Maybe you've visited her terrific blog, linked from my Blogs of Note list on the right. If so, you, too, knew a book by Kelly would have great info in a wonderfully readable style. With a designer and writer this knowledgeable, skilled and personable, how could it be anything but? Judge for yourself.
Kelly has given me the green light to excerpt Kelly's Kitchen Sync on Gold Notes, so you get to sample its info-packed pages before you buy yourself a copy. (Each book title is linked to Amazon.com, where the book is available for purchase today.) As I told her last week, it was really tough to choose just one piece to share. There were so many goodies.
I decided to go with one near and dear to my own professional designer's heart: Hiring a Kitchen Designer, (excerpted from Chapter 5: Assembling Your Team). Here goes:
Here's when hiring a designer is a good idea:
- When you don't have any idea what you're doing and/or don't have time or inclination, and don't want to make a mistake.
- When you're changing the layout.
- When you're planning on custom anything — custom appliances, cabinets, lighting, etc. can quadruple the mistake level of a simple gut–and–replace.
- When you know nothing about design.
- When you don't have time to oversee the plan.
- When you need help with coordinating colors, or finishes, or styles.
Here's when hiring a designer isn't necessary:
- When you're changing out one or two items, such as a sink or refrigerator.
- When your existing architect, or contractor, or interior designer has experience in the kitchen. They'll tell you if they don't.
- When you're pretty comfortable with your own design, color choices, and style.
Interviewing potential designers
Remember what I said about good and bad contractors? The same goes for designers. Ever wondered what you should be looking for in your designer?
The good signs:
- They listen to you. I mean, really listen. Doesn't that sound odd? But I'm amazed at how many designers don't let the consumer get a word in edge–wise, especially new designers. Please forgive them. They're excited about all the neat stuff they have and are so happy to show you, they forget you'd like a chance to be excited too.
- You communicate well with each other. Sometimes, there are people that you don't connect with. That's life. You say “a” and the other person hears “b” and vice–versa. It's not bad or wrong, other than a difference in communication, but when it happens, it can lead to mistakes and dissatisfaction. It's why I say, "So what I'm hearing you say is this… Is that correct?” If we can't connect by the second meeting, I'm not the designer for them. However, when you that good vibe energy from the very beginning, it's the best feeling in the world.
- They provide clear reasons and good answers to your questions.
Designers expect you to test them — at least the experienced ones do — and they're comfortable with it. How do you know how much experience a person has, if you don't ask? A designer should also be able to articulate very clearly the reason why a product does or does not work, not simply tell you that it is or isn't “good."
The warning signs are:
- You can't get a word in edgewise.
- Your ideas are ignored or brushed off without explanation.
- Paperwork isn't organized.
- Calls aren't returned in a timely manner.
- They're pushing their ideas without providing reasons.
Pay attention to your gut feelings, but also be practical. Sometimes, it's simply not a good fit. Recognize when meeting with your designer doesn't make you happy that it's time for a frank discussion or to call it quits.
There's more to hiring a designer that Kelly shares in this invaluable chapter. In fact, there's a ton of great info packed into Kelly's Kitchen Sync's 220 pages, but it's compact enough to fit into most purses. (How perfect for carrying it around town as you start your kitchen planning process.) You won't have to run around town to buy a copy either. Right now, it's only available online at Amazon.com, BN.com and Amazon.ca.