Luxury kitchen design and amenities can be the true selling points of a home. For deeper insights, we talked with Chuck Schagrin, a luxury kitchen design professional and founder of Amherst Corporation, to take a look at the latest design trends and important elements for kitchens in today’s luxury market.
Can you give us a quick one-minute bio about yourself and what you do?
I’m Chuck Schagrin, and I have an masters in architecture. I don’t practice as an architect, but I apply the design skill from my masters and renovate numerous kitchens and custom projects driven by clients.
How many kitchen renovations do you do in one year?
Many of my kitchen projects are either kitchens for newly-built houses or remodels to existing homes, and I work on about four to six of these custom kitchens per year.
What defines a luxury kitchen?
Luxury is in the eye of the beholder. Typically, it involves high-end appliances and materials such as granites, marbles and even some of the new synthetic quartz materials. Luxury also includes valves, sinks and how the lighting is distributed. For example, there is a new home on Clayton Road with a beautiful luxury kitchen that has custom cabinets handmade by a carpenter and finished with a custom glaze.
How important is hiring a designer for a luxury kitchen?
I’m a firm believer that hiring a designer for a luxury kitchen truly pays off for homeowners, in multiple ways. First, the designer is in a position to take the thoughts and ideas of a client and lead that client to review options and make a final choice. Further, an interior designer or design professional is able to work with other materials and designs in the home and tie those into the kitchen so that it all comes together in a cohesive way. There is a world of choices and opportunities that the homeowner alone could never have access to—so having a designer will help immensely.
Why would someone choose to redo their kitchen?
My work is a mixture. One type that’s not in this mix is someone who wants to update their kitchen in order to sell their house. Instead, a number of my kitchens are in newly-purchased homes/condos. The other type I’ve worked on are with owners who have lived in their houses for 12+ years and want to update their kitchens because their appliances are outdated. Lastly, I do projects in new houses that are still being built.
How important is the layout in a kitchen?
The layout is critically important for several reasons. It needs to be user-friendly—both for someone who does a high-volume of cooking and someone who is a more casual kitchen user. A layout is also important because of the flow of guests and how you want to interact with them while you’re in the kitchen. Finally, it’s important to the design style. You can’t have a kitchen where the layout doesn’t complement what you’re trying to accomplish.
How do you help customers balance what is trending now vs. a more timeless look?
It comes down to the client’s personal preference—but again, a design professional is extremely important to understanding what a client wants and how to accomplish it.
What is the most common issue with kitchens in older homes?
Kitchens in older homes often have more structural restrictions. Whether it be with the lines, plumbing, etc., all of these issues can obviously be addressed, it just comes with more of a price.
What is your favorite part of designing kitchens?
Personally, my favorite part of designing is when a client comes in with a shopping list of ideas for their kitchen, and at the completion of the process, the client says: “That is exactly what I wanted.” Part of this process is giving them the information they need to understand the choices that are being made, then watching them have that ‘aha’ moment and seeing that this is exactly what they wanted.
Are you looking to buy or sell a luxury home? At, Janet McAfee our real estate agents are seasoned experts in the ins and outs of selling a luxury home. From advertising and marketing your home to staging, our luxury clients truly reap the rewards of working with a Janet McAfee agent—and you can, too!