Kitchens The Heart of the Home

Why are kitchens the heart of the home?

September has been a busy travel month for me. I  made two trips to the Midwest visiting manufacturers. The kitchen is the heart of the home and the heartland of America is creating top-of-the-line appliances and cabinetry for those homes. I found the three most important things that make the kitchen the heart of the home.  Here is a story about my trip to Sub Zero-Wolf-Cove and Crystal Cabinet Works and what I learned.

What feeds our soul? Image of my clients dog enjoying their new kitchen Designed by Thyme & Place Design

Our interiors feed our soul. The kitchen is the heart of the home.


Three things that make the kitchens the heart of the home.

Heart of the Home: Kitchen Appliances

Westye Bakke has been experimenting with refrigeration since the 1930’s. He was looking for a way to store insulin for his son. That perseverance paid off. In 1945 Sub Zero Freezer was born in Madison Wisconsin. Westye developed the first system to preserve food at an ultra-low temperature.

Westye Bakke in an early photo started Sub Zero Freezer Company after perfecting a way to preserve food at ultra low temperatures in the 1940's. Why the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Early image of Westye Bakke


Image from the learning center at Sub Zero Wolf in Madison Wisconsin. Built in ovens, cooktop and hood. Kitchens: Heart of the Home. Photo by Sharon L Sherman kitchen designer Wyckoff NJ, Thyme and Place Design.

Sub-Zero Wolf Wisconsin. Photo by Thyme and Place Design


Wolf cooking appliances were added to the family in 2000. This addition brought professional cooking experiences to the home chef. Cove dishwashing was added to the family in 2018.

Image of the Sub Zero Wolf and Cove appliance offering. Photo by Sharon L Sherman. Kitchen Designer Wyckoff NJ. Thyme and Place Design.


We got up close and personal with the manufacturing process and met the people building the products. Without a doubt, I was very impressed. The factory tour was fascinating. I saw these beautiful luxury appliances being built.

Another perk of visiting Sub-Zero Wolf was the food. Not only did I get to sample great meals, but I also experienced cooking on the appliances.  Our meals at the Barn were created from the gardens right on-site by Chef Patrick. Absolutely farm to table.



Live kitchen view from the trip to Sub Zero Wolf factory training trip. Photo by Sharon L Sherman


Food grown on the factory training center site is used in the meals prepared by the chefs.


The 'garden" behind the Barn provides fresh produce for the meals we enjoyed while at Sub Zero Wolf.

The garden. Photo by Thyme and Place Design


The idea of a product built to last is not part of the conversation these days. Food preservation, iconic design, and innovation combined with American ingenuity is a powerful combination.  Furthermore, I can attest to the quality of the products as I have them in my own kitchen, the heart of my home.  Above all, every Sub Zero-Wolf-Cove product is designed and built to stand the test of time.

Sub Zero Wolf appliances are featured in a kitchen designed by Sharon L Sherman Thyme & Place Design Kitchen Designer NJ

Designed by Thyme and Place Design. Sharon L Sherman ASID CKD. Photo by Mike Van Tassell


Heart of the Home: Kitchen Cabinetry.

My next trip was to Princeton Minnesota and Crystal Cabinet Works. I’ve never been to Minnesota before.  Besides the beautiful countryside, Minnesota has wonderful people. Crystal Cabinetry is, without a doubt, a product I am bringing to my clients. As a matter of fact, I already have some projects in the works. Of course, I will still work with my other cabinet partners. Crystal Cabinetry will be a great addition to the Thyme & Place Design family.Crystal Cabinet Works Factory showroom. White kitchen with wood counter tops and floating shelves. Photo by Sharon L Sherman Kitchen Designer NJ


Crystal Cabinet Works is a privately held company owned by the same family who founded the business in 1947.  That legacy continues with their commitment to sound environmental practices, and inherent value. As a matter of fact, construction, quality control, and finishing are all done by Minnesotans. Many have been with the company for 20 years or more.

Most importantly, when I choose to work with a company, their values and ethics must be aligned with mine. This is something I feel very strongly about. Crystal Cabinet Works certainly exhibits American ingenuity, environmental stewardship, know-how, and craftsmanship when building cabinetry.

Cabinets being assembled by hand in the Crystal Cabinet Works factory. Sharon L Sherman.

Cabinets are hand-built.


Enviromental stewardship is important to Crystal Cabinets. Scrap materials are made into usable and decorative cabinet accessories. Here is a custom knife block.

Custom knife block.


The materials used in Crystal Cabinets are North American wood and formaldehyde free


At the same time, they give back to their community. They contribute to scholarship funds and offer apprenticeships to learn a valuable trade.  When the owners realized, that employees were struggling to find healthcare, they built a medical facility and staffed it with medical personnel. Crystal provides free medical care to their employees.

Heart of the Home: People

Relationships with clients and trade partners are paramount to the success of Thyme & Place Design. Working with companies like Crystal and Sub-Zero Wolf contributes to the commitment to excellence I strive for in my business.  Thyme & Place Design will always be about the people behind the products. I met warm and welcoming people at each stop. I was invited into the home of the owners of Crystal for a wonderful meal, conversation, and friendship. There is something about midwestern hospitality. 

Heart of the Home: What I learned.

In truth, this was one of my favorite experiences. Once in a while, I get lost in the hustle and bustle of the metro New York, New Jersey pace. Visiting these companies reminds me of why I chose to be a designer. I love what I do and hope to continue having opportunities like these.

Look at the pictures, see the people and the products. It was an amazing trip for me and I’m happy to be able to share it with you. This is the life of a designer, always learning. 

If you would like to learn more about these companies here are the links to their websites: Sub-Zero Wolf Cove  Crystal Cabinet Works 

Planning a kitchen for your home? Thyme & Place Design would love to help. Please look through our design portfolio and read about our Design Service Packages. 

Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, NCIDQ, CID, CKD


Sharon is the founder of Thyme and Place Design, headquartered in Wyckoff, New Jersey. She’s been practicing kitchen and bath design for the past 40 years and is a Past President of the American Society of Interior Designers – New Jersey chapter. She is a current member of the editorial board of KBB Magazine, the official magazine of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Sharon has also received a Kitchen Bath Design News 2022 Innovator of the Year Award.

Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Design Milk, Furniture Lighting and Decor, Designers Today, Bergen NJ magazineKitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star-Ledger,  and Aspire as well as several books.

Her blog “Tips from the Trade” appears in digital form on and She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  Sharon was a featured speaker for  *Voices From The Industry*  at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention and The International Surfaces Event and is available for further speaking engagements nationwide on all topics related to running a successful kitchen and bath design business. She is also a CEU provider for IDCEC. 



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Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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