The Blueprint

Expert Overview

It’s a must-have element that’s fundamental to space planning. But where’s the best place to get one? Home center? Designer? Do-it-yourself? Is one option better than others?

Think about: Quality

Everything starts with an accurate blueprint. This includes exact details, not just basic wall measurements: every single inch, nook and bump-out. Starting with accurate dimensions means no surprises along the way, and fewer delays and extra costs.

Think about: Appliances

The blueprint can help you determine how appliances will fit in your space. Know the sizes of the appliances you want and whether they’ll fit. Cabinetry can be customized to fit your space. Appliance dimensions cannot.

Even the best blueprint won’t make miracles happen. A smaller kitchen might never accommodate larger appliances, an island or an extra sink. Based on your measurements, plan wisely around your dimensions and overall work space.

Think about: Who creates the blueprint: kitchen designer or general contractor

A kitchen designer is a specialist in his or her chosen profession and will focus on the personal as well as aesthetic details: how you live, your vision and what you ultimately want from the end result. A general contractor will usually focus on the more technical details of the project: moving the load-bearing wall, how the overall structure is affected, electrical and plumbing considerations.

An ideal solution is when a kitchen designer and general contractor work together as a team. Many general contractors have a kitchen and bath designer on staff, or have a professional relationship with one (a few also design kitchens themselves). You can start with one or the other but ultimately it’s best to have both involved in the final outcome.

A decision like this is similar to choosing any other professional service. Get referrals and view completed projects. Most importantly, interview all potential candidates and find your comfort level. During the process, you’ll need to be able to communicate your likes and dislikes, and your team will need to listen and understand your point of view, so it’s important to feel comfortable with them.