Archived Q&A and Reviews
Kitchen designer wantedNov 2012
I want to remodel my kitchen and would like an expert to help create a plan. It won't be the fanciest kitchen and I might not be able to afford to do the whole thing in one shot, but I do need someone to help me get a vision for what it could look like eventually. Thanks.
I can give an enthusiastic recommendation to Amato Architecture (amatoarchitecture.com). Rebecca hired me to do interior architectural photos of a house she renovated. When she showed me the before shots, I could not believe what I was seeing. She turned a dumpy tiny old Oakland house into a wonderful, spacious contemporary and livable space. Some of my favorite shots from the day are here. http://schoenfeldt.com/blog/1085/architectural-interior-photography/ She's also super nice. Alex
Get a chef's take on function and style; call Lisa Cannelora at 510.575.3201. CucinadiCannelora.com kyle
I would suggest you contact Rebecca Amato of Amato Architecture. Rebecca is your dream architect, a wonderful architect, resourceful, reasonable, visionary and so fun to work with in suggesting great ideas and keeping within your budget. She is helping me know do some work now and she loves doing kitchens and has excellent taste! She has done some outstanding restaurant design as well. She has an office on College Avenue in Rockridge. Rebecca can be reached at 510-420-0210. Her web address is http://www.amatoarchitecture.com/ Sharon
I have a recommendation for an architect that a client of mine recently used and was thrilled with the results. They redid both their kitchen and bathrooms in their home built in the 1920's. She showed me photos and the metamorphosis was remarkable. What she liked even more about working with this architect is that she uses environmentally sound materials and had an evolved sense of the dynamics of their home in action and the energy that the remodel would affect ( feng shui). Though I haven't used her services, the pictures told a story. I was impressed by the way they were able to remodel in such a way that it looked but also fit so well with the original style of the house. That's certainly something I would want. I kept her card, so here's her information: Alexandra Sheets Saikley Architect 5464-C College Avenue Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 420-1234 office (510) 407-0413 cell (877) 880-9730 fax as [at] asarch.org www.asarch.org anonymous
Rochelle Silberman is a fantastic interior designer and kitchen planner. She is passionate, talented and easy to work with (and a creative cook). She designs with the appropriate era of your house in mind, and understands what things cost and how to prioritize spending, having worked for a design-build contractor for years. 415 971-8998. Lucky you. Wish I could re-do my kitchen with Rochelle
WE recently used Deborah Lane Architect to remodel the kitchen in the house we are moving into. Wow, her ideas are great and not ones we could have come close to by ourselves. Her help made the whole project seamless. SHe worked well with our contractor and city officials and even told us how and where to go shopping for various items. She can be reached at deborahanearchitect [at] gmail.com or 527-5677. Alisa
Kitchen remodel for $30kSept 2012
I would like to remodel my kitchen. I have about $30K to work with. Among other things I want to open up the wall between the dining room and kitchen, and maybe change the layout. I don't know how to proceed. should I start with a kitchen designer since I want suggestions on a new layout ? Or should I look into design/build places or am I working on too small a budget? I know $30K isn't a lot to remodel a kitchen. I would prefer cabinets that are not made of particle board because of the chemicals they emit. Please advise me what to do first!
I highly recommend Berkley Hansen to make redesign your kitchen and/or make built it bookcases He designed and built cabinets and counter tops for our kitchen and developed a home office design with built in bookcases. You can see some of his work at http://berkleydesignboxes.com or call him at 415-430-7866. He is creative, meticulous and reliable and you can certainly accomplish quite a bit for $30,000.
We are just starting a similar project. I am not sure what you can do for that small a budget, but we stared by hiring an architect named Andrew Lee, andrew [at] aylarch.com We've worked with him on several other projects and he really listens and gives advice based on what you want and your budget. For a few hundred dollars, he can look at your space and come up with some options. He came up with a great plan for making our tiny Jack-and-Jill bathroom much more useful and we are looking forward to our new kitchen. Good luck!
