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Kitchen design


annachan
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Since this will be our first kitchen remodeling project, there are a lot we don't know. Right now, we're searching for someone to design our kitchen. Home Depot will do it for $50 or $100, but I don't want to use them since there are lots of limitations working with them. There is a local appliance/cabinet place that charges $500 for the design and I believe we will be credited it back on what we spend if we go with them. Is that reasonable?

I'm in San Francisco, so please share any suggestion you have on where we can get our kitchen design at a reasonable price.

TIA

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Since this will be our first kitchen remodeling project, there are a lot we don't know. Right now, we're searching for someone to design our kitchen. Home Depot will do it for $50 or $100, but I don't want to use them since there are lots of limitations working with them. There is a local appliance/cabinet place that charges $500 for the design and I believe we will be credited it back on what we spend if we go with them. Is that reasonable?

I'm in San Francisco, so please share any suggestion you have on where we can get our kitchen design at a reasonable price.

TIA

Not sure about the service Home Depot or the local appliance/cabinet place can provide for $100-$500, but an architect will cost about 10 times as much. I designed this kitchen for just under $5K.

Sunset Article

The final architectural package contained renderings, plans, elevations, sections, and details. If you know exactly what you want, have the cabinet people work with you. But I'd suggest hiring an architect if you are looking at moving walls, or materials and configurations that are out of the ordinary.

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Hey, I know you're looking for a used Volkswagen circa 1972 but I can sell you a fully loaded Lamborgini if you're interested. WOW! I guess if you're loaded, go with an architect.

There's a thread around here that discusses kitchen remodels. I'd suggest reading through that to see what others have done. I'd also suggest talking with various design services to get an idea of what they offer. That includes Home Depot, Lowe's or local cabinet shops. I think the level of remodeling you want would determine the expertise level of your designer. If you just want to color coordinate and get more efficient cabinets and a better countertop, why spend a whole lot of money to do that? If you totalyy want to redesin the entire thing from stem to stern then you may want to get a higher skilled person. Or you could just look through a bunch of magazines until you find what you like and find someone to put it in.

In direct answer to your question, I'd spend $500 for someone to design my kitchen if they've shown me their prior work and I liked what I saw. One thing to keep in mind that those cabinet shops, Home Depot, etc. know where the higher profit margins are on their product so their may be a conflict of interest. If it were me, I would hire an independant designer and then find someone to build it.

Hope this helped a little.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Interesting topic, and one that I'll learn from as well.

Last kitchen I redid, I hired a designer -- the deal was that I spent $500 on the design, which went into the cost of the cabinets if I bought from them. This was in Atlanta, and seemed to be typical of the places I spoke to (high end and moderate ranges).

This one, though, is a bit more involved and I hired an architect who works for a percentage of the final construction costs. It's much more, but the job is pretty involved and they are doing everything for me, including negotiating prices on appliances to spending significant time on site during construction.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Well ... (he says sticking his neck WAY out there) ... I charge $1,500 for my design services, and I'm nowhere near the most expensive designer I know.

I'll be honest; the design fee is used partly to pay for my time, and partly to act as a qualifier. Thanks to the Home Depot's and IKEA's of the world, many folk expect services like mine to be free, and they value my time accordingly. Clients who pay the $1,500 (what I call a "retainer", and credit back to the customer if they hire me to do their project) understand the value I am adding to their kitchen design.

I agree with Henry ... hire an architect to design a house, hire a kitchen designer to design a kitchen. We're a lot less expensive (for now! :laugh: ) and with all due respect to the architects of the world, we know more about kitchens than they do. Keeping up to date on appliances alone is a full time job!

So, to answer the question, $500 is not unreasonable. In the long run, it's a small price to pay for a professional service.

A.

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We did a remodel about 5 years ago. The designer was part our contractor's staff. We paid $45 an hour for the design. Because it was an addition as well as a complete new kitchen, it took awhile to figure out what we wanted and what we could afford. I wanted a larger addition than we ended up with, but it would have been about 30% more than our budget. We met with the designer several times before it was finally the way we liked it. With each design, or refinements of the design, the contractor was able to give us an estimate of the cost. With a flat rate, what do you do if you don't like it? What options do you have?

