Before You Remodel, Find the Right Designer

After nearly 40 years of designing kitchens and bathrooms, Dave Wegner can pretty much say he’s seen it all. The designer at Blue Ribbon Millwork in Woodstock has worked his way through remodeling jobs big and small, easy and hard, and all levels of challenging. And more than a few times he’s saved homeowners from contractors and designers who didn’t know what they were doing.

That’s why, when it comes to planning a remodel, he encourages homeowners to do their research, because hiring the right designer – one who listens, who follows through, and who provides a reliable resource – makes all the difference.

“A good designer shows he or she cares about the homeowner and wants to help them succeed,” says Wegner. “And that’s really what people are looking for: someone to give you the best service possible. It’s not just about pricing.”

Getting started, Wegner advises homeowners to set an appointment. This first meeting is a time for designer and homeowner to talk about project goals, materials, finishes and options. Wegner also shows examples of his team’s work, in photographs and in the showroom. These details help the prospective client to see what they’re getting into.

This first meeting may be a good time to talk budget, because things almost inevitably cost more than you’d expect. A kitchen remodel might cost $30,000 on the lowest end, and it can pass $50,000 on the high end. The price always varies with materials and labor. Return on investment may also factor in.

Don’t expect a detailed quote upfront. A thoroughly researched estimate takes at least a week or two, as the designer gathers renderings, prices and product availability – in between the other jobs they’re currently juggling. Some designers take even longer, as they detail every aspect of the job, from material and labor costs to architectural renderings.

A good designer stands by the client during construction and well beyond. When all is said and done, happy homeowners tend to refer family and friends.

“When we’re done, my customers are my friends,” says Wegner. “And they come back for new projects.” ❚

Blue Ribbon Millwork is located at 1401 S. Eastwood Dr., Woodstock, (815) 338-8900.