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Planning & Design

Things to consider when choosing your cabinets

Do my current cabinets provide enough storage? Do I need more cabinetry, or do I need more organization accessories?

Who will be using the kitchen? Do their needs differ by age, height or other factors?

What else besides cooking and eating takes place in the kitchen? Do I need a desk area, recycling area, or cabinets to conceal a washer / dryer or TV?

Is easy maintenance a must? Which material is least likely to show finger prints and scratches?

 What features do I need with my new cabinets and which could I live without or add later?

What is the architectural style of my home? Do I want the kitchen to reflect it?

What kind of overall style do I want to create in the kitchen? Contemporary? Traditional? Country?

Depending on the overall style, do I want a wood door or would another material better create the right look?

What type and style of door will help to create the look and style I want?

If choosing wood, what kind of grain appeals to me? What finishes will create the look and style I want?

 Do I want  cabinets to include display space, like open shelving or glass-front doors?

Do I need wall cabinets for storage or do I prefer to keep wall space open for windows or decorative items?

Do I need moldings and trim? Consider dust!

Planning & Designing Your  Kitchen

A new kitchen is probably the 2nd most expensive purchase a homeowner will make after buying the house
itself. It's also usually the most used room in the house. Remodeling can be a difficult and confusing process. However, with proper research and planning you can mitigate most of the the pain.  
Understanding the entire process through planning design, fabrication, coordination with subcontractors and
installation is the most important thing you can do to simplify the whole adventure.

The key to a successful design is meeting YOUR specific needs and requirements. It is important to give careful consideration to how your new space will be used. All kitchens have common requirements, but every individual or family's needs and desires are unique: Size, Function, Appearance, Comfort, Features are all important considerations

Beginning The Process - The appointment.

Every designer works differently, but here's what you can expect designing a kitchen. Some designers prefer to first see you in the home your home. Others feel that you're probably a serious buyer if you take the time and trouble to meet them at their showroom.

Before the meeting.

You can expect a designer to spend about an hour with you for the first meeting so you want to be prepared. Spend some time researching before the meeting.

    * Using magazines and/or the Internet, make a portfolio of pictures depicting kitchen styles and products that appeal to your taste.

    * Print out and complete our Design Questionnaire with questions abou;t how you cook, eat and shop as well as what you do and don't like about your current kitchen.

    * Get  input from every family member.

    * Establish a budget. Remodeling a 200-square foot kitchen can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.  Decide what is realistic for your family and share this with the designer. It will help him to design within your budget saving everyone a lot of time

    * If your project is new construction, be sure to bring the architects drawings to your meeting.

The Design Process

kitchen designerIn the first meeting, the designer will want to hear about your unique needs &  wants as well as budget and space constraints. Ask questions about the company's services and products as well as installation or construction details. Ask for references and to see examples of the designer's work as well.

If you meet at the designer's showroom, measure your kitchen ahead of time and bring along the any plans, drawings and pictures.

If you meet with the designer in your home, they should measure the kitchen's dimensions and take some pictures.. This helps them to better remember how the kitchen relates to the surrounding rooms.

By now, the designer should have all the required information to come up with some ideas and a ballpark estimate. Plan to meet again in about two weeks with the designer who will present plans, specs and a price.

Initial design concepts.

Preliminary designs could be drawn by hand or on a computer, and might include sketches of the proposed floor plan and elevations depicting cabinetry, counter and fixture placement. The estimate will reflect
suggested product choices. Some designers will provide a budget range or multiple figures, and explain the impact different product options would have on the ultimate price.

Refining the design and estimate.

Assuming you like the basic design and have a rapport with the designer, you'll have additional questions. At this point, most designers will ask for a design retainer or design fee before continuing to work on your project. They don't want to spend hours of consulting time with customers who are just "kicking tires" or looking for free advice. You don't own the initial design, and the drawings aren't complete enough for the fabricator

Once you pay the design fee, the designer will work with you to modify the floor plan and elevations to

perfection and spec out products down to the last detail, including tile pattern and faucet finish. This process,
may modify the cost of the project. Your designer should be able to steer you toward products and design solutions that will help you stay within your budget, though this may require compromise on your part. The length of time this part take depends on how quickly you make decisions.

Signing the contract.

Once the design is perfected and you're ready for your new kitchen to take shape, you need to sign the contract, which should include the final estimate and payment schedule. At most companies, the design fee
you paid earlier will now be credited toward the cost of your project. Some designers simply provide design services and cabinetry, and the contract's scope of work will reflect that. Others also offer some combination of additional products, installation services and project management. A true full-service or design-build firm will take care of all the demolition, construction and management, from scheduling to purchasing products. Note - Make sure the designer specifies who (designer or project manager) is to coordinate with the counter top fabricator, plumbing and electrical contractors during the installation.

Counter tops are handcrafted from granite, marble, green stone, quartz (Silestone, Caesar Stone), soap
stone, Corian, cement, or tile.  Easy-to-clean and very durable, yet beautiful and stylish. Designer will help you choose from this wide range of options to select the ideal counter top to integrate into your personal design concept.

The Installation Process

kitchen installation

1. About a week before the start date, your project manager will visit the job site to walk you through the process and make sure nothing was overlooked. Ask for his personal contact information so that you can reach him anytime. Please inform him of any special instructions you have (portable toilets needed, storage space available, special access to the project, etc.)

   2. Day one: demo crew arrives, first 2 to 3 hours is dedicated to protecting the floor, This crew will place plastic over any items needed and will remove all debris after demolition is complete.

