Need some advice about my kitchen


I have hosted a couple of pictures, linked below, one of the current kitchen, dining room, living room layout, and one of the potential layout.

There are a number of issues that I have addressed:

1) That really weird, tiny, hallway bathroom is gone. No reason to keep it
2) I want to open up the West wall to floor to ceiling windows, allowing a lot more natural light
3) I want to open up the entire area so it's one continuous room
4) I've moved the entrance to the master bedroom, so it's in the same hall as the other bedrooms

There are a few questions I have

1) Where should I place the cooktop, sink, and fridge? The entrance on the top left will go to more bedrooms and the pool room, so I don't want to crowd it too much because it will be mainly a walkway. But I want the placement to be convenient enough and out of the way.
2) Should I put base cabinets on the West wall to increase cabinet space, and only have shorter windows?

Anyone have any ideas? Or any big mistakes I'm making?


May 19, 10 1:14 pm

Not a fan of the island sink as primary sink - think about moving it to the long counter you've made along the east wall and move the range top to the island. Raise the back of the island up where the seating is. At the seating you'll need some leg room and a wider back aisle.

You might want to take a closer look at the east elevation, the refrigerator seems oddly located and leaves a little stump of millwork to the side.

The north wall is terribly thought out, or rather not thought out at all.

Where did you move the powder room to or are people going to use the back yard?

May 19, 10 1:47 pm
led signal light

you need a paid architect!

May 19, 10 1:55 pm

There are a lot of unknowns about your situation that would be helpful for anyone to give professional advice about your plans. Among them, this appears to be only a portion of a residence and we have no way of knowing what area of the country it is in ie: climate. Without getting into too much of it i'll just respond to a couple of knee jerk issues.

The giant west wall of glass is generally a bad idea. The west face will receive massive amounts of low, harsh sunlight which is difficult to shade/screen. Besides the uncomfortably glaring light in the evening you will also receive a significant amount of solar heat gain, contributing to high cooling bills. Again, not knowing what is on the other side of this wall makes this issue more difficult to gauge, but if there is a significant view, you might opt for something more along the lines of a narrow ribbon window at standing height or some type of solar screening strategy.

For a functional kitchen for cooking, the stove, fridge, and sink optimally would be in a tighter triangular pattern such as if the cook top was moved opposite the sink.

There are some obvious issues with the furniture in the living area as well.

I'm not sure how you got to this point, but from the looks of it I am guessing you are using some kind of EZ home designer program. There is a lot of potential in the space and for the scale of renovation you are considering I would suggest hiring a young professional to help you achieve a more holistic vision for the space. For example, rather than thinking of the cabinets as a drag and drop item, you might have someone help you to consider how all of this can work together and tie in the living area as well.

May 19, 10 2:06 pm


May 19, 10 2:07 pm

Thank you for the responses...

Located in Seattle, so the warm light is very welcome. I have to worry more about cold than warm. Right now the space just seems so dark and dingy that I want to be able to open it up to more natural light. Maybe you're right, I am just going to the other extreme. The other side of the wall is the front yard, and there isn't a great view, but there is a nice church parking lot, and lots of sunlight on a quiet street.

I am using Microsoft Visio for the designs, which as worked out well. The cabinets aren't set in stone, and the positions can move very easily.

I've quickly created a couple of other designs, and maybe someone has some other ideas:

I'm not worried about the living area so much, but you're probably right about trying to have someone design it so the whole room flows better. Maybe I should just have a blank room with the doors and let someone just give me suggestions for the entire room.

May 19, 10 2:16 pm

I would suggest seeking the services of a local architect/kitchen designer in your area instead of trying to get some free advice. As archrise stated in their post above there are a lot of unknowns pertaining to your project and many on this site are unwilling and/or unable to give away our services away without fair compensation. After all, we too have food we must put on the table.

May 19, 10 2:17 pm

Thank you for the advice, unfortunately free advice is about all I can afford. I just graduated from college and scraped together what I could to buy this house. The kitchen remodel won't happen for a while; probably not until I get my $8,000 tax credit. I was just gathering ideas for now. I really appreciate everything though.


May 19, 10 2:22 pm

I hate to tell you this, but the second 2 designs are going in the wrong direction. The kitchen is not functional at all unless you like the idea of walking all the way across the room to get the lettuce you left in the sink that you wanted to chop on the opposite side of the room. You'll have completed a 5K by the time you finish cooking dinner.

