A designer’s job is important, but it's not always understood by those of us who aren’t in the business. Sure, we get that they help plan the layout, functionality and aesthetics of a new or remodeled kitchen. But much like the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, exactly how they accomplish all of this is enshrouded in mystery—most of us probably don't realize the many subtle ways a designer enhances a kitchen project. To find out, we checked in with two top designers, who pulled back the curtain to share some of the surprising things a designer can do to help you.
When you're staring down a huge project like a kitchen remodel, it's hard not to get emotional—whether you're excited, anxious or maybe a combination of both. But a designer doesn't have the emotional obstacle that can lead to rash decision-making. “When I come into a client’s home, I can step back and solve problems because I’m not clouded with sentimentality or fear," explains designer Jessica Brende, principal of Brende Home. On a recent project in Malibu, Brende's client, who had lived in the house as a child, had a difficult time letting go of a bank of upper cabinets that were blocking million-dollar ocean views. “It took a month of deliberating before she was able to part with the cabinets," Brende says. "Of course, once they were gone, she was so grateful for the view." Sometimes only a neutral party (i.e., a designer) can facilitate such change.
Ever gone 15 rounds with your husband over flooring choices for your new kitchen? A designer can be the perfect mediator between couples who can’t agree on design decisions. “We’re impartial judges,” explains Denise Dolan, principal of Denise Dolan Design. “We’ll tell you what works best for the space.” Designers also have the tools to create a soothing environment that makes everyone living in it feel good.
One of the most important relationships you'll have during a building project or remodel is with your contractor. But often it seems that contractors speak an entirely different language than the rest of us. Kitchen designers, on the other hand, "understand what contractors need and how they need it prioritized,” explains Brende. “When clients don’t think things out carefully and start making changes along the way, the price of construction goes up. I’m constantly hearing horror stories of homeowners telling their contractors that they decided they wanted a pot filler over the range after the fact. The key to keeping costs down is to deal with these issues well before they become problems. In a nutshell, that is a designer’s job.”
Not only are designers skilled at envisioning a kitchen before it’s built, but they also can conceptualize how the finished product will look from adjoining rooms. “People sometimes don’t understand what the backside of an open kitchen will look like from the living space it will open out to,” notes Brende. “As designers, our job is to consider every material as an opportunity to introduce functionality as well as aesthetic appeal—even from a distant room that we’re not touching.”
One final note: Pay attention to your designer's credentials, as it may affect the types of services he or she can offer you. If you see the initials CKD, it means the designer has a minimum of seven years experience designing residential kitchens, has passed a comprehensive exam and has extensive knowledge of building codes and mechanical systems. ASID certification, on the other hand, indicates that the designer is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, which means they've passed a proficiency exam and have committed to taking a certain amount of continuing education courses per year. Both types of designers can offer a wealth of knowledge and benefits—it's up to you to decide which professional is best for your project.
At Cabinet-S-Top we have both CKD and ASID designers on staff. We have the expertise to help you with the layout, functionality and aesthetics of a new or remodeled kitchen. Visit our showroom located at located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ www.cabinet-s-top.com