07 . 21 . 16

3 Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Designer

Country or contemporary, rustic or transitional, kitchens come in many forms. In fact, country, contemporary, rustic and transitional are all common types of kitchen design that are popular in today’s new construction homes and renovations.


But for how simple a kitchen may seem, a kitchen’s type is not a decision made lightly. In today’s homes, the kitchen is often the most occupied room in the entire house. It’s also one of the most important rooms when it comes time to sell.


The Heart of the Home 

The kitchen, otherwise known as the “heart” of the home, can be the most expensive room to remodel. But it can also garner the owner the largest return on investment, surpassing other home renovation products such as exterior work or bathroom redesigns.


For those planning to undergo a kitchen project, it’s important to remember that a kitchen goes well beyond a sink, fridge and stove. In some homes, the kitchen also doubles as an office, a living room, a dining room—or a combination of all three.


For the greatest ROI, homeowners are well served to research thoroughly and enlist the help of a professional who specializes in kitchen design. An experienced kitchen designer will not only be ahead of the cutting-edge trends, but can introduce efficiencies as well as dollars saved when it comes to creating a kitchen that will function and will last, increasing the value of your home.


When it comes to kitchens, a specialized kitchen designer in San Diego like Matt Bergman of Spark Design Group in Encinitas brings a wealth of experience both in local design as well as national trends. But above all, the design should mirror the lifestyle of those who will use the kitchen; in the near term as well as long term.

“The Spark Design approach is very different in its simplicity,” Bergman says. “We listen. Listening to our clients allows us to tailor not only the aesthetic aspects but also the functional.” 

Working with professionals can also save you money by offering a design that is efficient, functional and cost effective, as they can foresee challenges that might arise for your particular project to help combat those challenges upfront.


Given the plethora of organizations that do specialize in kitchen projects, it’s a good idea to interview several contractors before making your choice. Find out whether the contractor is licensed and insured, ask for a detailed proposal and an American Institute of Architects contract, find out about any subcontractors, get the contractor’s input on your design, and ask whether there are any shopping discounts such as those offered to trade professionals on appliances.


You’ll also want to establish how often the contractor will be present to check in on the project, and the best way that you will communicate with the contractor and his or her team.


Working with a professional kitchen designer can help set your project apart and help you recoup your investment when you sell your home.


Here are the top 3 questions you need to ask when meeting with your designer to plan and create your dream kitchen. 

1. What’s Trending In Kitchen Design?

Function is one aspect of the kitchen, but form will set a kitchen apart when a home is listed for sale. In order to capture return on investment, a kitchen project should first acknowledge what’s trending in kitchen design.


That may mean saying goodbye to countertop microwaves, colorful appliances, and even some farmhouse sinks—all design features experts say have seen better days.


Today’s cutting edge kitchens often feature the following design elements:

  • Colored sinks. Opt for a bright colored porcelain sink rather than white if you steer away from stainless steel, which is a tried and true kitchen trend.
  • Bold fixtures. Oversize light fixtures, for example, can create a new focal point, say the experts at HGTV.
  • Multi-tiered storage. Homeowners can maximize their storage space with multi-tiered drawers that are trending currently.
  • Automation. A good place to start is with a hands-free faucet, HGTV says.
  • Wood countertops. As a standalone material or incorporated along with quartz or laminate, wood is making a comeback in countertops. It can also serve as a built in cutting-board with the right materials and treatment.


It’s important to stay on trend with any design project so as to make the most of your investment and gain a return when it is time to sell.

2. What Type of Cabinets Are Best For My Lifestyle?

No kitchen is complete without cabinetry, and a custom approach will make the difference between a standard final product and a stand-out final product.


During a recent home remodel, Del Mar native and owner of P.S. Platinum Properties Brett Combs enlisted Rich Seifrid of Dutch Made Inc. to be the project’s cabinet expert. Based in Indiana, Dutch Made works with homeowners across the country to realize their kitchen dreams. Dutch Made’s tagline, “If you can draw it, we can build it,” applied in Combs’ kitchen remodel, which was based on the design of Spark Design Group’s Matt Bergman.