I would solicit the services of a young designer, work out a fair hourly rate, and get some great results that are going to pay dividends in the future on attractiveness and efficiency of your design.

May 19, 10 2:31 pm

csk1007, I agree with the others that you are missing out on lots of ideas that you don't realize you're missing out on, and we can't really help you because we don't have enough information about the site, the rest of the house, the style, the contents of your cabinets, how you like to use your living and cooking spaces (the rhythms of your life), etc. To give you one small idea of all the things you don't realize that you're not considering (that an experienced architect will think through):

When I do kitchen renovations, one of the most important activities I walk the clients through is a thorough inventory of all their cooking utensils, appliances, serving plates, etcetera. Your questions about the cabinets, for example, would be a moot point if you had an architect to shepherd you through this exercise. You may have too many useless cabinets in that plan that will only collect unnecessary crap and are meanwhile eating into your living space; conversely, you may have too few cabinets, or the wrong kind, which will kill the usefulness of your kitchen. Again, that is only one of the many investigations that an experienced architect will use to provide the best possible design for this renovation.

This is a major investment on your part and it is silly to think that you "can't afford" to hire a designer. Why invest a huge chunk of change into something that at worst, doesn't work (and lowers your property value) and at best, isn't as good as it could be, given all that you spend on it? With an investment of this size it does not help you to be penny wise, and dollar foolish. The services of an architect are a drop in the bucket compared to what you'll spend on construction, and may help you save money on unnecessary purchases in the meanwhile.

Bear in mind that many architects right now are looking for work, and if you don't have the cash, you may be able to barter services at a minimum. What do you do, that you could use to barter for an architect's services?

May 19, 10 2:51 pm

Also, I see so many red flags in this plan it's egregious. Be forewarned.

May 19, 10 2:53 pm

In fact there are quite a few Seattle architects right here at archinect who may be willing to meet with you.

May 19, 10 2:54 pm

Well put mantaray.

May 19, 10 2:55 pm

An additional comment is that an experienced architect will know which construction materials are better value for the money and will help to control costs this way during construction. A contractor will typically point you to one of two types of fixtures: 1) the fixtures he is most comfortable with and "installs all the time", regardless of long-term quality or 2) the cheapest fixtures, so that he can either win the bid or frankly, pocket the difference (depending on how your contract is structured). If you are contracting this yourself then you definitely do not know which types of fixtures are out there and which have the best maintenance record, etcetera. An architect will know a broader range of possible fixtures and which ones to avoid for long-term use, etcetera. For example, there are Swiss fixtures that are cheaper in price than Kohler but comparable or better quality, and definitely with better styling. I have yet to meet a contractor or a homeowner who has ever heard of them however. I also recently put in an IKEA kitchen for the first time and was impressed by its quality and low-price point. The difficulty with those is navigating the incredible mess of their systems - which, again, an architect will be able to do with much less effort than you will.

Anyway I could go on, so I will stop.

May 19, 10 3:04 pm

Thanks, archrise. Too bad I ruined it by continuing on! Ah well.

May 19, 10 3:10 pm
Distant Unicorn

Yes. I know someone who recently re-did their bathroom ($12k budget) who lives next door to a [licensed] architectural drafter. They were talking one day and the architectural drafter mentioned that he can get discounts for many of the materials being purchased.

Well, this person ended up saving close to $4500 on materials by going through the architect with the hookups. He ended up paying the architect $2500 for the discounts and some advice on how to make the bathroom pop!

In situations like these, you may find someone who can pay themselves by getting you the things you need at wholesale prices while also providing you with a better service.

Also, there's no way in hell that you can get floor to ceiling windows (12 foot span?) for less than $8,000. Good residential windows run what? $300-400a linear foot?! $8,000 dollars will barely cover the cost of ripping out the wall and installing a header.

I'm not even an architect and I know that.

May 19, 10 3:15 pm

Manta - can you send me that Swiss fixture site? Thanks

csk - I agree whole heartedly with what everyone is saying. Seeking professional services could save you a good chunk of change and headaches in the long run. You really would be surprised by what we can do for you.

May 19, 10 3:31 pm
led signal light

i have no sympathy for this asshole. why ? he thinks he can solicit the ideas of an architect or a designer for free because that is how much he thinks they are worth. but he will pay for his asshat floor to ceiling windows and cabinets.

