Frequently Asked Questions,
Thoughtfully Answered.

Many people have never worked with an interior designer before. We get that. Or maybe you have, but you still have specific questions about working with a Kitchen & Bath Designer. Either way, it’s nice to know what to expect. On this page we’re sharing some of the most common inquiries we receive — and what we hope are very thorough responses.

For convenience, the questions are grouped into what we call The Six D’s:

Design, Deadlines, Dollars & Sense, Distance, Details and Delegation.


Click on a question below to reveal its answer.


Why should I hire a Kitchen & Bath Designer?

Whether you need a little help or a lot, the advice and guidance of a Kitchen & Bath Designer is invaluable. You’ll have someone on your team with the experience gleaned from countless kitchen and bath projects, plus expertise in finding the right products and tradespeople you need to get the best result for your project. And that, as they say in the commercials, is priceless.

Developing a good plan as early as possible is the best route to success. A Kitchen & Bath Designer will handle every detail of your project, from the initial point of gathering information through conception, development, construction, purchasing and installation. Together we’ll move seamlessly and efficiently through the project, preventing costly mistakes along the way.

I’ve never worked with a Kitchen & Bath Designer before. What’s the process?

During our initial complimentary design consultation, we will evaluate your project and determine if we may be of help. In this meeting, one of our designers will speak with you about the specific needs of your remodel or construction project. No actual design is done in this meeting; we will listen to your particular needs, timing and budget, and make some initial recommendations. You can visit our showroom, where you’ll learn more about our products, see the latest trends and take a peek our Designer’s Palettes, featuring in-progress design schemes for current clients. If you want to work with us and we feel it’s a good fit, we will establish a design retainer and get started on creating your dream kitchen or bath. The great news is that the retainer is applied to the total cost of the products and labor needed to create your kitchen and bath.

I already know what I want my kitchen/bath to look like. Do I still need a designer?

We love working with individuals who know their tastes and have definite opinions about their likes and dislikes. You may know what you want (which is great!); our strength is that we know how to help you achieve it. Even if you know your preferences, it’s wise to have a trusted confidant to bounce ideas off of. In fact, many couples are relieved to have an expert third party help make decisions.

Even if your new cabinets will be installed in the same configuration as your old cabinets, you still need a cabinetry plan which includes cabinet sizes, depths, finishing techniques, etc., so that the cabinetry can be ordered correctly. One wrong detail can spell disaster.

To sum it up, here are a few reasons why hiring a professionally trained Kitchen & Bath Designer simply makes sense:

  • Expensive mistakes can be prevented.
  • Time is saved because your designer does the work and the research for you, having the multiple resources at her disposal.
  • As cabinetry specialists, we know exactly how to measure, how to order, and how to ensure that your cabinets (or your entire room) turn out exactly as they should.
  • The results are fabulous, thanks to your designer’s skills at managing your project as she communicates design ideas to the team of professionals who are bringing your new kitchen or bath to life.
I already have an architect or builder, do I still need a Kitchen & Bath Designer?

In our humble opinion, the answer is “yes.” Architects and builders are generalists; we are specialists, which is to say that we work very differently. Most architects and builders work with structure and building design and are not oriented toward the details of kitchen and bath design, custom cabinetry, color schemes, flooring specifications, wall finishes and fixtures. The ideal scenario is to work with a design team that consists of both an architect/builder and a Kitchen & Bath Designer so that all aspects of your kitchen or bath can be coordinated from beginning to end.

Does it matter how large or small my project is?

At Kitchen & Bath Design Studio, our designers can help you with a project of any size. Whether you just want to change your counter-tops and back-splash or you’re ready to build your dream kitchen, we can help.

Why should I pay for a designer when some home improvement retailers and builder supply stores offer “free” design assistance?

Classically trained experts. While home improvement retailers may offer complimentary advice and assistance, in most cases, the sales associate assisting you will not be a classically trained designer with a specialty in kitchens and bathrooms.

