Friday, March 15, 2013

"What makes a designer kitchen? A designer."

      It is very obvious to me when a kitchen has been designed by a great interior designer, versus the average general contractor or fabricator.  There are 3 things that give it away:


When I see a kitchen unlike any I have seen before (or will ever see again), I know that a great designer was involved.  That kitchen will stop you in your tracks and really make you LOOK. 

2.  It is COMPLEX

Whether Minimalist or Victorian, the design of a superior kitchen will involve many elements, both obvious and not obvious.  Your average contractor or even kitchen and bath fabricators will tend to have the design consist of three things---cabinets, countertops, and backsplashes.  The end result, regardless of price tag, usually looks bland and lifeless.  You wouldn’t buy a car based on whether it has four wheels and an engine.  You would look at the dozens of details that combine to produce a superior quality vehicle.  Engine/transmission quality, MPG, handling, aesthetic quality, extra technological features, etc.  Do you want a silver Corolla or an emerald green Aston Martin?  Hmmm.  I'd go with the Aston.  

A superior kitchen is very similar to a luxury vehicle.  There are many individual details that make it unique, such as cabinet orientation, cabinet material, countertop material and shape, backsplash type, lighting, flooring, ceiling design, color, additional seating, etc.  The design does not stop at eye level.  Which brings us to reason #3

3.  It is ENGAGING

An engaging kitchen is one that makes you feel good.  It has a visual energy that impacts the user in a positive way.  Your eye will be drawn throughout the space and whether you realize it or not, it engages you.  That is superior design.  Now, not everyone will enjoy the same design style, but that is where the designer comes in.  They are paid to make sure that your newly designed kitchen will be engaging for you!  A successful kitchen design will inspire you the moment you walk in every day.  A good interior designer will accept nothing less.

      Call a qualified interior designer before you start your kitchen project.  Get input on layout, materials, colors, and budget management, and save yourself loads of stress.  You can also hire an interior designer to help select all materials and coordinate the actual execution of the project.  Your end result will be a gorgeous kitchen that is like no other---perfect for YOU.  It is worth the investment, no question about it.  

How many people have this kitchen?  MILLIONS!!!  Every day do-it-yourselfers are opting for the same boring combination:  Red stained cabinets, black granite, and cheap mosaic tile backsplashes.  Boring, boring, boring! This kitchen is nice, but it does not excite or inspire.  It is not unique and is becoming less impressive every day for buyers.  Hire a designer, and avoid paying $70,000 for a kitchen that most of your neighbors have.

THIS kitchen is unique, complex, and engaging.  This is an excellent example of a design that is "outside the box". The overall design generates a thrilling mix of relaxation and inspiration.  This is how it should be.  If you want a "designer kitchen", there is only one thing to do:  Find your designer! 

See my other article What is a "Qualified Designer?" for guidance on finding the design professional that is perfect for you.  Or call 925-895-1336 to schedule an initial consultation, and I can help you achieve your dream kitchen!  

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Move-In Quandary

     Well, it's moving season again.  New homeowners get their keys and are excited to make their new house into their own customized space.... but how exactly? This is what I call the "Move-in Quandary".  There are three very common big ticket items that are the first on the move-in expense list---painting, flooring, and window coverings.  Other major investments that people are eager to pounce on are kitchen and bath remodels, which can be easily triple the cost of fore-mentioned.  The bigger the ticket, the more critical it is that the correct decisions are made with regard to color, style, and durability.  I have seen countless cases of frustrated new homeowners that cannot decide on a paint color, a wood finish, carpet style... you get the picture.  This aggravating period during and immediately after move-in is not necessary.  There is something you can do to solve your Move-in Quandary.  Here are two simple solutions:

SOLUTION 1  -  Hire a designer

To many, hiring a designer seems like an unnecessary expense, and that's about it.  Those that would love to hire a designer, but are afraid of cost should at least schedule an initial consultation with a designer to get them started.  When searching for the right designer, bear this in mind:  Do not call for "free" design consultations.  "Free design consultations" are merely a tactic used by sales-based companies.  Their "designer" basically walks into your home with the concern of selling you their product.   Unless you know for sure that you want to purchase that product, and price isn't an issue, avoid calling in the "Free" designers.  See my article "Are free designers really free?" .  What your first priority should be before ANY money is put towards materials and labor, should be creating your "Design Concept".  Do not order flooring, window treatments, furniture---NOTHING without having a design concept.  This is where hiring a legitimate interior designer is key.  They work with you to determine the "Look" and style that will work best for you, and ALSO, how to turn that style into a final design.  Determining a plan of action for your entire house may not be feasible in an hour long consultation, but a few sessions with a legit designer will be one of the best home investments you ever make.  My fee is $150 per hour.  See my new line of Move-in design services Housewarming Design Services.  I can help you create a clear and concise road-map towards your dream home.

SOLUTION 2  -  Find Inspiration

As simple as it sounds, buying a few home magazines can really ease the tension.  I recommend House Beautiful and Architectural Digest as excellent visual resources.  While a magazine cannot coach you on how to actually create your space or manage your budget, you can find photos of finished rooms that inspire you.  The main goal when browsing through magazines is to find a room that OVERALL is very appealing to you.  Not just one piece of furniture in the picture, or the wall color, but the ENTIRE room pictured.  The picture serving as your inspiration should give you a feeling of joy.  The picture should be one where if you walked into it in real life, you would feel completely at home.  A picture will not pressure you to buy from a certain company, or choose a certain  investment over another.  A picture will guide you in any of the many choices you will need to make.  The disadvantage to pulling a picture out of a magazine is the fact that you cannot consult with it.  You cannot ask it questions, or get input from it.  That is where a legitimate qualified interior designer is helpful.  Also, when it comes to getting the best of both worlds, my service called "Concept Design" may be just perfect for you.  You pay a flat amount for a visual road-map to your professionally designed space.

When moving and investing in a new home, or old home for that matter, it is critical to be educated.  See these other articles for advice that may apply to you.

DIY... Not for Everyone
1st Step Paint Color...NOT!
Are interior designers worth the money? You do the math.
To invest, or not to invest? Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Contractors Prefer Designers
What is an initial consultation, and why should I PAY for one?
In hindsight, maybe I should have hired an interior designer.
No Strings Attached- Clarification on the benefit of hiring an interior designer
Home Staging- What is it, and is it really necessary?

Call for a consultation and let Judy Olson Interiors make your house a home!  925-895-1336