To find the right kitchen designer, first look at the kitchens of friends and neighbors. When you see something you like, ask who did the work and how that person or firm was to deal with.
Browsing through a company’s Web site or portfolio will give you a feel for its style. During an initial meeting, a designer will probably draw a rough sketch and give a ballpark estimate of costs. The next step is a home visit for exact measurements.
Before signing on the dotted line, it’s a good idea to check references for designers and contractors even if a friend had a good experience with them.
Here is a list of kitchen professionals and resources recommended by designers, real-estate agents, builders, and architects. These firms specialize in kitchens, and many do bathrooms as well. Most will guide you through an entire renovation, whether a tear-down or a minor remodeling. The company will draw up a plan and do the construction with either its employees or hired contractors. Often designers will help you choose appliances, sinks, lighting, flooring, and decorative hardware.
Not listed are general architecture firms whose work includes kitchens; also not included are contracting and design/build firms, which often do kitchens as well as whole-house remodelings. See our lists of top architects and remodelers on Washingtonian.com. Many of those larger firms limit jobs to major renovations and additions; if your project is smaller, you may be better off with a company that specializes in kitchens.
Also not listed are superstores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the Great Indoors, which can be good sources for ideas, materials, appliances, and design help. Remember that contractors at those chains aren’t store employees, so find out how the store would deal with problems.
If a designer or contractor isn’t listed here, that doesn’t mean the firm doesn’t do good work. Firms will often provide referrals, so consider this list a starting point.
AAI Poggenpohl, 6809 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-657-8618. Installation of the high-end European cabinetry line Poggenpohl is done through AAI Construction, its partner design/build studio in Chevy Chase. AAI also carries other cabinetry lines and offers its own custom cabinets.
Absolute Kitchens, 8230 Boone Blvd., Suite 170, Vienna; 703-917-0744. Owner and designer Richard Forbes’s architectural training makes his firm a good choice for larger projects.
Aidan Design, 4701 Sangamore Rd., Suite L3, Bethesda; 301-320-8735. This firm emphasizes clean lines and contemporary features such as Italian lighting. It recently introduced a line of eco-friendly custom kitchen products.
Alexandria Kitchen & Bath Studios, 1502 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-1415. This 12-year-old firm has five kitchen designers on staff; owner George Delaume has more than 25 years of carpentry experience.
Barrons Custom Kitchens, 23 W. Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg; 301-948-6600. In business since 1947, Barrons does contemporary and traditional designs and is a good source for custom and semicustom cabinetry and other supplies.
Bath & Kitchen Creations, 43671 Trade Center Pl., Suite 112, Sterling; 703-996-8600. This family-owned design/build firm does lots of suburban kitchens in traditional styles. Owner Bob Clements, a certified master kitchen-and-bath designer, oversees all jobs.
Boffi Studio DC, 3320 M St., NW; 202-333-7555. This Italian firm has six studios in the United States—the newest, in Georgetown, has been open two years. It specializes in minimalist, contemporary kitchens.
Bray & Scarff, 11 area locations. This nearly 80-year-old local chain is known for reasonable prices, but customers have complained about service problems.
Bulthaup, 3324 Cady’s Alley, NW; 202-338-2220. Designers at this German firm create kitchens that incorporate minimalism and innovative ergonomics. The company recently launched two new product lines, B1 and B2.
Cameo Kitchens, 7297-M Lee Hwy., Falls Church; 703-532-4545. Cameo designs kitchens of all sizes and carries only Honey Brook Custom Cabinets, a line made by Amish and Mennonite craftsmen. It does projects only in Northern Virginia.
Coyle & Associates, 7420 Fullerton Rd., Suite 102, Springfield; 703-644-9677. Rich Coyle’s firm works often with custom homebuilders and remodeling contractors and has developed a specialty in long-distance remodeling of vacation-home kitchens.
Dee David & Co., by appointment, Falls Church; 703-560-6601. Clients appreciate Dee David’s one-on-one approach. Designs all styles of kitchens in Northern Virginia, specializing in contemporary.
Design Solutions, 1598-D Whitehall Rd., Annapolis; 410-757-6100. Owner Joni Zimmerman calls her high-end custom designs “classic design with a twist.” Offers kitchen and bathroom remodeling and new construction.
F.A. McGonegal, 212 N. West St., Falls Church; 703-532-4440. This longtime (since 1915) design/build/supply firm offers everything from a consultation to full design and build.
Harvey’s Kitchens & Baths, 22560 Glenn Dr., Suite 115, Sterling; 703-444-0871. This firm, in business since 1977, carries several high-end custom-cabinetry lines and has installation crews on staff. Owner Karen Barnette and designer Kara Reinertsen do both traditional and contemporary kitchens.
Ikea, 10100 Baltimore Ave., College Park, 301-345-6552; 2901 Potomac Mills Cir., Woodbridge, 703-494-4532. Known for reasonable prices, this Swedish chain is an especially good choice for small kitchens and younger homeowners. You’ll find cabinets, ranges, sinks, faucets, and accessories. Ikea can put you in contact with a professional or provide resources for do-it-yourselfers.
Jack Rosen Custom Kitchens, 12223 Nebel St., Rockville; 301-984-9484. This family-owned company has designed kitchens since 1982. It does traditional and contemporary styles.
Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, 6935 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-657-2500. Gilmer’s 12-year-old, award-winning firm designs some of the area’s most creative high-end kitchens.
Kitchen & Bath Factory, 4624 Lee Hwy., Arlington; 703-522-7337. Owner/designer Bob Kay, in business 29 years, specializes in smaller kitchens and offers reasonable prices.
Kitchen and Bath Studios, 7001 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-657-1636. Four designers on staff specialize in high-end kitchens in a variety of styles including contemporary, early American, French, and Victorian.
Kitchen Guild, Northwest DC, 202-362-7111; Fairfax, 703-323-1660; McLean, 703-893-8900; Alexandria, 703-518-5006. This 55-year-old company specializes in full kitchen and bath renovations.
Kitchen Planners, 12140-B Parklawn Dr., Rockville; 301-231-9068. Design and design/build services for kitchen or whole-house renovations and additions with eco-friendly materials.