May 19, 10 3:41 pm

Thank you Mantaray for the positive response.

Based on the feedback thusfar, I've created another design.

I actually do not own any kitchenware as of yet because like I said before I am just out of college.

I really like your argument about being penny-wise and dollar foolish. I will seriously consider hiring an architect to take a look at my space.

My father redid his kitchen and he used Ikea cabinets, and it turned out very nice. Everyone is always very impressed.

Unicorn: Thank you for the advice, I will contact some architects in my area to see if they would be willing to help me out. The $8,000 is not the entire budget, but would be a start as you said.

I am also interested in the swiss fixtures.


May 19, 10 4:00 pm

your fridge backs up to one of your asshat floor to ceiling windows and also blocks access to your asshat pantry.

May 19, 10 4:14 pm

those asshat cabinets are also pushing through the asshat east wall. and wtfuck is going on with those asshat sofas in the southeast corner?

May 19, 10 4:21 pm
prairie school drop out

need some advice about my kitten. that's what i wish this thread was about.

May 19, 10 4:38 pm

Lots of problems with that plan, csk, including potentially major structural issues. Not going to enumerate them because you simply need to talk to an architect. Why don't you put together a request for services and put it up here on archinect - I think the job post rates are reasonable, check it out. Otherwise there's always your local AIA (American Institute of Architects) who will gladly help you will recommendations, or you can put up notices in your local coffeeshops - I guarantee you at least 3 or 4 out of work architects are probably hanging out right now in your local coffeeshop. You can always try craigslist but most architects I know are justifiably wary of client requests on craigslist, so you're not likely to get the most legit and experienced practitioners. Likewise I would stay away from recent grads because frankly kitchen renovations are a lot trickier than they look and it's the kind of thing that you really need experience in. You most likely will not need a licensed architect for a renovation this small, although it is worth contacting your local building department to find out. This will widen your pool of candidates, although again, I urge you to find someone with experience in kitchen cabinetry.

Would be happy to send you the name of the fixtures, tuna. Sorry csk - have your architect contact me and I'd be happy to help. I hate to be proprietary but we have to protect ourselves - our profession is being eroded by people who watch a few HGTV shows and feel empowered to not pay for real design services (to their detriment - but unfortunately they learn that too late). We are currently running about 40% unemployment in my city. I would be happy to help you given remuneration, but I don't live in Seattle.

May 19, 10 4:38 pm

now children... how bout being respectful? This person isnt looking to be harassed. If you've nothing kind to say, zip it.

May 19, 10 4:41 pm

To be quite honest: your designs aren't really improving, functionally. What's good about it, is that you can use these to understand what you'd like, spatially. For instance, if I look at the last design you've posted here, I'm wondering what your idea for the "bar" kind of seating arrangement in the middle of the room is. It's like sitting second row in the cinema. Try to really think about how you'd like to use the space - right now your 'designs' are an amalgamation of things you've seen somewhere, mixed with what you think "is standard". Try to think about how you live, or how you'd like to live. For instance, hypothetically: if you'd have dinner parties with 10 guests every week, and be out most other nights, you'd need quite a different design than when you'd like to eat your dinner in front of the tv, every evening.

Try to think in the way things work for you, instead of "solutions". Use all the information you think about what you'd like (and how you live) and go to a professional. He can help you get a solution you'd never imagined yourself, by fitting the ideas exactly to your situation. And, as others have pointed out before: a GOOD architect is really with his/hers money, be it in improved materials, connections with builders and discounts, or in getting you something that's still useful 10 years down the road, and saves you the costs of remodeling things after only a couple of years because it isn't working for you. Pretty much, a good architect can help you to get the best out of your ambitions for the space, and still surprise you with the result.

So really, wait, and gather ideas on what you'd like. Then, if you have the kind of money you assume is fitting for your ambitions, locate a good architect in your area, and I am pretty sure to say that you'd still be suprised with the outcome.

May 19, 10 4:43 pm

not you manta... delayed post...

May 19, 10 4:43 pm
el jeffe

we're at the bidding stage of a whole house remodel & addition whose genesis was trying to fix a fucked-up custom kitchen remodel by a handy-man.

for those that insist on DIY without knowledge, these things have a way of taking care of themselves, eventually.

