Merideth Sheahan March 13, 2020 Kitchen Design
Be discerning about the alphabet soup of professional designations that designers list on their business cards and websites. ”People need to be careful of fakers and learn what the initials mean,” says Gary White, a CMKBD and NKBA member in Newport Beach, California. ”It’s pretty easy to pick up initials by buying a membership in some organization.”
After the initial meeting, a designer might decide you’re not ready for a major project. ”It’s hard to tell somebody, ’I’m more than happy to take your money, but you’re not ready to give it to me,’” Dick says. ”It’s making sure they’re not being taken advantage of by people, they’re not making a mistake, or they’re not spending money where they shouldn’t.”
Style-wise, Black takes cues from the architecture of the existing house, so that the kitchen ”makes sense” with the whole. In a 1950 home that had several red brick walls, Black made sure the kitchen’s finish selections ”related” to the existing brick.
”I do like them to already have ideas of what they want,” Dick says. ”When I have to pull teeth, it’s harder.”
Asking your friends for recommendations is one way to find a kitchen designer, but asking designers’ clients might be more revealing. A design professional should be forthcoming about references, and following up on those references is an important part of choosing a designer. Make time to see previous projects and talk with previous clients. This will show you the designer’s style in final form, give you an idea of how the designer solved problems similar to yours and suggest potential problem areas. In addition to looking at finished kitchens, you can find out if a designer met deadlines, responded promptly to concerns or problems, kept the client informed of progress and worked well with other professionals.
No matter what services your designer provides, the NKBA recommends setting up a clearly defined cost schedule by which you pay in installments — and never in full until the work is done.
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