How to Design a Kitchen That Fits Your Lifestyle, Family & Home – The Nancy Forman Houzz Interview

Designing a kitchen is a complicated process. And as Nancy Forman of Performance Kitchens & home likes to say, “It’s important to create something truly personal that fits your lifestyle, your family and your home.”

Whether it’s chatting with friends or catching up on the latest news, people are spending more and more time in their kitchens. “It’s usually the coziest spot in the house,” says Nancy Forman, partner and creative director at Performance Kitchens & Home in Philadelphia. The company often helps clients reinvent their older homes to match their modern lifestyles and personal styles.

how to design a kitchen


See your vision.

“It’s amazing to see your kitchen come to life before purchasing, to visualize what the finished kitchen is going to look like,” says Nancy, who joined the company in 1989. She recommends asking your designer for color photo-realistic renderings, which she says helps to eliminate mistakes and refine the design before cabinets are ordered.


It’s about the clients. Nancy enjoys seeing how Performance’s services change clients’ lives. “We often get people who have lived in a home that’s not functional or aesthetically pleasing but didn’t know what was wrong,” she says. She has seen clients rediscover their passion for cooking after her team transformed their space, and others who’ve been able to sell their home in a flash.

Ready to refresh your older kitchen? Read Nancy’s tips below to get a beautiful space that has everything you desire.

1. Add Modern Conveniences
The line between the kitchen and the home office has blurred, thanks to the advent of Wi-Fi, so design a space that caters to your devices. Nancy recommends installing outlets, including those for USB cables, under your island countertop for handy yet concealed access.

“Lots of people like to sit in the kitchen with their laptop or tablet nowadays,” she says. The owners of the breezy transitional kitchen in Philadelphia seen here are no different. The team opened up and modernized the kitchen, installing island outlets for convenient charging.

2. Rethink Placement
You might not need to add on to your kitchen to get the space you want. For example, rooms and appliances can be moved, and windows and doors can be swapped. Forman says it’s not unusual to switch the kitchen and dining room to achieve a bigger kitchen.

The team transformed the once-cramped kitchen in Philadelphia seen here by moving some elements. “The kitchen was scrunched in the back corner, so we opened it up,” Forman says. They turned the room around, changed the back door into a window and created a new door in the back-left corner.

how to design a kitchen

3. Personalize the Details
Reinvigorating an older home gives you the opportunity to add personal touches. “It’s nice to not be cookie cutter, to create things that are different and fit your lifestyle,” Forman says. For clients in Bala Cynwyd, the team created the Mediterranean-style kitchen seen here.

“A lot of little details went into making this special for the clients,” Forman says. The floor is reclaimed pine from the 1930s, and a new stone wall gave the space the feeling that it had always been there. The team designed the ironwork for the cabinets, which have rustic cherrywood interiors, and a custom table attached to the cabinet run allows seating for the whole family. “The table is cozy and easy to walk around,” she says; it also matches the decorative wood on the hood.