When my wife and I first decided to redo our kitchen, we thought at first we could get away with using an operation like Reborn Cabinetry, which specializes in resurfacing your cabinets. We had them come by, and asked them how much it would cost for them to just gut the kitchen and remake it, rather than just resurface the cabinets. Instead of giving us options, the representative just kept pushing for a resurfacing. When he finally gave us an estimate for the entire kitchen, it was about 45,000 dollars. That's when we decided to call Claudia with an intent to hire.
We've had work done on the house before, but, being inexperienced home owners, we sort of picked a contractor and then had them do the work, including picking fixtures, style of wood, et cetera. We were never satisfied with the work done, but we never really felt like we were the type of people who had the money to hire a designer. When it came time to do the kitchen, after the visit with Reborn, we knew there was no way were going to get it done cheaply, even if the job was poorly done (we are not fond of spending money), and based on Reborn's rushed sales job, I had a feeling the job they were going to do would be a bad one. So, once we got the quote from Reborn, we gave Claudia a call. We figured if we were going to drop 50,000 to 60,000 dollars, we wanted to make sure the project was done correctly. We thought a designer might help. My wife has a hard time deciding when it comes to major decorating decisions (what color should the kitchen be? What kind of countertop should be used?), and I am basically useless when it comes to envisioning what I want something to look like (my idea for the new kitchen was "something Mexican" - brilliant, right?). I got on the Internet and called a few people who were advertising their services. The only person who sounded like a pro was Claudia, so I asked her to come by. Without any guarantee of money, she spent 2 hours talking to us about what we wanted our kitchen to look like, and what our budget was. She struck me as straightforward and honest, and it meant a lot to us that she was willing to take the time to understand what we wanted. Also, we knew that as a designer with experience, she would probably have a better feel as to who the good contractors were. Finally, it was a relief to both of us that, if there was a problem with the job, she would take care of it. That meant that we wouldn't be stuck arguing with some carpenter that his job was done incorrectly. I hate doing that - I don't know anything about carpentry! So, we decided to go for it and hire Claudia. BEST DECISION EVER.
Claudia knows what she is doing. She turned my vague idea of a "Mexican kitchen" into something that looks amazing but still captures the essence of what I wanted - how she did that, I have no idea. She did all the work of finding the best looking stuff, of narrowing down our choices to what was worth choosing, which made my wife's job so much easier when a decision had to be made. I mean, my wife and I didn't have time to shop around, and frankly, I hate shopping. Even if we had time, there's no way we could have matched Claudia's knowledge base of what is available. The kitchen that she created not only looks amazing, but it's super functional. Everything is where it should be, but there's no way we could have arranged that by ourselves - Claudia did it, and it's only after the kitchen is finished and we started cooking in it that we realized what a genius she is. Every day we like it better and better.
Were there problems along the way? Hey, all remodels have problems, but Claudia always took full ownership of the problems, which was so great for us. She always took on the burden of stressing whether or not something was going to get done correctly, which made the project, to some extent, worry free. Of course, my wife and I, being chronic worriers, would still call her and pepper her with emails, texts, and questions, but Claudia was always sympathetic, available, and confident that, whatever happened, the final product was going to be amazing. I have to say, she was always right: our kitchen is amazing.
Look, the bottom line is this: if you've got the money to do a kitchen redo, do it right and hire Claudia to do it for you. Trust me, I'm not a big fan of spending money, but I am a big fan of doing something right if it is to be done at all. I'm already saving up for the next time we have to remodel part of the house, and you can bet that I'll be setting aside the necessary cash for Claudia's fee as part of the budget. Having her involved is pretty much a guarantee that the final product is going to be as close to perfect as possible.