Architects and interior designers working on a home might, from time to time, be asked by their client to design the kitchen as well. However, the kitchen design process is complex and personal, perhaps a lot more so than what might appear from the outside. Good architects and interior designers know that and will wisely advise the client to bring on a specialist just for the kitchen.
Yet, what exactly a kitchen designer does or doesn’t do, is or isn’t, is not always clear to homeowners and even trade professionals. Today more than ever, kitchen designers must be able to play many roles in order to satisfy the growing needs of their clients in a constantly evolving field.
We asked two of our kitchen designers what are some of the misconceptions they encounter more often about their job.
1. Kitchen designers only know about “cabinets”.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The market has changed, the importance of the kitchen within the home has risen and the clients have gotten more sophisticated. Each project needs to be addressed from different angles and in all its details, which go beyond the cabinets. As a consequence, we need to be knowledgeable about appliances, countertops, flooring, lighting, building codes, electrical, plumbing, and even psychology…(yes, even that!) If you want to create a functional, aesthetically appealing kitchen design that reflects your client’s lifestyle, those are all fields you must have experience in.
2. Kitchen designers only know about the “product they are selling”.
Expert kitchen designers know about all the products and brands out there. We must be aware of everything that could be relevant and applicable to any design we are working on. Therefore, we have to keep up with (and sometimes ahead of) the world trends in our field. That means knowing what is in now, what is on its way out and what will be hot in a couple of years in terms of colors, styles, materials, and technology. Working for a European kitchen company helps a lot in this respect. Europeans are always a few steps ahead in this industry, so by the time a trend takes off in America we already know all about it and are ready to incorporate it in our work.
3. It’s going to cost money to just talk to a kitchen designer.
In most cases just an appointment in the showroom to go over a floor plan and its design possibilities is no charge at all. From conceptualization to completion, kitchen design takes many months. We know that, at the beginning, it’s important to offer prospective clients some of our time for free. It’s needed to understand them, their project, its challenges and opportunities, so we can make a proposal that will help them build their dream kitchen.
1. You must give kitchen designers very specific cabinet sizes or the entire design will fail.
This is something that comes mostly from the architects, out of a genuine concern for the client’s project, but it’s not necessarily true. Actually, this approach often ends up costing the homeowners thousands of dollars in custom fees. As long as you have a precise floor plan, there are many different solutions that can be created if flexibility is maintained throughout the process.
2. You must already have a clear design in mind when you go talk to a kitchen designer.
This relates closely to the previous point and again, it is not the best approach. All you have to know is what you want to get out of the space and how you are going to use the kitchen day in and day out. Giving a kitchen designer a clean slate and the freedom to create based on those needs will result in a more interesting design.
Of course, the client’s wish list and thoughts and vision must be clear in everyone’s mind, at all times. Good kitchen designers are very receptive of the homeowners’ inputs. Believe me, we are the first not wanting to create a design that the client will not be comfortable or absolutely happy with. But there are also a lot of things, even minute details, that come with the experience of having designed lots of kitchens, having encountered the same problems over and over again, and having solved them in many different ways. That’s the real added value that comes from working with a specialist. Plus, when the client wants a European-style kitchen, it pays to have a designer who knows the ins and outs of that type of aesthetic.
Got any other misconceptions about kitchen designers? Let us know!