Hello there, I can imagine your confusion. My sister was very confused when she remodeled her kitchen and changed the lay out. She used JB Construction to change the lay out of her kitchen. She explained how much she has to spend and he worked with that budget. You might want to explain how much you have and what do you want to be done. He does a great job and works with budget. He can give you advice of what you can do and what you can not do as well. His contact is powerlabor [at] yahoo.com and his name is Baha, his number is 510-735-4052 I hope it helps. Maksuda
I need a kitchen designer who also buildsJan 2011
does anybody know of a good kitchen designer who will also do the carpentry and building? home owner to be
We used Kitchens of Diablo in Danville. They are owned by Shawn Lober, a general contractor. They are the best design and build contractors we've worked with (we also remodeled our bathrooms with another design/build firm). The do super high quality work. They finished on time and didn't ding us with lots of extras. I highly recommend them. --Happy With Our New Kitchen
I have posted so many recommendations for our contractor recently, not only because we think he's great, but because he's been in our house for the last 3 weeks so he's right on top of our minds! We used Bob Jones of OMB Construction (925-382-0925) for a large scale kitchen renovation (gut and rebuild), and currently, for a smaller bathroom renovation. We have a friend who used to work for a cabinet company, and they like to use Bob for trims and fine detailing for their showroom because he does such a good job. Bob specializes in kitchens, but as a general contractor he does other work too. The painter today couldn't stop talking about how much he likes to work with Bob, because he is so detail oriented and careful in his work, and does not cut corners. Our kitchen and bathroom both look fabulous. Bob works alone, sometimes with a partner called Brandon, and they use subcontractors for things like plumbing, electrical, painting, etc.
In any case, give Bob a call and see if he can help you. When we did our kitchen, the cabinet company designed our layout, with input from Bob, and Bob took care of the rest. I don't know what you are looking for exactly when you say 'kitchen designer', but you can ask Bob if he can do what you want. I should add that on top of being detail oriented, we have found Bob to be honest and on time. He comes when he says he will, and takes on one job at a time. When we got bids, we found his price to be mid-range, and we felt like we got our money's worth. TZ
I have a fabulous Kitchen Designer. Lisa Cannelora of Cucina DiCannelora is not only a really great designer, but she was a professional chef for 20+ years. She brings that experience to your project and personalizes it to your life and cooking style. Lisa also has great resources for fixtures, cabinets, installers and contractors. I highly recommend that you at the very least talk with Lisa. I have seen three of Lisa's finished projects at friends homes and each one reflects that family. She can be reached at 510-575-3201 lisacannelora [at] comcast.net www.cucinadicannelora.com Nina
To the person wanting a recommendation for a Design/Build Contractor for a kitchen remodel. here you go: California Rebuilders (510)853-1800. Call Bob Root. He used to incorporate the time he spent on the design and planning into the total charge for the project rather than being a separate charge which may help you budget more efficiently, as long as you don't do too many 'add-ons' during the project. He is very meticulous and very concerned about preserving the 'envelope' of the house - especially if you want to keep moisture and mold out and retain energy efficiency. He is also a certified green builder. anon
I would like to give Mark Shure of Shure Design and Construction ((510) 540- 1952) my highest recommendation. Mark has completed two projects for us: a home office and a entire kitchen and dining room remodel. The office consisted of three walls of built-in bookshelves, cabinets, desks and workspace, all made from walnut. For the kitchen and dining room, the entire space was taken down to the studs and replaced windows, doors, floors and walls; all new lighting, appliances, granite countertops, hardwood floors and cabinetry.
Mark is an artist and designer as well as a cabinetmaker and contractor. He worked with us on the design, offering practical and creative solutions that took into account our budget and personal style. We developed a budget and tracked our expenses and although Mark charged based on time and materials, he came in under budget and on time for both projects. My husband and I pay close attention to details and costs and Mark proved equally perfectionist. Mark kept us informed and up to date on the details of the project on a daily basis. We are already thinking about our next project with Shure Design and Construction! Virginia in Oakland
Seeking Kitchen Remodel Advice/ConsultantDec 2010
We're seeking a designer to help with a kitchen layout. There are plenty of high end kitchen design/build firms willing to make highly customized and expensive layouts with exotic finishes and materials... that's not us. Here we are just really looking for someone experienced to help us choose quality and long lasting ready-made cabinets and fittings, avoid mistakes, and stick to a modest budget. Have you met this person? Parent, first time homebuyer
I have two recommendations for you to consider: My husband and I have worked personally and professionally (we own a residential construction company) with Lillian Mitchell (Mitchell Holladay Architects). She created plans for our home remodel (including kitchen). Her mobile phone is: (510) 682-3355. Turk Kauffman (Turk Kauffman Architecture) might also be a good choice. We have worked professionally with him on a couple of projects. His office number is (415)663-8582. While he currently resides in West Marin, he lived in the E. Bay for many years and is still connected. Good luck! Happy Holidays Christine
