5 Keys to Kitchen Success

Modern Loft Bungalow

January 31, 2022


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John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others.

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No matter the event or situation, everyone wants to congregate in the kitchen. Whether you are an avid chef or Uber Eats aficionado, a truly successful and functional kitchen will cater to your individual needs. Here at John McClain Design, we have developed 5 keys to kitchen success that will reduce frustration, fine tune functionality, and endlessly impress.  


KEY #1 : Customize Your Cabinetry

Most cabinets and drawers are a blank slate begging to be customized. If baking is in your plans, add a mixer lift and slotted cookie sheet storage. If your kitchen usage revolves around cheese boards and chilled chardonnay, consider glass fronted cabinets for your crystal and deep drawers for your boards. In my personal kitchen I was fortunate enough to work with Ultracraft Cabinetry which allowed me to not only customize my cabinetry needs but also the profile and paint color.  (Sherwin Williams Grizzly Gray is one of our perennial favorites. It has a beautiful brown undertone but glows a bit blue in the light.)

Iron Grey Kitchen Cabinets

Photo Credit: Zeke Ruelas


KEY #2 : Purchase Appropriate Appliances

The right appliances are the ones you will actually use. Decisions should be less about a name and the kitchen clout it grants and more about which lines and products deliver what you need. Bachelors may benefit from a beverage cooler or two while a Wonder Woman with 4 children may dream of double dishwashers. As I am the Don of the dinner party, I needed a killer cooktop and multiple refrigeration options to make my kitchen work for me. We partnered with Monogram’s Minimalist Collection for my suite of sweet appliances, and I couldn’t be happier. The 36” induction cooktop heats amazingly quick and evenly while making clean up an absolute breeze, and the slick slide out vent hood with light whisks away cooking smells swiftly. We paired a built-in side by side paneled refrigerator with water and ice in the door with a double drawer undercounter refrigerator. This combination allows everyone to grab a drink easily.  Anyone who cooks on the regular knows the value of that! To conceal some of the fabulous appliances, I chose a panel ready dishwasher, refrigerator, and refrigerator drawers. The team at UltraCraft Cabinetry made it so easy to create custom panels that fit each appliance perfectly. No one knows what lies behind those beautiful cabinetry finishes until they use them, and I love the clean, uncluttered look.

Elegant Grey Kitchen Cabinets + Wooden Textured Fridge Panel

Photo Credit: Zeke Ruelas


KEY #3 :  Consider Your Countertops

Countertops are king when it comes to the kitchen. Not only do quality solid surfaces add significant value to your home they also offer endless beauty and function. These porcelain slabs from Stoneville USA were the elemental selection that determined the rest of my kitchen design. I loved these so much you will see the material repeated in the unique angular waterfall edge and backsplash.  Porcelain is the new frontier for countertops and the benefits are endless. It is extremely durable, scratch, chip, heat, and UV resistant meaning it can be used anywhere including outside with little to no maintenance. For added interest, and to hide our outlets without disturbing the standout waterfall design, we added a contrasting bump up in Geoluxe Aliveri.  


KEY #4: Fixate on Fixtures

Often overlooked, the sink is the functional fulcrum of your kitchen. Really take your time and evaluate how you use this area.  Most of us have grown complacent with the two-bowl stainless steel model that has been popular for years, but why settle for standard? There are endless options now available to meet a myriad of needs. As an avid entertainer, I longed for the function and simplicity of a deep single bowl. Big pots and platters are no match for this monster. I chose the Elkay Quartz Luxe sink not only for its obvious beauty but also for its error proof upkeep. It doesn’t chip or stain and I don’t have to worry about scratching or using a protective grate. Crowning my regal kitchen sink is this gorgeous faucet, soap pump, and disposal air switch from Newport Brass. I found these beauties at Snyder Diamond and knew they would be mine. The beautiful brass tones and minimalist design perfectly compliment the other selections.  

Golden Kitchen Faucet

Photo Credit: Zeke Ruelas


KEY #5:  Necessary Accessories

As one of the originators of good design, Dorothy Draper, said, “It is as disastrous to have the wrong accessories in your room, as it is to wear sport shoes with an evening dress.” 

Once the basic elements of your kitchen design are established, do not neglect the details. Accessories make the outfit an ensemble just as it makes the house a home. To create a glistening rhythm in this space, we used hardware from Buster and Punch. The brass pulls echo the faucet and toe kick while the flat black knobs provide a masculine touch. The counter height stools found on Houzz.com continue the dark and dreamy vibe with their industrial Mid- Century-Modern elements. 

Wide View of Modern Kitchen with Grey Cabinets

Photo Credit: Zeke Ruelas


Follow our formula for a kitchen that will not disappoint. Forget what is expected and tailor the essential elements to you and your lifestyle. My team and I worked long and hard to ensure this dream kitchen would not only provide years of joyful gatherings but also reflect who I am and how we live. Go! Live your kitchen dreams!


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John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, speaker, writer, and on-air contributor who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others.

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