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Kitchen Help: Good Kitchen Designers, Stores, and More
Designers who can create a beautiful space—plus good stores for appliances, countertops, tile, and more. By Erin Keane Scott
A bright and airy butler’s pantry in a kitchen by Aidan Design.
Comments () | Published October 15, 2012

Looking for a good kitchen designer? As a first step, you might ask friends who have kitchens you admire what designer or firm they worked with and how the process went. Next, you’ll want to browse potential companies’ online portfolios to make sure their aesthetic matches your vision.

During your initial meeting, a designer will probably draw a rough sketch of your new kitchen and give an estimate of costs. The next step will be a home visit for exact measurements.

Before committing to a designer or contractor, it’s best to check references, even if a friend made the initial recommendation.

What follows is a list of kitchen professionals and firms recommended by peers, including other designers, architects, and builders. These firms specialize in kitchens, though many do bathrooms, too. Most will guide you through an entire renovation—from drawing up a plan through completing construction—using either full-time employees or contractors. Designers also generally help you choose cabinets, appliances, sinks, lighting, flooring, and decorative hardware.

Not listed are general architecture firms whose work includes kitchens. Contractors and design/build firms that may do kitchens as well as whole-house remodels aren’t included, either. Many 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. For those who prefer a larger firm, a list of architects and remodelers is available here.

Also not listed are superstores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, which can provide ideas, materials, appliances, and design help. Remember, though, that contractors at those chains aren’t store employees, so it’s important to ask how the store would deal with problems resulting from their suggestions.

Finally, it wouldn’t be fair to assume that designers and contractors not listed here don’t do good work. Firms often provide referrals, so consider this list a starting point.

Click to expand a category.

Cabinets and Kitchen Designers

Absolute KitchensArchitect Richard Forbes designs both modern and traditional kitchens using cabinetry from Superior Woodcraft, Woodharbor Doors & Cabinetry, and Quality Custom Cabinetry. By appointment; 8230 Boone Blvd., Suite 170, Vienna; 703-917-0744; absolute-kitchens.com.

Aidan DesignNadia Subaran's specialty is creating transitional kitchens for those who love to cook, entertain, and eat. Her firm has its own lighting division that carries modern brands such as Luceplan and Flos. 4701 Sangamore Rd., Suite L3, Bethesda; 301-320-8735; aidandesign.com.

BoffiAn Italian firm known for its modern cabinetry and design, including custom hoods. Services include design, installation, and maintenance. 3320 M St., NW; 202-337-7700; boffigeorgetown.com.

Bradford DesignOwner Brad Creer designs all kinds of kitchens in a style that's clean-lined and integrated. He uses custom cabinets, moldings, and hoods to create original looks. 7817 Oldchester Rd., Bethesda; 301-320-0930; bradforddesignllc.com.

BulthaupThis contemporary German kitchen-design firm and cabinetmaker specializes in simple, functional spaces. At the Georgetown showroom, you can buy cabinetry and order cutting boards, drawer organizers, and more. 3324 Cady's Alley, NW; 202-338-2220; washington.bulthaup.com.

Cameo KitchensCameo has been designing traditional kitchens in Northern Virginia for nearly three decades. The company has its own installers on staff, which helps keep projects on time. 7297-M Lee Hwy., Falls Church; 703-532-4545; cameokitchensonline.com.

Davida's Kitchen & TilesPeers praise Davida Rodriguez for her creative use of tiles. Her firm carries cabinets by Wood-Mode and Brookhaven. 435-A&B E. Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg; 240-361-9331; davidaskitchenandtiles.com.

Dee David & Co.Designer Dee David specializes in small, contemporary kitchens in Northern Virginia and has recently started taking on projects in Virginia's Northern Neck. She carries five lines of cabinetry: Plain & Fancy, Carriage Hill, Birchcraft, Talora by Decor, and Haas. By appointment; 2724 Dorr Ave., Suite 220, Fairfax; 703-560-6601; deedavidandco.com.