I worked with Lucy Clarke on a remodel of an in-law apartment in my house. Lucy helped me pick out all the materials and fixtures for the bathroom and kitchenette. She helped me choose lighting, carpet and paint for the main room. We used some Ikea cabinets and a big Ikea sliding door for the closet, mixed with some high end materials (e.g., ceasarstone counters). We are thrilled with the results and couldn't have done it ourselves. Lucy was an absolute joy to work with and was reasonable in her fees. She said I could post her contact information. Lucy Clarke lucyeclarke [at] sbcglobal.net - Mary in Oakland
Need a good kitchen planner/designerAugust 2010
We have an impossible and awkward old kitchen and we need help. Does anyone have a good kitchen planner/designer they can recommend? We live in a Berkeley brown shingle arts and crafts home and would like a new kitchen that fits in with this design although it doesn't have to be craftsman. We are not gourmet cooks, we just cook, so it doesn't need to be high-end. Help! Cranky in the kitchen
Give Mike Stralka of Stralka Construction a call. He does design work, plans/ permitting and building. His cell # is 510-207-4832. Kelly
I can highly recommend Kathy Bate for your kitchen design. She is very creative, a pleasure to work with, reliable and affordable. I wouldn't use anyone else! Her website is: http://www.kbdesigns4dining.com/ Please feel free to contact me for a reference. Yvonne
I couldn't be happier to have the opportunity to pass on the information for Kathy Rogers and Sogno Design (www.sognodesigngroup.com). We are at the tail end of a kitchen remodel. Our project had more than it's share of design and logistical challenges. Though what seemed almost insurmountable to us, Kathy and her team approached which a sense of calm, reassurance, professionalism and humor. They helped our space achieve a personality, while balancing my need for function and my husbands need for form. They led us through the myriad of decisions and carefully planned each detail to not only suit us now with our two young children, but to grow with us. Truthfully, when the kitchen is finished, I think I will miss having them around! Tessa
I have really loved working with Kathryn Rogers of Sogno Design Group. She easily grasped my aesthetic, when we first met. Then she presented different options. She integrated existing features and suggested interesting new materials. Then she worked very conscientiosly with our budget creating a design that we could implement in phases. We are now in the process and implementing the second phase several years after the first. I highly recommend Kathy and Sogno! Chrissy
I highly recommend Kathy Rogers. She did our house 7 years ago and then just this year a partial remodel of our kitchen. I am with you - we are not the super gourmet cooks, we have a family of 5 plus a dog, so I needed something functional. She did an awesome job. Plus we have a really odd layout and none of our floors are level. So Kathy Rogers (http://sognodesigngroup.com/about-firm.html) did the design, and Beth Quade (broadconstruction [at] gmail.com) did the actual work - fantastic contractor - she worked ''behind the scenes'' while we were in the house and using the other half of our kitchen. Stefanie
Our new kitchen was designed by Kathy Rogers at Sogno Design Group http://sognodesigngroup.com/. She did a good job of working with our period architecture, so we have a nice blend of traditional and modern. We picked out our own appliances and went mid-grade, not high end professional. We didn't add any square footage but the space feels a lot bigger now. It's amazing what good design can do. Good luck! Elizabeth
Recommendation for a good kitchen designer?April 2010
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good kitchen designer? We would like to change the layout of the space, replace old cabinets, countertops and floors and potentially run the gas line to a central island cooktop. Has anyone worked with the Eco Home kitchen designer on San Pablo in Berkeley? Thanks. Mel
I can't recommend Stacy Eisenmann enough. She is a North Berkeley architect with a specialty in kitchen design. She has won a bunch of awards for this, and is so good at what she does. She helped me through the process and designed an incredible kitchen/home remodel in a very modest old Berkeley home and the results were outstanding. All done within my budget. (which was small) Super nice too. tel # 510 409-4426 katie
We had a wonderful experience working with Gary Goddard. After remodeling on our 1908 Craftsman home for 4 years, we met with Gary to handle the big job -- the kitchen. We learned about him here at BPN (http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/home/kitchcabinets.html)
Although we had very specific ideas already in place, he evaluated our storage, how we worked in the kitchen, where we ate, etc. and came back with two ideas. One set of design drawings with what WE thought we wanted... and another set of drawings with what HE thought we wanted. Each came complete with an estimate. His vision was way better than ours and we went with his idea. We loved the way it turned out -- every inch of our kitchen space is maximized and it is consistent with the design of our home.
After the kitchen was completed, he built us an 11 ft long mohogany built-in desk - specifically designed for all our home-office needs. And then helped us with our master bath, creating a vanity and built in closet. We're still trying to find more things for him to do because everything ends up looking so nice!
Oh - and as a true professional, he was responsive, punctual and detail-oriented (more than us - and we're pretty anal). He managed our expectations through the entire process.
