How I became a kitchen designer

Welcome to the blog area of Studio Stratton, and the ramblings of its owner.

I am often asked why I became a kitchen designer.  It’s an honest question, right?  Enquiring minds want to know.  Well, I wish I could say that I had some internal calling… some profound water shed moment when I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I would be a world class kitchen designer.

The truth is a little less… well, you be the judge!

I was working for Dewhurst and Associates as a job captain in the architectural department under Trip Bennett.  The year was 1993 and I was loving my job and the folks around me.  My daughter was born that year in fact.  I had been with Dewhurst since 1989 or so I recall.  I was a good utility player in that office.  I wasn’t the super star, but I did good solid work.

Now and again we would have a customer ask us if we had a kitchen designer.  We thought at the time that we didn’t need one.  We were architects after all… each of us had many years of experience in residential design and every house we ever designed had a kitchen in it!  What could some box stacker “designer” teach us?  Never the less, the customer is always right… so somehow or another the task fell to me.  I can’t remember if I signed up for it, or if Trip or someone else thought I would be good at it, but I became the guy.  I took some corespondence courses offered by the NKBA, I started keeping clipping files and whenever someone asked for a kitchen designer, they would trot me out.

Fact is, I took to it pretty quickly.  Kitchen design is personal… and I am a friendly person.  I enjoy getting to know my customers and understanding how they live.  Within a year we had discovered William Ohs Cabinetry out of Denver, and we opened our first showroom late in 1994.

Having an architectural background has proven very useful to me in the kitchen business.  When contactors and architects come in, I already speak the language.  Many kitchen designers tend to think as if the kitchen is in a bubble by it self… understanding that it must fit within the context of the home has helped me succeed.

My first job was in an architect’s office… I was 15 years old.  I’m 44 now and I haven’t left the path.  I have found my way into a small corner of the design world where I can really shine, and make a difference.  Studio Stratton represents all that I am as a designer.  Practical, Personal, Professional… that’s who I am.  Creative, functional design applied to every project I undertake… that’s what I do.