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Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Posted by cluelessmom (My Page) on
Sun, Apr 15, 12 at 1:38

I hired an architect for a kitchen remodel, which involves moving the kitchen and opening up to a great room. We have the completed structural plans and he is finishing up his plans. I have questioned a few things on my kitchen plans, but have been assured these are non issues. I met with a kitchen designer today and he brought up some of the same questions I had.
I am not sure if I understand the whole process, but feel like I will still need the specifics drawn up, so what is the benefit of using an architect? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

An good architect is great about integrating an addition into the existing whole, or altering an existing structure as far as the structural aspects. They know how to design the puzzle piece into the puzzle. What they usually are not so great on is the design of that individual puzzle piece. Most don't cook, or understand zone planning, or NKBA guidelines, and many don't have interior design aesthetics on board. They might be great at suggesting the position of your fireplace, but not so great at figuring out where your fridge should go. For a remodel involving a kitchen, you really need both.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Kitchen designer or interior designer. Architects aren't always the best at interior layout.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Architects will tell you cabinets go there. Interior or Kitchen designers will tell you what type, kind and size!!!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

We had an extensive kitchen/bathroom remodel/enlargement. The entire project was designed by an architect. A kitchen designer came free since cabinets were purchased through a store where this was built into the price of the custom cabinets. However, he really did not do much design since we read a lot about layouts and had gone through several drafts with our architect to fit everything in. The designer's contribution was the source of the cabinets, kinds of specialty units - pull-out pantry design, corner hardware, drawer inserts, soft close hardware, etc.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

geller's experience is the same as mine and I've designed a lot of kitchens. It is pointless to generalize about architects. A good one can do it all.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I was not meaning to generalize I should have made that more clear as I agree with geller as well.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I have to disagree that a good architect can do it all. A great one, maybe. Those are pretty hard to find. Great architects can maybe "do it all", but they also never stop seizing learning opportunities, no matter the source that creates them. Good architects aspire to that, but haven't gotten there yet and so don't mind a bit of help. But even most good architects aren't going to be up for home decor details, or up on the finer points of planning a kitchen workspace in zones. The sign of a really good architect is one who admits his weaknesses and suggests that you hire a specialist to help you with those areas if you yourself aren't strong in them. They aren't going to hold your hand through sorting through 10 cabinet lines and 100 styles of raised panel cabinetry. A KD or ID will. And a good architect appreciates suggestions that create more functionality for the homeowner, even if those suggestions come from a KD or ID or even your sister-in-law who is a stay home mom.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I really wish I had met with a KD first then the architect. I would have a much better kitchen.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I second live_wire_oak and debrak_2008. I am going through a harrowing remodel right now and at this point I feel that I should have gotten the basic plan from the architect and then worked with a good KD to get an understanding of what layout works for me and then finalize the architectural plans. For example, we had to move the stove for a better layout only to realize that would not work for the exhaust ductwork or an issue with the plumbing pipe coming down from the upper level required us to build an unsightly soffit, or an additional 2 feet added to the footprint would have given us better walkway clearance and so on.

Good luck!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Reading the architect's disclaimer should answer your questions about their focus. leave the kitchen design to the kitchen person. A good architect will ask them too!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

It is like doctors, if there is someone specialized in some area of the body would be better for anyone who wants to be cured of muscles problem lets say. A Kitchen Designer is someone who most of the time designs only that area of the house. Good Luck!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

A kitchen designer will design Your kitchen. With an architect, it becomes THEIR kitchen and, well, it looks good but....;)


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Regardless of who you hire and pay to design your kitchen, if you have not mentally placed yourself in the space and worked every square inch of all the bells and whistles, you have paid for someone elses kitchen, in your house.

Enjoy!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

We are using both. Architect was essential in figuring out how to reconfigure the space-- removing walls, adding steel beams for structure, Simpson braces vs short walls, window placement etc and the KD at the place we are buying our cabinets has been helpful with laying out the work flow, sizes and location of cabinets, drawers, lighting selection etc. and there is no fee for the KD in our case.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

When I was a child I was forced to spend time with Clark, the son of my mother's best friend. Invariably he would produce photos of 2 animals and ask which would win a fight to the death, a Bengal tiger or a grizzly bear. He had no interest in why they would be on the same continent or why they wouldn't be smart enough to avoid a confrontation; he only wanted to argue.

