Behind the Before & After | Dates with Designers

I'm writing about our kitchen renovation because I want to share our process - including any bumps along the way - so that homebuyers and homeowners can get a look at what really happens when you take on a major renovation. Clients ask me all the time, "Should I renovate?" And my answer is - usually - this, "Renovate for you, now, and how you want to live" so I'm following my own advice and inviting you to follow along - in Behind the Before & After!!


Dates with Designers Part 1, So NOT "The One"


I’ve been planning a kitchen renovation in my head for nearly 16 years, when I first bought my house back in 2006. I always knew I wanted to take the wall out between the kitchen and dining room; the kitchen is dark and only really has 1 functional window, and the dining room is crazy sunny. So at the very least, I knew I wanted more light. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure.


Last fall, after saving for about 18 months, I thought, “Ok, I have enough cash to start the process!” (But more on that later…). I am a very visual shopper and I knew I needed to use a professional kitchen designer. I need to SEE the kitchen before I can agree to build the kitchen - I really had no idea where to start otherwise.


I had been stalking a well-known local design business for years, online and on social media, and I was sure I wanted to use them. I was SO excited for our consultation appointment; we had our meeting on December 9, 2021 at their offices. Clark and I met with one of their designers but right away it was mixed feelings. I was excited to be there but I don’t think this salesperson was excited for us. The salesman was talking to us about “not spending a lot of money on high end cabinets” and “you really don’t want to go with painted cabinets because all they do is chip.” I knew I wanted white, painted cabinets; this was a non-starter for me. He basically threw a catalog at me and said “here is all the stuff you’ll waste your money on - that you can buy at Bed and Bath and install yourself for half the price.”


I went in wanting someone to tell me how to make my kitchen better, but I felt rushed. It was obvious he wanted us in and out to get to another appointment. Clark and I were there for about an hour - I had all my measurements with me. He said he’d take our dimensions and get back to us with some ideas.

The old kitchen and dining room, in all their glory. Clark deserves a better kitchen!!


In the moment I felt “fine” with how it had gone, but after a week with no response or design, I had time to think back on the appointment and I was just not happy. Then, almost 2 weeks later, I received a design that was….awful. He basically merged our kitchen and dining room and made 1 big kitchen. I specifically did not want that; I wanted to keep 2 distinct spaces. I never even got an estimate. He never replied to my email asking for some tweaks or to try a different idea.


After 3 weeks, I gave up and started to look for other kitchen designers.


Read more about our kitchen renovation here! And feel free to comment or contact me with any questions you have!!



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