Kitchen Cool: Q&A with Christopher Peacock

Christopher Peacock, of Christopher Peacock Home, will be chatting with North Shore residents during the Designer Kitchens of the North Shore event.

Proceeds from the tour, which takes place Friday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will benefit the Junior League of Evanston’s community-focused programs devoted to charitable giving, scholarship and grants. Make It Better sat down with Peacock to talk about new trends in kitchen design.

MIB: Kitchens are such a major investment, and nobody wants to be the last one to install, say, granite counter tops before they lose their popularity. What are some of the hot new trends in kitchen design?

CP: Our clients are looking for something unique and sophisticated.  Specifically, kitchens are not just functional spaces any more. They have become a main living area that is absorbing the dining area and living room. That means choosing materials with as much design integrity and interest as those found elsewhere in the home.

MIB: Which materials are your favorites?

CP: My favorite materials have far more to do with furniture than with kitchen units. They are practical, but also extraordinarily beautiful. I especially like gorgeous timbers, such as black walnut or burr maple, and the way we combine them with elements such as glass, mirror, nickel and faux ostrich skin. Even granite worktops have moved on from the commonly available varieties; now we are using far more unusual surfaces—even semiprecious stones.

MIB: Which trends are on the wane?

CP: Overly large kitchens and speckled granite, mainly because folks have tried them and found that they don’t care for them.

MIB: What advice would you offer to somebody struggling to make design decisions that they will have to live with for many years?

CP: Always purchase quality, and don’t make a purchase based on the lowest number. Buy a good dishwasher, great cabinetry, high quality lighting and start with a good designer who knows what they are doing. Trendy things come and go, but quality products withstand the test of time.

MIB: Families change dramatically as children grow up. What elements can be included in a kitchen to ensure that the space is flexible enough to accommodate a family’s many incarnations?

CP: Good kitchen design will encompass and address the many tasks that the room must perform, and when you think it through, there are regular everyday logical steps that create that “flow.” We walk through the imaginary space and perform those tasks to see if it works.

MIB: What layouts don’t work well? What should we avoid?

CP: I have a few that are drilled into my designers’ minds: don’t over-design, leave plenty of room between counters, and NEVER make the island too big. Lastly, don’t kid yourself that you will change the habits of a lifetime when remodeling a kitchen: Embrace what makes sense and accommodate the ideas into the new space.

MIB: From a broader perspective, why is the kitchen worthy of such a large investment?

CP: It tends to be the heart of the home, it’s expensive because of the nature of its existence—appliances, fitted furniture, countertops, lighting, etc. It has to accommodate a myriad of uses and be beautiful at the same time.

For more information on the Designer Kitchens of the North Shore event, go to