Design House Kitchens & AppliancesThis family-owned firm has a 140,000-square-foot warehouse in Jessup with cabinets, countertops, and appliances from such brands as Decora, Cambria, and Wolf Classic. Nine designers on staff create kitchens in an array of styles. 8220 Wellmoor Ct., Savage, 301-498-0001; 14101-H Parke Long Ct., Chantilly, 703-263-2700; designhousekitchens.com.

Design SolutionsOwner Joni Zimmerman has been designing contemporary, traditional, and transitional kitchens for more than 33 years. Her custom cabinets come from Premier Custom-Built, Signature Custom Cabinetry, and Touchstone. 1598-D Whitehall Rd., Annapolis; 410-757-6100; dsikitchens.com.

IkeaKnown for its budget-friendly modern designs, the Swedish retailer has a team of certified kitchen planners on staff. It partners with the local construction company Osprey Bay for installations and provides a 25-year warranty on all cabinets. 10100 Baltimore Ave., College Park, 301-345-6552; 2901 Potomac Mills Cir., Woodbridge, 703-494-4532; ikea-usa.com.

Jack Rosen Custom KitchensA top vote-getter in our survey, this family-owned kitchen-design firm carries three lines of cabinetry, including Rutt HandCrafted. 12223 Nebel St., Rockville; 301-984-9484; jackrosen.com.

Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & BathGilmer is expanding her showroom this fall to include more midpriced cabinetry lines such as Zonavita. The designer—who garnered the most votes in our survey—leads a staff of 14. 6935 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-657-2500; gilmerkitchens.com.

Kitchen & Bath FactoryIn business more than 30 years, this company specializes in small kitchens in DC and Virginia. Owner Bob Kay likes to create a schedule so clients know how long each phase of a renovation will take. 4624 Lee Hwy., Arlington; 703-522-7337; kitchenandbathfactory.com.

Kitchen and Bath StudiosThis firm provides a full-size floor plan and perspective drawings to potential clients for no charge. Eco-friendly cabinets include lines from Christiana and Premier Custom-Built. 7001 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-657-1636; kitchenbathstudios.com.

The Kitchen GuildIn business almost 60 years, the Kitchen Guild has seven designers and five carpenters on staff, who have experience creating kitchens in a variety of styles. DC, 202-362-7111; Alexandria, 703-518-5006; Fairfax, 703-323-3900; McLean, 703-893-8900; kitchenguild.com.

Konst Kitchen Interior DesignJonas Carne-mark has been designing Washington kitchens with clean lines for 25 years. His company is the area's only dealer of German-made SieMatic cabinets. 7500 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-657-3800; konstsiematic.com.

Lobkovich Kitchen DesignsThis architect-owned firm has four interior designers on staff, who work with high-end cabinet lines including Signature Custom Cabinetry and Craft-Maid. By appointment; 8000 Towers Crescent Dr., Suite 150, Vienna; 703-847-0601; lobkovich.com.

Montgomery Kitchen & BathThis wholesaler specializes in high-end cabinetry, often for trade clientele. Its designers also provide referrals for installation. Brands include Cabico, Yorktowne, and Plain & Fancy. 15906 Luanne Dr., Gaithersburg, 301-417-6661; 6194 Old Franconia Rd., Alexandria, 703-971-0322; mkitchen.com.

PediniUltramodern Italian design is the speciality of this Georgetown kitchen studio. All of its cabinetry is made with recycled wood, including the moderately priced Eko line added this year. 3340 Cady's Alley, NW; 202-640-1976; pedinidc.com.

Poggenpohl GeorgetownLocal designers like this German firm's high-end, modern cabinetry. There are two certified kitchen designers on staff with whom you can work directly. 3324 M St., NW; 202-342-9111; washingtondc.poggenpohl.com.

Portfolio KitchensOwner Lois Kennedy specializes in traditional and European kitchens. She often uses Premier Custom-Built cabinetry in her designs. By appointment; 2367 Hunter Mill Rd., Vienna; 703-242-0330; portfoliokitchens.com.

