The Kohler web site has a good article detailing the 7 Reasons to Hire A Kitchen Designer. This advice applies to baths too.
In the Industry today we have seen a dramatic drop off in work coming into design offices and showrooms over the past year and a half.
Consumers are buying houses that have been poorly maintained, or even trashed and repossessed by lenders, yet they are not going the established route of working with a designer. Instead they seem to be going it alone in making decisions about how to repair the damage and renovate their newly purchased homes.
I have said more than once recently, that the situation reminds me of the '70's, when Do-It-Yourself (DIY) was the way most people planned and renovated. I started out as a Do-It-Yourselfer back in the '70's, so I know whereof I speak. From what I have seen of the quality of most '70's renovations over the intervening years, they would have been better off doing NOTHING!
Correcting the poor decisions of the '70's Do-It-Yourselfers has kept the kitchen and bath design industry growing ever since! I can't stress this point enough. It is very important for the current DIY consumer to realize this fact, because YOU live with your decisions and your mistakes; and when you decide to sell your home, for whatever reason, YOU will pay the price in less appreciation and saleability.
Kitchen and bath designers are trained to maximize efficiency and storage. We are also trained to bring a project in within budget.
Kitchen and bath designers SAVE far more than we cost our clients.
So, if you are cruising the Web today, looking for ideas for your own kitchen or bathroom renovation, with the thought of saving on design and Doing-It-Yourself. I strongly suggest that you ask yourself these questions:
1. What are the requirements in my community for submission of plans for renovation?
2. Am I up to the task of creating the required documents? Such documents require electrical and mechanical elements. Am I prepared to learn what I need to know about electrical, lighting, and mechanical documentation? (Here in California we have community and State mandates to upgrade inadequate electrical service, plus Title 24, to take into account).
3. If so, am I willing to spend the time to learn enough to design my own kitchen or bath and be satisfied with the results?
4. Does the kitchen or bath lend itself to easy decision making? In other words: Do I already like the way it is designed? The traffic flow? The space for storage? The area for countertops? The amount of light? If not, see Question 3.
5. Am I willing to spend the time to research each of the myriad products I will have to contemplate to complete my new kitchen? Do I know WHAT THEY ARE? Do I know WHERE TO LOOK FOR THEM? CAN I DISCERN RELATIVE QUALITY BETWEEN LIKE PRODUCTS?
Kitchen and bath dealers represent certain products because the manufacturers offer elements important to the dealer. Such as: price; quality; reliability of delivery; little or no damage on delivery; etc.
Many of these elements important to the dealer are invisible to the consumer. When the dealer is not there to filter choices down to the reliable products only - BUYER BEWARE.
The least expensive products on the market in every category are the products reputable dealers shun as problematic.
Believe me, all kitchen and bath dealers would love to be able to sell a great product cheap or more profitably. It doesn't happen because manufacturers of great products value and sell them accordingly.
6. Am I going to hire a contractor to renovate and install the products I buy? Or am I going to do the work myself?
7. If I plan to do the work myself, do I know how to do it well? If not, am I willing to spend the time to learn how?
As I said above: We kitchen and bath designers have spent the last forty years correcting the mistakes of the '70's Do-IT-Yourselfers. Do you really want to start that cycle all over again?
We have learned so much about designing great kitchens and baths in the interim. Why not give us a shot at helping with yours?