Every Vancouverite knows the beauty and nature that surrounds this stunning city. It’s hard to get tired of crushing on the epic mountain and sea vistas. And it’s no wonder we like to spend a lot of time outdoors wherever we can find it.
That’s why dining al fresco is huge in Vancouver, regardless of the season. And one local designer who makes that happen in style is outdoor kitchen design specialist, Matt Herbert.
We spoke to Herbert ahead of the upcoming Dinner by Design event at Vancouver’s Harbour Event Centre, to find out how he got into this specialist line of work and what it takes to design a stunning kitchen space.
How he became an expert in kitchen design
Although now based in Vancouver, Herbert completed his kitchen design apprenticeship when he left school in the UK, at age 18. He then went on to be a certified kitchen designer after his apprenticeship. It was this experience that allowed him to successfully work in the design industry in Australia and now here in Canada, where he started his company Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens two years ago.
“I get great enjoyment from the creative process. As long as I am creating and helping, I am happy.”
Sherwood specializes in the design and installation of contemporary outdoor kitchens in the Lower Mainland, Whistler, and the Okanagan. Working alongside homeowners, designers, and architects, the company creates truly unique entertaining spaces. “The form and function of an outdoor kitchen are often overlooked on a project, but we approach the design process with the same care and attention that an interior kitchen receives.” Herbert and his team use the latest technologies, including 3D printing, to create one-of-a-kind kitchens for their clients.
Why he believes in hands-on learning
Sherwood ASA-D2 marble edition outdoor kitchen/Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens
For the past three years, Herbert has been organizing Dinner by Design’s interior design mentorship programme. “Having completed a kitchen design apprenticeship when I left school at 18, I’ve personally seen the lasting impact that working hands-on with a mentor can have. My apprenticeship allowed me to make mistakes and learn in real time.”
Herbert notes how Dinner by Design’s programme allows students to gain the hands-on experiences that they can’t find in a classroom. Throughout the design process, they get to experience all the real-life stresses and decisions that happen in the design industry. “I find it incredibly rewarding to see the students grow and gain confidence as the course progresses.”
Five students from last year’s mentorship programme even went on to gain internships with local design firms. “The programme is incredibly well supported by our industry partners, who actively take a hands-on role in the design and production of the student’s visions. Thanks to The Social Concierge, proceeds from Dinner by Design go directly to a support a bursary program for design at Vancouver’s Visual College of Art and Design (VCAD).”
What he’s doing now
In addition to running Sherwood Outdoor Kitchens, Herbert is mentoring students ahead of Dinner by Design. Right now, they’re working on creating an urban-chic bar that reflects the vibe and culture of Mount Pleasant – an area defined by its bright-coloured murals, gritty urban structures, and vibrant cultural community.
“We wanted to evoke a sophisticated nostalgia by mixing premium stone products along with soft fabrics. In true Mount Pleasant style, a custom mural is to go on the back wall to create impact and tie the space together.” The urban-chic bar complete with its own custom Portmanteau sound system will be permanently housed at Daily Hive after being exhibited at Dinner by Design.
You’ll have the opportunity to see Herbert’s work by going along to the public viewing on November 17. In the meantime, you can check out some of it on Sherwood Outdoor Kitchen’s Instagram.