After a few months of browsing Pinterest, Houzz and the internet at large looking for kitchen inspiration, we started investigating kitchen reno companies in our area.
I had two companies give me estimates. I was surprised at how high their quotes were, and realized that the best way for me to approach the project was to find individual sources for each element.
Using Angie’s List, I found a well-rated fabricator of solid surface countertops (which is the type of counter we wanted). Their price was more than $1k lower than the all-inclusive kitchen companies I had previously contacted. What. The price included delivery, installation, and an under-mount or integrated sink.
I asked someone at the countertop company if they knew of any good local cabinet companies, and they did. The company checked out on Angie’s List, so I paid them a visit.
I was impressed with their family-run business, and how they strive to get the demo and installation done in just one day. One company said I could be without a full-service kitchen for up to 4 weeks. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
The man who took the specs of my order in the showroom is also an installer, and he and another employee (his dad!) will be the ones in my house in a few weeks doing the demo and cabinet installation. We will be without countertops for a week or so, since they need a template before fabrication.
Their price for a high-quality all wood cabinet was far less than the other companies — and it was less or comparable to the big box stores and internet retailers. They offered free cabinet hardware (that can be a few hundred bucks) and a 5% Angie’s List discount. Their labor charges were also very reasonable. Sold.
So, I found sources for the two big, expensive components…but how do I make the room come together?
It was just too overwhelming.
We figured that we’re spending so much money on big permanent things that we did NOT have room to make a mistake. These choices will affect our house’s resale later.
So, we checked Angie’s List (love it, can you tell?) and found a design company in our area.
For a flat fee, our designer is working with us to select every choice we’ve had to make.
I know we would have made some wrong choices along the way without him. Sure, we might have made it look ok — but I don’t want ok; I want awesome!
Case in point: we made a horrible decision with the Giani Granite countertop paint. Nevermind the fact that it chipped beyond belief — the color I chose was far too dark. Aesthetically, it would have been better if we chose an entirely different, lighter shade.
I’m just not very good at looking at color swatches or even computer renderings (which we made!) and seeing an end result that looked good.
It’s not that big of a deal to make a $100 mistake on countertop paint, since we figured if it didn’t work out we’d replace the counters anyway. But I do not want to spend several thousand on cabinets and countertops and end up regretting the choices we made.
Our designer has been great. He met with us at our house, and then at each store to guide us in door styles, stain choices, door layout, glass door selection for two cabinets, how to arrange the undermount lights for the best effect (and the exact light fixture for that). Then he helped with the countertop style and edge finish, wall paint color, sink faucet, light fixtures…yeah. Every little thing. Last on the list is backsplash tile.
The kitchen isn’t finished yet — we’ve only primed the walls and installed one light fixture so far.
But at this stage, I’m confident that paying the fee that amounted to something like 3% of the total overall project’s cost was money well spent.
How about you? Have you worked with a designer? Or do you naturally have that designer’s eye?