Visualizing Kitchen Remodeling for an Old House

Answered by Jeffrey ~ March 10, 2011 ~ Comments

It took us six years to save $35,000 for a kitchen remodeling in our 70-year-old home. I'm so afraid we'll spend the money and not get what we want. What do kitchen designers charge for consulting, and how can they show us what it will look like?

Rolonda T. ~ Opalika, Alabama

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Rolanda. Costs for consulting with a kitchen designer can vary depending on exactly how much you ask them to do. If you choose a kitchen designer affiliated with a particular distributor or contractor, you may not have to pay anything at all for some simple drawings.

A $35,000 kitchen remodel is a fairly large project so I assume you are planning on hiring a contractor for the job. I suggest that when you are interviewing potential contractors around Opalika you ask if they have a relationship with a cabinet distributor that would include doing drawings. Most decent cabinet distributors have a kitchen designer on staff as they expect they will have to do drawings as a part of their contract with contractors remodeling kitchens. Having a kitchen designer on staff also helps with walk-in customer traffic.

When I was doing a lot of kitchen remodeling work I had a good relationship with a local cabinet shop and any time a potential customer wanted to see what their new kitchen would look like, I was able to supply them with drawings. They could see where each cabinet would be situated, where the appliances would be, and in most cases the exact style of cabinet the customer wanted was shown on the drawings. Modern computer software allows the designer to do the drawings in plan views, side elevations, and in many cases even 3-D.

These drawings did not cost the customer a cent and on many occasions they were redrawn several times as the customer changed their mind on various items. It was just considered a part of doing business. There were even times that we didn't get the job because the customer decided to hold off on the project or go with another contractor. It can be frustrating for the kitchen designer and the contractor to put a lot of work into drawings and not get the project, but again it was just a part of doing business.

If you are at all computer literate, you might want to get a basic kitchen design software program and play around a little bit before talking to a contractor. They don't cost much and are available at a lot of office supply stores and probably from many online retailers. A basic program may not allow you to see your exact style of cabinet, but there should be templates for common sizes so you can get some ideas for potential layouts.

I wouldn't get too far into it though before consulting with a contractor. Old houses can have many factors that affect kitchen layout and an experienced contractor can give you some good advice on cabinet and appliance placement that may save you a lot on the total costs of the remodel. I'm not sure how large Opalika is, but if necessary I would spend some time looking around Alabama to find a contractor experienced with kitchens in homes of an era similar to your house.

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