How can I get design help for a small kitchen project?
“I live north of Atlanta and am in the process of planning a kitchen remodel. Problem, we have a very small budget 20-25K MAX firm. I know I would benefit from the services of a kitchen design professional, but most of the ones I have been able to locate are aimed at the high end customer or find my budget insulting. I cannot spend $15k on cabinets before 3k for installation, sorry.
I also can’t afford the stealth problems you describe and feel like I am out on a limb as my own designer/contractor lining up subs, picking materials, etc. I have put a lot of time into speaking with independent cabinet makers etc. but they design for cabinetry not the big picture. What is a homeowner to do? How does one locate a certified kitchen designer that you can pay either by the hour or for specific design input without getting tied to using their custom cabinet maker etc. Once I find one, how does one proceed? –M.”
Yes, that can be frustrating. Here’s my suggestion: while it might be beneficial to have a freelance designer, the budget you have won’t allow for one to hand-hold you for the entire project — it’ll eat too much into the budget. You’ll need to complete some of the work on your own first –research, design a rough layout, figure out some basic colors, and select your plumbing appliances. Don’t buy anything yet.
When you’ve got something you’re reasonably happy with (or two or three options), then look for a designer to look over what has been done and get his or her advice. Pay for an hour or two of consulting time. Most designers charge anywhere from $ 50.00 – 150.00 per hour (and more.) It will still be worth it. Someone with experience can glance at your project and tell you immediately what’s good and what needs to be corrected. If they discover even one mistake, it’ll save you far more in time and materials than their fee. Plus, doing it this way will keep your budget under control.
Either look on the N.K.B.A. (National Kitchen and Bath Association) website for a professional near you so you can follow up and ask his or her specialization: NKBA Homeowner ProSearch or search the internet for online kitchen design consultants.
Also, if someone finds your budget “insulting”, you walk away without a second thought. Anybody who sticks their noses up deserve to choke the next time it rains. The professionals I know will let you know how they conduct business–without sneering–and if they have time, might offer a helpful suggestion or two along the way.