1. Design Talent
Design is very subjective, but you are making a major investment and "good" isn't good enough - your are looking for someone who has completed projects that you "absolutely love". Look for a designer with a portfolio of completed projects.
Like design, personality is subjective. Remember, you will practically be living with your kitchen & bath professional for approximately six weeks or longer, depending upon the scope of the project. During the course of your introduction, preliminary designs and estimates, consider how well they are listening to your wishes and how well you are receiving their professional guidance.
Consider the services you need and what are provided. Will you become the general contractor for your own project? Most homeowners are looking for a "one-stop shop" - a professional that will design the space, coordinate the subcontractors, including electricians, plumbers, tile installers and painters - to name a few and deliver the perfect space. Be sure to ask what services are included in the cost -you want to avoid surprise endings. Ask specifically about:
- Designs Revisions
- Project Management
- Building Permits
- Unexpected Construction "Surprises"
- Potential Home Damage (Remodel)
- Damaged or Incorrect Product
If you are visiting a showroom you should immediately be impressed - take into account:
- Displays - do they match your taste, are they well-constructed, can you see the attention to detail the professional provides?
- Variety & Samples - are you able to see and consider different hardware fixtures, cabinet and door styles, wood species and colors, countertop materials and color variations?
- Comfort - do you feel comfortable upon entering the showroom? Were you greeted or ignored? You know first impressions are usually the best.
- Overall Cleanliness - a clear indication of how they treat their own space will reflect how they treat your home.
A kitchen & bath professional with an assortment of product selections = cabinet grades, countertop materials for example, is going to be better prepared to provide the greatest value for your investment.
A quality kitchen & bath design professional will begin the conversation talking about your family, your lifestyle, how you use your kitchen, how long you plan to stay in your home, what your are hoping to include in the new space and finally, although it might "hit a nerve", your budget. However, unlike the proverbial used-car salesman, the budget question is not meant to determine profit margins - it is used to establish expectations. Based on budget and the rest of the conversation, your kitchen & bath professional should be able to create the kitchen you want by selecting the products that meet your budget while providing the greatest value. He/She will discuss the options and together you can make the best decision for you.
6. Educational Approach
Information leads to informed decisions. That is why you invested your time and energy researching kitchen and bath design and remodeling online before your first showroom visit. Yet, even with all your online and mobile research you have only scratched the surface and a quality kitchen & bath design professional will educate you so that you can make the best decisions for your unique circumstances. You will need to make decisions every step of the way - from space planning options to cabinet grades to the color of the walls - or ceiling. Your professional should be your guide - your decisions based on knowledge and your smile as a result of a perfect project.
Kitchen or bath remodeling is a daunting experience. The process is not unlike putting together a jigsaw puzzle...where the picture continually changes! Basic construction remains the same, but each day new innovations, new technologies and new designs enter the worlds of cabinetry, appliances, lighting, fixtures, faucets and all the other intricacies that come together to become your new kitchen or bath. The well trained professional has the knowledge and experience to make you a happy customer.
8. Price versus Value
The best kitchen and bath professional will not be the cheapest...or the most expensive. The best choice for you will be the professional who provides the best value for your investment. Value should be judged beyond your cash outlay...how valuable is it:
- To not have to manage the day to day of the project
- To have a kitchen that will make the neighbors envious
- To increase your home's value
- To have quality products - cabinets, appliances and fixtures that you know will last
- To establish a relationship with a professional who will be available in the future...and to your friends and family - making you a hero!