Designs Unlimited

Designs Unlimited

104 Willits St
Birmingham, MI 48009

(248) 258-3222
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M-F 10 am - 5 pm, Sat 11am - 3pm, Sun Closed

Design Professionals

  • Kevin Grahl

    Kevin Grahl

  • Janice Morse

    Janice Morse

About Kevin Grahl

Kevin Grahl is a designer and studio manager at Designs Unlimited Custom Cabinetry in Birmingham, MI. With more than 18 years of experience in the custom cabinetry business, he has designed hundreds of kitchens, bathrooms and lower level spaces. He is also a skilled construction manager who has extensive experience working with architects, cabinetry manufacturers and trades in the building design and construction industry. His creative vision combined with his practical approach and technical hands-on knowledge of the craft enables him to transform ordinary rooms into highly functional yet luxurious personalized spaces for living and entertaining. Kevin is passionate about helping people create living spaces that they love.

"Corey Creek Contemporary"

Regional Award Winner

KDC 2013-14

Q&A with Kevin Grahl

Where do you find design inspiration?

New designs are often variations on existing designs. However, every kitchen is unique. Each has its own challenges that require the designer to focus on the space in the context of the homeowners' tastes and personalities. In the Corey Creek project, for example, the challenge was bringing the immense space to a human scale. Overcoming that challenge was a matter of listening carefully to the clients and then visualizing all the potential shapes that could be used to fill the space.

How do you approach the design process?

Function is always my first priority; the kitchen has to function well for how the client cooks and moves through the space. Effective space planning is the essential foundation for good kitchen design. Once the functional layout is in place, only then do the aesthetics of the design become a focus.

How does your aesthetic standout amongst designers/architects?

My kitchen designs are characterized by a fully integrated, contemporary style with linear lines for a clean, uncluttered space. Lighting is a special area of focus. I spend a great deal of time on each project to identify the best way to bring in the perfect amount of light for both cooking and entertaining.

What is your biggest challenge as a designer/architect?

My biggest challenge is often getting people to open their minds to the possibilities. Many clients have very specific ideas for how things should and shouldn't be done, and my ideas for the design of the space don't always match their ideas. I have to be able to help them visualize the final design. 3D software has greatly assisted this process.

What are some of the current design trends?

Contemporary design is becoming more common. Clients desire clean lines and fully integrated appliances. The technology advances that have enabled the marriage of high performance in a seamlessly integrated appliance design have had a huge impact on kitchen design by making it possible to achieve both.

Where do you see kitchen design going in the next 5 years?

The kitchen is the center of the home; this is a classic trend that will never go away. The trend toward opening the kitchen to the rest of the house will continue. The family room, dining room and kitchen is increasingly one big room that is not defined as three smaller rooms but instead is one big, open, inviting, comfortable living space. Kitchen counters open up into family rooms with casual seating that is close to a formal dining room table to create a functional design that works equally well for having a quiet family dinner or entertaining guests. The demand for high-performance, fully integrated appliances will continue to grow as it is seen as the standard for kitchen design.

About Janice Morse

Janice Morse is the owner of Designs Unlimited, a premier kitchen and bath design firm headquartered in Birmingham, Mich. Her design experience spans 34 years and several industries, including fashion and interior design. During an early career as a fashion buyer, she quickly discovered her niche working closely with individuals to create innovative solutions to design challenges.

She founded her kitchen and bath design firm in 1986 as a way to combine her passion for cooking and entertaining with her love of interior design. She currently specializes in high-end custom cabinetry, working with luxury brands such as Poggenpohl and Wood-Mode. Morse is the mother of four children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan and received formal training in interior design through Wayne State University.

Q&A with Janice Morse

Where do you find design inspiration?

Where do you find design inspiration? I find design inspiration through my clients. As a designer, I spend a lot of time “reading” my clients and interpreting what they are not saying. Every individual is unique, and my goal is to create designs that fit each client’s needs and wants. An individual’s home or personality is what inspires the design.

How do you approach the design process?

I approach design in a very practical sense. I want to ensure that what is designed will work perfectly. Through extensive discussions with my clients, I am able to determine how they work and live in the kitchen. If the layout is wrong, it does not matter how beautiful the space is; the client will never be comfortable, and they may not even know the source of the problem. If I personally would not enjoy cooking and spending time in the space, then the design is a failure. Once the basic layout is in place, then the design begins. I never let aesthetics take priority over functionality. The aesthetics will fall into place when the working design is done. Kitchens that don’t work are miserable, so function is number one.

What makes your aesthetic stand out amongst other designers?

My approach to aesthetics is that the kitchen is a backdrop to much of the activity that occurs in the home. The kitchen is a busy place, so the design must be relaxing and convenient. One “pop” detail is enough for most kitchens. Beautiful detailing is essential, but the design shouldn’t look “busy.” Attention to detail is imperative. Everything in the layout must work together seamlessly—from the cabinets and appliances to the countertops and backsplashes. A good kitchen stands the taste of time.

What is the greatest value you provide to your clients?

The greatest value I bring my client is my attention to detail. I care about every aspect of the project and how the design fits the personality of my client and the surrounding environment. For example, if a client is an art collector, I will seek to integrate ways to display their art into the design. My staff brings the same attention to detail along with the technical expertise to ensure that every piece comes together flawlessly. Each design is reviewed many times to make sure that it is perfect for the client and the environment. Our firm also works very closely with our design partners—interior designers, architects, builders, cabinetry and countertop suppliers, and others involved in the project—to ensure that we’re all on the same page and working toward the same vision. We take a very collaborative approach that streamlines the process and makes it enjoyable. The kitchen is a very important investment in the home; our goal is to make it beautiful and timeless. We put in as much time as required in the planning and design stages on every project so that the client is thrilled with the outcome. As a designer, I am my client’s advocate for perfection.