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Vanessa Brady

Vanessa Brady (@vanessabrady) is an interior designer and business design consultant with over 25 years’ experience in procurement and post-analysis in the design profession. She founded the Society of British Interior Design (SBID), the largest UK-registered professional membership organisation in Europe. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts


Where the heart is

Posted 21st Aug 2013


Regardless of food and cooking, I think the kitchen is the most important room in any home. It is the place where families tend to congregate and to spend quality time together, even if it is just a rushed breakfast.

It is where we entertain our closest friends, where we bond over cups of tea and catch up on each other's gossip. It is where partners find time to chat at the end of a busy day, as one or the other prepares the evening meal. Essentially, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is also, in purely financial terms, likely to be the most expensive investment in your house, alongside the bathroom.

A great deal of money is spent on these two areas and we, as consumers, expect the work and appliances to last for 10 or possibly 20 years. Why then is it that the kitchen and bathroom are often completely forgotten when clients decide to bring in an interior designer?

It seems to happen that people move into a new home with exciting dreams about making the space unique to them and perfect for their family. The kitchen and bathroom are already installed, so they decide to leave these spaces untouched, even though they are parts of the home where they will spend a significant amount of time.

Often, a builder or property developer will put in new kitchens and bathrooms which are not chosen based on anyone's taste or on any aesthetic grounds. The appliances, the white goods, the flooring and the fixtures, like cabinets and shelving, are bought in bulk and picked purely on the basis of price and availability.

People use the services of a designer because they expect them to help create the right environment for their home; a dwelling unique to them that will be loved and enjoyed by all the family. I honestly don't believe you can hope to do that if you leave the kitchen and bathroom out of the equation.

We need to encourage clients to stop looking at kitchens and bathrooms as functional rooms where design doesn't matter. They are the heart of the home and we should be giving them care and attention.

This is why I'm a keen supporter of the KBB sector and always have been, residential or contact new-build or retrofit, it is the sector of investment and profit and knowledge and training – there is nowhere to hide so only the best prosper.

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