Clark would have loved to join this discussion but he was drawn into a more dangerous pointless conflict in '68 and did not survive.

The first and most important step in a design process is to define the parameters before proceeding. Kitchens are not only for cooking; they are often the center of family life and that is often the more difficult design task because the arrangement of work surfaces, storage and appliances is far easier than making a kitchen a comfortable family living space. There is no doubt that kitchen designers who offer their services as part of a cabinet purchase are highly skilled in selecting and arranging what they sell but that and their lack of experience with designing homes can limit the design. Architects may not know all of the cabinet makers tricks but if they don't know how to make a kitchen work well in the overall design of a house you need to find another architect.

An architect is accustomed to working in many ways to achieve a good kitchen. If the owner wants a fairly conventional kitchen the preliminary design drawings would be given to a storefront kitchen designer for further development; if the owner wants a very fancy kitchen the preliminary design would be given to a firm sometimes named for their principals; if the owner wants the kitchen to be part of the overall house design with little concern for conventional rules of kitchen layout the architect would provide more complete drawings and work with a custom cabinet maker to achieve the owner's goals. These approaches can also be combined to some degree.

But the choice of the design process should be made early in the design process. I try to describe it in my initial proposal.

Here is an example of the last category:


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Go with the architect. Kitchen designers are worthless in my book.

But don't be afraid to battle the architect for the things you want. It's your home and you need to get what you want.

Architects at least know about the building process and structure. Unlike many Kitchen designers who are nothing more then glorfied salesmen for cabinets and appliances.

Get the kitchen you want and settle for nothing less. You are the one who is going to live with it.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I used an architect. I am really happy with my kitchen. He and I spent hours working on it. I also spent some time with the cabinet maker getting the sizing down for the island. I knew what I wanted and the architect worked with me to make it happen. He came up with an idea for a beautiful island. Floating the cabinets was my idea. :)

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This post was edited by rockybird on Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 12:28


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Those who think architects are somehow unable to effectively use their design skills for kitchens should do some research about the subject.

I have linked to a website by an architect who discusses current trends in kitchen design and provides links to kitchen designers. What I like most about his work is the absence of hanging light fixtures.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen design trends


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I have to disagree with Zagut, though the kitchen designer I used for a recent renovation was independent and had no financial affiliation with any cabinet manufacturer. We did a major kitchen renovation, moved a few walls to make its overall area bigger and convert a space-wasting half-bath into a smaller bath and a pantry. In retrospect, we didn't really need an architect, but we were babies and didn't know our contractor could have planned out what we paid the architect $$ for. The kitchen designer, on the other hand, was wonderful. When someone makes this their life's work, they know it inside and out. She asked me to jot down my kitchen activities for a 4-5 day period, and based on that, she mapped out what kind of storage she thought we needed (ie, which appliances on the counter vs stored in the pantry, where would we store food, etc). Some of the tiny details she included have been such time savers for us -- like putting dish cabinets within pivoting distance of the dishwasher to speed up unloading. I could list of a dozen other areas where her small contributions have added up to a really efficient, beautiful kitchen. I would never consider another remodel without one.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

NELadybug, Sounds like you got an exception.
Good for you. The majority of the kitchen designers I've dealt with over the 30 + years I've been doing renovations only want to sell more stuff so they can make more $$$.

If a problem comes up they want the installer/builder to figure out a solution. And don't let it cut into there profit. That is the last thing they want.

Yes they might have a clue as to how a kitchen works but there knowledge of the building process is limited where as an architect has a much better understanding of it.

I'll admit I dislike "Designers" but I can't help respect architects who at least know the basics of structure and the process.

Yes they might be harder to deal with then designers but if you've got the ability to convey your desire and are able to debate what you want an architect is the way to go.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

You really ought to read the course load to be a CKD or CBD if you think designers aren't familiar with structural issues or home systems. And that's in addition to the code requirements for proper space planning for a kitchen. As well as 7 different cabinet lines 800 page spec manuals. And color and design theory also. And most of the time, working a 48 hour week all the while studying all of that also.

I'm sorry you've had bad experiences, but that is no reason to categorically state that they are all worthless and not knowledgeable in many different aspects of home design.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

newenglandladybug. I'm curious. How many hours of labor did the KD bill you for?