He's based in Oakland and works throughout the Bay Area. 510-390-6232 www.goddardandriley.com Audrey
I highly recommend Catherine and Dan at Custom Spaces, who recently remodeled our kitchen. Catherinems kitchen design is not only gorgeous, but improves the look and flow of our entire home. The design includes an architectural element in the form of a built-in china cabinet over an open pass-through to the dining room, where before a wall separated the kitchen from the rest of the house. Our remodeled kitchen also has a new and improved walk-in pantry, and new hardwood flooring that makes a seamless transition to the existing hardwood floors in the house. Catherine excels at integrating a clientms personal aesthetic with a homems period detail, and because shems a cook, she wonmt compromise functionality. Catherine helped us choose appliances and beautiful new custom cabinetry to fit our needs. She also spent considerable time assisting us with a myriad of details, including hardware selection and placement, and ambient lighting selection in both our kitchen and dining room. In addition, Catherine has a great eye for color. Both Catherine and Dan are detail-oriented and meticulous, and made sure we got everything just right. Wemve received countless compliments on our remodeled kitchen, and would highly recommend their services to anyone. happy client
We're embarking on a house remodel and have been working woth a wonderful architect to help us rethink the form and funtion of our home. We're focusing much of this work on a new kitchen, and now think it might be prudent to get some input from a certfied kitchen designer to help us with the kitchen organization (like cabinet layout) as well as the aesthetics (selecting materials). Can anyone recommend a good certified kitchen designer for these purposes? Lande
To the one looking for a kitchen designer, we used Carlene Anderson for two different kitchens and were really happy with her. She is responsive and produces plans very quickly. Her number is 510-339-2530. Enjoy! sally
I would like to recommend Carlene Anderson Kitchen Design 510 339 2530, she is wonderful, has been in business 25 years, works from Oakland. she helped me to redo my kitchen and I know a number of people in Piedmont/Oakland/SF/Lafayette who are very happy. She is into function, custom efficient storage, custom cooking needs, originality etc. elena
I came across this web site mentioning Capstone when I was going to show my friend some information about kitchen designers. We remodeled our kitchen about a year ago, and we were extremely happy with Capstone. I was surprised at what I read, as that was not my experience at all. All dealings we had were very professional. Our contractor commented on how easy it was to work with the accurate drawings and specs. Some of our special needs called for very tight space criteria that worked out well. We wanted many custom touches, and the design was put together to incorporate them very tastefully. Our contract was a printed form, and specifically excluded drawings for permits. Our designer, who was the owner, helped us to make sure we knew when, and what steps were needed. We were quite frankly thrilled with both the quality and the service we received. Henry
Has anyone out there had any experience (good or bad) with Capstone Cabinetry and Design (on Telegraph Avenue)? sheryl (June 2002)
Does anyone have any experience with Capstone cabinetry and design on Telegraph? I am doing a kitchen remodel and have been talking with a kitchen designer there named Holly. I would love to get some recommendations before I go with them. Thanks! Emily (April 2002)
We used Capstone for our kitchen cabinets. We have been deeply disappointed. If you must use them, check every single detail of your order before signing a contract -- we caught over a dozen major errors in ours. Drawings and specifications were changed without our knowledge to cover additional errors after the contract was signed. Our designer left town for vacation without telling us, just when we needed drawings for the permit process. When I called see if someone else at Capstone could help in the meantime, the owner got very confrontational an combative. We ended up paying our contractor an additional $1500 for it. In addition, the quality control has been substandard. Several cabinets arrived that were the wrong size, other pieces were missing and some items did not work. In order to keep our project even close to schedule, we have had to do a lot of adjusting to our expectations. Our kitchen will look wonderful when it is finished, due to the efforts of a very creative contractor and no thanks to Capstone. Montclair. Lisa (June 2002)
Can anyone suggest a designer that they had a positive experience with? I'm interested in your recommendations for independent contractors OR companies/retail stores. Laurie
Can anyone recommend a full-service kitchen showroom with good help and good products (East Bay)? We are doing a fairly-simple kitchen remodel and have a plan, but need help selecting cabinets, fixtures, finishes, etc as well as figuring out everything needed so we don't make mistakes and incur later costs. An independent kitchen designer might also work. Thank you. Ellen
Victoria at Premier Kitchens in Orinda saved me from the too-narrow kitchen island walkway my architects designed, and instead designed gorgeous kitchen with wonderful cabinets which I ordered through her. You can see her design work at her old employer General Appliance in Berkeley, but buy from her - better deal and much more astute design work. She also helped me choose the colors, tile backsplash, granite counters, etc. -Suzanne
Re: Good design/build firm for kitchen remodel?
I absolutely loved my kitchen designer. I used her 9 years ago. Everybody flipped over our kitchen and now that we've moved I miss it terribly. A well designed kitchen makes all the difference. Her name is Chula. You can reach her at Chula Productions, 2325 3rd St # 430, San Francisco, CA, (415) 621-0166. Linda