Monday, April 30, 2012

Is Design for your home really free? Is it worth it? How do you know?

      When you start on the path of a remodeling project or new construction, how do decide where to go?  With all the information at our fingertips today, I think we go to the internet to start our search. Do the websites draw you in or is it basic information they offer that you seek?

     So, now you select a few places to go or call. Do you make appointments or just walk in? If you look at builders instead of cabinet retailers, most don't really have showrooms or do they? Cabinet shops do have materials to see. Do look at the details of the showroom? Do they reflect current trends and is it clean place? Do they charge for design or is it just free? I think we all know nothing is really free, more than likely it's in their overall profit margin to cover the cost of the showroom and employees. I am very curious to hear about your first impressions of the places and people you talked with.

    How do you judge if the person you're talking with has the skills to do a functional, yet beautiful design? How do they listen? Do they ask questions or do you just tell them what you want?  Do you know what you want and the bigger question is will your ideas work? Do you have the proper storage, does the traffic flow work for you? What about how you cook and work in the space? Is there more than one cook, does it needs to be more than just a place to cook? What about the bath? Is the shower larger enough, are the shower fixtures at the right heights? What about storage or does the current layout work for who's using the space?  Do they ask you these questions? Do they write down your answers? Are they listening? Do they use your name during the interview process?

    How important is customer service to you? Do the places you have selected return calls on a timely manner, do they get back  to you when they say they will? How is the follow through? These are signs to look for to make sure the rest of your project will run smoothly or will those be a sign of how badly your project is going to go. Do they ask what your budget is? Do you tell them? Do you ask if they have pictures of completed projects? Do they have references they can give you and do you check them out?  

     When doing your research do you consider the independent designer?  Why not? Are they not as accessible? Do you think hiring this type of professional will be to expensive?  Typically a design done first is easier to plan a solid budget around and  this saves money and time by preventing mistakes, in addition you can avoid change orders that cause the budget to rise.  Does free design mean good design? Do you value free services or does paying for design really cost that much more?  Does a showroom of product make a difference?  Do you know if you're looking at good, better or best product lines? This brings me to a recent post I did about stain steel appliances. Are they good, better or best? I'm surprised to find that with all this information at the our fingertips most still don't look past the surface of what they are seeing.  As you can see I have lots of questions. I would love to hear from you about your experiences.

    I always hear about how terrible the remodeling or new construction process is, but I wonder is the process as researched as the marketing information tells us. After visiting the Kitchen & Bath Industry show in Chicago recently, I have been thinking about how to  pass on all the information that is out in the cyber world. It's overwhelming to me, can't begin to understand how the consumer must feel. 

 I wish everyone a good experience when tackling your project.
Angie Keyes CKD

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stainless Appliances - Why?

      Lately I've been following the House Hunters show, and it has been interesting to watch clients react to seeing stainless appliances. Why are you the consumer thinking that stainless is an upgrade?  Why is stainless steel thought of as better, no matter what brand they may be?

    I think the first reaction is that they have a professional look over the white or black. And I agree they do look sleek and more expensive. However I do advise clients to look deeper than skin deep. With all the information available on the web, do your research. As always there are different levels of appliances, good, better, best. You must decide which level is right for you.
     How do you decide which level is right for you. Even though price is a big consideration try not to make it the main reason you buy a appliance. For example: If you a expert cook/ baker, the range/oven/cook top will be an important decision. If your single and you don't have time for cooking, the refrigerator and microwave might be the appliances you spend more of your budget on. If you have a large family the size of the appliance can make a big difference. What if you cook a lot of strong smelling foods, then ventilation could be a area that needs more attention. I tell clients to make a list of the important appliances and the features they feel they need to have. I think this helps clients figure what they really should spent. Technology has made these choices much harder. So many choices, in addition so many opinions.

   So going back to why I started this conversation. If your buying a new home or an older home and they have stainless appliances, don't judge a book by it's cover. Make sure they are appliances that match the quality of the purchase price of the home.  Knowing what your are looking at will help get the best deal on that big purchase.

 I wish you luck on your adventure of buying, remodeling, or constructing a new home.

Sincerely Yours
Angie Keyes CKD