To find the right kitchen designer for you, 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. The next step is a home visit for exact measurements.
Before signing on the dotted line, it’s a good idea to check references on the designer and contractor 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 teardown 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, Expo Design Center, 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, 3324 M St., NW, 202-342-9111; 6809 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, 301-657-8618; www.aai-kitchens-inc.com. Installation of the high-end European cabinetry line Poggenpohl is done through AAI Construction, its partner design/build studio in Georgetown and 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; absolute-kitchens.com. 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; aidandesign.com. This firm emphasizes clean lines and contemporary features such as Italian lighting. This fall it will introduce a new line of ecofriendly custom kitchen-design products.
Alexandria Kitchen & Bath Studios, 1502 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-1415; akbs-oldtown.com. This 11-year-old firm has five kitchen designers on staff; owner George Delaume has 25 years of carpentry experience.
Barrons Custom Kitchens, 23 W. Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg; 301-948-6600; barronskitchens.com. In business since 1947, Barrons does contemporary and traditional designs and is a good source for custom and semicustom cabinetry and other supplies. Offers free two-hour seminars on remodeling twice a month most months.
Bath & Kitchen Creations, 43671 Trade Center Pl., Suite 112, Sterling; 703-996-8600; bathandkitchencreations.com. This family-owned design/build firm does lots of suburban kitchens in traditional styles.
Boffi Studio DC, 3320 M St., NW; 202-333-7555; boffi.com. This Italian firm has six studios in the United States—the newest, in Georgetown, opened last year. It specializes in minimalist, contemporary kitchen and bathroom designs using natural stone and Corian.
Bulthaup, 3324 Cady’s Alley, Georgetown; 202-338-2220; bulthaup.com. Designers at this German firm create kitchens that incorporate minimalism and innovative ergonomics. The company launched two new product lines this year, B1 and B2.
Cameo Kitchens, 7297-M Lee Hwy., Falls Church; 703-532-4545; cameokitchensonline.com. 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; coyle-associates.com. 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.
Creative Kitchens, 1776 E. Jefferson St., Rockville; 301-984-4477; creativekitchens.net. In business since 1958; moderate to high-end kitchens from traditional to contemporary.
Custom Crafters, 4000 Howard Ave., Kensington, 301-493-4000; 6023 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-532-7000; customcraftersinc.com. In business since 1956 with six kitchen designers on staff, this firm carries cabinet lines including Dura Supreme, Medallion, Elmwood, and Kountry Kraft. Many environmentally friendly materials.
Dar Designs, 45929 Maries Rd., Sterling; 571-237-4830; dar-designs.com. This store, specializing in high-end European imports, also designs kitchens. It carries several hard-to-find high-end cabinet lines such as Rich Maid Kabinetry and Italian Salvarani as well as its own line of contemporary kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities called Dar Cucina.
Dee David & Co., by appointment, Falls Church; 703-560-6601; deedavidandco.com. 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; dsikitchens.com. 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; 703-532-2284; 1800smworks.com. 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; harveys-kb.com. This firm, in business more than 30 years, carries several high-end custom-cabinetry lines and has installation crews on staff.