The hardest working rooms in our houses tend to be kitchens and bathrooms.
Often used and mechanical in nature; we still want them to be beautiful, a joy to live in and easy to maintain.
Kitchens and bathes give us all sorts of clues about the vintage of the house, the quality of the building, the fashion of the day, even how the owners live in the space.
So when it comes time to upgrade or simply start over, kitchen and bathrooms are great areas to invest in. More often than not, thoughtful homeowners will earn their money back plus; so they are ideal spaces in which to splurge a little, especially if the idea is to keep the house a while. There are so many options of materials, making a choice can be intimidating. But even more important then finishes, is a good functional design.
Homeowners today have much higher expectations than they used to when it comes to kitchen and bathes. We rely on more appliances, better lighting, and require more storage than in the past. This is particularly true for those of us with older homes.
My advice to homeowners is to hire a designer first, before a contractor. Do some homework. Get prepared by going online to collect images then find some real-life estimates of what comparable work costs.
Budgets are a fact of life but a good designer and contractor can make those dollars be the hardest working, most enjoyable money homeowners ever spend. I have designed many, many kitchens and bathes and they continue to be as exciting to me now as when I first started my career.
What to expect:
After an interview and walk through, both the designer and client should have a general sense of the scope of work, what needs to be done and whether the professional relationship is a comfortable fit with each other. Trust and respect needs to be mutual and forthcoming, and if it is not there from the start, then it is almost always an issue later.
Assuming all is well, I share websites with clients that are useful in helping us establish some looks and goals early. Time is money for everybody involved, so I encourage clients’ to invest in their project’s success by doing some homework. Online research helps clients focus on the big picture while I work to refine details.
After I get a sense of my clients’ goals and general vision we talk budgets. Discussing budgets is always tricky. I wish it weren’t but it is. Even when homeowners are excited, motivated and prepared budgets are psychological hurdles that have to be cleared. Transparency is important but in the initial stages of a remodel or new construction, there are still a lot of unknown factors at play, so it is difficult to walk the line between being encouraging and supportive but tempering the vision so that the project is financially viable.
Designers use many approaches and offer an array of different services however for a remodel of a kitchen or bath that is more than just changing out a sink or replacing a countertop,
I provide the following services as part of the job:
- Measurements: Measuring existing room.
- Creating scaled floor plans & elevation design
- Custom casework or cabinetry design as necessary
- Shopping for or providing samples of finishes
- Showroom shopping with or without client
- Window specification
- Plumbing finish specification
- Tile specification and layout
- Color specification
- Lighting and electrical plan
- Job Coordination: Material specification, checking availability of materials, quantities, costs, delivery dates, coordinating information so that the contractor can order finishes in a timely manner
- Interface w/Contractor and sub contractors
- Online client communication via Houzz & Pinterest, email, text and of course, phone calls