May 19, 10 5:20 pm

Thanks for your advice, I am not sure why, but the last 2 posts I posted are not showing.

If I want to submit a request for proposal, how do I go about doing that?

May 19, 10 6:57 pm

Well, that we can definitely help you with! I want to commend you for your patience and your optimism, by the way - it takes guts and drive to come on a forum like this and ask for help, especially when there's always going to be one or two internet jerk comments. So kudos for having an open mind and being willing to consider our comments.

Honestly, the easiest thing for you to do at this point would be to contact the Seattle AIA, and explain to them that you are young and strapped for cash but would like their help learning how to seek out and evaluate an architect's services. We pay that organization a lot of money to represent us and this is what they're supposed to be good at. :-) They should help you start the process, and they'll be able to give you an idea of typical fees for services in your area, and should help you learn about the process of using an architect's services.

To give you an idea, at my last firm (high end residential renovations in an expensive market) our fees ran between 12-15% of total construction cost. Therefore, if you want to spend, say, $8k on a kitchen (which will, by the way, cover about as many cabinets as you have in your plan, at IKEA quality (which means you're putting them together yourself), with laminate countertops (not stone), cheap-to-moderate fixtures and no appliances, well then say you contract with an architect for 12% of total construction - that means you'll spend another $960 for architect's services.

Let me see here... based on that last plan you drew, if you're going with IKEA and building the cabinets yourself to save money, I would guess that kitchen will cost about 6-8k for cabinets (and hardware) alone (depending on which cabinet style you choose). The fridge - you can get a super cheap full-size GE for about $1000, but beware that you'll need to replace it in a few years (but this will at least buy you time when you don't have money now). Stove/oven is harder to replace later but not impossible. DW will run a few hundred. Sink is about $150 for a cheap stainless steel model, more for porcelain. A crappy faucet (will need replacing) you can literally get for $20 at IKEA if you absolutely have to; otherwise budget $150-200 for a decent model (can go all the way up to $450 or $500 for the good quality, awesome dream models). You still need to pay for gas or electrician's services to hook up the oven/stove and, most likely, to move whatever outlets are in your existing kitchen, then you'll need to install GFI outlets near the sink. You also have to pay the plumber to run the line to your sink and install your faucet and your DW, also your cold-water line to your fridge if you have an ice-maker. This is assuming that your existing piping allows you to place the sink drain where you want to (without more major work!) Let me see... this is off the top of my head. We haven't gotten to flooring costs or window costs.

I don't want to scare you away - but you should have a realistic idea in your head of what this will cost before you get into it - otherwise you'll end up half-way in and realizing that you can't pay to finish. And that would be a shame!

Another place to look for information is, honestly, the library. There are some great books on house renovation that will give you a more realistic sense of what's required.

A book I like to recommend to my clients also is The Not So Big House, which will help stimulate your design thinking so that when you talk with your architect, you'll have a good way to communicate all your great thoughts about your kitchen.

May 19, 10 8:01 pm

Not a fan of FREE ADVICE

May 19, 10 8:21 pm


I don't think anyone is giving away any trade secrets or services here. Advice to hire an architect is some of the best we could be giving right now. If the public were more educated about the benefits of hiring an architect....

May 19, 10 8:28 pm

mantaray, you rock. I'm going to reiterate a few of your points.

csk, I'm an architect with a specialty in kitchen design, cred here, and I can say that confidently now that I've designed close to two dozen of them over the last five years, ranging in budget from $40-150,000.

You don't want to just find any out-of-work architect to help you with a kitchen. We aren't taught the specifics of kitchen planning in architecture school, and someone who has been detailing highrise curtain walls for five years until the market crashed won't be able to help you much with a kitchen. As manta said, there are so many specifics that go into how an individual uses a kitchen and what they need from it, plus how it will effect their real estate value, their electric bill, and their daily peace of mind in their own home.

You might look at Archinect's own Archmart page to post a help wanted/barter ad. Or you could try Architizer for potential people to work with - I think you can search there by city?

I'll give you two pieces of free advice, take them for what they're worth.

