What Makes a GREAT Kitchen Designer?
If you look up a kitchen designer job description it states: “Kitchen designers create kitchens for clients, including cabinets, flooring, counters, and appliances. They use their skills to determine a client’s project goals, prepare final plans and create a timeline for the project. “ *
This is absolutely true but to accomplish these tasks involves extensive experience (over 5 years), training, math skills, attention to detail, construction knowledge, product knowledge besides the all-important design eye. A kitchen designer has to be both analytical and creative, equal right brain and left brain. This list also leaves out the fact that kitchen designers work with homeowners so they need to enjoy working with people and teaching since they need to explain why things can and cannot be done.
Qualities Needed for Your Kitchen Designer
No one can be good at everything, but here is my list of skills, in order of importance, of what a kitchen designer needs to excel in.
- Detail Oriented
- Design Eye
Let me go through these skills one by one so I can explain why each is important and why I ranked them as I did.
- Communication is important for two reasons. If a kitchen designer cannot explain their vision and the resulting details to a client, no matter how perfect this kitchen is, the client will never agree to the vision. The second reason is that a kitchen designer needs to not only describe their vision to their client; they also need to explain this vision, in a totally different terminology, to the contractors who are charged with executing the kitchen designer and client’s ideal kitchen. If that cannot be explained in excruciating detail, the entire project is a disaster.
- Psychology is needed so the kitchen designer can understand what the client is looking for. Most successful and experienced kitchen designers need to create a kitchen that is gorgeous to the client, even if they hate the look. Kitchen Designers need to keep their taste out of the equation. The difficult part is to figure out what the client really wants. Often, the clients do not know themselves. How can you know you really want something if you have never heard of it? To get this information the kitchen designer needs to understand how to present new information that the client can then analyze and decide if they want this in their kitchen. This needs to be done, on average with every kitchen, about 50 times.
- If you have done a kitchen renovation you know that kitchen designers are always pulling out catalogs, swatches as well as spewing information on various kitchen products. If you cannot memorize a whole lot of information you are in trouble. No client wants to wait while you look up every one of their questions. To take all this information in, requires studying and remembering, if not the details, at least where you saw the information.
- Organization involves keeping everything straight including the details of the design, what has changed and what hasn’t; the client requests, what has been changed and what has not and when; product orders, has it been ordered and when will it be delivered; contractor information, problems answered and issues reviewed with the client. Most of this is on the computer or in paper form. This is a lot of information that needs to be accessed quickly and often.
- Have you ever measured every feature (walls, windows, cabinets, soffits, light fixtures, plumbing and gas lines etc.) all to the 1/16th of an inch and then translated that to decimal points on a CAD system? I have and it can be a nightmare if anything is off, which is so easy to do. This is one aspect of the math skills required. The other is will it all fit (also to 1/16th of an inch) under the soffit, beside the vent, to the window? All the while maintaining your client’s budget and vision of what it all should look like. Kitchen designers do this every day.
- Enough said about the details needed to be kept straight by kitchen designers In the previous paragraphs.
- Hard to believe that the design eye is last on my list since most people think that is the one and only quality of an excellent kitchen designer. In this day and age with cabinets both expensive and cheap looking good on the outside. The difference between cabinets is what they are made of. Clients cannot see where most of their money goes and should go. It is relatively easy to create a beautiful kitchen. There are thousands, maybe millions on Houzz which can be copied. The hard part is to tailor it to your client’s space and budget utilizing quality products. This is where a kitchen designer’s experience counts once again.
Contact Teknika Kitchens and Baths for Experienced and Skilled Bath and Kitchen Design
Hopefully this helps to explain why not all kitchen designers are created equal and why you really need that unique combination of analytics and design. If you have any questions about our kitchen design process please contact Teknika Kitchens and Baths.