Preparing For A Design Consultation
Rebecca Silburn | 06 July 2016
So, you’ve decided that it’s time for a new kitchen. If you’re looking for a bespoke design, then it will be very important to meet with your designer early so that they can get to know you, how you use your current kitchen and what aspirations you have for your new kitchen space. The prospect of the first meeting might be a little daunting; will the designer be expecting huge amounts of detail to your plans? What if you’re not sure of exactly what you want? Will you have to take reams of paperwork and images to show them what you’re after?
At Davonport, we approach the first meeting with clients in a flexible way. Generally, the initial design consultation is a conversation; it is time for our designers to grasp an idea of what it is that you’re looking for in your new kitchen. We ask how you’re looking to use your kitchen and what you want to achieve from the space, so we can get an idea of flow and begin to form some concepts of how the space will work practically. This in turn connects to questions about the contents of the kitchen – do you know what appliances you’re looking for? Are any appliances from the old kitchen that you want to keep? In terms of furniture, what style do you like? The initial consultation always takes place in our showroom; giving us the chance to find out what parts of the showroom displays you really like and what parts you don’t like so much. Talking through all these elements helps us build a picture of what your new kitchen might look like. Even if you don’t know, we can develop different designs based on the answers to these fundamental questions, and go from there.
What we have also found is that clients can sometimes find it difficult to visualise everything they want within their room and therefore aim to fit too much into their space, so it’s good to reference the different styles and shapes of cabinetry in our showroom to give context. This gives tangibility, which can be very helpful to both parties. For example larger pieces, such as islands, breakfast bars and American fridge freezers can take up more space than perhaps you’ve initially considered, so seeing them in the flesh can be very beneficial. Overall, we aim to get an idea of what the customer wants to include so we can scale things properly and work out what is realistically viable in the design.
It’s also helpful to hear about any background research that’s been done. Magazine articles or images found on sites such as Houzz and Pinterest are helpful – this way we can get a visual example of the styles and design elements that are preferred.
Of course, it’s also very useful to talk about budget early on, as sometimes it can get distorted and this needs to be thought about realistically. It’s important to be honest with your designer about the project budget so that they can design to fit within it, and work with you on making the most of your funds. For example, high end appliances and complex cabinetry shapes can often take a large proportion of the budget; knowing which design elements or appliances are ‘must haves’ and which are ‘nice to haves’ can help your designer prioritise and work out alternatives which can maximise your budget.
After the initial consultation, the next steps are most often dictated by the customer i.e. what is their timescale, how certain are they of what they want, do decisions need to be signed off by a partner? Typically getting to a final design for a new kitchen will take no less than four design meetings but it’s not unusual for it to take six or more, especially if the kitchen is to be located in a new build or extension. Either way, one consultation will be a visit to the customer’s home - we prefer to work from a site survey where we visit you in your home to take measurements, either from the existing space or the new space, which we then design from.
Ultimately, we want to make sure we design the perfect kitchen for your lifestyle, so don’t be afraid of suggesting changes to the design or asking for another meeting. All our kitchens are built to last a lifetime so we understand the importance of getting the design decisions 100% right, and therefore we aim to make sure our design process is as thorough and conscientious as possible.