How to Find Your Remodeling Design Team

August 08, 2018

It's easy to watch DIY shows and online videos that make renovating an entire kitchen or bathroom look easy. What they don't show you is the entire construction crew behind the scenes that's doing 90% of the work. Hiring a qualified design build team is truly the only way to create a seamless remodeling process from start to finish. Having someone on your team that has experience in the industry can save you time and money. 

Check out our new blog this week featuring what you should look for when hiring a remodeling design team for your Northern Virginia remodel! 


1. Where to Start & Who to Hire

One of the biggest challenges homeowners face is where to start in the design process, let alone whether or not they want to hire a designer. Some homeowners may feel that taking on oversight of an interior or exterior remodeling project can be simple or streamlined, especially if they are handy. The common oversight in handling construction yourself is simply the amount of time that goes into a renovation. If a homeowner works full time or has children, it can delay any progress done on a project, thus eating into valuable family time on the nights and weekends. Even a small renovation can consume you and be extremely overwhelming. A third or fourth trip to Home Depot can get pretty frustrating, especially if you were just there for something else. 

Nowadays, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to picking a design build firm. It used to be that everything was done by referrals from friends and family, whereas now doing research on a remodeler is easier than ever. One thing to point out is that cheaper is not always better. A remodeler with a long history in construction will have qualified carpenters and designers, which is something a new company will not have. 

Demo Wall
 Image via Pinterest





2. Interview Questions & Certification Checks

The average kitchen remodel takes about five months once construction starts, but three times that long from initial design phase to completion. So the professionals you hire should be people you like and can communicate with. See how it might feel to work together by collaborating in your initial design meeting. Make sure you have a rapport with the professional. You should find out whether they listen and are good communicators.

A qualified designer should be certified through the NKBA: National Kitchen and Bath Association. The NKBA releases standards and guidelines in design that go well beyond common knowledge. They perform studies on kitchen workspaces and bathroom functionality that help designers plan and create the perfect design for you. The certification process is extensive, with continued education being required annually. You can check a designer’s certification status on the NKBA website here.


Image via NKBA


Types of Professional Designer Certifications through NKBA

  1. Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBD)is a certified professional, knowledgeable in product selection, space planning, materials and finishes. 
  2. Certified Kitchen Designer® (CKD)specializes in the design, planning and execution of residential kitchens. Furthermore, a CKD has extensive knowledge of building codes, appliances and mechanical systems.  Certified Kitchen Designers write specifications and draw plans that are easily interpreted by plumbers, electricians, and installers.
  3. Certified Bath Designer® (CBD)specializes in the design, planning and execution of residential bathrooms. Furthermore, a CBD have extensive knowledge of building codes, appliances and mechanical systems.  Certified Bath Designers write specifications and draw plans that are easily interpreted by plumbers, electricians, and installers.
  4. Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers (CKBD)specialize in the design, planning, and execution of residential kitchens and bathrooms, and prove advanced knowledge of technical and personal communication skills required to succeed as a design specialist. (Applicants must hold a valid AKBD certification.) 
  5. Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD)is a program which recognizes extraordinary experience and achievements in the kitchen and bath industry. The CMKBD must possess their CKBD certification or CKD and CBD certification, and must have two years of experience beyond initial CKD/CBD or CKBD certification, for a total of seven (7) years of experience in the industry. 


3. Talk About Budget

Many homeowners dream of a large and spacious shower with custom tile and niches galore, but sometimes budget or structural limitations can squash those dreams. One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes the haves verses have-nots play more of a role in your renovation than you realize. Really think about your top must-haves and write them down in order of importance. This should tell you right away where your budget money should be spent. This is where working with a qualified designer is so essential, because they show you how to maximize the space you have in the most efficient way. 


Image via Gehan Homes




4. Go With Your Gut, Not Just Your Wallet

Going with your gut may seem easier said than done, especially if you are on the fence with two competing design build firms. The saying of, "You get what you pay for" definitely holds true when it comes to builders and designers. You are paying for a company's years of experience and expertise, which can be invaluable when dealing with a large renovation. Having direct access to structural engineers and material vendors can save time and prevent costly mistakes that may hinder your renovation. 






If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.

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