One on One With Debbie Nassetta


Specialized Appliances Season Kitchen Design

By Gina Dostler

Team mugshots 096Real work takes place in the kitchen. Kitchen designer Debbie Nassetta taps advances in appliances to make these spaces more efficient, less tiring and enjoyable for her clients. She and her husband Nick combine their expertise as owner of Newport Beach’s RoomScapes.

Q: What makes a successful kitchen?

A: The design is very important and getting a seasoned pro really helps to put experience and understanding into making a useful, functional kitchen in your home. For instance many times the main focus is on cabinetry and countertops. But what about spacing? Keeping proper clearances is important, such as distance from island to counter for ease of cooking. Or island to wall where seating might inhibit people from walking behind. The basic kitchen triangle is always a good place to start.

Q: Explain the kitchen triangle.

A: It’s taking the kitchen workspace and its three most important points: storage, prepping/cleaning and cooking. From here you want to make the kitchen flow. One leg of the triangle shouldn’t be too long where it takes many steps to go to another point. Then again, you don’t want it too short where it becomes too cramped to move. Moving efficiently and comfortably is the goal.

Q: Name a common challenge that comes up.

A: Everybody wants an island in the kitchen. Many times these wonderful work spaces can interfere with one leg of that work triangle and pose spacing problems. Placing an island can cut the refrigerator off where you’d have to walk around. These days these challenges are met by the incredible appliances that are available. You can keep the big refrigerator on the other side, but have another smaller refrigerator below the island hidden behind a cabinet to keep the triangle in flow.

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Q: How do appliances factor into a pretty design?

A: I love to cook. And because of that I know what every kitchen gadget, accessory and appliance needs to keep it functioning. So when a customer wants to improve their kitchen or make a new one, I always start with a list of appliances. Because if you are a home pro cook or prefer takeout, this all factors into designing the perfect kitchen for you. For someone who loves to cook and doesn’t mind all the cleanup, we’ll look into big gourmet gas burners. But for the non-cooks a glass induction stove probably would work best.

Q: Glass induction?

A: It used to be glass electric cooktops, the smooth stove without any burners that easily cleans up. The newest thing is induction. It’s been around for over 30 years but was too expensive for most consumers. It looks the same as the electric cooktops but it doesn’t heat the glass top. The heat transfers directly into the pan and food. It is a magnetic induction so there are special pans required, but can easily be bought. You can’t cook in a glass dish either. But the good thing about this stove is the surface does not get hot and it is easy to clean and really makes a kitchen look sleek and modern. There are no fumes from gas and it is very safe for the very young; no way to burn while touching it. It definitely is the wave of the future in kitchen designs. All major appliance manufacturers are offering them.

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Q: You mentioned hidden refrigerators for keeping to the ergonomics of a kitchen. Any others?

A: How about a microwave in a drawer? Yep, it pulls out at waist height, no lifting above the head to grab stuff out. Simply pull out a drawer, place the food in and close the drawer. There’s a view window, but it is hidden under the counter and easy to get to. Another appliance that is popular these days is the built-in coffee station, push a button and out comes a latte. It’s great for entertaining, which is perfect because the kitchen has become the social hub of the home. How about a wine station that dispenses a glass of wine? It opens bottles of wine under pressure with argon gas so they don’t go bad. You can have one good glass of wine every day and the wine doesn’t go bad. It holds five bottles, keeps it at the correct temperature and all you do is press a little lever.

Q: What are some details overlooked in designing a kitchen?

A: Lighting. The kitchen needs to have excellent light. And you can combine efficiency with beauty to get the best lighting and atmosphere together. What’s great is there’s been a lot of advancement in the world of lighting and it spells out in three letters, LED. It’s perfect for the kitchen because it doesn’t throw any heat, which helps keep it much cooler than with most typical lighting. These lights last a very long time so changing a light bulb is a rare occurrence.



Debbie Nassetta, CKD CBD CID
Roomscapes, Inc
1723 Westcliff Drive
Newport Beach, CA  92660