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Design Fees – Unmasked

Designers provide creativity, product knowledge, experiences, sources, and time. If the designer is unaffiliated with a store or specific line of products, there is full flexibility on the products, appliances, installers, and contractors that may work on your remodel (update of cabinets, appliances, plumbing and lighting in existing space) or renovation (re-conceptualizing layout and flow – may involve moving walls). A full-service designer typically charges an hourly rate or project-specific flat fee. What follows is the Kitcheneering process:

1. Consultation, 5-15 hours: Help client decide what they want, need, and what their budget will accommodate. Review questionnaire. Talk with the client about kitchen design in the context of cooking, entertaining, function, and lifestyle.
2. Shop for appliances, 4-8 hours: Show client what’s available in terms of quality/function/price.
3. Create and present preliminary design plan, 15-50 hours: Show the client where the appliances go in relation to various task areas. Discuss traffic patterns, work flow, and entertaining.
4. Shop for cabinetry, 5-20 hours: Take client to various showrooms that carry cabinetry within the budget to decide on look and balance quality with price.
5. Create layout, open elevations, and perspectives, 10-20 hours: Illustrate for the client on paper just how the kitchen the kitchen will look.
6. Plan Review, 2-6 hours: Plan with the client what goes into each and every drawer and cabinet, considering frequency of use, to determine what special cabinetry is needed.
7. Shop for countertops and flooring, 5-15 hours.
8. Review lighting, electrical, and mechanical plans with the client, 5-10 hours.
9. Interview contractors with the client at the job site, 2-6 hours.
10. Follow through with job completion to ensure that all design questions are clarified, 20-60 hours.
11. Shop with client for small wares that complete the full functioning of the kitchen for cooking, entertaining, and living, 3-5 hours.
12. Cook dinner with the client in their new kitchen to showcase full functionality, 6-8 hours.

Most kitchens require 100-200 hours of a designer’s time to ensure that the kitchen the client ends up with provides decades of optimum usage and many happy memories. The money saved by doing it right more than covers the fee!