Reico Kitchen & BathDIYers and designers can find a broad selection of cabinets, counters, and appliances at this company's showrooms. Each has at least one designer. Bethesda, 301-654-6000; Frederick, 301-631-0400; Falls Church, 703-748-0700; Springfield, 703-914-4900; Annapolis, 410-571-8400; reico.com.

Stuart KitchensBesides its own brand of cabinetry, Stuart Kitchens carries Heritage, Rutt HandCrafted, Aristokraft, and Downsview. The 25 staff designers work in multiple styles. Bethesda, 240-223-0875; McLean, 703-734-6102; Lorton, 703-690-4045; stuartkitchens.com.

Thornett KitchensOwner Tracy Thornett has been designing contemporary, transitional, and traditional kitchens for 28 years. Though she often works with Craft-Maid cabinets, she carries eight other lines including Yorktowne and Rutt HandCrafted as well. By appointment; Bethesda; 240-396-6276; thornettkitchen.com.

Large Appliances

ADU (Appliance Distributors Unlimited)Builders, designers, and consumers buy appliances from ADU, making it one of the most popular providers in our survey. La Cornue—a high-end French line of ovens and ranges—was recently added to the inventory, though Jenn-Air and GE Monogram remain top sellers. 729 Erie Ave., Takoma Park, 301-608-2600; 14911 Bogle Dr., Chantilly, 703-263-2300; adu.com.

Appliance Builders Wholesalers (ABW)This store sells, delivers, and installs appliances from more than 30 manufacturers, including Dacor, Viking, Wolf, and Sub-Zero. 8834 Monard Dr., Silver Spring, 301-589-1445; 21750 Red Rum Dr., Suite 167, Ashburn, 703-726-8805; 5214 Nicholson La., Rockville, 301-770-8579; abwappliances.com.

The Appliance SourceLocal designers like the wide selection and knowledgeable staff here. The 35 lines include Viking, Wolf, Sub-Zero, and Gaggenau. 1823 George Ave., Annapolis; 410-267-7110; theappliancesource.com.

Bray & ScarffThis local chain of appliance retailers recently opened a new location in Waldorf. Its showrooms carry 19 brands, including GE, Whirlpool, and Jenn-Air. Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations; brayandscarff.com.

DAD's Appliance (Discount Appliance Distributors)A family-owned company selling appliances since 1979. Current offerings come from nearly 40 manufacturers including Viking, Wolf, Whirlpool, and Frigidaire. 12200 Distribution Pl., Beltsville; 301-937-0222; dadsappliance.com.

FergusonShowrooms feature appliances, plumbing, and lighting from brands including Miele, Sharp, and Bosch. Each store employs its own team of installers. Multiple area locations; ferguson.com.

M&M ApplianceA 14-year-old, family-owned company stocking dozens of brands including Liebherr, Electrolux, and Frigidaire. 6201 Blair Rd., NW; 202-882-7100; mandmappliance.com.

Counters, Floors, Tile, and Other Features

Ann SacksThis showroom carries a wide array of tiles made from such materials as terra cotta, leather, metal, and glass. Lighting and plumbing accessories also available. 3328 M St., NW; 202-339-0840; annsacks.com.

Architectural CeramicsA popular choice noted for its wide selection of tile, Architectural Ceramics carries more than 20,000 selections, including custom and hand-painted. Rockville, 301-762-4140; Alexandria, 703-299-6200; Falls Church, 703-714-0161; Chevy Chase, 301-718-8343; architecturalceramics.net.

Best TileThis chain is the largest tile importer on the East Coast—a source for ceramic, stone, and glass from Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey. 11601 Boiling Brook Pkwy., Rockville, 301-984-3399; 8196 Terminal Rd., Lorton, 703-550-2352; besttile.com.