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Hey, I know you're looking for a used Volkswagen circa 1972 but I can sell you a fully loaded Lamborgini if you're interested.  WOW!  I guess if you're loaded, go with an architect.

The better analogy is: "I can get my cancer operated on by some guy in a third world country for $500. Should I do that, or pay $50,000 for a trained surgeon who is licensed and professionally qualified to do the job."

The original poster was asking whether $500 was "reasonable" price to pay for kitchen design. I gave her my professional insight as to where those fees compare with those of a licensed architect, while also trying to explain the difference between what $500 would provide in a final product vs. $5k.

The bottom line is, architects go through 5-7 years of school and 3+ years of in the field training before they are even allowed to sit for 9 exams which must all be passed before we can even use the term "Architect." We bring a level of expertise that is not even close to that of a Home Depot "designer." So your comparison is apples to oranges.

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The original poster was asking whether $500 was "reasonable" price to pay for kitchen design. I gave her my professional insight as to where those fees compare with those of a licensed architect, while also trying to explain the difference between what $500 would provide in a final product vs. $5k. 

The bottom line is, architects go through 5-7 years of school and 3+ years of in the field training before they are even allowed to sit for 9 exams which must all be passed before we can even use the term "Architect." We bring a level of expertise that is not even close to that of a Home Depot "designer." So your comparison is apples to oranges.

I'm not doubting that an Architect is the go-to person for a complete overhaul and redesign of a kitchen from the ground up nor am I questioning the value you or any other architect provides. As a professional you should see a few things in that persons post that would elude to the fact that an architect is most likely out of his/her price range and very possibly overkill. The more responsible thing to do rather than recommend someone spend 10 times the amount they were thinking is to find out what kind of work they wanted to have done then proceed with your recommendation from there. As a professional would you feel comfortable recommending someone spend $5k for a remodel job with a budget of $3k?

I'm sorry if you thought I was saying your services are not worth the cost or you're not qualified which your post kind of seemed that way. That is not the case. I'm saying Annachan should do some research and find out what services she requires based on the level of remodel he/she wants accomplished. My comments still stand. They should try to get the kind of service they need at a cost they can afford.

Cheers

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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As a professional would you feel comfortable recommending someone spend $5k for a remodel job with a budget of $3k? 

I'd like to point out that in San Francisco a budget of $3k will cover going to Ikea, buying a few new cabinets and installing them yourself... If that's the budget the original poster was working with then it seems unlikely they'd be willing to part with $500 for design services and this topic never would have been started.

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I'm sorry if you thought I was saying your services are not worth the cost or you're not qualified which your post kind of seemed that way.

Please explain how my post makes me seem unqualified.

I was saying that your reply to me seemed like you thought I was saying you're not qualified. I never was saying you're not qualified and sorry for the confusion and/or misunderstanding.

The $3k budget amount is arbitrary, of course, since the original poster never said what it was. The point was that it is ludicris to spend that much money when funds are tight to begin with. It makes more sense to put that much money into upgading the materials for your project.

Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Wow, didn't mean to start a big debate here....

Anyway, I have a larger budget than 3K, since I plan on spending at least 2K on a stove. However, I'm not ready to spend 5K on just the design on the kitchen. I'm not looking for a very unique or fancy design, just a functional kitchen with good appliances.

I have a friend who is an architect and has hinted that he would do it for free. However, I don't think he has much experience designing kitchens. I guess I was thinking that maybe I should go with someone who can give us advice/options on which appliances and cabinets to choose as well as the kitchen design.

I must say that I haven't done too much research on where to get a kitchen designer. I really had no idea what the cost will be. I thought this is a good place to get some advice.

It seems that $500 is not an unreasonable price. I will definitely ask and see if that person can give us some references and/or show us projects that he's designed. In the meantime, I'll continue to seek out other local kitchen designers.

