How to Choose a Kitchen Designer
Choosing a designer for kitchen or bath renovations is a critical piece in the process. Typically speaking, a professional kitchen and bath designer in Virginia will have completed a fair amount of coursework related to their title. This coursework, although varied to the educational institution, will engage the designer in disciplines that are not necessarily construction related. The designer will need to culture themselves in the Arts, History (as pertaining to architectural history), visual arts and design, and, of course, some level of competence in architecture or architectural theory. As distant as some of these courses may seem from the actual physical and creative processes of a competent designer, this exposure to these courses does, in fact, present a more ‘well-rounded ‘designer.
Commensurate with such schooling, a kitchen designer may have achieved a particular accreditation in the form, or title, indicated by ‘NKBD’ (National Kitchen and Bath Design) behind their name or, in some cases, ‘CMKBD’ (Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Design). The former indicates that the designer has completed a satisfactory level of schooling, while the latter indicates that the individual has achieved a significantly more extensive level of schooling and practice. At this point, however, it’s important to note that this profession is not necessarily defined by the formal coursework that an individual completes; but it may only be viewed as one aspect of qualification, when hiring a competent designer.
So, if someone’s degree isn’t the best indicator, what is the best indicator?
While some Virginia kitchen and bath designers will ride on their academic credentials, the ‘proof is in the pudding’, as they say. One of the best means to evaluate a designer is by requesting to view or review their portfolio. This portfolio is their visual resume, and it’s an important history to be able to review. Granted, some designers will be fledglings in their career and, although quite adept and competent, may not have had the time in the industry to put forth a broad resume (this will be addressed shortly). As you peruse this portfolio presented by the prospective designer, don’t be so awestruck that you avoid asking several important questions like: What do you consider a ‘workable’ budget? What do you view as being most critical to a sound design? Is your experience mostly in new construction or remodel? The vital information here is that the designer has experience in venues that parallel your project.
So, what is the single most important measure in hiring a Virginia kitchen and bath designer? Well, that’s simple—can you communicate effectively with this person. Is this individual approachable and willing, and eager, for your input and concerns? Does this individual present you with several design options or do they seem to be stuck on one? The honest value in a designer is their ability to communicate their vision effectively and ‘sell’ why they perceive your kitchen in the manner they represent.
The designer’s working relationship with your contractor is also a crucial element. When your designer and the contractor overseeing the installation are in sync, you can expect a smooth flow to the entire process. Choosing designers and contractors that have worked together successfully in the past can be a big plus towards achieving the best possible results.
Remember, hiring a kitchen designer constitutes a very active, interactive relationship; and if the designer isn’t incapable of translating your needs and desires into a fabulous design, in budget, you won’t be happy—and ‘happy’ is really what it’s all about.