Wrestling with Great Kitchen Design – 5 Tips to Win the Game

Kitchens are the heart of the home. They are also a bear for clients to renovate. Doing so brings out the antsy, brings out the nerves, brings out the “maybe we should just move” at one moment or other for even the greatest, most wonderful clients. As their designer and design advocate, I feel deeply for clients as I steward their project and see them struggle with the normal feelings that arise for most people in this type of renovation. Even though I know it’s all going to turn out wonderfully well – they don’t, at least not at the beginning.

So here are 5 Tips to help you Wrestle and Win when designing your dream kitchen. 

1) Pick a great team. I cannot stress this enough. You will look at your existing kitchen and see what’s pretty much already there, which makes you a very normal person. Good designers on the other hand look at spaces and see what’s possible. That’s why you feel stuck and confused at the outset of your project – or when your project hits the inevitable speed bump – but your great designer never does. Pick and hire a great team.

2) Expect Speed Bumps. And chew a lot of gum. Every design project – particularly in kitchens and baths – will hit some little unexpected bump along the way; there’s a structural beam 6” closer to a cabinet line than you wanted, the place you really wanted the fridge will not allow it to open fully, the builder’s dog has to be rushed to the hospital. Just keep taking deep breaths and know that there’s a solution to all things in design and it’s your design team’s job to find them for you. (D.S. al coda: Pick and hire a great team.)

3) Expect to disagree with your spouse at some point.  I’m not talking War of the Roses, I’m speaking about some little thing you will fall in love with that he will hate. A piece of hardware. A door style. Something. However, there are enough marvelous alternative options to be found. This is called the middle ground and it will allow you both to win. All the more reason to pick a great design team to light the way to those solutions. And of course…Pick a Great Spouse ….is never a bad idea in design or in Life.

4) Be willing to give up something to get something. Yes my friends, kitchen design – like Life – often involves compromise. Compromise not with your spouse, but with the kitchen itself. For example: If you want the wine bar, then you may not have room for the fridge drawers. If you are going over budget, then you either need to give up the trip to Hawaii this year and increase your project budget – OR – you need to reduce the scope of your kitchen project somewhere. Perhaps the marble counter top will be only on the island, not at the perimeter cabinetry as well. A good design team should be able to easily show you where these trade-off opportunities exist without compromising your “dream”… (short of giving up Hawaii…that is never the call of the design team!)

5) Keep things in perspective. Know that “this too shall pass.” The budget discussions, the umpteen million decisions, the chaos and the mess. Keep things in perspective and your eye on the prize. Out of all the jumble and before you know it, you will be living, breathing, standing, cooking, entertaining, living, loving and laughing in a kitchen that is even more beautiful and marvelous then you had even hoped. And it is all these things…because you were smart enough…to…(together with me now)…

…Pick and Hire a Great Design Team. 215-736-8693…in case you’re searching!

View the IDH Gallery for kitchen design ideas.