Who will help you revive the heart of your home

BY Pat Bradford

There is not just one avenue to turn to go for a new kitchen or kitchen redesign anymore.

A kitchen is a reflection of a homeowner’s lifestyle and when a change in life — or simply a desire for something new — calls for a change in kitchen design or a whole home there are many options ranging from an architect-designed space to a do-it-yourself project.

Options range from about $12 000 for a DIY project depending on the countertop choice all the way up to the high-end architect-designed $150 000 custom-built big kitchen with every bell and whistle. A $1 million house construction or remodel can have $35 000-$60 000 in the cabinets alone.

The kitchen is one portion of a home that does not require frequent redecoration or change except perhaps for window treatments. Kitchen appliances should have about a 15-year lifespan. Custom cabinets can last for 25 years or more. There is a difference between builder grade and better grade.

Kitchens typically are remodeled because of new innovations like the way the appliances are fully integrated and built in a trend that appliance maker Sub-zero started. Or homeowners might want the latest nifty little time and organizational storage items so everything has its place.

It might even be just because a homeowner wants new appliances. Or sometimes the goal is to completely transform the look and functionality of the kitchen by taking the whole thing out and starting over.


Magazine or website plan: Self-researched and directed with all the responsibility on the homeowner. Done at your own risk.

Superstore kitchen department: A no-frills option for a rental house or those on a really limited budget and who have the time and energy to oversee everything themselves. Do not expect these kitchens to have the same longevity as a custom-designed and built kitchen.


Kitchen (and bath) or cabinet designer: Kitchen and cabinet designers create the plan design the cabinets and countertops and select what will go with them. They get paid from the sale to the customer of the cabinets countertops delivery and installation. They frequently will accompany the buyer to showrooms to select and cost out but will not purchase appliances for the homeowner.

Home Designer: Usually paid at a rate of $60-$100 an hour a home designer is for clients who know what they want within the structural element of the kitchen. A designer will not typically suggest the appliances or other elements that go into the kitchen; designers can make the suggestions as to what goes inside the envelope but more often than not will bump the plan to a kitchen and bath designer for that.

Architect: For the client who wants to be hand-walked through all of the aspects and decisions including the selection of tradesmen. Architects will present alternatives and variation as a sounding board through the myriad of decisions that will need to be made. For this level of guided expertise the price will be either a fixed fee or a percentage of the construction cost. For a renovation expect a range of $300-$600 per hour.

Interior designer: An interior designer will work closely with the architect or kitchen designer to select fabrics and finish. He or she will synthesize the client’s needs in color choices paint chips materials furniture and furniture placement as well as plumbing light fixtures and appliances while also working with the kitchen designer or architect to help make sure the kitchen design is cohesive with the rest of the house. An interior designer will ensure there is a design flow. Expect to pay by the hour or a flat fee for this service.

Plumbing lighting and appliance supply showroom: A showroom is the place to go for ideas and to find the higher-end things. This is the place to purchase faucets sinks lighting and other innovations including instant hot water filters and garbage disposals. Showrooms can be visited either individually or with an interior designer or architect.