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Kitchen Planning and Tips for Meeting With a Kitchen Designer

by - Sunday, January 13, 2008

HandyMan and I continued kitchen planning and our search for the perfect kitchen this weekend with a visit to Canac Kitchens. We're familiar with Canac - HandyMan has used them in previous renovations, other friends have recommended their products - so we were hopeful we'd find something to fit our needs.

kitchen planning tips, kitchen designer, kitchen ideas

We made a trip to their showroom (the first roadtrip for the new car!) and were happily surprised. They had various kitchen and bath models in both modern and traditional styles. I was looking for something similar to this style which I'd seen on their website.

Alas, I found the door style but it did not come in white...and I couldn't picture anything but a white kitchen :( There was a simple shaker door style offered, but I'm still not convinced its "the one". Since the door is thermafoil (basically a plastic coating over an MDF door), the edges and lines of it are not as sharp and clean as I was hoping for. Its like those ice cream popsicles you used to eat as a kid, vanilla inside with a thin chocolate coating outside... everything just looks softer and smoother with the coating.

The trip was a good learning experience though. We talked with a kitchen designer, who, funnily enough, is married to one of HandyMan's old University professors. I love when those moments happen -- unexpected connections with other people appear and make you think "Hmm, what a coincidence!". We quickly sketched some ideas out and gained some great tips.

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Here's tips for kitchen planning and what to ask when you're meeting with a kitchen designer:

  • when visiting a kitchen showroom, even for the first time, come with dimensions in hand. Its much easier to show a designer a simple sketch of your space than trying to explain where all the doors, windows, and existing ugly cabinets are
  • have an idea of what you're looking for. Know the general style of cabinet and colour palette. This will help you see if the manufacturer offers the look you're going for right off the bat
  • think about what are your must haves & what are your current pain points. High on our list - a slide-out pantry, pot drawers, more counterspace, and a TV/laptop workstation
  • be aware of what you see of your kitchen from other parts of the house. Part of our dining room looks into the kitchen so maybe a glassfront cabinet with pretty dishware is something we want to incorporate
  • have a general idea of timeline and budget. If all you can afford is Ikea and you want the kitchen in a month, there's no point wasting your time visiting a custom cabinetmaker who will take a minimum of six weeks to even craft the cabinets.

Most importantly, ask questions. A kitchen design is only as good as the kitchen designer.

Recently, I saw a friend's kitchen that was obviously was put up with little forethought. There was inefficient use of space, the whole look was overwhelming with wall to wall of cabinets with little variation, and there were simple questions like "where do we put the recycling bin" still left unanswered by the new design. I don't want to feel that way right after I spend $20K on my kitchen!!

So HandyMan and I will spend the time, too much maybe, bouncing ideas off one another, making sketches on scrap pieces of paper, and hopefully we'll find a kitchen designer that can put all those pieces together into something that really cooks ;)


UPDATE: Looking for more renovating tips that will help you save time and money? Want to learn from our renovating mistakes? Visit our Giant List of DIY Home Renovation Tips to get our best ideas and lessons learned!

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