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The Kitchen Designer: Do I Need One for My Project, and Why?

by Susanne Clemenz

Kitchens used to be simple. Choices may have been whether to have your free-standing range use gas or electricity, how large your refrigerator needed to be, or whether (gasp!) to include a dishwasher. Floors and counter top choices were wood or linoleum. There was a light bulb in the middle of the ceiling. The architect or contractor drew up the entire house plans, and the owners shopped for appliances.

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That was then. Today, kitchen design is an in-depth field of knowledge. Training requires:

  1. An associate's degree in kitchen and bath design, or a bachelor's degree in interior design plus advanced studies in kitchen design.
  2. An internship and several years of field work with experienced professionals.
  3. The passing of stringent tests for certification and licensing.

Kitchen Designer Project Goals

The kitchen designer works with you and your architect or contractors to:

  • Design a kitchen with a good work flow, based on how you use the kitchen.
  • Present up-to-date choices among cooking, refrigeration, dish washing, and other major appliance technologies.
  • Find appropriate lighting, counter tops, cabinets, flooring, and other kitchen elements, and narrow down the choices for your selection.
  • Customize cabinet and storage closet layouts, fittings, and accessories to your preferences.
  • Provide realistic, detailed computer renderings of the proposed design using professional 3D software programs.
  • Get bids based on your budget, schedule work, and check on installations.

You have specific areas of expertise, and you utilize them in your daily work. Let a kitchen designer use his or her expertise on your behalf. A beautiful, smooth-flowing kitchen can be your reward for years.

About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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