1. I seriously question demolishing a bathroom unless you plan to replace it elsewhere - houses tout how many beds/baths they have as positive selling points, do you really want to toss one away? If you're taking out the hallway wall anyway you really have more than enough space to work with to have a very nice kitchen, with an island, leaving the bathroom in place. Building a new full bathroom elsewhere will cost you at least $10,000 and probably twice that, easily. An architect can help you look at the WHOLE house and figure out a masterplan for what should stay/go.

And 2. Don't use those dumb angled cabinets to "ease the flow" around an outside corner. They make a space look smaller BECAUSE they look like you didn't have enough space to do a full square cabinet. And they're just sloppy. I've never seen one that looked good.

Consider too that since finances are an issue you might hire an architect - one who specializes in kitchens and can show you a nice portfolio of projects - as an hourly consultant to give you advice on your design. Good luck.

May 19, 10 10:19 pm

A typical request for services proposal lists your anticipated scope of work (list of spaces to design, including any approximate square footages you might know), any known weird conditions ("I have a 10,000 gallon fish tank that will be the centerpiece of the room"), and if possible, your anticipated budget. A plan of the existing space is hugely helpful since you have it. In your first interview with an architect, you'll enlarge on this list and s/he will talk to you more specifically about your hopes and dreams for the space. Then s/he will go off and put together a proposal for services. If you like this architect's portfolio, and could envision working with him/her as a person, then think over his/her proposal, request any adjustments as necessary, and sign the contract.

I do recommend talking with someone at the AIA to help you through the process however. It is free. I bet they're right downtown, most city AIA offices are. Good luck.

May 19, 10 11:41 pm

I have a real estate broker's license and I'll tell you eliminating a bathroom without replacing it is not a wise idea. When it comes to bathrooms and bedrooms if you're removing one always replace it. Obviously there are exceptions but generally it's a good rule.

May 19, 10 11:54 pm

The latest plan is the worst so far. How do you plan to use the sink? Are you going to go around the island every time you need to use it?

One of principles of "Design" that sometimes you need to trade one thing for the other in order to achieve a livable and workable design.

I think first of all you need to ask yourself if you really need a HUGE kitchen, with island sitting AND HUMONGOUS dining table to sit 6 people in the same open area. It looks like the your kitchen will have to accommodate the entire family of cooks!

The standard list of fixtures and appliances: sink and dishwasher (double sink lets say 36" + 24" for d/w), it looks like you are using cooktop (36"), not a range, oven can be integrated into a tall cabinet, microwave (let's say another 36") can be integrated in a tall cabinet above oven. Looks like you have 30" fridge in you plan. There is no need to have distance between the island and the rest of the kitchen grater than 4", unless it must be handicap accessible- than 5". I get away with 3'-6" in my apartment and feel it's comfortable to cook, even if my husband is wondering around.

You do not need more than 18" for the leg space for counter sitting, so there is no need to have double deep cabinets in the island. But again- do you really need an island, if you can feet a dining table in the kitchen area and enjoy the view? The way you dining table is situated - not gonna work. There are 2 doors facing each other on W and E wall. I assume that w door is the main entrance, so it is going to be used all the time, so no one will be able to sit at the table at the Living room side. You need to keep this circulation corridor clear from any obstruction.

You need 3' max. of clearance for the chairs at the wall side.

So, I would say, if you are absolutely MUST have a "breakfast area- plan L-shaped kitchen, with shorter leg facing South, this will be your sitting area.
Locate tall appliances (fridge, oven + microwave) at the North wall, put cooktop at the left side of the longer leg of the kitchen and sink at the right side, with dishwasher, adjacent to the sink on the left, and drawers between them. And move the dining room table to the kitchen area!

Living room: maybe you were not able to get a pretty pictures, but it looks to me that you have a 3-seater sofa and 2 love seats . Well- nobody will be able to sit on the love seat in the east corner" one seat is blocked by the second love seat, and the second will be blocked by the knees of the person sitting on the south love seat. I am sure sofa will not be the ideal place to sit either, because of the circulation. Distance to the coffee table should be 18" if you want it to be usable surface. Get a sectional with an armchair or two. Put sectional longer side along south wall.

If a W entrance is a main one- consul table under the window will be helpful to leave you keys and stuff.

I wrote it all out not to anger professional community, but to give you a range of ideas you haven't thought about, because you were not trained to (I guess). I think when professional community starts refusing "free advices" and talks about mistakes of newly made decorators, potential, or not so potential, clients get a freaked out by the cense of self-entitlement many architects have...