From ultra-modern sleek lines and materials to rustic woods, inlays, shapes and more, a custom cabinet maker can take a kitchen to the next level, to truly incorporate the kitchen into the home as the most-used room in the house.


A few things to keep in mind:

  • Accents. In many cases, cabinets extend from floor to ceiling with shelves and other spaces in between that can display frames, cookbooks or other items. Think of it as an accent wall.
  • Hardware. Hardware will dictate much of the style; don’t make the decision lightly. Invisible hardware is always an option for sleek, modern kitchen designs. Do you like the hardware you see in Brett's new kitchen? The beautiful architectural hardware was provided by Ashley Norton. 
  • Style. Texture and natural looks are in, while glazed sleek finishes are out. Choose a material that lends itself to the style you envision for your final kitchen product.


When it comes to choosing a cabinet designer, ask to see photos of past projects, but also inquire as to whether the designer has any professional credentials. The Cabinet Makers Association, for example, offers a Professional Certification program.


Questions to ask your cabinet maker:

  • Does the cabinet designer work with different types of materials?
  • Can he or she produce various styles?
  • Does the designer consider both function as well as the aesthetic appearance of the cabinets?


Don't Stop At The Cabinets

Quality appliances can not only increase the aesthetics of your kitchen, but increase your quality of life while still living in the home. If you know the right place to go, you can also find appliances that will help you save big money on your monthly utility bill. Where did Brett find his sleek appliances? Pirch has showrooms in most major cities, but Brett located his appliaces from the San Diego location.

Shopping at Pirch is a luxury experience unlike any other. They're not just an appliance and plumbing store. Each appliance is hooked up, turned on, and ready to go in order to give you an accurate idea of how it will perform in your home. They've got executive chefs on staff to not only prepare a delicious meal for you, but to answer any quesitons you may have about cooking with their appliances. Additionally, Pirch offers cooking classes to help you take advantage of your new appliances after purchase, and impress your guests in the kitchen. 

3. Will A Kitchen Remodel Help Me See a Return on My Investment?

In the current economic climate, home remodel projects are rising. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, home remodeling spending will increase 8.6% by the end of 2016 and will accelerate further to 9.7% by the first quarter of 2017.


“Ongoing gains in home prices and sales are encouraging more homeowners to pursue larger-scale improvement projects this year compared to last with permitted projects climbing at a good pace,” said Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center, upon the center’s latest data release.


Kitchens and bathrooms are the most common remodels, and they’re also areas where you can regain value. As other homeowners in your market continue to pursue these home projects, you may be best served to consider one now, rather than when you move.


First, by putting off a major remodel, it may add stress to the listing and sale process. Second, undergoing a kitchen project well before you sell the home will allow you to enjoy your kitchen firsthand.


But a kitchen renovation doesn’t need to be daunting. By employing trade professionals to help do the heavy design lifting, a new, stress-free kitchen can be yours to enjoy, and to help you capture the highest sales price of your home when it comes time to move.


Where Can You Find The Right Kitchen Designer or Cabinet Maker?

If you’re considering improvements to your kitchen, or you are looking for a way to improve the value of your home, contact one of North County San Diego’s premier kitchen designers, Matt Bergman of Spark Design Group in Encinitas. Once you’ve got the design down, enlist the help of cabinet expertRich Seifrid of Dutch Made Inc.


Your Kitchen Is A Stunner...Now What?

For your North County San Diego real estate needs once you’ve achieved your desired curb appeal, Brett Combs of Del Mar-based P.S. Platinum Properties is available to assist you. 


Stay tuned for more from Brett Combs.

He's divulging the local experts he trusts enough to tackle his own home remodel. Next up: professional landscaping in San Diego.