Personal service. With Kitchen & Bath Design Studio, you enjoy the convenience and value of having one person handling all aspects of your project, consulting with you from start to finish. The sales associate at a big-box store, in most cases, will never see your physical space, will not be helping you with all the interrelated elements of your project, and won’t be on site with you during installation. With us, you’ll work with one person accountable for the entire process from start to finish.

Higher quality products. Home improvement retailers sell different products. The selection is limited and the quality of their stock cabinets is very different from what you’ll find in dedicated kitchen cabinet showrooms like ours. (Click here to read about the difference between our cabinets and theirs.) By working with one of our Kitchen & Bath Designers, you get creative, one-of-a-kind ideas that speak directly to the form and function of your specific kitchen and bath with unique, higher quality materials. As the old adage goes: “You get what you pay for.” Since people spend more time in their kitchens and bathrooms than any other rooms in the house, most homeowners want something that creates value for their lifestyle and will provide a better long-term ROI.

Ultimately, we save you money. When using a Kitchen & Bath Design professional, there is an upfront retainer, but savvy clients know that in the long run, it is a cost savings. A professional designer will actually save you money by making sure you don’t waste your energy and blow your budget buying the wrong items and choosing colors and finishes that aren’t exactly what you had hoped for. You will end up with a more polished end result, and you won’t waste your valuable time trying to do what Kitchen & Bath Design Studio does every single day.

To learn more about this topic, see this blog post.

What is your “style” and can I see samples of your work?

Our style is your style! We’ve created interior designs for every aesthetic — from the classic traditional kitchen to a Tuscan kitchen to a mid-century modern. Visit our gallery page for a good sampling of our home design work. In the meantime, you can find us on Houzz, Facebook, and Pinterest.


We are thinking of remodeling. When should we call a Kitchen & Bath Designer?

If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen or bath or building a new one, you should call us as soon as possible. Our designers bring knowledge, experience and ideas to every level of the decision-making process, from electrical and plumbing to fabrics and fixtures. In most cases, they actually help avoid unnecessary expenditures by making sure that your needs are met and no errors are made along the way. Investing in the knowledge of an expert Kitchen & Bath Designer can save time and money if she’s on your team from the beginning.

How long will our project take?

Project times vary. Each project is different, and the duration will depend somewhat on the client’s needs and pace. Kitchen & Bath Design Studio is committed to completing your project professionally and in a reasonable timeframe. When we take on a new project, we work hard to keep our clients focused on the end goal.

Depending on the scope of your project, plan on anywhere from several weeks to several months, but rest assured we will always work with a sense of urgency for meeting our established deadline. If you are doing a “simple” remodel for your bathroom (i.e., no plumbing relocation involved), the process may take only a month from start to finish. If a plumber, electrician, engineer or architect is required, it will take longer. A fully custom-designed kitchen could take much longer; the cabinetry alone takes several weeks to be crafted according to your specifications and shipped to our local warehouse.

The lengthiest part, however, is the design process. As the old carpenter’s adage goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” When it comes to design, we give you the opportunity to review, revise and approve until we’re sure that our careful planning will create a beautiful, functional space and smooth ordering and installation process.

What should I bring to my first meeting with Kitchen & Bath Design Studio?
  • Collect clippings from magazines, Houzz or Pinterest and bring photos of items and decors that appeal to you. You can also bring photos of your existing kitchen or bath, plans for your new house, basic measurements and anything else the designer might benefit from reviewing.
  • Think about colors, styles and effects you like. Do you prefer formal or casual, traditional or contemporary? Know your lifestyle needs and what you want to accomplish in terms of function. How should your kitchen or bath work for you when it’s finished? For example, “I cook a lot of pasta so I need a big faucet for pots; I do a lot of baking, so a marble-topped island is essential.”
  • Establish a time frame in which you would like to work.
  • Have a budget in mind and be honest about it with your designer. A ballpark figure is a good start. With kitchens, plan on $10K to $25K for cosmetic improvements (new cabinets or new countertops/backsplash/lighting, but not both if your budget is on the lower end of the range); $25K to $65K for a kitchen remodel; and $65K and up for a luxury, all-you-ever-wanted custom kitchen or bath design project. To learn more, see our kitchen and bath design pages.

