What Makes Me Laugh in Kitchen Design

It surprises me, but often friends ask me to tell stories about life as a kitchen designer. Funny stories usually involve customers not valuing our input as professional designers and the calamitous results. Or our punking other designers. See this previous blog.

Sometimes I’m astonished by how customers think. Like the customer, whose budget was stretched, and I provided a free double trash can pull-out. I just didn’t feel she should spend $80,000 on a high-end kitchen andto save a few hundred dollars, eliminate the trash can pull-out. After the kitchen was finished, she decided that she could live without a pull-out. She asked to return it for a refund?! When I reminded her that we gave it to her for free, she responded “Sure, but you can sell it to someone else.”  

Another customer with a multimillion-dollar vacation beach home being built, talked to me from his car as he drove around searching for a gas station selling gas for 4 cents a gallon cheaper

Patience is a Virtue

Too often, our initial conversation with a customer starts with them telling us that they don’t need us. They tell us that they know what they want, and they just need us to price it out. We then begin asking questions which make it completely obvious that they have no idea what they want. Do they want custom, semi-custom, or stock cabinets? What kind of wood do they want? Do they want inset, beaded inset, full overlay, or standard overlay cabinets? Which of our 8 cabinet lines do they want? Which of the thousands of door styles and finishes?

Every week, we also get calls from people who would like to make an appointment later today or tomorrow – same week appointments are rarely available with good kitchen designers. Often, these same callers have already ripped out their present kitchen, “just to get started”.

One time, a customer called during a company meeting, upset and wanting an appointment “ASAP”. Her husband had ripped out her kitchen! One of our designers agreed to come out immediately following our meeting. Upon arriving, he realized he had measured and designed her kitchen 16 months previously – and her kitchen was ripped out then.

Just last week, during the 4th design meeting with a customer, she continually told me what “her” friend, who was a “designer”, recommended. Finally, I had to ask why she was getting advice from someone less experienced, and not even in our industry. I tried to, semi-humbly, mention that I was an internationally recognized award-winning kitchen designer, so why was she not listening to my advice over her friends, she said, “good question”.

I routinely get referrals from past customers. Thier friends or family love the kitchen we did, and they call to inquire about our design process. After they find out that we require a $150 deposit for the first 4 design appointments they want to think about it and speak with other places. This is why we have the $150 deposit, because people that don’t understand that $150 is a small investment to get our time and expertise can be difficult customers.

The moral of the majority of these stories is that the people who don’t WANT help and refuse to accept input from experienced professionals, both waste large sums of money on a poorly designed kitchen and, often, have many problems during their projects.

Here’s is another story on this topic.

Here are some videos as well.

Hoping that you’ll let us help you create an amazing kitchen.


Join the conversation