Tuesday, March 29, 2011



These are a  few bathrooms I would like to share.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Budget - My thoughts on the subject

Budget – My thoughts on the subject.
  1. Take 10- 25% of your home value.
    • 10% if it's a minor cosmetic change.
    • 15-20% if more than the first.
    • 20-25% if it's a major change.
  2. Don't think that materials and services are less expensive due to economy.
    • Suppliers have cut back on production.
    • Retailers have adjusted their inventory to account for the change in demand.
    • I'm several cases thing had increased. With gas prices this high, shipping products has increased.
  3. Compare apples to apples.
    • When getting quotes make sure everyone has the same information.
    • Cabinet companies have many different levels - make sure they are the same quality that you are comparing.
  4. Have photos of rooms and products that you like.
    • This helps the designer focus in on what it is that you want.
    • Products, colors, help the designer determine where that designer needs to take you to achieve the desired end result.
  5. Stone or Quartz counter tops.
    • Edge profiles can increase the budget.
    • Color of stone can also increase the budget.
  6. Appliances- Is there a different? My answer is YES!
    • If you can spend more in this area you won't be disappointed
    • The professional ranges, refrigerators, and dishwashers are worth it. They cook and preserve food better. The dishwashers clean better and are quieter.
    • Ask people you know that might have these upper end appliances.
    • They way you use these appliances will save you money in the long run, they are meant to last.
    • You will save money on food.
  7. Be realistic and flexible on the timetable for your project and how the process works.
    • It's never the same as a TV show; they show the stages not the time involved to get the work done. They make it look like it takes no time at all. Remember that is TV land.
    • Living without a kitchen or if it's the only bath is difficult. So be ready.
    • Make preparations for eating, cooking and bathroom needs.
    • Cooking outside, use plastic and paper dishes, maybe you need to move out for a few days while demo is in process or plumbing is being disconnected.
  8. Beware of the lowest bidder.
    • Remember that old saying "You get what you pay for"
    • Make sure everything in accounted for. Make sure the bid is complete.
    • Changes can and will happen, so make they are addresses quickly.
    • Check references, talk with past clients
    • For example not all tile setters use the same installation process.

Sincerely Yours
Angie Keyes CKD

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Upgrading kitchen cabinets

           One other question this article http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/ made me think about is: Do consumers think about just upgrading their cabinets? I guess I'm under the impression that today's consumers are more educated and informed than this article suggests. Maybe I'm wrong. I've known clients who bought a refrigerator and had it delivered and discovered it would not fit the existing opening. But this was years ago, before the Internet was a major source of information.

         So are you under the impression that you can just upgrade your cabinets? If so my questions for you are the following:
  1. What about the existing counter tops? Do you re-install them? Do you know if you even can do that?
  2. And if you have to remove them to replace cabinetry what about the sink and faucet? Do you reuse the old ones? Of course that is if it comes out in any shape to re-use.
  3. Do you have tile splash? Will that also have to come out if cabinetry is being replaced?
  4. Or how about the built-in ovens or microwaves? Don't they need to taken out?
  5. What about that Frig?
  6.  Do these items need to be addressed?
       My common sense says yes they have to be addressed, so when I read this article suggesting that kitchen cabinet upgrading is just about the cabinets I began to wonder if the consumer really thinks this way ?
      Another item in the article mentioned was measurements that you should bring with you. All I could think about was a client brought me something on a napkin once. I have had clients, over the years  that brought me measurements, but very few that I could actually understand and read. The few that I could read and understand, so that I could  use them to do a sketch had an engineering background. But all measurements should be checked by the person installing them,  and double checked, so mistakes can be avoided.

To all consumers out there I wish you good luck on your design projects.

What's your budget?

         I recently read an article in my local paper that got me thinking. Here is the link to the article. http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/
How do you come up with a budget? How do you know what you need to invest or how much you can afford? Because doing a kitchen or bath design project is an investment in your home and your future.

         So what is your budget? Do you tell anyone this when asked? In 22 years I have never gotten a straight answer on this question. Why is that? Maybe most consumers really don't know what things costs, even with all the information available on the Internet. Or they are afraid the person they are working with will take that as a go ahead to dig that well that never ends, when really they don't want to invest that amount. So, how to you tell the person you working with how much you want to invest in your design project? Well, this subject isn't easy to discuss, the consumers and designers end up spending time on plans that won't be used or can't be used by the consumer. No one is happy no matter which side of the isle you are on. I know this is a tough subject, but if you can't give a budget then give a range it's better than giving no budget at all. This question ultimately can only be answered by the consumer; they know how much they can afford to invest in their project.

        Be realistic about your project. If you're looking at a magazine and you want that kitchen or bath that's shown, be aware that pictures can be deceiving about the actual size of the projects compared to your own. All designers put the best foot forward when submitting projects for publication. But, don't think a designer can't take that photo and make things work for you in your space because we can! And we can also help you with budgeting. We ask a lot of questions to help you determine what your needs are and how we can help you achieve the end result for the investment you want to make.

      I know you can buy a lot of product online now, but two items are still not available and they are cabinetry for a kitchen and the labor to install the entire product you buy. You can get a vanity for a bath, but you won't get to touch or feel that product to know if you’re getting what you paid for. Two places where you can get cost information are the following links. http://www.bhg.com/kitchen/ ;http://www.qualifiedremodeler.com/
Both of these sites provide information on costs of remodeling projects. Some sites use a percentage of the home's value and others use categories. Just remember the old saying “You get what you pay for". If you’re a DIY person, be aware that if you don't have the knowledge to attempt these projects it's probably a safe bet to hire someone who does. Costly mistakes can ruin any budget. Working with a qualified professional can give you the peace of mind that things will be done right and to code. Kitchens and baths are not simple rooms, plumbing, electrical, construction, and HVAC knowledge is required to do either of these projects.

       I wish you all good luck in design projects!

Sincerely Yours

Angie Keyes CKD

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Memory of Bryan Zolfo

The Chicago Design community lost one of its own this past week. I would like to dedicate this post in his memory. Bryan Zolfo

        Dear Bryan, I did not get to tell you in person how you made a difference in my life. As a boss, mentor, sales rep, business adviser and a good friend. As I go forward now without you, I will remember all the laughter that you brought into my life, and the wonderful, insightful advice you shared with me.

       I will take with me all the things I learned from him. These past few months I have missed talking with him a weekly basis. He always made time to talk and discuss things that were happening in the design world and in our personal lives. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. He talked me down off of many a cliff and stood behind me. I trusted him and gave him my loyalty and friendship. In return I received his in tenfold. He had a way of finding the humor in everything.

      He gave a small town designer a chance to become a big city designer. He gave engcourement and guided me to a great career. He gave me support and encouragement to enter a design contest and made me believe I could complete in the big leagues. NKBA Chicago Mid West Chapter was very important is Bryan’s professional life. He gave of himself in so many ways. The Chicago Design Community will never be the same.

      I believe people come into our lives for a reason. I will miss very much and continue to strive to be the best designer and can only hope to be the professional he was. For this and many other things he will always be in my heart.

With all my love and prayers

Angie (his Wisconsin sidekick)