Are you using a kitchen designer?

carsonheimFebruary 8, 2013

We are building a custom home, and I'm wondering about whether I should be hiring a kitchen designer separate from the architect? I have cobbled together images of kitchens I like over on Houzz, but I'm not sure whether this is something the architect should handle or if the added expense of a KD is something that should be strongly considered.

What sayeth my fellow GWers??????

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I always have the kitchen cabinetry suppliers do that . It's helpful to see if they at least have an NKBA accredited designer. Depending on your budget, you can also seek an accredited interior designer affiliated with ARIDO.

This post was edited by worthy on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 22:38

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:58PM
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I guess the answer depends on your architect and what you want done. If you are talking about the full design, layout and arrangement of the kitchen to be consistent with your house design, then your architect should be experienced and capable of what's needed.

If the primary concern is the selection of cabinets, cabinet finishes and hardware then, any reputable cabinet supplier should be able to provide the needed services. Many of these also provide a KD to assist, with their fee built into the cabinet expense.

Whatever you decide to do, ensure communication and coordination between architect and cabinet supplier so that everyone operates from the same page.

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:53PM
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I am an advocate of using a licensed architect to design a house when possible. I am also an advocate of using a kitchen designer to design a kitchen when possible or an interior designer with a background in kitchen design (education and experience). The latter, especially an NKBA certified KD, will typically have more in-depth knowledge regarding the latest in kitchen design, products and finishes. Can an architect help design a nice kitchen? Yes. But I believe the right kitchen designer can help take your kitchen to another level. As always, due diligence required in choosing the right KD. Interview, check references, portfolio's, etc.

Many KDs work for cabinet showrooms. In those cases, you hire them to design. Then, if you use their products/hire them to implement, the design fee is credited. Otherwise, you pay the design fee and can use the design but shop the products/installation.

If you go the architect route, you might consider taking your plans to the kitchen forum here for some great input and advice. You can also educate yourself on the latest trends and options by visiting local cabinet, appliance and kitchen/bath showrooms.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:33PM
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We didn't use a kitchen designer. Our architect laid out the basics pretty well as far as island, location of appliances, windows, and sink. For style we knew what we wanted simple, transitional: white, inset, recessed panel. I did the cabinetry lay out myself with the help of the KD at the store. He was pretty knowledgeable about the cabinetry line so that helped me dtermine what I could and could not do. He was not much of a problem solver though. When a few issues came up, I was the one who was thinking out of the box and found the necessary hardware on the Internet. I also supplied some salvaged wood shelves for the kitchen. He did do a good job. This was one subcontractor I was happy with.

There is a lot to a kitchen design: cabinetry style, type, color, counters, backsplash, appliances, lighting, hardware, flooring. It all has to work together and often with current open floor plans, it needs to work with other spaces. If you are not exactly sure, I would get a designer. I would start by looking at portfolios and determining which designers match your style and price point. This is definitely somehing you want to get right the first time.

I'm very happy with our kitchen. The only things I would change would have bumped up the budget. Good luck!

This post was edited by pps7 on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 22:06

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:04PM
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I am not using a KD...I took my plans to my cabinet maker and we worked through it ourselves. If you know what you like, then why pay someone else to do it?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Why not ask your building advisor "Built Green Custom Homes" isn't that what you pay them for?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:20PM
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@millworkman -- well I certainly can ask them, and would expect them to be helpful.

But that wasn't my question. Perhaps it wasn't clear -- since the kitchen is probably the most utilized room in the house, I'm wondering whether someone with a specific expertise in kitchen design is an advisable extra expense. While my architect and BGCH can certainly provide me with some examples of best practices, I'm wondering how many folks who are in the process of a custom build have found the added expense of a KD to be money well spent.

I can get my annual "female" exam from my primary care physican -- who is certainly capable -- but the OB/GYN is most up to date on the latest research with regard to that topic. In some instances the PCP is just fine, but sometimes one might have reason to see an expert.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Since you're already on GW, I'd definitely go over to the Kitchen Forum, as musings suggested upthread, and make use of the *very* helpful people over there. And no extra expense either...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:24PM
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carsonheim - loving your analogy. ;) As the saying goes, jack of all trades master of none....... I don't normally relate that to houses but I suppose it could definitely fit in certain situations.

Kitchen forum is awesome. Lots of great ideas flow through there.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Many kitchen showrooms provide design services free of charge if you purchase cabinets from them. It doesn't have to cost you a dime extra. If you have a ProSource location anywhere close to you, your builder can become a member ($25) and purchase cabinets at wholesale plus have free design services. They are a pretty good source for flooring and backsplashes as well. It is designed as a to the trade only showroom, and they can hook you up with other members who can do the installs for you if you need the connections.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 2:42PM
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carsonheim - Based on your response/analogy, which I agree with, I think you should interview a few KDs.

Ask for recommendations from your builder/architect (they might have worked with KDs); visit a cabinet showroom (they will credit the design fee, but just because they employ KDs doesn't mean they'll be "right" so you have to vet them also); visit appliance/plumbing fixture showrooms for recommendations(they work with KDs all the time); go to NKBA online to find someone in your area.

Yes, the builder, the architect, you, kitchen forum, and the freebie at the cabinet store *can* design something that mimics your inspiration and follows some basic and common sense guidelines, and you might be very happy with it. But to your question: I think the right KD can be worth their weight in gold.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Yes, the fabulous people here on GW! I know what I want and in fact, the new kitchen will be very similar to the kitchen in the house we just sold so I know how the flow of the kitchen feels. I am using the advice here just to make sure that appliances are properly place so as not to interfere with each other, make sure there is enough space between island and perimeter cabinets, etc. My layout is simple because my kitchen is very open to the family room so there aren't a lot of perimeter cabinets anyway. I have a large island and large walk-in pantry. I've been reading the kitchen forum for years so I feel pretty confident in my plan and if you post your plan for GWers to review, you'll get some excellent advice from here.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Thanks everyone for the input. I've been reading over on the kitchens forum, and even in this one, and have been so impressed with how helpful folks are in identifying potential issues with layouts. I think I'll just work with my architect and show him the ideas I have, then bring it over here for the once-over.

We should have our house plans ready in about two months, and I look forward to receiving the same level of scrutiny from y'all!


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:22PM
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We did, but I was lucky because my SIL is a kitchen/bath designer so she did it for us.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:05PM
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