Who needs a kitchen designer anyway?

This topic may be a little self-serving by nature, but I still think it warrants some attention.  Our customers often wonder if their project needs a specialized designer… after all, general contractors know a lot about kitchens, as do architects and interior designers.  Do I need all these people and their associated fees in order to have a great project?  These are fair questions, and I will try to do my best to answer them in this and future posts.

Q: When do I need a kitchen designer?

Short answer:  Whenever you run out of ideas and expertise!

Long answer:
I would like to think that we bring value to any kitchen project regardless of scale.

Kitchen design is a very technical and detailed discipline.  Kitchens are often first “engineered” to function and then designed to be beautiful.  It’s in achieving that balance that the kitchen designer earns his or her place at the design table.

I have a background working in architectural offices, and I will be the first to tell you that most architects do a great job of space planning kitchens.  The architect knows exactly how they want the kitchen to relate to the rest of the home… both inside and out.  Architects do a great job on the bones but can tend to lose interest in the nitty gritty.  That is to say that many couldn’t care less where you put your aluminum foil or Tupperware.

Interior designers may or may not have expertise in kitchen design.  They will of course do a wonderful job with the style and colors, and again in my experience, most interior designers are great with space planning.  The area where the interiors person may need some assistance is on the technical side.  Appliances for instance are ever evolving and changing.  It’s a full time job to stay up on all the manufacturers and what they are offering… and not offering anymore.

Of course I am painting with a wide brush when I make these broad generalizations.  Before my comments section explodes with nasty grams, let me assure you that many architects and interior designers have done as many kitchens as I have and with all the expertise in the world.  Never the less, I think the best approach is one that includes as many disciplines as necessary.  I have discovered that our finest projects are those where we have collaborated with other design professionals to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Designers of all varieties sometimes get a bad rap because of the cost of our fees, and the additional costs to the job for our selections.  It’s true that “designer” projects tend to have higher budgets… because we expose our customers to possibilities that they were unaware of.  Special details and materials make a project personal and unique… and more expensive.

In my next post I will provide some guidelines in finding a kitchen designer that will help your project be all it can be…

Stay tuned!