Thanks everyone for your inputs. :smile:

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I highly recommend checking out the Kitchen Forum on That Home Site. People there have a wealth of information about all stages of kitchen renovations. You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about cabinet brands, appliance brands, cool features, etc. You can even get great feedback about your design. It was a lifesaver during my remodel. I designed the plan myself, using Ikea software (we used Ikea cabs), got some useful feedback there, and got a great kitchen without paying for the plan.

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You might consider beginning with something like

this free downloadable 3-D kitchen design appl..

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Check to see if the "designer" from the kitchen store is a member of NKBA (the letters would be on their biz card)...National Kitchen and Bath Association (if memory is correct). If you aren't using the services of a trained professional architect/interior designer, at least you'll know this person has some professional training/accreditation. As someone who has a B.S. degree in Interior Design I can confirm that there is more to the process than you might think. And if the store is going to credit the $500 towards your purchase, they are likely just trying to weed out the people who "window shop". If you pay someone to design and install your cabinets, they are responsible for doing it correctly. If you mis-measure something and it doesn't fit, you're out of luck.

Edited by BeeZee (log)

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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It's pretty common in my area that a kitchen design place will give you computer generated design of the space with cabinets and appliances and floor plan and 2 or 3 different views for nothing. BUT there are no dimensions on the drawing for any cabinent sizes. If you like the design or want to alter or change something, if its pretty basic they will just change it on the computer. Usually at this time they will give you a cost estimate of the project (cabinet, countertops). This will not include any plumbing or electric or rip out or flooring or installation. Now you get to the reason that the cost of the cabinets (easily $5 to $15 thous. without batting an eye) are only a fraction of the cost of a kitchen makeover. If the cost of the cabinets and the design are ok the designer now shocks you with the total bill with them doing your project begining to end. when all is said and done your $10K cabinets cost 25 to 30K and that's without the $2k stove and $800 sink and $2500 upgrade exhaust system. Know your budget and be realistic with your expections if your going to the big box Home Depot or Lowes. The $500 for the design you get , does the guy come to your house and measure everything out and work with your for 3 or 4 hrs. and discuss options and functions? Good Luck.

One word of advice don't do any work or start and tear out until all the cabinets are actually on the job site because if somthing goes wrong with the order you'll have nothing for a kitchen.

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Wow, didn't mean to start a big debate here....

Anyway, I have a larger budget than 3K, since I plan on spending at least 2K on a stove. However, I'm not ready to spend 5K on just the design on the kitchen. I'm not looking for a very unique or fancy design, just a functional kitchen with good appliances.

I have a friend who is an architect and has hinted that he would do it for free. However, I don't think he has much experience designing kitchens. I guess I was thinking that maybe I should go with someone who can give us advice/options on which appliances and cabinets to choose as well as the kitchen design.

I must say that I haven't done too much research on where to get a kitchen designer. I really had no idea what the cost will be. I thought this is a good place to get some advice.

It seems that $500 is not an unreasonable price. I will definitely ask and see if that person can give us some references and/or show us projects that he's designed. In the meantime, I'll continue to seek out other local kitchen designers.

Thanks everyone for your inputs.  :smile:

Let's not beat around the bush. How much are you planning to spend on cabinets and where do you plan to buy them? If you're talking about a 5 figure cabinet job from Poggenpohl - Bulthaup - etc. -- you won't have to pay anything for the design - except a deposit which will be a credit against your purchase.

If you're not talking about spending this much on cabinets - why are you planning to spend more than $2k on a stove? Robyn

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Check to see if the "designer" from the kitchen store is a member of NKBA (the letters would be on their biz card)...National Kitchen and Bath Association (if memory is correct). If you aren't using the services of a trained professional architect/interior designer, at least you'll know this person has some professional training/accreditation.

Best piece of advice I've read so far :laugh: ... I may be a bit biased as I am a member of the NKBA and a CKD (Certified Kitchen Designer) as well. The NKBA web site (www.nkba.org) is a good place to seek out members in your area.

After all that to consider now try and design for a (barrier free) handicap accessible kitchen and bath area. It's been an developing prosess that hasen't finished yet.

A CKD would be able to help. Part of our training is in barrier-free, or what they now call "universal design."

