Kitchen Design help - first draft from cabinet company

auroraborelisJune 6, 2013

I just received the first draft of our kitchen design, and I�m not pleased. It doesn�t include many items I ask for, but before I go back and ask for everything I wanted, I thought I would post here and ask for some feedback so that I can get it all included in the plan at the same time.

A bit of background
- I know the plans don�t have dimensions, this sucks, but there is nothing I can do. I just emailed the designer regarding what the aisle sizes are, and also what the number notations stand for. I will follow up when I receive that information. To provide some perspective the kitchen is 19� by 14�
- The cabinets on either side of the window will have a glass front, and glass sides.
- The majority of our dishes will be stored in drawers near the main sink and the dishwasher.
- I requested and was quoted on all lower drawers. You can see this plan doesn�t live up to that.
- We will eat breakfast and quick meals in the kitchen, most dinners in the dining room (dining room below)
- I know the pantry is far from the fridge. I�m okay with this.
- We are currently a family of three, our little one is only 7 months old. We hope to have one more child eventually.

Here are the changes and details we asked for:

- Seating on two sides of the island (facing windows and along the side where the pantry/ovens are)
- replace the tall wine fridge with an under counter model. We are open to suggestions for where the under counter model should be placed.
- Also, we have selected all of our appliances, other than the hood. (Bosch 800 Series double oven, Bosch 800 Series Induction 36" stovetop, 2 Bosch 800 Series Dishwashers, Samsung Microwave drawer (have not decided on size), LG counter depth fridge)
- Our ceilings are 9 high in the kitchen, so it too low for stacked cabinets, but it is also too high for a standard cabinet height to go to the ceiling. Below is a trim option that I like to make up that small difference.
- The cabinets that are on either side of the windows, should have a glass front and sides (like beekeepers wife),
- The pantry should have cabinet doors, similar to this photo.

Contemporary Kitchen by Decatur Architects & Designers TerraCotta Properties

Contemporary Kitchen by Decatur Architects & Designers TerraCotta Properties

Here are the plans from the kitchen cabinet place.

Plans in our floor plans

Alternate proposed by GW previously

The things we need help with
- What direction should the prep sink be in?
- Where should the trash go?
- Where should the microwave drawer go?
- Anything else?

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Sophie Wheeler

Of course you have room for stacked cabinets. 9' ceilings are fine with 30" + 15" cabinets plus 9" crown. Or 33" + 15" with 6" of crown.

If you had the budget discussion with the cabinet maker and stressed that you need to come in at a certain number, then he may have heard that loud and clear. The design he gave you may be what your budget buys. The GW wish list kitchen is a great, but EXPENSIVE, kitchen. There's probably at least a 2xto 2.5 factor between the kitchen that he drew there, and what your wish list contains. Are you OK with that? (Adding those stacked cabinets makes it 3x+++)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 7:44AM
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Oh, I didn't explain myself well. :) Right now we have 39" cabinets and originally we had 10" ceilings and we were going to have stacked cabinets, with the higher ceilings. However, with the 9" ceilings the additional cabinet didn't fit, and I like the look of the tall cabinet doors, and wouldn't want to stacked with 9' ceilings. I also like how the budget looks without them!

As for the drawers, I have a quote that says all lower cabinets ( other than sinks and corners) will be drawers... And I got this!

This post was edited by Laura12 on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 9:06

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Oh, and we already bought all the appliances, half are sitting in my current garage!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Get a new designer. If they blew off what you wanted during planning and didn't give you options or explinations what will dealing with them be like on the rest of the project?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Oh, how I wish that was an option! We are getting our cabinets from a local custom shop that has great prices, but they don't have a true kitchen designer. I have looked, but can't find an independent option in my area... Anyone know someone that will design my kitchen remotely? :)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Perhaps I provided too much information. Here are some questions we really need help with.

- What direction should the prep sink be in?
- Where should the trash go?
- Where should the microwave drawer go?
- Anything other suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:01PM
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I'll try to help. I'm not a design expert, but I do have a layout similar to yours.

Prep sink: I think it should be across from your rangetop to separate your prep and clean up zones.

Trash: If your trash goes in the island right where the 19' marker is on your layout, it would be accessible from both prep zones and clean-up zones. I think this would be the best space, unless you are putting in 2 trash pullouts.

M/W: I'm not sure about this with your plan. Generally you want the microwave near your fridge, but not in your prep zone. You also don't want to attract people through your prep zone to get to your m/w. Maybe near your ovens?

