Why Work With a Dealer?
Designing a kitchen or bathroom is very technical process requiring the expertise of a kitchen or bath designer possessing very specialized skills. Think of your designer as a “kitchen and bath architect” capable of bringing your project to life accurately, on time, and within budget.
Beyond facilitating the design of your space, an experienced designer will understand a wide range of products to make sure you find precisely what fits your style and budget best. She will also have a good understanding of current product trends and be able to explain your options, whether you’re seeking a classic traditional look or lean more towards a modern design.
Many kitchen dealers supply design work at no charge provided that you buy the cabinetry from their business. They may charge a design retainer for their design time in the beginning that may be credited back you at the time of purchase. In the end, most dealers do not seek to sell their designs, but rather view the design work as part of the process allowing them to earn the cabinetry order.
How to Select the Right Dealer
This is a very important part of the process, as all kitchen and bath dealers do not operate in the same way. Just as you wouldn’t go to a bone doctor to perform your heart surgery, neither should you have a dealer specializing only in new construction handle your custom renovation, or vice versa. Some dealers are adept at handling both specialties, but it’s worth evaluating early on.
When engaging a dealer in initial conversation or visiting websites, make sure to understand if the company you’re speaking with specializes in the kind of work you’re seeking to have done. What is the scope of your project? Does the dealer feel like a good match for you? This should be the first step in your journey, because when you select the right dealer, the other elements tend to fall into place.
Choose a dealer
Most dealers today have some type of showroom where you can go to view product and discuss your project in more detail. As you get into this phase of the project the designer will likely ask a lot of questions about the nature of your project, the timeline, what you are looking for from them, and if she hasn’t already will ask for blueprints if it’s a new home or seek to schedule a time to measure your space if you’re renovating. This is a period of feeling out for both sides and it is important that you feel comfortable and have a good understanding of the dealers business.
Be upfront with your designer and trust their judgment.
The only way a dealer can give you the exact kitchen you want is by knowing exactly what you want. Tell them as many specifics of your projects as possible (as early as possible) including your budget, if you have one. If you’re just beginning research to help establish a budget, let her know that too. It is important that the dealer understand exactly where you are in the process to help you get the most relevant information.
Listen to and ask for feedback. Remember, the designer has dozens, if not hundreds of projects under their belt. They know the materials, costs, timelines and all the nitty-gritty details and the keys to a successful project. They also may have some good ideas that can completely transform your project for the better! This is a complex project involving several different products, the better the communication, the more efficiently you’ll progress through the process.