I am sure some of you have a high-school friend who is an IT guy or programmer, and I am sure you have asked him/her more than once about your computer related issues. Be nice!

May 20, 10 8:48 am

Drop out, what is wrong with your Calico girl?

May 20, 10 8:51 am

doza, that's all good advice, and you're right that clients get freaked out when we get on our high horse. It's deserved on both parts though: I can say without conceit that I DO know a hell of a lot more about kitchen layouts than a typical person, and they can rightfully bristle when confronted with the realization that they actually don't know much. Both sides need to be a bit humble, as in any situation in which someone with little knowledge seeks advice from someone who does. Your IT guy scenario is apt: when I say "I just want it to work like it used to!" the IT guy sees all the deeper issues with what I'm asking and how little I understand about the bigger picture.

csk, doza gives good concrete advice about the kitchen aspect of your plan, but I want to make a point about kitchen design vs. whole house design. A kitchen designer, either one in the business or even one at IKEA who helps with space planning, can help your kitchen function and look good. But their scope tends to be limited to just that one room. An architect can help you address the entire house to make sure you don't make decisions now that you will regret later. When we meet with a client we look at the whole house, including the yard, and take a much broader view of how the entire place can function/look the absolute best, taking advantage of every pro and minimizing every con.

You posted this above: Maybe I should just have a blank room with the doors and let someone just give me suggestions for the entire room. This is exactly wrong. You want someone to look at everything, not just the box of K/LR/DR. This doesn't mean they will redesign the entire house, it's just that they honestly CAN'T give you a good design if they don't look at that room in context of the whole place.

As dallasarchitect and I have both said: it's highly unlikely that removing that bathroom is a good idea. If you hire someone to look at the whole project, not just the kitchen, you will probably end up spending a little more initially but getting a much better project in the long run - not only better-looking, but better in terms of the relationship of all the parts and return on your investment.

When you consider that your home is probably the item you will spend more on than ANY other thing in your life, it is worth it to invest 10% more to make sure you don't make regrettable decisions about what to do with it.

May 20, 10 9:29 am

mantaray: "I want to commend you for your patience and your optimism, by the way - it takes guts and drive to come on a forum like this and ask for help, especially when there's always going to be one or two internet jerk comments."

Since when does coming on to a forum asking for free design advice ever translate as displaying guts and drive? It displays the absolute opposite in my opinion. Would this guy walk up to a group of random architects in person and start handing them his confused kitchen drawings telling them to fix it for him for free? No, as it's obviously a specialized service only a select few could adequately provide... and they provide this in order to make a living.

I think the reason the "one or two internet jerks" (more like 8 or 9 so far on this thread) are not bending over to help this guy is because of his continued pushiness and naivety about gleaning as much free design instruction as he can even though he has already received ample discouragement to proceed without talking to a local architect.

And don't get me started on offering free kitten advice!!!

May 20, 10 9:34 am

sven - I don't think anyone here has given away any "trade secrets" or any more information than a savvy person can learn on their own. Like manta mentioned, costs are something anyone can find anywhere. Everyone here has pretty much said the same exact thing; go talk to a local architect/designer that specializes in kitchens, these are the reasons why.

With the way the industry is going perhaps it would behoove us more to do what manta, Donna, archrise, et al are doing here by educating this individual as to why they need to seek our services professionally instead of berating them, then maybe more people would be more willing to hire us. Just saying.

May 20, 10 9:47 am

I hear you ****melt , but in this case the "potential client" already knew he needed to seek the advice and instruction of an architect. Instead of paying to have a designer come to his home to help, he just threw a few EZ Betty Homemaker drawings on the internet with hopes that we'd redraw if for him out of the goodness of our undervalued arses.

I mean this isn't exactly the home depot design hotline, it's an easily and anonymously exploitable community of architects.

Just my 2 cents as far as business ethics goes. If I'm wrong then apparently an architect/designer's time is worth less than I thought.

May 20, 10 10:00 am

i agree melt... you catch more bee's with honey...

im not really understandint the self righteousness... were architects, not noble land owners.

anyway, this is a great thread, learning a lot about kitchen renovation!

May 20, 10 10:07 am


This isn't so much about self-righteousness as it is about looking out for the brother architect. I mean I like giving bees honey all damn day, but without any compensation in return the honey pot empties quick.