   3. Day two: the installers assigned to your project arrive to go through the project with you and your project manager. The following four - seven work days will be mostly electrical, plumbing and framing that needs to be completed before installing appliances and cabinets.

   4. The next two to three weeks installation will be in progress. Your designer or project manager will regularly check in on the status to make sure all plans are being followed, sub contractors schedules are on time and that you're happy with the process. If you have any issues at any time during the installation please notify your installer and project manager.

   5. By the end of the last week, once your project is competed contractor and designer will do a walk through with you. The site will be cleaned, if needed installers will bring in a cleaning service at no additional charge.


Upon completion of your project the remainder of your balance will be due.

design questionairre

Design & Style

   1. What do I like and not like about how my current kitchen looks?
   2. What is the architectural style of my home? Do I want my new kitchen to reflect this style?
   3. Which general style do I like—contemporary, traditional, country or transitional?
   4. Is there a particular design theme I want to use?
   5. What colors do I like? Which ones do I dislike?
   6. What rooms adjoin the kitchen? Does the kitchen need to complement their design?
   7. How does the kitchen relate to the outdoors? Do you want to change or improve it?
   8. What do I like about my friends’ kitchens?
   9. What are some designs and products that I like? Create a folder or notebook with notes and images, including kitchen pictures, layouts, colors, descriptions, lists…everything that catches your eye.

Function & Storage

   1. What do I like and not like about how my current kitchen works?
   2. What’s on the wish list of everyone who uses the kitchen?
   3. Can I keep any of my existing appliances? Do I want to?
   4. Do I need new flooring, or can I keep or refinish the existing floor?
   5. Do I need new cabinets, or can I reface or refinish the existing cabinets?
   6. Do I need more space in the kitchen for working on the computer, paying bills, and other tasks?
   7. Do I need more storage space?
   8. Can I get extra room by organizing the current space better, or do I need to change the kitchen layout?
   9. Can I change the layout within the existing kitchen footprint, or do I need to add space from another room
in the house or through an addition?
  10. What kind of storage space do I need, and what am I storing? Possibilities to consider include: Dry goods, paper products, pet food, dishes, flatware, cookware, bakeware, glassware, recycling, china, table linens, small appliances, and bottled or canned beverages.
  11. Do I have enough refrigerator and freezer space?
  12. Do I shop daily? Weekly? Monthly? Do I buy in bulk? Would I shop differently if my kitchen were different?
  13. Do I have enough electrical outlets for small appliances (toaster, coffeemaker, blender, mixer, etc.) and electronics (cell phone, TV, etc.)
  14. Do I have enough light to work by?
  15. How many people use the kitchen regularly? How old are they? Does anyone have any special needs?
  16. What non-food-related activities will take place in my new kitchen? Possibilities to consider include laundry, homework, paying bills, working on the computer and watching TV.

Cooking & Cleaning

   1. Who is the primary cook?
   2. Is the primary cook left- or right-handed?
   3. How tall is the primary cook?
   4. Does the primary cook have any physical limitations?
   5. What is the primary cook’s cooking style?
  • Gourmet
  • Family
  • Quick and simple
  • Takeout
  • Baking
   6. How does the primary cook prefer to work?
  •    Alone
  •   One helper
  •   Multiple people visiting and/or helping

   7. Is there a secondary cook? If so, do the primary and secondary cook prepare meals together? What are the secondary cook’s responsibilities

   8. Is the secondary cook left- or right-handed?
   9. How tall is the secondary cook?
  10. Does the secondary cook have any physical limitations?
  11. Do I have enough countertop space for preparing meals?
  12. Is my sink large enough? What about the dishwasher?
  13. Is fresh water easily accessible when I’m cooking? Do I need an additional sink or faucet?
  14. Do I need a bigger cooktop or oven?
  15. Are the surfaces, finishes and appliances easy to clean?

Dining & Entertaining

  •    Do need room for eating in the kitchen?
  •    Do I want room for a stand-alone kitchen table and chairs?
  •    Do I want a built-in booth or banquette?
  •    Do I want an island with room for dining on one side or end?
  •    Do I plan to entertain frequently?
  •     What is my entertainment style—formal or informal?
  •    Do I typically cook the food myself or have the party catered?
  •    How many guests do I typically invite?
  •    Do my guests always end up in the kitchen?

Products & Features

  •    1. What features are needs? Wants? Unnecessary, unwanted, or unaffordable?
  • Range
  • Wall oven(s)
  • Cook-top
  • Vent hood
  • Microwave
  • Coffee & espresso maker
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Dishwasher
  • Trash compactor
  • Garbage disposal
  • Warming drawer
  • Wine chiller
  • Ice maker
  • Second dishwasher
  • Second refrigerator or freezer
  • Clothes washer and dryer

Electrical & Lighting

  • More electrical outlets
  • Recessed lighting
  • Pendant lighting
  • Chandelier
  • Ceiling fan
  • Under cabinet lighting
  • Toekick lighting
  • Charging station (for mobile phones, MP3 players, etc.)
Cabinetry and storage
  • Tilt-down sponge tray
  • Spice rack
  • Wine rack
  • Appliance garage
  • Bookshelf for cookbooks
  • Cookbook stand or tray
  • Breadbox
  • Cutlery dividers
  • Pull-out bins for trash/recycling
  • Tray dividers
  • Lazy Susan
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Rollout shelves
Pull-up mixer shelf


  • Prep or bar sink
  • Water filter/dispenser
  • Side spray for faucet


  • Television
  • Radio or stereo
  • Computer
  • Desk or work area
  • Message center