Kitchens From the Ground up With Angela Otten
Angela Otten of Inspire Kitchen Design Studio shares tips for "the heart of the home"
In 2017 Angela and Steve Otten founded Inspire Kitchen Design Studio. What started in their Denver home with Angela and a solo design tech handling all aspects of planning and design, and Steve commandeering installations, quickly grew. Today, four designers, three technical design assistants and an expanded installation team are part of their full-service showroom at the IDC Building in Denver. We asked Angela to share how she became involved in kitchen design.
What is your design background and training?
After graduating from Bethel University in Minnesota with a fine arts degree, I had an internship doing graphic design for a printing company. Working in the fine arts taught me about positive/negative space, proportions, values and color—all useful skills in kitchen design and interior architecture. The best training for me, however, was hands-on. After working as a specification representative for an architectural product company, which introduced me to residential and corporate interior design, I eventually went to work for a home design store. When I was assigned a full contracting kitchen job, I quickly learned the nuts and bolts about how a house is built, and about things like load-bearing walls and plumbing and electrical systems.
Why kitchen design?
I was drawn to kitchen design because it is about so much more than just kitchen design. Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, it has to be special in both form and function, and the designers at Inspire do more than just put cabinets on a wall. We work with builders, architects and interior designers to make sure we can get everything we need for the kitchen. Sometimes this means moving walls; sometimes it means moving the kitchen to a completely different part of the home.
What’s your process for working with clients?
We start with a rigorous interview process. We want to know how they entertain; how they cook or don’t cook; and what their daily lives are like so we can tailor a space to just them. We dig deep into their visual style by working through inspiration pictures, and we also look at the architecture to make sure our designs fit with the house. My greatest reward is touring a finished project and seeing how it actually works for the client.
What’s something every kitchen should have?
Interior organizers specified to the zones where they will be used can make a huge difference in the day-to-day functioning of a kitchen. For example, a knife drawer and trash belong in the food prep area, silverware drawers should be close to the dishwasher, and pots and pans need to be in the cooking zone. It sounds obvious, but our designers know how a kitchen functions and where things need to be for optimal flow.