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Mar 21, 2007 11:19 PM

ISO kitchen designer

NEED to re -do the kitchen. Have been paralyzed by the enormity of the project for a decade so have done nothing. I can't stand the kitchen as is any longer. Aside from word of mouth what is the best way to find an awesome kitchen designer to help me GET STARTED, Help!

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  1. i'm not sure where you are located but even home depot will have a design service for when you are redoing your kitchen. If you want to use a designer for the project who will work with the cabinet company you can, or you can go directly to most cabinet places. many will have some sort of design service to help with the layout.

    we are in the middle of a renovation and we first found a "designer" on craigslist. he then took measurements of our kitchen to a small cabinet and tile store (they don't make them in house but they do sell three or four different lines) and they have a computer program that will help with the design. so before our kitchen was installed, we had pretty good representations of what the final product would look like from 4 different angles (B&W and color).

    we only used the designer for our place because we were redoing the majority of the apartment and we needed someone to coordinate the whole process and keep us on track.

    1 Reply
    1. re: magfitz

      Skip Home Depot/Expo!!!!

      I am using them both and it has been a nightmare. They don't know the building codes, I asked did we need building permits. No they said, but we ended up having to bring plumbing and electrical up to code and paying for a permit. We are having to have cabinets reinstalled :10 inch drawers put into 28 inch cabinets; they tell you it is a couple of days work and it is 5. I don't care how great my kitchen now looks, it is not worth the stress.

      Go to some Sunday open houses. Look at the kitchens and find out who did the ones you like.

    2. Shaebones: if you are in the Boston area (for some reason I seem to recall that you are), you might want to check out the "Treasure Hunt" at the Boston Design Center the weekend of March 31-April 1. You can arrange in advance for a complimentary consultation with a designer, in addition to checking out some of retailers that are not normally open to the public. I did this last year and she gave me some good ideas, but alas the advice I sought was minor and did not warrent her further service. Check out

      1 Reply
      1. re: Niblet

        OMG Niblet, thank you so much. I will definately check this out.

      2. When I was playing around with designs for our kitchen (almost finished now!), I used the Ikea website. They have a really cool program that lets specify the exact measurements of your kitchen and you move around cabinets and appliances in it. You can even see it in 3-D!

        1. Have you done your part toward being able to explain your dreams to a potential designer you may hire? By that I mean, are you pretty clear about exactly what you want in your new kitchen? This includes not just style and color issues like Country VS Retro VS High-Tech but basics like type of storage YOU require (bakers are very different from cooks) and the type of things YOU will be doing. No designer will be able to read your mind and know what you want this room to do for you unless you can relay this information. What is it about your current space that is very disagreeable? Be very specific.

          My DH and I designed a house with an architect some years ago and he made us do a lot of work before he put pencil to paper. First, we needed a "Wish List" for each room, a very specific listing of our "must-haves" and "do not wants". We began doing very basic "Bubble Drawings" with spatial features circled so that we planned what we wanted to have next to each other, i.e. so that the refrigerator was not right next to the cooktop and that there was a landing place near the ovens, trash by the sinks, etc. For the kitchen I was very clear about not wanting much distance between the garage and kitchen to lessen to long haul for groceries, nor did I want the kitchen to be adjacent to any quiet areas of the house. I was equally clear that my husband's piano must be accomodated so there is wonderful music with food, that there be as much counter space as possible, drawers for dish storage to eliminate upper cabinets, max refrigerator space, large gas cooktop to be installed at my height not industry standards, pot-fill at the cooktop, etc.
          FYI: we fired five architects who wanted to build their house on our land. In other words, they did not listen to us. I'm old enough to know this signals t-r-o-u-b-l-e, especially when at the beginning of a working relationship that will last a long while. Find someone who will listen to you. Not necessarily a "YES" person who agrees with your every thought, but someone who pays attention to what you are saying. We had one who insisted on two islands in the kitchen because "it is the new thing instead of one large island". I wanted one large island and this became an early signal that we wouldn't work well on our project. Adios to all non-listeners.

          Working together proved bumpy at times but overall was a highly satisfactory experience and resulted in a "magic" room where I happily spend many hours a day. We had a knock-down-drag-out over a cookbook library that I insisted on, also that the warming drawer be at a reasonable height not next to the floor like an after-thought placement. I really wanted a large chair in a corner and accepted a built-in kitchen desk instead - I never use the desk and wish that I had my big ole comfortable chair. At the time I knew better but caved in to ideas of others, not my own. Expensive lesson learned.

          My husband and I ended up doing much of the basic layout because I knew exactly what I wanted where and we relied on the experts to make everything work together.

          Teach yourself to objectively look at layouts, disregarding the obvious stylistic features and zoom in on the traffic flow and ease of use. Many people are in love with "The Work Triangle" and it certainly works well for some. I used a "Hot-Cold" and "Wet-Dry" system that has proven very efficient for me. Oddly enough, there is a triangular feature to my kitchen that was unplanned. Is your space square? rectangular? can openings be moved? is plumbing easily available? Can you think "outside the box"? Space adjacent to your existing kitchen may be available for non-traditional uses.

          Look past all the "do it yourself" places that offer sales under the guise of "advice". Sure, they can plot out a kitchen on graph paper or a computer program (so can anyone with the IQ of a cold room) but it will be using only products they sell which may not be the best choice for you and they have nothing else to offer.

          You'll need to put lots of miles on your car visiting showrooms, spend hours spent tearing ideas out of magazines - hopefully, you already have a file of things you like, and the willingness to put up with a messy and expensive project for longer than you hoped it would take. Do plan ahead for the inevitable mess and set up a temporary kitchen, it will help save your sanity. Yes, this is an enormous project and it will likely test your mettle on many occasions. Keep your eye on the prize, your new kitchen. Good Luck!

          Oops - almost forgot to mention that there are professional organizations for kitchen designers, CKD "certified kitchen designers" is one, located in every large metropolitan area of the US. Ask how they work - flat fee VS time and cost, ask for references and do go check these out. We had some very big surprises when we did this. Check with interior designers and architects for their input. At some point, one name will continually appear and by then, you'll be halfway to your new kitchen.