Carlisle Wide Plank FloorsFor more than 40 years, this company has specialized in creating wide-plank wood floors using sustainable techniques. Options include eastern white pine, hickory, cherry, birch, and walnut. 1666 33rd St., NW; 202-339-9799; wideplankflooring.com.

Charles Luck Stone CenterIn January, Charles Luck opened a showroom in Georgetown, offering natural and manufactured stone for countertops, backsplashes, and flooring as well as stone accessories. 1111 34th St., NW, 202-944-2345; 1700 S. Sterling Blvd., Sterling, 703-674-2240; 12202 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, 443-535-0543; charlesluck.com.

Classic Floor DesignsA 20-year-old company carrying hardwood, vinyl, stone, rubber, leather, and other flooring; its staff includes seven crews of installers. 2120 L St., NW; 202-872-9860; classicfloordesigns.info.

Cochran's LumberUsing oak, pine, chestnut, and tobacco wood from its own mill in the Shenandoah Valley, Cochran's creates wood flooring and custom millwork. The team also makes floors from antique and reclaimed lumber. 523 Jack Enders Blvd., Berryville, Va.; 540-955-4142; cochranslumber.com.

Concrete JungleFounder Kelly Carr creates countertops, tables, walls, and fireplace surrounds from concrete.4510-D Metropolitan Ct., Frederick; 301-874-1001; concretejungleonline.com.

Design TileInterior designers help customers choose from the showroom's wide variety of tiles, including ceramic, porcelain, metal, stone, and glass. The selection is organized by color and material.8455-B Tyco Rd., Vienna; 703-734-8211; design-tile.com.

Design Within ReachMidcentury-modern furniture fills these showrooms; you'll find designs by Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Florence Knoll Bassett, among others. One recent addition: in-store software that allows customers to see three-dimensional models of new pieces in their kitchens.3306 M St., NW, 202-339-9480; 4828 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda, 301-215-7200; dwr.com.

Dimensional Marble & TileIn business since 1993, this fabricator and installer takes on commercial and residential projects, including a recent marble-floor installation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial visitors center. In the store, you'll find slabs of natural stone as well as manufactured countertops by Zodiaq, IceStone, and Silestone.15932 Derwood Rd., Rockville; 301-987-1960; dimensionalmarbletile.thebluebook.com.

Fernando's Marble ShopThis family-owned business fabricates and installs natural stone as well as materials such as Caesarstone. In addition to countertops, craftspeople can create wet bars, tables, walls, and floor panels.15910 Indianola Dr., Rockville; 301-670-2794; fernandosmarbleshop.com.

Floor GalleryIn business since 1969, the family-owned operation specializes in custom vinyl flooring and area rugs. Offerings, including such unusual materials as seagrass, come from brands such as Amtico, Prestige Mills, and Mirage.12108 Wilkins Ave., Rockville; 301-468-1550; thefloorgallery.com.

Franco's Marble ShopThis store specializes in fabricating and installing granite countertops. Marble, slate, onyx, and limestone are also available along with popular manufactured materials such as Silestone and Cambria.328-G N. Stonestreet Ave., Rockville; 301-424-2322; francosmarbleshop.com.

MarblexThis showroom specializes in natural-stone fabrication and installation. Offerings include soapstone, travertine, and granite as well as porcelain and ceramic tile from manufacturers such as Porcelanosa and Sita.2926 Prosperity Ave., Fairfax; 703-698-5595; marblexinc.com.

Marva Marble and GraniteThis firm specializes in exotic stone and has a wide selection of marble, granite, slate, and limestone.12225 Distribution Way, Beltsville; 301-595-1882; marvamarble.com.

Mosaic Tile CompanyA favorite among local designers for its wide selection and attentive customer service, Mosaic carries porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, glass, and metal. Brands include Crossville, Provenza, Ilva, and Eco Ceramica.Rockville, 301-881-2520; Fairfax, 703-280-4300; Chantilly, 703-631-4848; Lorton, 703-495-8453; mosaictileco.com.