I think the concept of an independent designer is great. Most "Kitchen showrooms" are there to sell as much stuff as possible. An independent can help select cabinets and other items that fit a client's need and budget. That is, if they are paid by the hour. I realize some are paid by percentage of items purchased.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

We've come to the realization that we need both, for many of the reasons already given.

We're remodeling one floor of a house which involves the kitchen, a bath, and what's now a formal dining room (to become a guest room). The architects have been great coming up with an overall plan for the space, flowing from entryway to the back of the house, repositioning the bathroom and thinking of ways to repurpose some existing materials and letting in more light. When we started to lay out the kitchen, though, first we ran into issues with placement of appliances/sinks to make the most efficient workspace (i.e. I had to guide them). After several iterations, when we had a seemingly good plan on paper and I started getting specific - not just looking at two banks of cabinets in the prep area but saying "my knives, prep bowls, measuring things need to go in these cabinets, is there room", I realized that the space as laid out wasn't right - not enough counter space and food storage in the prep area, acres of space in cleanup area. And neither the architects nor I had any idea about technical little kitchen things - how much clearance a 36" Subzero needs, how much the wiring for a warming drawer impacts on the drawers below it.

So: we're using the architects for the overall space and getting a KD involved for the details of the kitchen.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Sorry to all who were waiting for responses. My email wasn't sending me notifications. We paid our KD a flat rate. I want to say $700, but I'm honestly no longer sure and can't be bothered to look up the cancelled check. Ironically, we got her name from our architect, though she wasn't familiar with him or his work. She did have "professional discount" offers available at certain retailers (counters and plumbing fixtures), but we went elsewhere in both cases as we got better deals.
Someone contacted me directly for more info on little decisions/tips she made that made a difference. Here's a huge one that my husband just reminded me of. She had drawn out detailed cabinet designs, most especially in a critical corner with range on one side and sink/trash on the other with a corner cabinet pull out between. Due to her double checking, she discovered that the cabinet maker was building the wrong size trash cabinet for what we had ordered. She called on one day to let us know she'd discovered the problem, and 2 days later when we met her, she had 3 sketches of how we could solve it. She was thoughtful about ergonomics, encouraging us to plan storage to minimize lifting heavy things as much as possible. She encouraged us, as she walked us through our layout, to think beyond the sippy cups and plastic toddler dishes that were part of our immediate life to the next phase, and how our storage needs might change. Very detail oriented in a way our architect certainly was not!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I have used both but I was dissappointed with my KD. Her drawings are just bad and they are not specific to the type of cabinets I wanna use.

My architect is great. He didn't just design the layout. He designed all the cabinets and every little details that go in to the room. Everything like tiles, colors, lightings, countertop, sink, faucet, appliances has already been picked out even before we started the project. It's just such a great feeling when you know that everything is planned.

His drawings are very details and specific. I'm talking like in millimeters. We didn't have any problem with built in appliance specs. He got them all figured out. Isn't that what his job's for? He planned electrical and plumbings, duct system, ventilation. Where to position the lights. All lights in my kitchen would aligned directly in the middle of each cabinet door. He drawn out what kind of moulding I have to use on the cabinets to match the doors and windows. He even drawn instruction for workers on how to lay tiles and cut tiles. He can tell me exactly how many pieces of tiles I will need. I'm very happy and impressed.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

As an architect I do a decent job at choosing finishes for a project if it is not too upscale. I consider, aesthetics, durability, cost, availability, sustainability and whether the client even likes the materials.The interior designers will actually chose, not only finishes, but also furnishings and often get involved in purchasing those furnishings for the client. Our interior designers work with or act as wholesalers.Interior Architects I have worked with hqave often gotten into designing an interior feature or having a special pattern fabricated or visit a quarry somewhere to inspect a stone sample.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paramountbathroompros


