17 January 2010

Reader question: can you help me with a small kitchen layout?

Help! Can you help me with a layout design for a small kitchen? It has a lot of challenges and I don't know where to start. I sure could use Candice Olson right now! Behind one wall is the stairs to the basement, the other wall is open to the dining area. The basement wall has a recessed oven and fridge. The width of the kitchen is about nine feet and the length's about the same. There's also a door to the garage on one side. Do you have any suggestions for a layout?
Yeah, hire a kitchen designer. Good advice is never free and free advice is never good. Remember that.

If you need a referral to someone local to you, I will find you someone. If you'd like to hire me to do a layout for you I'll do so gladly but you're going to have to hire me. If you take that route, you'll get my undivided attention and commitment to your project. I will ask you questions you never thought were important but are. We're going to get on the phone and I'm going to teach you how to measure a room so that I can recreate it as it is and as it will be when this project's completed. We're going to work out every detail --we'll position every light, we'll account for every outlet, we're going to find a place to hide everything you want to hide and we'll find a place to show off everything you want to show off. By the time we're done you're going to forget who Candace Olson is.

At the end of this you're going to hold a set of my construction plans and you're going to say to yourself that paying me was the best money you've ever spent. You'll tape one of my perspective drawings to your fridge and you'll be able to see it as a completed project. You'll really see it because you're going to understand the steps it will take to make that perspective drawing come true. You're going to have my enthusiasm as we work out the details and then I'm going to cheer you on as you sail through a process that once scared the bejesus out of you. You're going to get all of that and then some, but it won't be free.

I love corresponding with the people who read this blog. It makes my day like you cannot believe to get to know people from all over who read something here and it made them think, or laugh and a lot of times it just pissed them off. All of that's cool. It's beyond cool actually.

I love it when somebody asks, "Hey Paul, are Sub Zero refrigerators worth it?" or "Should I put a wood or a stone floor in my new house?" Spouting off on topics like that gives my life richness and meaning and I'm only too happy to shoot off quickie answers.

But when it comes to asking me to be creative or to work out specifics, I have to draw the line. I make a living from my ideas and I'd starve if I gave them away. Opinions are easy but ideas take some time. That's why I charge for ideas.

BoConcept offer a great 3D space planning tool, excellent for planning the layout of your room


29 comments:

  1. I wish more design bloggers would respond the way you did. Every time I see an ad for "free design with the purchase of cabinets" it just makes me cringe. Every time someone does something like that, it devalues what we do.

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  2. And don't you think that the smallest spaces are often the most challenging - requiring more thought i.e. more of a designer's time per sq' than regular spaces?

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  3. Pam: The longer I design for a living the more I see the value proposition behind what I do. I solve problems and make things look good at the same time and giving that away is unthinkable. I'm with you all the way.

    Jane: Yes I do. Big rooms are relatively easy, it's the small rooms that make me think and I like them for that reason. Small rooms are more challenging and they are not automatically inexpensive to take on. Because small-scale appliances and components are harder to find, they tend to cost more than standard size stuff.

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  4. Perfect answer, bravo! If we don't value our time and ideas, who will? Your distinction between opinions and ideas is so accurate Paul, I may just have to quote you.

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  5. Taking the other fork in the kitchen road you offered up, I am about to commit to ordering my 48" duel fuel. Like you I have been a Wolf fan, but your post on GE Monogram has me confused. Will I regret the GE? It sounds like a better buy.

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  6. JoAnn you can borrow that quote and call it your own all you want. There's a profound difference between those two things and that sentiment has to be spread far and wide.

    Home: Go for the Monogram and no, they haven't paid me anything to say that. I cooked on the Monogram Pro 48 for two days and the experience made a real believer out of me. And I actually cook. The Monogram is more intelligently designed and it's easier to use and to keep clean. You will not be disappointed. Monogram's refrigerators leave something to be desired, but that Pro 48 is tops.

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  7. Thank you, and it loves you back!

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  8. Having worked with Paul remotely on our bathroom, I recommend him whole-heartedly. Paul, you did more for us than I imagined, working within our budget, managing our questions, and delivering quickly and efficiently. I'm thrilled with the vision you gave us.

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  9. Hurray! A testimonial! Thank you Rae, you were a pleasure to work with and I cannot wait to see your completed bathroom.

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  10. Paul, from the looks of that kitchen, she really does need to hire someone. Too often people take advice from so many that they have no idea what they are doing, and there is no rhyme or reason for anything. Better to hire a pro, start with one plan, and work from that.

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  11. Oh, that's not her kitchen, that's a photo from a vacation rental in the UK. I should have labeled that more clearly.

    Thanks for your comment and I couldn't agree more. Would you take free legal advice? I can't imagine that anybody would, so why take free advice about your home?

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  12. YAY PAUL! the designer's hero!

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  13. Your atelier is the first stop in my whistle stop speaking tour. Coming soon!

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  14. Hi Paul... I love your blog & love your answer to the above question! So... how much do you charge for your services? I have a 13 x 13 kitchen in a 180yr old cottage in the UK that needs some TLC. Lizzie

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  15. Hey Lizzie, thanks for the compliments. I'm glad you're around. If you'd like to talk about working together, just shoot me an e-mail @ p.anatergmail.com --thanks!

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  16. Yay Paul - perfect answer. I used to work in a "we don't charge for design" establishment, and of course we really did, it was just hidden in the cost of the products. And then we'd get frustrated when we did redesign after redesign for no additional compensation. People don't value something if you give it away for free!

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  17. I used to work in one of those establishments too. "free" anything is a myth and pretending otherwise is a mistake. And you're right, something that doesn't cost anything can't have any value.

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  18. Now...I've gotten a lot of good advice for free over the years....but good designs - that's different. ;)

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  19. Thanks for weighing in, it's good to see you around these parts again.

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  20. I love your response -- and your philosophy: Good advice is never free, and free advice is never good.

    Save headaches. Save money. Hire a specialist!

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  21. Thanks Julie, now if I could just get more people to hire this expert I'd be all set!

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  22. I hear you Paul. What ever happened to 'the old school of thought', "there are few things in life that are free". -Brenda-

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  23. Actually Brenda, nothing's free. Ever.

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  24. Oh Paul, as a Mother I beg to differ. There will always be unconditional love between a Mother and her child which is....FREE.
    SMILES -Brenda-

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  25. Ahhh, but here's a conundrum for you. Do people love just because or because it makes them feel better?

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  26. I realize I didn't word it quite properly but being the clever lad you are, you understood what I meant.(The unconditional love of a Mother for her child and it being ....FREE.)

    As far as Mother and child are concern I believe it is instinct. NO, "just because or because it makes them feel better".

    Your question is a good one, as I heard of people who have said they 'love' their car and they really do. So who really knows.

    SMILES -Brenda-

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  27. Of course this is pure philosophy, but oh how I love this kind of thing. I don't think there are real answers to questions like that, it's just a matter of which perspective can put together a more compelling proof. Discussion like this challenge me to see the world from another perspective and believe me, that's always a welcome exercise.

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  28. Speaking of questions and who really knows, I have wondered why in the English alphabet do we even bother having the letter "C" when "S" and "K" has the same sound. Trust me though, I am not loosing any sleep over it. SMILES
    -Brenda-

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