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Where Do You Begin A Kitchen Remodel?

Everyone goes through their own individual journey when researching a major home improvement such as a kitchen remodel. Typically most homeowner’s take an average of 22-24 months between the time they initially start the process and actually contract their remodeling project.

Getting started…… where do you begin?

After 30 years of working with homeowners on a wide variety of kitchen projects, I would like to make my recommendations regarding the process. Keep in mind that individual needs vary. Important needs may range from the latest in culinary cooking appliances, use of green or renewable materials, high design aesthetic values, and maintaining a specified project budget.

Regardless of where you place your emphasis, and how much independent research you have done, it is always best to speak with an experienced and professional kitchen designer/builder regarding your individual needs. It is not uncommon that many homeowners come to me with very finite and specific ideas about what they want to accomplish. Those ideas are very relevant to personal perception, but they need to be delicately knitted into the existing infrastructure of an actual remodel process that commonly consists of interwoven smaller processes that can be dependent on one another.

The real value in a certified and experienced kitchen designer/builder is the ability to guide you through a successful working process that will yield the vital information needed to make informed decisions. I have many engineers as clients who are independently very talented and smart individuals, yet who would not attempt to completely handle a kitchen remodel without my design assistance and input. I frequently remark, “that an individual does not know what they want…. until they know what they want” and this is where a kitchen design professional excels, in providing the valuable information and recommendations on design and build options based on experience.

Here is a process that you should consider for your kitchen remodel:

  1. Collect some creative ideas on, a great website that allows you to develop design aesthetics and values important to you.
  2. Speak with those who have had success with kitchen designers. Ask for the specific name of the person who actually helped, because they may not be at the company when you decide to move on your renovation.
  3. Seek individuals who are part of professional organizations and who actually hold certifications such as a CKBR or CKD.
  4. Look at the awards, accreditations, and project photographs of the design professional you are interested in.
  5. Invite two to three professionals to a discussion at your home regarding your needs and interests. Interview them to see if you have a true connection. Inquire about design & development fees.
  6. Visit the designer’s showroom or studio and be sure that the company has a brick and mortar presence.
  7. Speak with recent clients regarding the experience of the company or individual you are considering.
  8. Hire the professional of choice based on your research and ultimately how you interact with that individual. Trust your gut!
  9. Be specific about deliverables and what you expect in relation to what the company provides.
  10. Allow the professional to provide you with a step by step process that will yield tangible designs and accurate written installation estimates.

There is no absolute perfect approach that covers each and every person considering a kitchen remodeling project. I do believe that your overall experience will be better if you trust in my recommendations.

Through my 30 years of experience, I am privileged to have served as the first two-term President of the Bucks/Mont National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), as well as Committee Chair with the National Kitchen & Bath Association. I currently am part of the PA Small Business Advisory Council and always enjoy helping small business as well as people who seek help with my areas of expertise. Learn more at


David R. Cerami

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