"we're just architects" - C'mon man! With that attitude it's no wonder more and more people undervalue our services.

May 20, 10 10:14 am

actually sven, i dont think this kind of discussion devalues the architects input. I feel it does the EXACT opposite. Look at manta's post a while back where he rattles off all the considerations that one must make to renovate a kitchen. I would have only thought of a few of those things until it was much farther along in the process. How could any lay person expect to coordinate all those things?

If anything, being more aware of the scope vastly increases the value of an architects input.

As donna and doza said, the IT person analogy is very apt. You tell your IT person your computer is slow and that it needs to be quicker perhaps not realizing all the extra contingencies which might arise from modifying the hardware...

May 20, 10 10:15 am
Ms Beary

For what it's worth, something I've learned from my new profession (not arch, but a service based profession similar in ways) is that free advice can't solve client's problems, but it CAN establish in a potential client's mind that you are worth what you say you are. In giving a bit of insight into the client's situation you show that you can provide the solutions they seek, and more, and that the value of that is indispensible. In other words, when we show a sliver of the depth of skills and knowledge we are bringing to the problem, the client will confirm that they are doing the right thing by hiring a professional because now they know they can't do it themselves without being frustrated and making lots of costly mistakes, all the while not even getting what they want, or think they want.

May 20, 10 10:26 am

Thanks lletdownl - I'll admit though doza's last post is a little disconcerting... as I view their post more as a consultation than just some food for thought. Our services are indeed important people. Do not undervalue yourselves.

May 20, 10 10:29 am

sven, the comment of mine that you quote is in reference to the fact that the original poster listened to our comments, and decided to seek the services of an architect (despite some snarky comments from people on here) - not to the fact that s/he came on here to ask for free advice.

Also, while I appreciate doza's attempt to help, I caution against following *any* advice of someone who, like Donna said, hasn't seen the overall house; hasn't met with you and discussed your particular needs; etcetera. A lot of assumptions have to be made for anyone to really critique your plan, which is never good.

Also, be aware that there is more potentially wrong with your plan than what doza mentions. It would not be a good idea to go correct the items s/he calls out and then think you're done. I reiterate your need to invest in an architect. As I demonstrated in the cost calculations above, it doesn't cost you that much more to hire an architect and can definitely result in some savings; for sure it will result in a better design.

You're a recent college grad, so you can appreciate how much depth of learning is mastered by someone who's spent years (in our case, 5-7 years) being educated in a particular field. Imagine someone assuming they can work with a computer program and "figure out" whatever subject your degree is in? You'd probably laugh at them! I think it's great that you're interested in design and that you're thinking about ways to make your house better - that's fantastic. Too many people simply accept the world as it is without ever thinking about the fact that it was designed that way and could be better. You're a step on the right path, and I'm sure you'll make a good client for some architect out there.

Now the rest of us need to lay off and let this person go talk to the AIA.

May 20, 10 11:01 am

I am sorry for providing disconcerting consultations, which I didn't intend it to be. And I agree with everyone regarding the full space analyses... but... this person went as far as removing a whole bunch of walls and a bathroom all by him/her-self! To me it sounds far more scary than having unusable kitchen=) I guess at the end it's a lost case for our professional practice.

Also, I am letting my grudges out now, I am sure that my previous post resulted in lesser of a loss than HDTV together with Martha Stewart. I would say these organizations actually stole a good 50% of middle class home owners from our market who otherwise would seek at least a consultation from a professional.

May 20, 10 11:20 am

Agreed doza. HGTV makes my blood boil...although I do enjoy Holmes on Homes. Probably b/c he always states "hire a licensed professional" and shows what can go wrong if you cheap out.

And on that note... I'm out.

May 20, 10 11:25 am

You know a good design builder, established in the area is actually the best solution. You save on architect's fee and usually get the same if not better work.

May 20, 10 12:07 pm

Just keep in mind that if you go design-build you don't have a third opinion in on any decisions. This has its benefits (speeds up the process) and its pitfalls - you need to have a high level of trust in someone to allow them to both design and build your project.

May 20, 10 1:14 pm

I'm going to turn this into the kitchen porn thread. Less talk, more show - let's show the original poster what s/he's missing out on without an architect!

Donna will love this one:

Courtesy of archdaily

May 20, 10 3:38 pm

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