bet is to locate a designer with
credentials. The National Kitchen and Bath
Association offers a list of professionals
in your area here:
Here you can find nationally certified
designers for kitchen and bath.
Remodeling a kitchen? What can you expect?
are remodeling a kitchen, and you are using
custom cabinetry, expect to leave a deposit
with your design firm. There are two popular
formats followed by most companies. They are
50/40/10 and 40/50/10. What does that mean
to you? It means that you will be expected
to leave a 50% deposit when ordering, 40%
payment when the cabinetry is delivered and
10% on completion or substantial completion.
The term substantial completion is something
you should understand. Many companies will
expect the final payment on substantial
completion. This means that the project is
substantially complete, possibly missing a
knob or a piece of molding. It is unfair to
hold back thousands of dollars for a small
item. However, if the company is not
reliable, this payment system can cause
undue heartache for the consumer. Since the
company has received virtually all of their
funds, there is no monetary incentive for
them to return. This is why it is important
for you to make sure you are dealing with a
company with a good reputation.
can you determine if the company has a good
place to look is their relationship with
NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath
Association). Members are supposed to keep
to the standards of the NKBA. Secondly, look
at your local BBB for advise. Most
importantly, talk to your friends. If you
know of someone who has had a kitchen
remodel, ask them about their experience.
Lastly, use your "gut" feelings! If you feel
uncomfortable at all during the initial
presentation, do not go forward.
should you expect before you make a buying
should expect to see a designers portfolio.
The portfolio should have before and after
pictures, floor plans, letters from past
clients. If the designer does not have a
portfolio, we suggest you move on. Your
designer should be able to give you a clear
vision of what he or she can do for you as
well as a price range for the project.
Giving the designer a budget is the best way
for you to lead your designer toward the
best products and design for you.
you should NOT expect before making a buying
should not expect to receive drawings.
Sadly, the kitchen industry has lagged many
of the professional industries such as
architects. You would never expect an
architect to produce drawings prior to
engaging him or her in the form of payment.
If your designer is a good designer, he or
she should not be expected to work for free.
do you need to know in order to make a
Interestingly enough, making a buying
decision is easy if you have the answers to
all the questions required to make that
decision. Often, designers fail to offer all
the answers. This is why it can be
frustrating for you, the consumer, to make
an educated choice. Here is what you should
Does the company have a good reputation?
If you do not know about the company, do
some research. The company is the most
important factor in deciding where to
make your investment. For example; if
the company has a reputation for delays,
or worse yet does not follow up on
details, do you want to invest with
them? The best designer working for a
company with a bad reputation can be a
disaster. If there is a catastrophic
problem, can the company back up the
designer? If there is an expensive
problem, can the company afford to make
things right? Here are just a few
potential problems that we have seen
over the years.
a. Cabinet color or style ordered
wrong by the designer
b. Cabinet manufacturer makes the
cabinetry in the wrong color or style by
c. Designer measures wrong and some
cabinetry does not fit
d. Designer does not order enough
molding to finish the job
e. Designer does not take care to
assure that all appliances will fit
These are just a few of the potential
problems that can arise. Make sure the
company you deal with can afford, and
will be willing, to make things right in
the event of an expensive problem.
Does the designer have the capability of
doing the project properly?
The designer should have some
schooling. Ask to see credentials. Look
at their portfolio. They should have
before and after photos of projects they
have managed. Also ask for referrals.
Most importantly ask for at least one
referral where there were problems. The
character of a company is measured by
what they do when there is a problem.
Does the company have products you like?
Before going too far, make sure the
company has products you like. If there
is nothing available in the style or
price range you are comfortable with,
don't waste your time or theirs
Will the project fit your budget?
Don't be bashful. The biggest waste
of time is when consumers hide their
budget. If you give your budget to a
reputable firm, you can be assured that
you will receive the best value for your
investment. If you have no idea what to
budget, ask! Your designer should be
able to give you reliable price range
estimates on your project on the first
meeting. This ability is the sign of a
to think about...
about how you will use your new kitchen. I
know this will be difficult, but it truly
will help you in the long run. Here are some
sure you have a prep area near your cook
top. You might want to have a prep sink in
this area. All too often people
underestimate how much a prep sink will be
used. They also underestimate the size this
sink should be. I would recommend nothing
smaller than an 18" sink, preferably a 24"
sink as minimum sizes. If you can, consider a workstation sink as your food prep sink.
about trash and recycling storage. Some sink
designs with offset drains will allow you to
put the trash bin slide out mechanism inside
sink cabinet. This will not only save
you money, but it will put the trash storage
right at the location where the trash is
Molding makes the kitchen look amazing. Make
sure you spend time looking at options for
molding at the top of the cabinets,
underneath the upper cabinets and around the
date your kitchen. There are trendy
selections that can "date" your kitchen. If
you are investing in quality products,
invest in something that is timeless if
possible. For example, pickled cabinets were
the rage in the 80's. The tried and true
raised panel wood doors without a trendy
finish is a long time investment that will