Newport Beach Interior Designer, Anissa Swanzy was featured in the Newport Beach Independent…Check out the article where she discusses the process of kitchen and bathroom design.
A Kitchen Designer Intent on Attainable Luxury
By Gina Dostler
SKD Studios, a brainstorm of talent between Anissa Swanzie and Will Burkowske, expect to stir the design pot in Newport Beach with their design house’s award-winning work. Swanzie founded her studio on three basic principles: “a product you will love, on a price-point you can attain, in a time-frame you can expect.” Geared-up for projects of any size, they have mastered the art of attainable luxury, with a focus on kitchen fashion and function.
Q: How’s it going, being you’re the newbie in town and almost ready to open?
A: Gosh it’s been a whirlwind. We’ve been here for 10 weeks and super focused setting up our studio. But at the same time we’ve been having a total blast. It’s good to be back after 20 years. I grew up in Orange County, left here for a suburb of DC, a quaint coastal town similar to Balboa but on a smaller scale. Set up a successful design studio there, but now back and revved to make the OC scene.
Q: What does SKD stand for?
A: Swanzie Kitchen Design. The first and foremost room I love to design is the kitchen, my specialty. But we are a full service interior design studio as well. Which is a great big plus in my industry.
Q: How so?
A: I have the know-how to actually design the kitchen space, to make it functional. Plus I have the talent to make it fashionable. It’s a winning combination that has served my clients very well.
Q: So is functionality the starting point for every kitchen?
A: Yes, yes, and yes. We want you to love being in the kitchen and part of that is making it flow. Most interior designers are there for the process of designing the look yet lack the skills how deep the pantry needs to be, or the height of cabinets, where to put an ice maker or wine chillers. It’s those types of decisions our studio fills. So we help the kitchen make sense, taking in the whole account of the floor plan that leads to the kitchen, staying true to the style while keeping functionality.
Q: What is a common mistake in redoing a kitchen?
A: Not getting a factory finish. What we are hearing is every contractor has a “custom kitchen cabinet guy” that he refers over. Yeah, the guys are handy and crafty. But what many end up doing is buying the cabinets straight off the floor from a warehouse, installing and spraying them on sight, which is insane. It’s the difference between a mahogany door with a factory finish versus one that somebody stained to look mahogany. I’ve heard from frustrated customers that the finish is peeling before the job has even finished, leaving half constructed, peeling cabinets abandoned in their kitchen. Problem is people misunderstand what the term factory finish really means and avoid it thinking the items are mass-produced.
Q: Factory finish means….?
A: It means it comes direct from the manufacturer, not a distributor or out of a catalog, which happens more often than not. And yes, they are custom. For instance we’ve cultivated lists of homegrown businesses, the kind started in a garage, grew the business into big warehouses yet still are custom-made with full warranties. So for instance with cabinets, we draw out the cabinet design, send it in, they build it. You get a beautiful custom work, with lifetime warranty on the finish. And the price point and lead time is great. It’s just so much smarter this way.
Q: Tell me about countertops.
A: So our motto for anything in the kitchen is go natural. Natural wood, natural tile, natural countertop. It’s timeless. Trendy is fun. Trendy is cool. Yet we say leave it for something like the backsplash that can be replaced more easily and less costly when the trend ends. We love natural countertops, hands down. But coming out here we found out a weird thing and were a little shocked. California uses 2 cm or ¾ inch marble or granite. Everywhere else in the country uses at least 3 cm, or about 1 ½ inch thickness. To us, the 2 cm is cheap stuff, the seconds we call it. But we also found out that the 2 cm stuff is easier to fabricate. It doesn’t need expensive equipment and is easier to work with due to its lighter weight. Because they are so skinny, the edges are laminated and mitered to look thicker.
Q: Your solution?
A: At first we were all opposed to it, but have eased into and accepted its presence. So instead we make options available keeping quality our number one priority. We found a yard that has the most amazing marbles we have ever seen, absolutely beautiful. The guy is part owner of a quarry in Italy and cuts perfect pieces to whatever size we want whether it is 2 cm or 3 cm thick. I know marble gets a bad name on how it wears. But because of the way it wears is why we love marble so much. We say, use it, abuse it, let it patina and grow scratches in it. That’s all part of its beauty. Look at Italy and all the marble floors and walls, some parts faded, scratched, it’s gorgeous. Yet know, after several years, you can always repolish it to a perfect shine again. Again, timeless.
Q: You have a grand opening coming up.
A: Thursday, Oct. 30 with a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m., City Council and a whole lot of other people will be there. Everyone is welcome! Though we are very serious about our designing, we are all about having fun and enjoying what we do. Please stop by, check out our studio, say hello, we’d love to meet you. In the end, it’s all about people, happiness and fun while creating awesome kitchens and all other aspect of home interiors.
3415 Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, CA 92663