New Here and Off To a Bad Start
Hello! I've been reading this forum for several months now and have learned so much here. We are in the midst of a fairly major remodel to a 60s ranch we purchased 18 months ago. We are using a highly respected area architect and a general contractor. The GC gave us an allowance for the kitchen cabinetry, and recommended a couple cabinet guys. We weren't impressed with either (no inset construction, discouraged drawer storage in base cabinet, outdated showrooms, etc). We met with another cabinet maker that did nice work but doesn't do any design, and we didn't feel we had the time, energy or skills to handle the design ourselves. Then we thought we finally found a great cabinet maker--he built the beautiful kitchen of a decorator friend, showed us an impressive portfolio, and was very enthusiastic about the inspiration photos I shared with him. He listened to what we were looking for, took some measurements and said he'd do a proposal. Well the proposal was quite vague, and he said that once we agreed to hire him he'd draw up the blueprints for our review. We asked for more specifics in his proposal and drew up our own plan of what we wanted. He came back and said everything we wanted was included in his price. We were feeling a lot of pressure from the GC to get the kitchen moving, so after checking some references we agreed to hire him. Yesterday he delivered the blueprints and we were very underwhelmed with what he put together. Just banks of cabinet boxes everywhere. It looks like he spent 30 minutes putting the plan together. While we have no doubt that they will be well built "boxes", there is no style whatsoever. A stock cabinet style at a custom cabinet price. I told him that the drawings didn't reflect the style we were after and that I needed some more time to define what I wanted. We don't actually have a signed contract with this guy, and we will certainly pay him for the drawings he did, but I'm not feeling confident about moving forward with him at this point.
So our question is: How do you get a kitchen designed? Do you need to hire a designer to draw plans and then have a cabinet maker build it? In our area the kitchen designers all seem to work for companies that sell cabinet lines. We went that route in our last kitchen and really wanted custom this time. We just can't seem to figure out how to get it designed (our architect doesn't design kitchens). Or do I need to quit my job and devote myself to designing it myself? Thanks for any advice!