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

As a former kitchen designer, I am acutely aware the most architects have very little training in kitchen design. They often have even less practical knowledge, as they often remain at an arms distance from the project. This is not a universal truth, but certainly what my experience has told me. I worked with some of the finest architects in Central Florida and none had a clue about designing an ergonomically correct kitchen.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Can I hire NELadybug's designer? I have a kitchen designer candidate who sounds a lot like NELadybug's designer but I'm in New York City and the quote for design services is many, many times the $700 mentioned. I'm pretty freaked out by how much the KD wants - this is an independent who makes a pretty good hourly rate and honestly is the most thorough, detail-oriented person I've met with expertise in this area. She is really getting to the heart of our needs and concerns and no one else is. But can a KD really command a crazy price like that? And should we hire her? Any thoughts? (worth mentioning that she isn't affiliated with any particular cabinet maker or appliance brand, she's truly independent)

I should mention that we have an architect for whom we pay an hourly rate, which originally seemed like a good idea and doesn't now, and I've found that he is good at the big picture but is completely not getting into the granularity of KD work in a way that will get us where we want to go. The alternatives are big box store designers or kitchen store designers, each of whom are also shilling for particular cabinet lines, or the architect who is independent; but we have some complexities in our renovation outside the kitchen area that complicate the kitchen design, and it's really tempting to use a KD for the kitchen part - we may be broke afterward but we probably will anyway renovating in the big bad overpriced city, and this way at least we'll have something nice. I'd love peoples' thoughts on this and will probably start a new thread relating specifically to KD costs and what's reasonable (although I know that "reasonable" depends on the location, and ours is overpriced already)


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Hi Dreamojean, It is very difficult to ascertain what is a reasonable price for a kitchen designer. A good kitchen designer should be a good listener and not have an agenda. I remember back when I was designing kitchens, I was certain that my customers had no idea how much time and effort went into my designs. I know my customers were very happy, and grateful, but if they knew the hours that went into the designs, I know they would have found it hard to believe. I charged between $1000 and $4000 for my design work - based on the size and scope of the project. There is no way I would have the stamina to do that work now. My days consisted of meeting with customers during the day and doing designs at night. My nights rarely ended before 2am. I worked 7 days a week at least 12 hours to 16 hours per day and made less than virtually anyone else working those kind of hours. If I had been in that business for the money, I would not have lasted more than a year. I did it because I loved what I did and found great satisfaction by designing kitchens that made sense for the homeowner(s). I used to get so frustrated when I saw glamorous kitchens that were impossible to work in. Often cooktops would be flanked with columns on either side that made cooking a real chore. Back in the day, there were very few designers that I felt were good at all. Here are some key thoughts that you might consider when looking for a good kitchen designer. First, the designer must know his or her way around a kitchen. They must cook! Theory is one thing, practical knowledge is a must. Secondly, he or she must understand ergonomics. Placement and flow are key. Thirdly, the designer must be a good listener and take notes. Lastly, the designer must love what they do. I loved what I did, and when it became a chore, I left the business. That happened right at the time another doorway opened for me. Long story, but I ended up designing and manufacturing custom copper and stainless steel sinks. That has been my passion now for 15 years. The same principles apply in sink design. Drain location is key, depth of bowl is key, etc.

I hope this long winded answer is of some assistance to you. Best of luck in your venture. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. Dino (dino@rachiele.com)


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I am doing a remodel in Sarasota, FL. I am struggling also. I was working with a design company that was recommending kitchen cabinets that I had concerns about. There are all kinds of fancy names for particle board and shoddy materials. These cabinets were not inexpensive. The only people recommending the cabinets were the KD and the rep from the company I spoke with. I brought the brochures in to a furniture company I respect in Ohio. The owner compared the quality to chicken mcnuggets. Yikes! I want great quality materials that will last. Any recommendations near Sarasota, Fl? Any thoughts on Amish kitchens? I'm going for a timeless off-white Shaker style. Thank you.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

"My architect is great. He didn't just design the layout. He designed all the cabinets and every little details that go in to the room. Everything like tiles, colors, lightings, countertop, sink, faucet, appliances has already been picked out even before we started the project. It's just such a great feeling when you know that everything is planned.

His drawings are very details and specific. I'm talking like in millimeters. We didn't have any problem with built in appliance specs. He got them all figured out. Isn't that what his job's for? He planned electrical and plumbings, duct system, ventilation. Where to position the lights. All lights in my kitchen would aligned directly in the middle of each cabinet door. He drawn out what kind of moulding I have to use on the cabinets to match the doors and windows. He even drawn instruction for workers on how to lay tiles and cut tiles. He can tell me exactly how many pieces of tiles I will need. I'm very happy and impressed. "

Plus for an Architect.

