Friday, March 01, 2013

Can You Design Your Own Kitchen?

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Recently, I've spoken to a quite few homeowners who drafted their own layout in the online IKEA planner. They emailed me the plan and asked for help. (We offer a complimentary design consultation. If you would like one, use this link to schedule: Design consultation.

Most of these homeowners sent me the layout work they had done.

15% of the layouts were pretty good overall. In this group, the homeowners knew one or two key areas were unresolved. An example would be optimal placement of pantries, or optimal island size and placement.

60% of the layouts were not nearly as functional and beautiful as they could be. In these, one or more fundamental kitchen design principles had been overlooked. Usually the layouts did not make the best use of the space or the layout was not correct for the size of the home (always consider future buyers when remodeling a kitchen). Many small errors and oversights add up to a non-optimal overall layout. Just not what it should be.

30% of the layouts had errors, but were also dangerous. Walkways around islands were too narrow, sinks or cooking surfaces were in incorrect locations, pantry, fridge, oven or dishwasher doors or cabinet drawers were arranged to open into kitchen traffic flow. For all homes, but especially where there will be young children in the kitchen, layout safety factors are vital to consider.

You could say that the IKEA online planner is a disservice to IKEA kitchen customers. It surely encourages people to buy IKEA cabinets, but it allows them to believe that kitchen design is just a matter of lining up some cabinets and appliances along walls. Kitchen design is a professional skill. There are vital principles, specialized techniques, and, most of all, know-how gained from sheer experience with thousands of kitchen projects. Customizing IKEA cabinetry for optimal functions or difficult areas, solving a homeowner's special kitchen requirements creatively, and having the foresight to avoid installation or long term functionality issues is the realm of an expert.

Obviously, in business, one can't take it personally that a potential client turns down an offer of service. But I admit to feeling sad occasionally, especially after I speak with someone for awhile and come to like them, when they choose to use their existing plans, without allowing us to provide expert help.

1) Question: What is IKEA's purpose?
Answer: To sell you the their cabinets and other materials.

2) Question: What is an independent kitchen designer's purpose?
Answer: To ensure your new kitchen is beautiful, optimally functional, and that the project stays within the homeowner's budget.

Does IKEA's online planner exist for #1 or #2?

If you are going to spend $8,000 or $18,000 or more on a kitchen remodel, it is wise to invest in expert design. You might think that spending a few hundred bucks on design isn't necessary. Of course you can design a layout in the IKEA planner that looks ok, it might even be pretty good.

But when you see how an expert creates a kitchen layout for you within that same space, you will know for yourself that what I an saying is true. Hire us, hire another expert IKEA design company if you must. But treat yourself to a truly wonderful kitchen by having a truly wonderful kitchen design.

If you'd like to discuss your project with me, I can offer you a free, 30-minute phone consultation. Here's my calendar, just pick a time that works for you.

Susan