#1 - Do your homework before your initial sit down meeting with a designer. Look at photos of kitchens online and make an idea book of what you like, but also, what you don't want in your new kitchen. Houzz and Pinterest are fantastic resources for variety and inspiration.
#2 - Make sure you and the designer have good chemistry at that first meeting. For the most part, the cost of quality custom cabinetry is not going to vary too much from showroom to showroom. Look for a design team that asks you questions and listens to your likes and dislikes rather than one that acts as though they have all the answers before they get to know you. When there’s good communication you increase the chances the designer can pull valuable content from your conversation and create a space that defines your unique personality. It’s all about connection.
#3 – Get inspired. I went to school for interior design, but I get my inspiration from my clients, previous projects, other designers in the industry, architects, and furniture design. Again, online kitchen portfolios and sites like Houzz make for a great starting point in deciding what kind of kitchen you want to create.
#4 – Let your designer conquer the beast! A good designer is a fantastic listener. I love the depth of finding out about my how my clients use their kitchens in their daily lives and what defines them as a working family. It's my job to draw those practical needs out of them, be precise in solving their spatial concerns, and ultimately creating a beautiful space they never want to leave.
#5 – If being innovative and unconventional excites you, tell your designer. I do enjoy a client who will break out of the proverbial kitchen design box. Currently, we are working on an "Organic Industrial" type of kitchen remodel which combines distressed finishes and clean lines. Woven into this design is a contemporary vibe with a sprinkling of natural stone, iron and steel elements. Don't be afraid to be yourself and let your designer "see" your personality and quirks - the outcome can be marvelously you!