" I'm pretty freaked out by how much the KD wants - this is an independent who makes a pretty good hourly rate and honestly is the most thorough, detail-oriented person I've met with expertise in this area. She is really getting to the heart of our needs and concerns and no one else is. But can a KD really command a crazy price like that? "

Minus for the KD.

"I have used both but I was dissappointed with my KD. Her drawings are just bad and they are not specific to the type of cabinets I wanna use. "

Minus for a KD.

"You really ought to read the course load to be a CKD or CBD if you think designers aren't familiar with structural issues or home systems. And that's in addition to the code requirements for proper space planning for a kitchen. As well as 7 different cabinet lines 800 page spec manuals. And color and design theory also. And most of the time, working a 48 hour week all the while studying all of that also. "

Boo Hoo Hoo. LABATYD.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

It certainly seems as if the architect/KD/interior designer discussion comes down in part to personal history with various types of service providers, and in particular whether people got lucky with individual service people. So an architect may be better than a KD - or they may be too generalist to properly design a kitchen - and it probably depends on the professional.

For my part, I'm leaning against hiring the interior designer - at least not for that crazy fixed price. I'd love to hire her, but it will blow our budget. I'll live iwth a "not quite as good" kitchen I can actually pay for, and not a "perfect" kitchen that costs well over what we feel we can afford. But I do want to consult with this person, and pay her for her time hourly from time to time.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Let me know have you ever tried to consultation at www.allevaconstruction.com .
This company provided me best suggestion about my home construction also they gave me best services. You can try to free design consultation.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

An architect is the right person to start with when opening up walls. The architect works with the structural engineer on required specifications for permits and such. You said you are moving the kitchen which involves a coordination of other systems as well (plumbing, electrical). The architect should produce a set of drawings that are used to apply for design approval.

What items have you questioned on your kitchen plans? As others mentioned, a kitchen designer can give you more specific recommendations that apply to kitchen design, and a cabinet retailer can offer someone to draw up your kitchen drawings (for free) using their cabinets. Your contractor will find these very helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hiring the right professionals for a remodel


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

To follow up on this post, I ended up phasing my architect out (I hired him more for deck/structural, and opening up a wall between kitchen and dining room) and phasing in my interior designer who is awesome and much more of a partner than the architect and clearly more knowledgeable and has a better eye by far (the interior designer is a female visual artist as well and the architect is male, and not that the male/female difference is key but I'm female and am enjoying getting help from another female while we're surrounded by male workers some of whom treat me (at least) like I am not an equal - in fairness to them, when they treat me like I'm clueless they aren't far off the mark, but I'm smart and learn quickly nonetheless).

A problem I have is budget - I've already paid my architect so much for various pieces of the job, that I didn't have the budget for the full-service designer help (since my architect was an hourly guy - mistake - and the designer works fixed-fee or hourly and her fixed fee was too darn high) so I've been taking the lead and using the designer as a consultant to be able to pay the workers etc. - it's allowing me to afford the job but really is hard to make work when picking cabinet hardware in any kind of reasonable time frame. So I gain financially and lose a LOT in time cost. That's been a real eye opener.

But I think both architect and designer have their places, if there's a way to bring in each carefully, or unless you can find an architect who is truly good at design (I didn't) or a designer who knows when to bring in an architect or engineer as a structural consultant.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

To follow up on this post, I ended up phasing my architect out (I hired him more for deck/structural, and opening up a wall between kitchen and dining room) and phasing in my interior designer who is awesome and much more of a partner than the architect and clearly more knowledgeable and has a better eye by far (the interior designer is a female visual artist as well and the architect is male, and not that the male/female difference is key but I'm female and am enjoying getting help from another female while we're surrounded by male workers some of whom treat me (at least) like I am not an equal - in fairness to them, when they treat me like I'm clueless they aren't far off the mark, but I'm smart and learn quickly nonetheless).

A problem I have is budget - I've already paid my architect so much for various pieces of the job, that I didn't have the budget for the full-service designer help (since my architect was an hourly guy - mistake - and the designer works fixed-fee or hourly and her fixed fee was too darn high) so I've been taking the lead and using the designer as a consultant to be able to pay the workers etc. - it's allowing me to afford the job but really is hard to make work when picking cabinet hardware in any kind of reasonable time frame. So I gain financially and lose a LOT in time cost. That's been a real eye opener.

