Explore Your Dream Kitchen, a two-day workshop offered in Virginia Tech's Center for Real Life Kitchen Design, will be offered Aug. 6 through Aug. 8, 2008.

In a fun and interactive setting, participants will learn

  • To plan a kitchen that meets the needs of you and your family;
  • About the principles of a well-designed kitchen;
  • About new technologies in the home and the latest in kitchen appliances;
  • To plan a universally-designed kitchen to meet changing needs and abilities;
  • To plan a kitchen that is a safe and healthy part of your home; and
  • About new kitchen products and materials.

Attendees are asked to bring plans, ideas, and questions about their homes and kitchens, as participants will have the opportunity to discuss their personal needs during an individual kitchen consultation.

The Center for Real Life Kitchen Design in Wallace Hall on the Virginia Tech campus was opened in the fall of 1998 in a collaborative effort by both the university and the kitchen industry and is the first of its kind in the nation. The center re-opened in spring 2007 after extensive renovations and upgrades. The center is made up of six fully operational and very different kitchens. It is not only used by university students, but also for training and continuing education for consumers and industry professionals. As opposed to solely learning by lecture in the traditional classroom, the center provides a truly hands-on experience.

The six kitchens represent various price levels and space designs; they also reflect the diversity of the family unit today. The kitchens illustrate how to accommodate a kitchen to young children, the elderly, and the disabled.

The workshop will be led by a trio of Virginia Tech faculty experts who published the industry guidebook in 2007 entitled Kitchen Planning. This reference contains information to design kitchens that are convenient, functional, efficient, and that meet the needs of today’s lifestyles. With approximately 560 pages and 200 color photos and illustrations, Kitchen Planning explains in great detail concepts with regard to infrastructure, environmental considerations, universal design, and mechanical and kitchen planning.

Workshop Leaders:

  • Julia Beamish, a certified kitchen design educator who served as an at-large delegate for the White House Conference on Aging, teaches about residential space planning with a focus on housing for older adults, universal design, and accessibility design.
  • With an expertise in environmental issues, Kathleen Parrott is also a certified kitchen design educator and co-author of Home*A*Syst: An Environmental Risk Assessment Guide For The Home, which received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary's Honor Award.
  • JoAnn Emmel can help demystify today’s appliances, which incorporate some of the most advanced technologies found in a home. Emmel’s expertise includes residential technology selection, appliance use and care, as well as energy management issues.

For more information, visit the Explore Your Dream Kitchen Workshop website or contact JoAnn Emmel at (540) 231-9259.