Dollars & Sense

What do I need to know about your initial consultation? Is there a fee?

Our initial consultation is free. We like to speak with all potential clients to review the scope of the job and determine how we may be able to assist you with your kitchen or bath project.

How do you charge?

When you hire us through our design retainer, we now work for you on your project. The design retainer secures our time on your project and allows us to offer you customized design services, planning, research and sourcing of your products. The retainer is applied to the purchase of the products (and labor, if applicable). Our design plans take into account all aspects of the space, including construction, plumbing and electrical issues. Every design plan is a custom plan, ensuring that your project is a one-of-a-kind. In other words, you won’t see your kitchen or bathroom in your neighbor’s house!

Is it important for me to have a budget?

Yes. People hate the dreaded “B” word. It’s so uncomfortable, but having a “ballpark” allotment is the first and most important step of the process. The investment level determines the scope of your project, and our designers will help you maximize that investment, delivering the most value for your money. We’ll assist you in prioritizing and packing in the best features that fit your lifestyle, your needs and your dreams.

So, in order to get the most out of the process, you should consider a price range you’d like to respect. Remember that our estimates are extremely detailed and they include products, design service (and in some cases) labor. (For more information, see How accurate are your estimates?)

Consider our own “ballpark” numbers: For kitchens, plan on $10K to $25K for cosmetic improvements (new cabinets or new countertops/backsplash/lighting, but not both if your budget is on the lower end of the range); $25K to $65K for a kitchen remodel; and $65K and up for a luxury custom kitchen or bath design project. This article from Houzz gives an accurate overview of what to except when remodeling or designing a bathroom. Also, visit our Bath Design page. At Kitchen & Bath Design Studio, we don’t focus on the “sale” per se; we focus on getting you the most for your investment.

What will our project cost?

The project will cost what you want it to cost. Our initial complimentary consultation will allow us to get to know each other better and see if we are a good “fit” for your particular project. This first meeting is when we will talk about your investment level or budget for the project; everyone has some idea of what they want to spend. We will be able to tell you then and there if what you want will match with what you want to spend. Your budget will allow us to guide you through the many decisions required of any home improvement project. Our knowledge and expertise can provide you alternatives, where necessary, to help your project remain on target.

People who haven’t worked closely with a designer recently are sometimes surprised at the total cost for their dream kitchen or bath. To account for that, we often start out with the “best case” budget — the true cost of an “I’ve gotta have it all” kitchen or bath – and then prioritize, scaling down the project according to your goals and budget. You decide what you want to splurge on. We simply help put all the pieces together so that your budget remains intact.

Here are our own “ballpark” numbers: For kitchens, plan on $10K to $25K for cosmetic improvements (new cabinets or new countertops/backsplash/lighting, but not both if your budget is on the lower end of the range); $25K to $65K for a kitchen remodel; and $65K and up for a luxury custom kitchen or bath design project. At Kitchen & Bath Design Studio, we don’t focus on the “sale” per se; we focus on getting you the most for your investment.

How accurate are your estimates?

We can talk ballpark budgets and estimates, but we provide extremely detailed pricing proposals. Every cabinet, every finish, every drawer pull is included in our estimate. It is always our goal to respect your budget and maximize the value of your investment, which is why we spend so much time planning, researching, specifying, sourcing and costing your project before presenting you with a formal estimate.


What cities do you work in?

Although our headquarters is in Wilmington, NC, we can work throughout Southeastern North Carolina, including, but not limited to: Hampstead, Porter’s Neck, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Leland, Southport, Figure Eight Island, St. James Plantation, and Bald Head Island. If your city isn’t listed here, give us a call and more than likely, we can work something out.

How far will Kitchen & Bath Design Studio travel?

Although our headquarters is in Wilmington, NC, we often work with clients in Raleigh, NC, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Charleston, SC. We’ve worked on projects from New York to Florida. With today’s technology, we can go virtually anywhere, and our products can be delivered directly from the factory to you.