But I think both architect and designer have their places, if there's a way to bring in each carefully, or unless you can find an architect who is truly good at design (I didn't) or a designer who knows when to bring in an architect or engineer as a structural consultant.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Sorry bumping up an old thread, and didn't read the whole thread.
I am from the Cooking Forum. Just talking to a friend about the same topic and ended up here by searching.

An architect goes thru 5 to 6 years of university accredited education, and a few years of professional experience and tests before qualifies in getting a license.

A kitchen designer can be very good, or can be any no-body who gets a commission in his/hers product recommendations.

There are many specialty architects, not many understands residential kitchens.

If you are sick, do you use a medical doctor or a nurse? Of course, you have to use the right kind of doctor for your kind of sickness.

dcarch


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

Having been in construction for over 30 years, I've saved more than one architect's behind.

The problem is they can draw anything on paper and they sometimes do, code compliant or not. The American Institute of Architects documents you've probably signed generally alleviate them from most responsibility.

Like any other profession, the worst architects are arrogant know-it-alls, the best seek and utilize the cannon of the trades.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I think there really is a place for both. Having finished my project last october, more or less (i still need a pantry), and with the benefit of time, I have to say that I learned that many architects aren't good designers. Many are. I made the novice error of not knowing the difference. My architect was a great partner for general layout- to a point. But he wasn't a pro at "getting" some of the most important aspects of function for my particular situation. And he wasn't a designer. and the project stalled a bit as a result.

Then when I found my designer she broke thru the bottlenecks on what would actually work - for these particular inhabitants of our house- and she got us back on track (as examples, she got me to realize why the door to the deck had to be in x place, and why the fridge had to be in x place- and why it had to be a side by side- and why we had to have an island not a peninsula-and she was right on all counts as of a year later). After that I used her as much as I could afford and used the architect when necessary. I'm still on good terms with both. I have given a ton of work to my designer and am bringing her back for a pantry consult tomorrow. She is awesome. The architect - great guy, rocked our deck design and did his best. And he charged $25 more per hour than the designer. I found her more value added. And... Different value.

To the analogy of doctors vs nurses - there are plenty of incompetent doctors and super-competent nurses. And plenty of vice versa. And plenty of nurses who handle quite a bit instead of doctors. both are value added. Depends on the person and the situation

Our kitchen turned out great by the way- pic attached. Most credit to... Yes, the designer - and me for project managing it. At the expense of my day job (then again I ended up happily changing careers anyway this year- the reno was more fun than my day job)


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

DreamO: your kitchen is great. I don't envy you the cost of doing a reno in New York. I live in Maine, where the KDs come cheaper and the square footage is a bit more generous.
And for what it's worth, we've just re-contacted our KD (who also does bathrooms) to help us with a master bath and den redesign. She's a keeper!


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

"Having been in construction for over 30 years, I've saved more than one architect's behind."

I am sure that is true in your case, and you did not make that up. On the other hand, I am sure many will agree with me that many feel contractors are crooks. Opinions and facts can be confusing.

"The problem is they can draw anything on paper and they sometimes do, code compliant or not. The American Institute of Architects documents you've probably signed generally alleviate them from most responsibility."

Again, not to say that you are making things up, but I must say you have had very interesting experiences working with professional incompetent architects.

I have also heard, may not be true, in general, contractors hate architects for making life difficult for them.

dcarch

This post was edited by dcarch on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 23:35


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

dcarch:

I've got nothing against architects, but I do have something against arrogance. Just as "crook" seems to be the stereotype for contractors, "arrogant jerks" seems to be the stereotype for architects.

I remember a plumber explaining to an architect how some pipes should be run to save time, money, and look better on a commercial job. The archy was having none of it; the college boy was taking no advice from a lowly tradesman.

Too often on this board well meaning posters suggest seeking the advice of an architect or structural engineer when what they really need is a good framer. I was in a crawlspace with a structural engineer who brought a 3' level to put on 40' steel beams to see if the house was sliding into the river. Laughable.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

"----"arrogant jerks" seems to be the stereotype for architects.---"

The single most searched trade and service of (BBB) Better Business Bureau files by the public is "Contractors", goes to show how deeply stereotyping of "contractor crooks" is to the general public.

