In a new blog feature, Clarke will periodically highlight the talent, work and background of one of New England's finest design professionals. Known as our a Clarke Designer Spotlight, these posts will give us all a closer look at what inspires the passion of these creative people through a candid conversation.
Steve recently won First Place for Traditional Kitchen Design in Clarke's Kitchen Design Contest at Clarke's Designer Appreciation Night.
Clarke: When and why did you open Connecticut Kitchen Design?
Steve: I opened Connecticut Kitchen Design after I transitioned from Langley Biulding Co. in the early 1990s. As a home builder, I was also designing kitchens, baths and commercial spaces. I love the design part of the business, and I love to cook. So I put the tools aside and focused on kitchens.
Clarke: What is your proudest accomplishment both inside and outside of work?
Steve: I am proud that I design kitchens that people find attractive and functional. It's rewarding to listen to a client's ideas and then build on those ideas to create a space used for wining and dining. On the personal side, my greatest joy has been watching my two sons become industrious, respectful and kind young men who are successful in their careers as engineers.
Clarke: What is you favorite material to use in kitchen design and why?
Steve: I love working with wood. It is the one material that can be transformed into many shapes, forms and profiles. Wood grain can be enhanced, textured, distressed or simply painted. Wood is one of the most fundamental products used in design.
Clarke: Which Sub-Zero or Wolf appliance is your favorite and why?
Steve: Sub-Zero's 700 Series is my favorite appliance. It is functional and fully integrates in all kitchen styles. The Undercounter Refrigerator and Freezer Drawers provide the opportunity for multiple work stations in the kitchen.
Clarke: Where do you get your inspiration when you start a project?
Steve: I get my inspiration from listening to the client. I build on his or her excitement when thinking of the possibilities. Other design inspirations come from studying classical architecture and building materials. New and exciting materials used in commercial and retail spaces are always inspiring to me as well, lending themselves to adaptation in residential applications.
Clarke: What project haven't you designed that you wish you could?
Steve: I would love to design kitchens for TV cooking shows, restaurants and retail environments.
Clarke: What is the book you're reading now or favorite book from the past?
Steve: My Golden Retriever, Grady, has made me a softie for books about dogs. Marley and Me is one of my favorites. And – because I am a golf fanatic – I read every book about the art of golf that I can lay my hands on.
Clarke: When you turn on music, what do you like to listen to?
Steve: My taste in music runs the spectrum. I listen to rock, country and classical, but it all depends on who I'm with, where I am and what I'm drinking.
Congratulations to Steve on his First Place win and we look forward to seeing much more of his work in the future.