Architect or cabinet guy? And SF cabinet recs?

juno2008May 11, 2012

We have a c. 1900 bungalow in the bay area that was ruined by decades of "updates." We've finished putting the rest of the house as right as we can, and we're looking to un-update the kitchen ASAP. We worked with an architect on the rest of the house, but I'm not sure if we need an architect, since it's just one room. Could a cabinet maker work with us to design a kitchen layout? And would we get something better if we did re-hire the architect? There are a couple of non-structural walls that could possibly move (wouldn't affect the layout of the rest of the house) and we need new flooring, so with that in mind, is it more important to include an architect, or could we just re-hire our GC for the wall/floor part once we have a layout?

I also need to find a good custom cabinet maker in the Bay area, especially if I don't have an architect to rely on for recs. I don't think pre-fab is an option, since I want no toe kicks, inset drawers/doors, an old fashioned cooler cabinet, etc. What's the best way to find someone? I know the old-fashioned window guy we found through our architect had zero web presence, so I don't want to overlook someone just because he's not Google-able.

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I would definitely say you don't need an architect. You need a kitchen designer. Either one associated with whatever cabinets you're going to get or an independent kitchen designer. The GC should be able to handle the logistics of moving the walls, especially if they're not load bearing.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 11:17PM
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Unless you are doing some actual building--moving walls, or building an addition onto the kitchen--I don't see what an architect would do for you other than take your money.

Unfortunately? I am NOT a big fan of kitchen designers. When we redesigned and redid our kitchen about 30 years ago, I went to one kitchen designer after another. At that time (maybe things are different today?) they seemed to be very rigidly trained, with certain 'formulas' to use. I could NOT get any of them to listen to me. None would design a kitchen that suited MY needs. So DH and I took measurements and were our own GC--we went to the plumbing supply house and picked out our own cabinets and other fixtures, we hired a very good handy-man to install them, got a counter guy to do that. DH did the wiring, we did the floor together. Result? I got a fantastic kitchen that perfectly and efficiently filled my needs then and since, that has gotten me many compliments over the years, AND was a big selling point when we listed our house. I will be sorry to walk away from that wonderful kitchen when we have settlement in 2 weeks. Oh, and it was a whole lot cheaper than doing it via 'kitchen designer'.

Anyway, my point? Who knows your needs better than you? Why not do the planning yourself? You, of course, need to consider practical matters like code requirements, existing placement of water, sewer, gas lines, but those things are pretty easy to research. However you decide to go, though, INSIST upon getting the kitchen that will work best for the way YOU cook. Be sure any existing problems you may have are solved. Have fun and good luck.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Fori is not pleased

A cabinet maker and you should be able to get a good kitchen plan (unless you really have no idea whatsoever). Then you run the plan by your GC for code and plumbing and stuff like that.

Do use the kitchen forum here--it's active and informative and there are several people doing vintage kitchens, some in the bay area. You should be able to get some references there.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 3:24PM
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