PorcelanosaThis international supplier of tile, natural stone, and porcelain "hardwood" floors recently opened a new, larger showroom in North Bethesda. At its Rockville warehouse, you can pick up special orders or peruse a small outlet store, which offers tiles and vanities for as much as 50 percent off.11500 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, 301-294-8193; 701-B Dover Rd., Rockville, 301-294-8193; porcelanosa-usa.com.

R. Bratti AssociatesThis contractor has done stonework at the Kennedy Center and the National Air and Space Museum. A designer favorite, it specializes in granite, marble, limestone, and other materials for countertops.403 E. Glebe Rd., Alexandria; 703-549-1135; rbratti.com.

Renaissance Tile & BathAn Atlanta-based chain, Renaissance specializes in high-end decorative tile and faucets. The Old Town showroom displays dozens of faucet brands, including an in-house line.816 N. Fairfax St., Alexandria; 703-549-7806; renaissancetileandbath.com.

Stone SourceThis supplier of natural stone, tile, and reclaimed wood recently moved from DC's Logan Circle to a 4,300-square-foot showroom downtown. The larger space displays more than 100 varieties of natural stone and 80 types of porcelain, ceramic, and glass tile. 1129 20th St., NW, Suite 501; 202-265-5900; stonesource.com.

Thos. Somerville Co.Founded in DC in the 1800s, this distributor of plumbing fixtures is still family-owned. Look for high-end brands including Kohler, Hansgrohe, and Moen. Multiple area locations; somervilleshowroom.com.

The Tile ShopWith several large area showrooms geared toward DIYers, this chain sells affordable ceramic, natural stone, and glass tile. Rockville, 301-610-5070; Columbia, 443-319-8000; Sterling, 703-444-3902; Springfield, 703-971-0169; Manassas, 703-334-0260; tileshop.com.

Union HardwareFaucets and fixtures from lines such as Dornbracht and Waterstone as well as decorative accessories including lights and mirrors. 7800 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-7810; unionhardware.com.

Universal FloorsFor nearly 60 years, this family-owned business has been providing locally sourced wood floors to the Washington area. Past work includes installations in the White House, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and the Supreme Court. 4625 41st St., NW; 202-537-8900; universalfloors.com.

WaterworksDesigners like this high-end brand's subtle, transitional style, including the handmade faucets and fixtures in its Georgetown showroom. 3314 M St., NW; 202-333-7180; waterworks.com.

W.T. Weaver & SonsA family-owned Georgetown shop in business 123 years, carrying decorative hardware, tubs, high-end fixtures, and accessories. 1208 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4200; weaverhardware.com.

Test Kitchens

At these kitchens, you can try out stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances. There's no pressure to buy—because the stores are wholesalers, no products are for individual sale. Appointments are frequently made by dealers and designers, but you can also set them up directly.

FretzHigh-end brands include Sub-Zero, Wolf, Best, Asko, and Franke. Product demos are scheduled for October 25 and November 15. By appointment; 9204 Berger Rd., Suite H, Columbia; 866-987-2123; fretz.com.

HadcoAppliances and range hoods by such brands as Viking, Zephyr, and U-Line. Demonstrations and after-purchase care-and-use classes are also available. By appointment; 45150 Business Ct., Suite 420, Dulles; 703-478-9301; hadco.net.

Referral Services

Wondering whom to hire? Referral services can direct you to contractors, remodelers, and other prescreened home-improvement businesses.

Urban Referrals (urbanreferrals.com), ServiceMagic (servicemagic.com), and Home Connections (washington-dc.homeconnections.com) provide free referrals throughout the area. Homewise Referrals (homewisereferrals.com) suggests businesses in Northern Virginia, DC, and Montgomery County.

Delbe Home Services (delbehomeservices.com) offers annual membership for $175; members are assigned to representatives, who suggest contractors and manage home projects. A contractor can be sent to a member's home 24 hours a day for even the smallest emergencies.

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