Tasteful BathroomKitchens and bathrooms are the most important and most complicated rooms to remodel in a home. These rooms where families spend so much of their time merit attention because they have to be functional and pleasant. Remodeling an outdated kitchen or bathroom is not only a smart investment, but will also bring your family more comfort than most any other home improvement.

Q: Why hire an independent kitchen or bathroom designer when my general contractor can draw up plans?

A: Homeowners usually remodel only once or twice and when they are looking at the different options in appliances, cabinetry, countertops, and flooring, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the number of available choices.

Instead of leaving all of the choices up to a contractor, the selections should be made with the client’s specific needs and budget in mind.

An independent kitchen designer or bathroom designer will sit down and discuss the family’s lifestyle, desires and priorities, often coming up with ideas the contractor or homeowner hadn’t considered.

Q: Should I call a bathroom or kitchen designer before or after I choose a contractor?

A: Though you can do it either way, it’s advisable to contact the designer first, make all the design decisions, then find the right contractor to fit the job.

Q: What are some of the things a designer will do for me?

A: Every remodeling project is unique and the services provided should be tailored to the project. Complete working drawings are available, in addition to assistance in the selection of products and finishes, with written specifications for those choices.

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Personal attention to detail and involvement in the project from start to finish is also provided to assure a successful job.

Creating a specific design plan, complete with detailed specification list of products to be used eliminates the problem of having three different contractors with three different concepts make bids which cannot be compared to each other.

Q: How do kitchen and bathroom designers charge for services?

A: The fee should reflect the size and complexity of the project.

During the initial consultation, the scope of the remodeling project is discussed as is the amount of time it will take to complete the design process. Then the number of hours required are calculated, breaking it down into design time, drafting time and clerical time which are figured at different rates. Once the client is told what the total cost will be, a payment schedule can then be outlined in advance.

The homeowner can set aside their fears of remodeling and eliminate any surprises by using forethought and taking advantage of the professional experience of a designer specializing in kitchens and baths.

Kathy Maynard has been matching homeowners with home improvement contractors since 1990 and has written scores of articles advising homeowners how to find, hire and work with reputable service professionals. She also authors Weekend Warrior, a weekly home improvement column in The Sacramento Bee.


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