An Interview with Silvia Miles
It has been just over 3 months since Milestone Kitchens opened their first Showroom & Factory Outlet Shop at 44 Stanley Avenue precinct in downtown Joburg.
Filled with Milestone Kitchen’s signature free-standing kitchen units, cupboards and other curated décor pieces – the Factory Outlet Shop gives customers a chance to experience the free-standing kitchen concept and also purchase pieces at a promoted price. As items get sold, new pieces come in, so the space is dynamic and ever changing.
We were able to chat with Silvia Miles, owner and designer of Milestone Kitchens on the new Factory Outlet Shop and get her perspective on kitchen design.
FRANKE: Congratulations on your new 44 Stanley Factory Outlet Shop! The space looks amazing and it is great that your Johannesburg customers are now able to visit and get a feel for your hand crafted free-standing kitchens! What made you decide it was time take this exciting new step and open your first Showroom & Outlet Store?
SILVIA: YuppieChef started doing it, Amazon.com started doing it. I decided it was time for Milestone Kitchens to do it too. We’re still an online business, and our Factory Outlet Shop gives customers a chance to touch and feel our free-standing furniture. The shop showcases a range of our kitchen furniture, storage units and other pieces set amongst curated décor items. And best of all, you can purchase our products at discounted prices.
FRANKE: Why do you think you have experienced such success with Milestone Kitchens?
SILVIA: Because of our dedication to quality products and excellent service. I have great staff loyalty, and have had a very small turnover since we started. Every kitchen is unique and special and deserves my full attention, which I give willingly. No job is too small for Milestone Kitchens.
FRANKE: What would you say is the most common reason customers choose free-standing kitchens over a fitted one?
SILVIA: Our kitchens are so different to anything else you can buy on the market. Every one is unique. Free-standing units offer so much flexibility, they are more hygienic and practical, and they are cost-effective too.
In the past, the life span of a kitchen has been over 20 years but it’s now becoming more commonplace to change either your whole kitchen or alter parts of it much sooner, perhaps in as little as 5 years. Free-standing units are very versatile because they mean that you are not locked into one kitchen and forced to endure its look. Quality free-standing kitchens give you the flexibility to adjust your kitchen when you want to, in a far more affordable way. And, as the units are moveable, they can be used in any room of the house. With a free-standing kitchen you can buy one piece at a time and build on modularly as your budget allows.
FRANKE: What kind of observations have you made over your career about how kitchens have changed?
SILVIA: Kitchens are more part of the living area than ever before, and it’s not unusual to have a couch or a bookcase in the kitchen. I’m also seeing kitchens get smaller and smaller. Some apartments are even being built without any kitchen at all.
FRANKE: Do you like to cook and has this influenced how you design your pieces?
SILVIA: I love it. Yes, this has most certainly influenced my designs, and I can offer practical advice and solutions to the working triangle. I always ask someone if they like to cook and who the main cook in the family is before I design a kitchen for them.
FRANKE: There are more eating spaces being incorporated within large kitchens; do you have a specific approach to design that incorporate dining in the kitchen?
SILVIA: We stay away from old-fashioned breakfast nooks, which take up unnecessary space in the kitchen, and incorporate space for eating in other ways. In an ideal kitchen, with unlimited space, I like to include a kitchen island, a table, a coffee dresser, a butcher block and a pastry table with a stainless steel top. Obviously, this is rarely possible, as most of us don’t have the privilege of unlimited space or budget, but if one can incorporate two or three of these elements in one kitchen it is usually enough.
FRANKE: What would be the first and second most important piece of equipment in a kitchen?
SILVIA: I would say a sink, and then a fridge. You can always cook on a fire or eat raw food. First, you have to wash things so that you don’t get sick, and then, you need to keep perishables from going off.
FRANKE: What advice would you give someone planning their first kitchen renovation?
SILVIA: Before planning your kitchen, clear the space out completely and paint everything white. Then put in a floor. From there, go to the Milestone Kitchens website and choose your units. Don’t rush, and don’t over buy.
To find out more about Milestone Kitchens and the unique kitchen features that they have to offer, be sure to visit their online store or pop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.