A.

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Wow, didn't mean to start a big debate here....

Anyway, I have a larger budget than 3K, since I plan on spending at least 2K on a stove. However, I'm not ready to spend 5K on just the design on the kitchen. I'm not looking for a very unique or fancy design, just a functional kitchen with good appliances.

I have a friend who is an architect and has hinted that he would do it for free. However, I don't think he has much experience designing kitchens. I guess I was thinking that maybe I should go with someone who can give us advice/options on which appliances and cabinets to choose as well as the kitchen design.

I must say that I haven't done too much research on where to get a kitchen designer. I really had no idea what the cost will be. I thought this is a good place to get some advice.

It seems that $500 is not an unreasonable price. I will definitely ask and see if that person can give us some references and/or show us projects that he's designed. In the meantime, I'll continue to seek out other local kitchen designers.

Thanks everyone for your inputs.  :smile:

Let's not beat around the bush. How much are you planning to spend on cabinets and where do you plan to buy them? If you're talking about a 5 figure cabinet job from Poggenpohl - Bulthaup - etc. -- you won't have to pay anything for the design - except a deposit which will be a credit against your purchase.

If you're not talking about spending this much on cabinets - why are you planning to spend more than $2k on a stove? Robyn

My budget is not set. I want to price everything and then decide what I can live with and what I can live without. However, it's hard to price anything without having a plan and knowing what I need. That's why I want to have someone draw up a plan and get different quotes on what cabinets/counter will cost me as well as construction cost such as knocking down a wall or two.

I need someone who can design the whole kitchen, not just cabinets.

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Wow, didn't mean to start a big debate here....

Anyway, I have a larger budget than 3K, since I plan on spending at least 2K on a stove. However, I'm not ready to spend 5K on just the design on the kitchen. I'm not looking for a very unique or fancy design, just a functional kitchen with good appliances.

I have a friend who is an architect and has hinted that he would do it for free. However, I don't think he has much experience designing kitchens. I guess I was thinking that maybe I should go with someone who can give us advice/options on which appliances and cabinets to choose as well as the kitchen design.

I must say that I haven't done too much research on where to get a kitchen designer. I really had no idea what the cost will be. I thought this is a good place to get some advice.

It seems that $500 is not an unreasonable price. I will definitely ask and see if that person can give us some references and/or show us projects that he's designed. In the meantime, I'll continue to seek out other local kitchen designers.

Thanks everyone for your inputs.  :smile:

Let's not beat around the bush. How much are you planning to spend on cabinets and where do you plan to buy them? If you're talking about a 5 figure cabinet job from Poggenpohl - Bulthaup - etc. -- you won't have to pay anything for the design - except a deposit which will be a credit against your purchase.

If you're not talking about spending this much on cabinets - why are you planning to spend more than $2k on a stove? Robyn

My budget is not set. I want to price everything and then decide what I can live with and what I can live without. However, it's hard to price anything without having a plan and knowing what I need. That's why I want to have someone draw up a plan and get different quotes on what cabinets/counter will cost me as well as construction cost such as knocking down a wall or two.

I need someone who can design the whole kitchen, not just cabinets.

Well surely you must have some idea. $10,000 or $100,000 max? Less or more or something in between?

General rule of thumb. Any high end cabinets will run about $1000/linear foot and up without counters. Sounds like a lot. But many have great storage capabilities compared to lower end stuff - so you may need a lot fewer linear feet of higher end cabinets than lower end cabinets. And any high end cabinet person (as well as the people at Home Depot too) will design the whole kitchen - not only the cabinets.

As for construction costs - rearranging some drywall on non-structural walls isn't very expensive - unless you live in New York :wink: . Running some electrical lines isn't either. But what you want to avoid - at almost all costs - is moving plumbing. That is a bitch - and it is expensive.

As for what you need - who knows better what you need than you? In terms of work surfaces - storage - etc. Do you cook for 2 twice a week - with the occasional holiday dinner or the like? Or do you and your spouse and 2 kids whip up meals for 4 or more 7 nights a week? Is most of your cooking microwaving? Or are you a serious baker? Do you have one set of well worn corelle - or 4 sets of dishes complete with matching linens? You get the point.

