Deer in Headlights
Take A Breath and Let Us Help!
In the 30 years that I have been designing kitchens, I have seen the cabinet industry explode into a world of fabulous choices. We live in an age of instant information! It should be easier than ever to get what you want, right? You can practically design your own cabinet line with all of the selections available at each cabinet showroom. There’s frameless or inset cabinet constructions; smart appliances with incredible features that make life easier than ever; concrete and quartz countertops; LED and halogen lighting; gas or induction cooking. There’s even thousands of hardware selections. How could this be a problem? We have it all, right? How could it be harder than it was 30 years ago? Simple: We have information overload making us feel like a deer in headlights.
I frequently find that clients come in with enthusiasm and ideas, ready to get started immediately — then, they hear all the options and can quickly shut down. Rather than overwhelming them with too much information, I find it’s best to LISTEN carefully! Making suggestions and providing information and facts that will be helpful in making important decisions is the best way to lead. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the first room you see in the morning and most likely, the last light you turn off before you go to bed. Assisting my clients in organizing the design process is a service that is invaluable. Good design is sequential – one thing follows another in the process of designing any space, especially the kitchen. Many times it takes trial and error, but during the design process, it’s just lines on paper that can all be tweaked through each design layout. At South End Kitchens, we want to navigate this process with our clients because we can tailor the design service for each individual who walks through our doors.
Assisting my clients in organizing the design process is a service that is invaluable.
Since there are so many unknowns when starting the design process, you should create a file (electronic or the old fashioned kind in a three-ring binder) and take it with you everywhere you go. You should also have several large and sturdy bags to hold various samples that you will be transporting around town. This will keep the samples organized and will also keep them from damaging your car. Here are a few key categories that will help start your “construction” file:
• Start a construction file that includes images or links from popular design sites. You will discover that you gravitate towards the same look each time you save a photo. These images will convey so much to your kitchen design specialist.
• Formulate a budget. This is a very personal decision that will require some research.
• Make a list of remodeling experts, architects or designers and qualified builders for new construction. Remember, many kitchen and bath studios can provide design/build services for you.
• Speak with your neighbors about their experience to gather valuable information.
• Create a “wish list” for your new kitchen that includes everything from storage needs, architectural flourishes and color scheme to construction features and hardware. If you don’t have a list, it’s not a problem; your design professional will be able to create a desirable plan by meeting with you several times and can lead you thru the process.
• Keep a list of questions handy to ask different professionals and gather their opinions.
A client recently told me, “I want my kitchen to serve me.” Of course, she didn’t mean that it should cook or clean for her (although that’s a nice thought!) – instead, she meant that it should be easy to use, easy to maintain and offer a beautiful complement to her stately home, all at once. We have now worked on her kitchen design for nearly a year, and I am certain that her kitchen will indeed serve her for many years to come!