Which brands of cabinets do you carry?

We offer Cabico, Durasupreme and Six Square. These cabinet makers, who are among the best in our industry, cover a complete range of design — from semi-custom to full-custom, built-to-design cabinetry; from traditional to contemporary — allowing us to create a high-quality, timeless space for you. Six Square delivers affordable luxury with the talent and quality of the traditional craftsmen behind it.

Do you sell cabinets that I can take home with me today?

No, we don’t. While we do have some cabinetry lines that are quick-order, we do not have anything “in stock,” so to speak. To understand why, visit our blog post detailing the differences between our cabinetry and the cabinets sold in retail home improvement centers.

Do I have to make purchases through you?

In most cases, clients opt for the complete package. Our clients appreciate the fact that we take care of the inevitable hiccups that arise with the purchase of cabinetry, fixtures, hardware, lighting and more. It is also important to ensure that all of the pieces selected complement your design scheme. Our goal is to create a new and exciting environment for you using the cabinetry and products we trust, ensuring a fantastic result.

That said, some clients like to apply their retainers exclusively toward a complete and comprehensive design, an option we can discuss if it applies to your scenario. Also, remember that you always have the power to purchase (or contribute) items and ideas, too. If you want to incorporate your grandmother’s cherished pie safe as a featured centerpiece, or if you purchased a lighting fixture in Venice that you’d like to be the pièce de résistance of your bathroom, we are happy to oblige.

Can Kitchen & Bath Design Studio provide all of the products for my project?

Absolutely. It’s our specialty! Most of our clients prefer to have us source and supply everything from cabinetry to lighting to hardware to drawer pulls. We partner with the highest quality vendors in our industry and we leverage those relationships and their quality guarantees to ensure that you receive the superior kitchen or bath you desire. In our experience, clients appreciate us taking care of the inevitable hiccups that arise with the purchase of cabinetry, fixtures, hardware, lighting and more. It is also important to ensure that all of the pieces selected complement your design scheme.

Do you reface, refinish or replace doors on existing cabinetry?

Kitchen & Bath Design Studio does not offer these services. Most people are surprised to learn that re-facing or replacing cabinetry doors can be just as costly, if not more so, than buying brand-new quality semi-custom cabinets! Furthermore, these techniques are only options if (a) you are satisfied with your existing layout and plan, (b) if your existing cabinets are in good structural condition, and (c) if you currently have enough storage and counter space.

Do you sell appliances?

No, we do not sell appliances, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions or ideas that are perfect for you. We are conveniently located next to Atlantic Appliance, one of the best independent appliance retailers in our area. We work closely with them and other local distributors who can provide you with high-quality appliances that offer exactly what you want. And, we are familiar with all major brands and can make recommendations or suggestions as we work on your kitchen design.


Do you handle everything? How involved will I be in the design process?

Designing your dream kitchen or bath is fun and exciting. Our role is to provide as much or as little guidance as you wish. We are your problem solvers. While thousands of decisions stand between you and your finished space, we make it easy. Do you know exactly you want? That’s great, and we know how to help you achieve it. Not quite sure what you want? No worries. We are experts at asking the right questions, and we know how to interpret the “between the lines” information you share with us to help you arrive at that elusive “I’ll know it when I see it” moment.

Do you do the installation? Will you supply the contractors for my job?

Yes, we can do the installation. Although we do not retain contractors, we have considerable experience with several in our area that we recommend. Likewise, we have worked with many area electricians, plumbers and other subcontractors, and often provide referrals for our design clients. Quality installation and workmanship are as important as quality design and products, so we do not take this part of our job lightly.

Will you work with my builder, architect, contractor or interior designer?

Kitchen & Bath Design studio will be delighted to work with your builder, architect, contractor, interior designer or tradespeople. We are can also refer you to others who can help. We know that a collaborative approach with the other professionals involved in your project has your best interests at heart.

Have a question that we haven’t answered here? Please feel free to contact us.