A designer who is both an interior designer and a kitchen designer, is a rare find for homeowners who are renovating their kitchen. This is because each type of designer brings different values to the project.
The first step in understanding this value is to understand the difference between an interior designer and an interior decorator. Interior designers complete a four-year degree in Interior Design. The curriculum includes:
- Space planning & Spatial Concepts
- Building codes & Structural Integrity of Buildings
- Handicap accessibility (ADA codes)
- Sustainability & Environmentally Friendly Designs
- Fabric Education – Residential & Commercial Design
- Ergonomics & Universal Design
- Spatial Concepts, Ethics, Psychology
- Furniture Design & History
- Color Theory & Design Trends
- Proposals, Presentations, Budgets & Timelines
Alternatively, interior decorators can obtain certification with as little as forty hours of training. Both designers and decorators can be very helpful to homeowners. However, when it comes to what is generally, everyone’s largest asset – their home, homeowners understandably seek experts with the right credentials!
I am an Interior Designer with more than 15 years of experience focusing on kitchens and bathrooms.
I am also a kitchen designer here at Main Line Kitchen Design. Training to become a kitchen designer is also not something you can just do overnight. Understanding the cabinet nomenclature, learning about individual cabinet lines, staying up to date with cabinetry trends and products, designing with kitchen codes and clearances are just the beginning of the knowledge required to assist clients with making the best use of the space they have and the dollars they have to invest in it.
So, what is the difference when you work with a kitchen designer who is also an interior designer?
Main Line Kitchen Design’s Houzz page showing 94 kitchens from all our designers demonstrates a range of tremendous talent from our senior designers – all of whom, like me, have devoted years and years to becoming leaders in our field. We also each bring our own personal input to our customers’ projects.
As both an interior designer and kitchen designer, I see the entire project in detail, in color, with the furniture, the lighting, the cabinet hardware and with every finishing touch while I am creating a floor plan. My approach includes asking questions like a detective who wants to know how you spend every day utilizing your kitchen and uncovering the style and motivation of your entire house. I strive to find ways to solve spatial dilemmas and design obstacles.
Good kitchen designers, like the Main Line Kitchen Design team, will ask you the important questions that are needed to create a good kitchen design. The questions I pose to customers vary because of my background and training. I can’t put a name or description on my unique interior design-kitchen design process, but my completed projects always include features and attractive details that specifically reflect each individual client. My in-depth and occasionally more personal questions result in discovering more about each of my client’s use of space, and how they work in their kitchens.
In addition to standard industry questions, here are a few samples of questions I ask, and after gaining some insight, my possible responses.
Q: What is your preference of the bar stool style and size?
A: If you want larger stools, perhaps we can add a larger overhang and we will have to add hidden or decorative supports to allow for weight of the countertop beyond the standard 12” overhang. I will allow for more clearance in the walkaway as well.
Q. Are you considering adding new accent lighting to the kitchen?
A: If you want to install a pendant light or a wall fixture above the kitchen window, we can design the space without a valance above to allow for the decorative light fixtures.
Q: Have you considered what tile you want to use for your backsplash design or what style or look you want to achieve?
A: If we leave more wall space next to the range hood, we can highlight the glass mosaic tile you want to feature as the focal point.
For some kitchen designers, the backsplash color may be irrelevant. Alternatively, working with a kitchen designer who is also an interior designer provides additional value such as leaving extra inches of space next to a chimney style range hood. This can allow a tile pattern to create a more dramatic look which clients appreciate.
For the important investments in life, you want to hire professionals who you trust will do a superior job and who value the work. When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, working with someone qualified and experienced in combining both interior design and kitchen design proves invaluable to many – two designers combined into one package!
If this approach appeals to you, I am looking forward to working with you.
And, of course . . . Bon appetite!
Lauren Marie Sciarra
Senior Kitchen Designer, Main Line Kitchen Design
Interior Designer & Owner, Greenprints Design Studio