How to select a kitchen designer.

A true functional kitchen is much more difficult to design. The designer must get to know you and your family habits. The designer must know if you are right or left handed, the type of cooking you do, how you shop, how many will be in the kitchen and so forth. The designer must take inventory of the types of things you will store in your kitchen as well as the "style" of entertaining. This is not a fast process, but well worth the time spent. A good designer is not easy to find. When you find one, don't get cheap and try and find a lesser expensive solution. You will save money and time in the long run with a good designer. Not all certified designers are qualified. It is your responsibility to ask the right questions in order to make sure you are working with someone who is capable of producing the perfect kitchen for you. If your designer is not asking these questions, he or she is designing a kitchen for themselves in your home!

A seasoned professional should be able to give you an accurate price range for your project on your first visit if... 1. You have a set of floor plans for your new construction project 2. You have plans for your remodeling project. If a designer is worth his or her salt, he or she should be able to give you a fairly accurate price range based on the different offerings they have available to you. Lastly, do not be afraid of giving your designer your budget. A good designer can not work with you without a budget. Once you give your designer a budget, he or she should be able to steer you in the direction of the products and design that will compliment your budget. Think about it for a minute... Would you go to an architect to have a house plan drawn up without telling him or her a budget range for the house? Of course not. The same is true with designing a kitchen The same kitchen can be designed in price ranges that would amaze you. If you don't trust your designer enough to give a budget range, one of two things is wrong. Either you have not spent enough time with the designer for him or her to earn your trust, or they are not trustworthy based on your evaluation. Either way, trust is critical. Sometimes, we have NO idea what a budget range could be. I recall having someone over to build a custom piece of furniture not long ago. Based on my significant knowledge of the cabinetry industry, I had a rough idea of what the item would cost. It was about double what I had anticipated. Why?? The work was all done locally - not in a factory. A factory has a huge advantage of scale of production to lower labor and material costs. If you are unsure, ask your designer to give you rough budget ranges to think about.

The scoop on cabinetry: Cabinetry quality today is better than ever. The quality of the finishes are superb. The hardware is exceptional. For the most part, it is safe to select cabinetry based on the style and price range you are comfortable with. Years ago, it was very important to pay attention to the brand of cabinetry. Finish qualities and hardware systems varied greatly. That is not the case today. The luxury end cabinet lines are often overbuilt and you pay for unimportant features. Think about the features offered and convert them into benefits for you. Custom verses Stock cabinetry or Semi custom cabinetry verses Custom cabinetry. With custom cabinetry, keep in mind, the cost is significant and a good designer can often give you a similar look with semi-custom cabinetry. Stock cabinetry will be the least expensive, as it is generally warehoused. Your designer should assist you in selecting the right type of cabinetry for you. This is what I have discovered over the past 10 years or so. The Semi Custom cabinetry lines are built as well (for the most part) as the factory made custom cabinets. I believe this is where you get the most bang for the buck. If you can find a style and finish you like in a semi-custom cabinet, that is what I would recommend. IMPORTANT: A discussion on locally made custom cabinetry. Some local shops do not have the ability to provide a catalytic or conversion varnish. In my opinion, that is critical. An accidental swipe with a mild solvent on locally made cabinetry may remove the finish. Catalytic or conversion varnishes are solvent proof. Do check, if you are considering local cabinetry, to see what kind of finish they use.
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