With seating in your island opposite the pantry, you have to make aisle allowances (I could be wrong, but I think it's 60" for seating + walking path). If you have a normal 42" aisle on the other side, your island won't be centered in your kitchen. I'm not sure how you feel about this, but you will be losing some symmetry in your island placement.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Before they wasted all their/your time and money designing and drafting up something that didn't meet your specs, they should have had the discussion that your list exceeded your budget or certain things could not be achieved -- providing options and areas for your own decision making for either cutting back or spending more. Skipping steps/preliminary work and not communicating with the client spells trouble.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:04PM
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My list does not exceed my budget, actually my budget is fairly flexible (within reason) so that isn't the issue at all.

This really should have been two threads... One about how I dislike the communication I am getting with my cabinet place, and one ask for help!

I have a quote that clearly says that my design will have all lower drawers, other than sinks, corners and a single trash pullout. I just talked to the person doing the design, and she confirmed that everything I wanted was covered in our quote.

I do need to move forward with buying cabinets from this particular store, the contract has been signed, and the price is right, I just really need some design help as I'm being limitied by their lack of expertise. They make great cabinets, they don't provide great communication.

If anyone knows of an independent kitchen designer that would work on a project like this remotely and they are available ASAP I would be quite interested!

This post was edited by Laura12 on Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 16:54

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:40PM
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laurajane02. I was thinking the same as you regarding the prep sink, but she swaped it so someone at the prep sink would but up against someone at the stove. After thinking a prep sink was such a great idea for the past year of planning, I'm nearly ready to through it out the window!

For the trash we need a single pullout that has two bins. Maybe your location is a good solution.

Originally the designer put the fridge where the ovens were, and the ovens where the fridge is now. I moved it as the result of GW advice but now I am rethinking. If the fridge was over by the ovens, it would be a logical place for the microwave, and a great spot for a little beverage center. Kids could also come into the kitchen grab something out of the fridge and/or pantry put something in the microwave and then get out of the kitchen without entering the cooking zones...

The aisles are 44" counter to counter, and I'm going to adjust that so it is 44" from the appliances to the counter. I think that should be enough... Anyone else have any experience with that?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:50PM
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The numbers appear to just be labeling each cabinet for future reference. My cabinetmaker did the same thing.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:53PM
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Fwiw, I did not have a KD. I consulted this forum to figure out my layout and then had a custom cabinet maker build my cabinetry to my specifications. Have a look at katieob's kitchen (linked below). Her layout is similar to yours. You can see where she put her m/w drawer, fridge, etc.

The location that I mentioned for your trash was what I was advised to do on this forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Katieob's finished kitchen

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Laura! That is a great link, Thanks!!!

It makes me think I should really swap my fridge and ovens...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:41PM
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Several people here have mentioned that if your KD doesn't lay it on the line and let you know why you can't have what you discussed within your budget (or what it would cost to have what you discussed) -- in addition to your budget -- it's not so great. I agree. Mine took my total budget and came up with a sadly uninspirational plan that looked just like my old kitchen -- no creativity, no originality. It was thermofoil shaker style cabinets, 23 total. It included nothing but the cabinets, quartz countertop, and their installation.

Any "style" or details in this kitchen now, are the result of my request. All I "requested" were two glass cupboards and some extra shelves but the company charged me 30K. No new appliances, no new flooring or structural changes. It was astounding and I should not have signed until I considered it carefully. Problem is, they charged a $1000 for the plan to be made. They charged another $5000 to "release" the plan so that you could use it with your own cabinets and contractor, so I was kind of stuck.

What is the markup? What is the actual cost of each feature in a kitchen like this when you use a middleman? Who knows? Again, I was stuck. Their contractor turned down my job because it was "too small", so I had to hire my own contractor to demo the old kitchen, my own electrician, and plumber.

These KDs were angry when I got my own contractor to move a switchplate because of their measurement error. They refused to cover the cost of moving the switch and when I wouldn't give in, they threatened me with small claims court - (but later gave up. )They made other measurement errors involving items that now do not fit in my "custom kitchen".

So, at this point, warranty or not, I do not want these so-called "award-winning" morons in my home to fix anything in the future! (I am still awaiting replacement brackets for the wrong size they ordered originally-- over a month later!)

I wish I'd read all these entries first but maybe someone else can learn from my experience. I believe I was overcharged and under-serviced... a sad commentary on my own ignorance and perhaps a sad commentary on the regulation of kitchen designers here in Canada!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Thanks Jouney! I appreciatte the insight, and I really wish there were more independent kitchen designers... And by more, I mean any at all!

That said, budget isn't the problem here... My budget includes all our needs as we speced it out well in advance. The problem is I need to take control of the design myself as the company doesn't have a KD. Not are they very detailed oriented as they ignored what was speced out in my contract!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 7:47PM
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