? - Using Kitchen Designer for 1st time.

neshanicguyOctober 13, 2012

Hi all. My DH and I are new to using a kitchen designer. We both have different opinions on how we should be employing her. I thought I'd post our dilemma to see how the rest of gardenweb weighs in...

I dont like to waste anyone's time so I 'm in the camp of telling the designer what I like and what I don't up front. Ie. I like clean line wood veneers - not shaker style doors. I like white as the second cabinet color. I like a white counter and similar backsplash color.

My DH thinks we should give the designer the freedom to design something that they envision. we can then go back and ask for changes.

We are quite in opposite corners and it is starting to cause some friction. Eesh. Am I really heading into this the wrong way? While I like just about everything in this designers portfolio, I wouldn't necessarily want it in my kitchen.

Thanks in advance.

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Have you looked at HOUZZ website? It has 1000's of photos and you will start to focus....or rather your DH may find some preferences that he didn't consider.

Your kitchen designer may be open to both approaches and s/he may have pictures of previous kitchens that they have designed.

However, I'm with you. Cannot imagine just letting a person, no matter how creative, just surprise me with colors, cabs, floor etc then making changes from there. I'll bet the KD would like some direction from you to save wasted time.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 9:27PM
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I would think the designer would want to know your preferences before she does a drawing. I think that would save time.... plus isn't the purpose of a designer to help you put together a look that YOU like and envision? This is going to be your home, not a picture in the designers book.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 9:30PM
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you only mention colors and surfaces. A kitchen designer should have the experience and training to offer you a lot more than color combinations and surface looks. That's the last step after you figure out "what to do"with the space.
Take her some pics off your phone of the area and adjacent areas as well. On graph paper, have the wall measurements/windows/openings/architectural obstructions or details. She will definitely want to know your budget.
It's not either/or. You, like thousands of others here would be doing up diagrams and thinking about layout...at the same time, with dilemnas that arise,it will be to your benefit to see what solutions she comes up with,or ways around difficult issues in the plan. Or use her expertise to get the highest grade of materials, within budget,[if layout is not being changed].

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:28PM
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We just finished a lengthy process with a kitchen designer. It was nothing like I would have imagined. On television they sit down with you and get into your head and show you pictures and ask you what you would like. My designer asked a few questions as to what style I was looking for...colors, modern or otherwise, size, needs and then tried to reason with me to talk me out of most of what I wanted. I ended up in tears. He wasn't rude, but designers have certain things or styles that work for them. My designer loved sinks under a window; he loved two sinks in a kitchen; he loved shaker kitchens; he didn't like modern kitchens in a colonial house...these were some of his leanings. So, he went off and drew a design and I liked certain elements but he ended up redoing it for six months and had 15 iterations of the design. Then, there were the design changes during the construction that we didn't consider or discuss. At the end of the job, he conceded he likes the sink on the wall that is not under the window and likes some of the things I recommended that he wouldn't have done. I am glad I had him because I never would have thought of some of the things he pushed me to do...like have a frosted glass door for my powder room or surround my stainless cabinets with cherry wood to soften the modern look or put in a big bay window. The bottom line: Speak up and make sure he listens to you and also listen to him/her. I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:43AM
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Thank you all for your input. Sorry I wasn't more specific. We have decided on layout and have accepted structural changes that the KD recommended. We are now onto finishes, lighting, colors etc. We also are incorporating a more modern approach into a standard colonial. I don't think I have the patience of sedonamazer to go through 6 months of changes!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:02AM
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Does your husband want the same things in the kitchen as you do? If no then work that out ahead of time. If yes then, find out how the KD works. You can go in prepared do go either way.
Some of us are more like what sedonamazer expected than experienced. No matter how a KD approaches a job they should be asking lots of questions. Good design solutions do not spring from the ether on their own, they require collaboration. If you are truly open to new ideas let them know; most people are not.

One way of working is to start with multiple options that are not fully developed. Only some KD's work that way, some can be persuaded.

The more likely it appears to a KD that they have (or will get) the job the more likely they will be willing to do multiples. If they are on retainer, you are a referral, it appears you are shopping design and service, then more likely. All who I know of either start on retainer OR ask for before fully developing a plan. (note that a a retainer up front does not guarantee multiple presentation options- always ask how they work)

If they can't tell what your priorities are, your primarily shopping cabinets brands or price, you seem to need to see a fully developed plan and pretty pictures, or your just running around trying to "get ideas" then less don't expect to see multiple options offered.

As Herblover points out- many style decisions are worked out as things develope. But certain style choices are best considered early- contemporary, few or no uppers, strong horizontals, modular layout, two tone, wall cabinets set lower than standard, stacked uppers, deep counters...but these are typically mentioned as a matter or course by the client.
AND basic style, wood and finish choices are needed to get even ball park pricing. If you want them to meet a budget then tell them what it is. There is NO way to prepare solutions and options to meet a budget by guessing.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:22AM
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Looks like your settled, I was thoughtfully editing and missed your post:)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:25AM
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My DH thinks we should give the designer the freedom to design something that they envision. we can then go back and ask for changes.

When I read this, it made me think of work we're having done at my mom's in order to sell. Mom passed away a bit ago, so this is a clean out and get out situation. The painter and GC wanted to know what color the walls and trim should be. I told them to choose a popular neutral and do that. They pulled out a sheet of colors and wanted to talk about this neutral vs. that neutral. I told them I don't care, just choose something that, from their experience, has wide appeal. They looked at each other and said, "Wheat." Works for me, because I don't care beyond the concept of wide appeal.

If you don't give the KD guidance like clean design, two colors, not shaker, he/she will be left with falling back on the wide appeal thing. The difference between Mom's wall color and your kitchen is that you do care. You'll be living and working there. With no clear idea of what would please you, what you'll get on the first go-round is "wheat" - probably not what you actually want. Your KD will undoubtedly come up with creative things you may not have thought of anyway, but providing a direction in which to start is generally very helpful all around.

P.S. Mom's house is sold at full asking price even before it's officially on the market. Gotta find something to do with the Steinway grand piano.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Now that I know you are down to colors and things, here is how we did things....

My designer and I discussed cabinets. We discussed style of my house. He asked me what I liked and I said modern. He recommended against that. He said shaker was popular and very neutral and wider stiles could make it more modern looking. We then moved on to color. He said three choices were popular. White was the best for resale. Cherry was very popular for wood long term, but dark wood was very "in." What did I like? He said we could wait to discuss knobs. He then asked what type of floor I wanted and I said porcelain. I went looking by myself and found one I really liked and showed him and he liked it too. He then said what type of counters did I want? I told him granite and we went to a big yard with the cabinet door and floor tile and went shopping for slabs together. Then we went shopping for the backsplash together. He really did the backsplash and I approved. It was a very pleasant experience. Once everything was in place, we took swatches and selected paint colors. We also worked with the contractor to decide what type of base and crown moldings and doors would look best. It was a collaborative experience that really worked.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:36AM
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