Ask The Designer

Ask The Designer!

Here at Walker Woodworking – we want to make the process of remodeling your kitchen less stressful. However, that’s not an easy task! As part of our continuing effort to educate our clients, we decided to put Brandon Fitzmorris, our designer at Walker Woodworking, in the hot seat. Let’s see what he has to say!

Where should a homeowner start with a kitchen project?

As with any major purchase or project BUDGET is the smartest starting place. See more information about our Budget Analysis.

What are some of the first questions you ask a new client?

How do you want the space to feel?  

What is most important to you and your lifestyle?

It is very important for us to understand the family vibe and the vision before we start to draw and make our suggestions. We want to become involved early in the process so that we can have input on any changes to the footprint of the room.  Knowing the lifestyle of our clients in the beginning really helps to move the process forward.

What are some kitchen trends that are also worthwhile investments?

Trendy things come and go, but quality products withstand the test of time.  Product replacements are the number one reason most people decide to do a remodel in the first place.

Have any innovative appliances caught your eye recently?

The Galley is a new innovative product which I am excited to incorporate into new kitchen designs.  This functional yet sleek and modern sink gives the homeowner a unique working station with endless possibilities.  A variety of sizes allows The Galley to work in kitchens no matter how large or small.  Made for Chef style cooking, it is a great investment.  For more information about The Galley.

How do you ensure a good “flow” in a kitchen?

Getting away from triangle design…

Busy lifestyles have changed both the purpose and the configuration of the kitchen space. “It’s no longer just Mom in the kitchen,” Brandon explains. “Cooking has returned to more of a communal process. Dad cooks too, and the kids pitch in. So instead of the classic work triangle, where multiple people would crash into each other, you might have two or more small triangles with multiple prep areas. Or, you might break all the rules, blow the triangle out completely and go with a fluid work space.”

Good kitchen design will encompass and address the many tasks that the room must perform, and when you think it through, there are regular, everyday logical steps that create that flow.  We walk through the imaginary space and perform those tasks to see if it works.

What are some rules of thumb in kitchen design?

As far as a “rule of thumb” is concerned, I have a few that are drilled into my designers’ minds: Don’t over-design, leave plenty of room between counters, and never make the island too big. Lastly, don’t kid yourself that you will change the habits of a lifetime when remodeling a kitchen; embrace what makes sense and accommodate the ideas into the new space.

Where should you splurge in your kitchen?

Cabinets and appliances: These will last the longest and are the better investments to your home.

Lighting and hardware: Many clients speak of the lighting and hardware as the accessory piece.  As with any accessory, it needs to be complementary.   

If you go cheap on either, the end result is the same, CHEAP!  There are ways to stay within a budget and still get what you like, and make sure that the product will complement the cabinetry, that is why hiring a designer can help you!

Where can you save?

“Value engineering” is something I hear a lot these days.  You always tend to get what you pay for, and it shows. If there are sensible areas to “save” money, it might be on flooring and back-splash tile and ancillary items such as special wall finishes and fabric. I am amazed at how people tend to spend too little on cabinetry and hardware and then pay way too much for a wall finish or decorative item that won’t last. Tastes change, and so the room decoration becomes replaceable long before the fixed items such as cabinetry and countertops need to go.

Renovating is big right now. What are key ingredients of a successful remodel?

The right team of professionals is the most important element. With the amount of information available to the homeowner, suddenly everybody’s an expert. Beware, because bad advice will lead to a bad job that typically costs more than it should. While the time is right to invest in your home, don’t under-spend on the products you put into the project. Do lots of research because there are fantastic new products available for each element of a kitchen remodel. The new technology being applied to appliances, countertop materials, and “green” materials has made this a very exciting time to design.

Good references are important.

Any tricks of the trade for keeping a new kitchen looking beautiful? Do you use special cleaning products in your showrooms?

Mild detergents and soft cloths are really all one needs. Often times the chemicals used are not necessary for cleaning and will do more harm than good.

What distinguishes Walker Woodworking from other kitchen design firms?

I’m glad you asked, because I rarely get to speak publicly about why I feel so strongly in the product produced by Walker Woodworking.

Honestly, we are the best at what we do. We have unparalleled experience in our area of expertise, and we have all the skills in house to pull a project together.  We construct extremely well made cabinetry. You get what you pay for.  To survive and prosper as our company has done since 1999, you have to deliver on the promise time and time again. Many people think we are more expensive than we actually are and that is a shame because we offer very good products at a very fair price.  Our perfection does not necessarily equal cost.

What’s your favorite meal to cook for your family?

I generally do all the cooking in my family.  I have an ongoing joke with my wife that she would burn boiling water.  I have a very diverse cooking style from, my hometown Louisiana Cajun style jambalaya, to a soul food meal of fried chicken and garlic mashed potatoes. Either way, I involve my boys in the process, as cooking is meant to be shared and is a great learning tool for children in many ways from measuring, to reading ingredients, as well as instructions. It is good quality family time that we share in the kitchen, which is why I am passionate about kitchen design.

What’s NEW for 2017?

Regarding our new ventures of Greenbrook Design Kitchen & Bath Home Center, our clients look to us for advice in other areas of their homes and appreciate our sense of style and proportion. They understand quality and value and we hope that is what they will receive from the new design center opening in the Spring of 2017.  It makes sense for us to offer more products such as lighting, plumbing, home accessories, and more to meet the demands of our valued clients.

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