But lets give the OP some facts, and not the stereotype architect.

I talk to architects a lot, there are three on my block, and 2 close relatives are architects.

Architect's design "style", "approaches" tend to be more spacial, geometric and volumetric. The fact that they are licensed and structurally trained allows them to be able to move walls and add windows and extensions to the house. A kitchen designer will avoid options which they cannot perform. An architect's design can give you very dramatic end results.

Sometimes, other problems with using a kitchen designer:

My architect neighbor just told me that his is hired to file the entire project of a renovation done sometime ago by a kitchen designer. The owner tried to sell the house but the bank would not approve the transaction because a couple of walls was not in the same location as the drawings on record in the DOB's files. The owner missed the sale.

Another story which was told to me, by my architect relative. She was hired to file the project with the local Architectural Review Board because the kitchen designer moved the window and made the window bigger without the ARB's approval.

Yes, there are good kitchen designers and bad architects. That's not what the OP wants to know.

Just the same, there are good presidents and very bad presidents. So don't have a president to run the country?

dcarch

This post was edited by dcarch on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 13:26


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I hope a good architect would inform a client if a certain area is not his/her forte or interest. We were willing to hire our architects to do interiors, including the kitchen, they advised that they could but did not often do this sort of thing. If your architect demurs, listen!

We got to a tricky area in the kitchen and there was a bit of an impasse as to what the framer was supposed to do/whether he should frame it up and the architect would "design around" it/what the cabinet folks would need to make it work. We lucked out that one of the principals of the cabinet company had trained as an architect, so he came up with a framing plan for that particular area.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

No one has mentioned the often unsung hero in these tales. The kitchen cabinet installer! We had an architect (who designed the basic floorplan - we were building a whole house) - and a kitchen designer (free - cough cough - LOL) when we ordered cabinets from Poggenpohl - and a builder who built out the kitchen space (and electrical and plumbing) within a millimeter of what the kitchen designer spec'd. But the kitchen designer forgot that some drawers that were at right angles to one another had handles. So - as designed - those drawers wouldn't open.

Super cabinet installer to the rescue! He nipped a little here - and tucked a little there. And everything turned out terrific :).

Note that when an installer does an out of town "on the road" job (which is what we had) - they often get a bonus for getting everything done on the initial install. It's a powerful incentive to do a great job.

BTW - if you get involved with multiple different parties in a situation like this - it's important to get EVERYTHING in writing. Including detailed plans. I'm a lawyer - so I did these contracts myself. But the mileage of people who aren't lawyers may vary. Robyn

P.S. To the previous poster - all of this stuff should be detailed IN ADVANCE. Time is money. Changes are even more money. If you don't have detailed plans in place before you start - don't start.

This post was edited by shortyrobyn on Sun, Jul 20, 14 at 17:03


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

What if you just want to do a refresh? Would you use a kitchen designer or an organizer or an interior designer?

By refresh I mean add organization (pull outs or other options) to the existing cabinets. Change/rework a few of the cabinets, replace appliances, paint existing wood cabinets, lighting.

I am at a loss as to how to start.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

The design of the kitchen space and the design of the cabinets are different endeavors requiring different skills especially when a kitchen is open to other major spaces.

An architect would be best at designing the overall space and making it work well with the adjacent spaces and might draw some schematic cabinets. A designer working for a cabinet supplier would be best at designing and detailing the cabinets especially where they meet each other and appliances.

How much effort you need from one or the other depends entirely on what you care about. You may not need an architect but you will almost certainly need a kitchen cabinet supplier.

I always design the kitchen in the houses I design but I have little interest in detailing the cabinets although I have done it when the owner preferred completely custom made cabinets and I was sure I could make them happy with the results.

So the answer to the original question is that it depends on the project and the expectations of the owner and all this discussion and specious stereotyping of the potential designers is irrelevant.


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RE: Architect vs. Kitchen designer?

I guess I have the best of both worlds in one. My designer has a degree in architecture and interior design. Not specifically kitchen design, but she certainly knows all her measurements and ideas for work stations. She made detailed construction drawings with all the small trim details, helped me pick out my lighting fixtures, colours and counters. She recommended a custom cabinet maker, and with my input we designed how the cabinets would look. She is worth her weight in gold.


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