Smith family as well as she knows her own, but when Vaughn was brought on to redesign their home she took the same getting-know-you approach to the kitchen. “The Smith family knew they wanted an open, functional kitchen that would give a nod to the new modern Craftsman style home they were building, “says Vaughn. She planned custom cabinetry and selected appliances that would be practical for Mrs. Smith’s frequent baking and decorating while still creating beauty and drama for entertaining guests.

“Planning the kitchen can be overwhelming” she says. “It requires constant decision-making, time management, and budget balancing.” And let’s not forget and interior designer who understands what a family really needs.