Photos by Patrica Burke
If Pinterest and HGTV have tempted you with a DIY kitchen renovation, before catching yourself uttering “that’s a piece of cake, I can do that”—think again. Unless you have a design degree, industry contractor insight, and years of experience combing through proper aesthetics, function and style with financially reasonable and well-timed execution… meticulously planning, designing and constructing a fabulous kitchen is not as simple as it may seem. However, enlisting in the guidance of a professional kitchen designer will ensure you design the kitchen of your dreams, without the stress and guesswork that accompanies any construction project—especially one that is the most important location of your home.
“Design for me, is a lifestyle. I see new ideas in everything from nature to travel to the everyday surroundings,” reveals Ginny Padula, owner and designer at Town & Country Kitchen and Bath. In business for more than 30 years, the art major with a concentration in textile design has been involved in renovating and decorating from the very beginning. “As designers we can make sure you budget wisely, avoid mistakes, make the space beautiful and functional. We also have access to new and specialized resources. Since our firm is full-service, in our case, we handle projects from concept to completion. We work on selections for cabinetry, counter top material, tile, lighting, hardware and plumbing fixtures; we create the design and provide floor plans, specifications, elevations, and renderings. We have subcontractors that do the work to our highest of standards,” she goes on. Shifting the responsibility from the homeowner to the professional designer has many benefits.
Kitchens are often referred to the heart of the home, and in that respect, it’s not always easy for homeowners to trust their “heart” in a stranger’s hands. “We all live such hectic lives and I do believe the kitchen is where we reconnect with family and friends daily. We spend so much of our time in the kitchen, cooking, doing homework, planning our schedules. The kitchen gives us a place where everyone can be together and be a part of what is going on,” notes Padula. “Since it is such an important portion of the home, our clients want a professional to make sure it will be their dream space,” she adds. Understanding the sentimental and emotional aspect that goes into kitchen renovation and construction, Ginny acknowledges clients’ needs for assurances regarding the outcome. The designer shares, “Once we meet with clients, they become comfortable in our expertise and they know that we will not let them make a mistake. It is a huge undertaking. We will be working together over a long period of time, so we want to make sure all fears or apprehensions are addressed immediately.”
So, what exactly does the process of designing a kitchen with a professional entail? Ginny Padula, who also happens to be a member of the National Kitchen + Bath Association and an industry partner in the American Society of Interior Designers, goes on to share the main phases:
The first thing Ginny and her team do is meet with clients at her showroom for a free one-hour consultation to review architectural plans or measurements, photos of existing space, and discuss ideas for the project. “This is when we discuss the flow of space, workspace, appliance preferences, and specific family needs. This is a good time to view magazine photos or digital images of ideas clients have gathered to help us identify the style of cabinetry and design details they prefer,” Padula shares. During this meeting the designer gives clients a “Design Checklist” to fill out, which aids in their understanding of style and personality, and ultimately in accurately planning the project to depict the clients’ taste.
This is when the design team takes exact measurements and photographs of the existing space (or works with architectural plans) to formally design the clients’ new kitchen. Homeowners have the opportunity to review the cabinetry layout and design selections to better visualize the new space as well as understand the logic behind the design suggestions and then make any necessary edits. This is also when clients receive pricing and a preliminary material estimate for the project.
Contract Drawings and Order Phase
Preparation of contract drawings is the next important step in the design process, as these official detailed layouts and elevations include cabinetry measurements, lighting, plumbing fixture and appliance notes to be used to order cabinetry and all additional finishing materials. Materials are now ordered and the space is prepared.
Deliveries and Installation
To ensure that goals for any given project are achieved, Ginny recommends that professional, credible installers handle the specialized installation of new cabinetry and hardware. Designers often work with contractors whom they trust and collaborate with on a regular basis, and any responsibilities such as “sign off” on the final room measurements, verification of plumb and level conditions, handling the cabinet delivery, and cabinetry/hardware installation are seamless due to this fluid working relationship. After completion of any project, her team returns on-site for final adjustments and touch-ups, to ensure everything is perfect in the newly transformed space.
As such was the case for the LBI home photographed and featured in this month’s issue of Open House. “For this project, we did the kitchen and three bathrooms. The homeowner had a clear vision of what she wanted. I listened and was able to come up with designs that worked for her. I advised her on what would work and look best in each space. We went back and forth a little on door styles and finishes based on her other selections for the spaces (such as tile, paint, etc.) and we even created some custom color samples for her. In the end, she loved everything when it was all in her home together,” recalls Padula of her relationship with the homeowner of the stunning residence. Homes like these have been the Monmouth County-based company’s passion for the past three decades. And to the owner, it never ceases to be an incredibly rewarding process, “When clients see the renovated or new space, they cannot believe that they get to live in that space. Many clients call us and tell us they love just waking up and having coffee in their new kitchen, and that it is more than they could have ever imagined.”
Ginny and her professional design team are the visionaries that help homeowners discover the ideas, desires and styles to transform ordinary quarters into the most perfect of spaces. “Being designers, we do not just look at the cabinetry. We look at all the selections in the project and how they will all work together. Our primary focus is make sure the space is beautiful, functional and cohesive,” the founder of the firm adds. The wildly talented bunch is incredibly passionate about design and craftsmanship, respectful of budget, and diligent to timelines. Reason enough to leave the designing to the professionals—and enjoy that nice warm cup of coffee from your newly designed kitchen by Town & Country Kitchen and Bath.
Town and County Kitchen and Bath is a kitchen & bath design studio located in Red Bank, New Jersey. Specializing in hand-made, custom-fit and semi-custom cabinetry, they beautifully transform every aspect of a home’s most utilized rooms. For more information, visit their showroom located at 25 Bridge Ave, Ste 100, in Red Bank, call 732-387-6745, or visit their website tckbdesigns.com