And I think that although $500 isn't a lot - you're kind of throwing it away unless you have a general idea of what you're looking for before you even start your project.

There are some really basic free CAD programs on line - and I'd suggest playing with some of them before you retain anyone. And keep in mind that your dream kitchen may be very different than mine.

Note that I am a big fan of functionality when it comes to kitchens. And a designer's idea of what looks great may not suit what you'd like to do with your kitchen. Robyn

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I'd suggest setting a budget before starting. When we were in the planning stages of our kitchen, the first question every remodeler wanted to know was what our budget was. They really can't help you until you tell them. We did, in inital conversations, ask things like, well, what can we do for $40K? 60K? Etc. And they gave us some very vague ideas, but it's very difficult to know how much things like plumbing and electrical will cost until you have an actual design (and they need a budget that they can design around). So, they still needed to know a number before we could proceed.

I think we spent $1500-$2000, and that was a project where we gutted the kitchen, expanded it onto the back porch, moved doorways, etc. They told us that was actually cheap (we liked the first batch of drawings they did and only tinkered with them a bit).

Edited by kiliki (log)
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Hey, I know you're looking for a used Volkswagen circa 1972 but I can sell you a fully loaded Lamborgini if you're interested.  WOW!  I guess if you're loaded, go with an architect...

At least where I live - if you're going to do more than $500 of structural work (moving walls - electrical - plumbing - whatever) - you need a building permit. And to get a building permit - you need plans which are signed by an engineer or architect. You'll also need a licensed contractor or contractors to do the work.

Which brings the whole thing back to the budget. There is no way getting around the fact that structural work adds a lot to the cost of a kitchen remodel. So if a budget is tight - it's better to do things like updating cabinets and appliances as opposed to ripping out the back wall of your house. Robyn

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Building permit requirements vary greatly by locale. We had to get a permit for our kitchen renovation, which included closing in a doorway, changing plumbing and electric, adding a hood, and running a gas line to the kitchen. We did not need an architect because we did not make any structural changes. A screenshot from the Ikea kitchen planner was sufficient. Again, different cities and counties have different requirements.

Local requirements also vary on what jobs require a licensed contractor. In our city, we could completely re-wire the house ourselves, but we would need to hire a licensed plumber to change out a sink or faucet. Go figure – I’m way more dangerous around electricity than plumbing.

The best advice is to check with your local building authority. Some building authorities have a web site with frequently asked questions, permit application forms, etc. Since you are in earthquake country, I expect the building authority to have pretty stringent requirements, especially if you move any walls.

Good luck!

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Annachan,

I live in the Bay Area (Redwood City) and am in the middle of an extensive project that includes a new kitchen (see my thread: Jambalyle's Remodel/Addition).

While our project definitely required an architect, general contractor, etc., we got a ton of kitchen ideas/suggestion/guidance from Atherton Appliance and Kitchen Design. Our architect located the kitchen in the new space and handled the details of plumbing and other structural components, but it was the kitchen design team at Atherton Appliance that really designed our kitchen. The designers are very good, credentialed, and at least one is a contractor. Their services are free of charge IF you buy appliances, cabinets, countertops through them. But I believe the initial (first two?) consultations are free before asking for a commitment or deposits on appliances, cabinets, etc.

Anyway, I highly recommend them as a resource and as someone to talk to to help you decide what you want in a new kitchen. Their showrooms in Redwood City are a fun place to browse, eat, and get ideas. I think they may also have a sister store in the city, perhaps BCS Culinary, or something like that.

Good luck with your remodel!

Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

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    • By Norm Matthews
      I saw an episode on the Property Brothers where they did  kitchen cabinets in dark blue.  I showed Charlie some kitchen like that on line. He liked them too. I have been planning new floor and counter tops but this I could do myself. The job isn't finished but it is far enough along to see how it looks.  The next one was taken within a month of so after we moved in in 2012 and the last one is how it looked in April.




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