Introduction to Kitchen Designer Rick Gedney by Architect Rick Staub:

The hardest part of any kitchen project is getting started.  We all make excuses and things always seem to get in the way from keeping us from moving forward.  So, to help us get unstuck, we have enlisted Rick Gedney, a kitchen designer located in Madison, Connecticut. He has helped thousands of homeowners get started on their kitchen renovation projects.  In fact, he’s even helping me get unstuck with my own kitchen remodel. (Click here for the first “My Kitchen Sucks” video) 

How to Start Your Kitchen Project?

The first part of this series of articles deals with the process homeowners should consider before starting out with kitchen design and contracting companies.  If this is a new construction or renovation project, many of the same decisions and processes are the same as remodeling.

Chances are you have been thinking about a new kitchen for some time.  Perhaps every time you run out of counter space to prepare meals or need to run down to the basement for a pot that doesn’t fit in your present kitchen. Or, maybe your kitchen looks just plain tired and rundown.  It’s too dark, or better yet, you’re building a new home or doing a larger renovation.  The reasons are many, but the conundrum is the same – How do I get started?  How do I get unstuck?

First, please give yourself a break. I have worked on nearly 4,000 kitchens and I can tell you that everyone goes through similar experiences.  Zero kitchens I’ve designed have been the same.  So, it is always a process. 

Get Together Your “Inside Team

Step One: Get together with your “inside team.”  This could be just you or a whole extended family. Discuss equipment, scope, finishes, budget and wish list.  Make a list of what you do not like about your current kitchen and what you do. A tip is to have three project options:

1.The “really must do project”

2. The “this is what we are hoping for project”

3,  And, “the dream”

Talk about the whole year. For example, we get more requests for double ovens in November and December and patio doors in the summer months.  Everyone who is part of the “inside team” should be on board as you’re developing your kitchen.  Otherwise, you will find yourself going backwards a bit, which is frustrating as heck.  Mitigate surprises at every opportunity. 

Gather Your Resources

Step Two: Gather your resources. Images, web idea books & boards, shelter magazines, all help with initial visualization.  The biggest tip here is to label and annotate exactly what it is you like about the image. The more you can break it down, the easier it will be for folks on the team to make it happen.  Many people come into the showroom with great pictures, but we need to drill down as to what it is they like about the image. Then, we can adapt it to their space.  

Assemble Your “Outside Team”

Now you are ready for the big step – Step Three: Assembling your “outside team.” Armed with some referrals, arrange to visit some showrooms and make some calls. Showrooms, kitchen designers and remodeling professionals come in all shapes and sizes.   

Big boxes, specialty showrooms, independent designers, remodeling specialists are all out there.  Do not assume anything about price or quality simply by the business format. Some companies just sell cabinets with a fairly basic design.  Others supply labor and coordination. While others do it all with design, installation and project management. 

Who Will Be Your Project Partners?

A fairly common new normal these days is to combine a kitchen design and supply specialist with a remodeling and project management contractor.  Many work in tandem. Think about the time you have available, proximity of resources, and what you will do or supply.  Those choices go to scope of project and affect specifications and budget.  I see a lot less total DIY’s these days compared to years ago.  However, I do see clients supplying their own appliances, perhaps doing some demo work and incorporating a favorite house electrician or plumber. 

Since the planning and specification process is time consuming for all involved, do some upfront work on the resources you plan to visit before you dive in.  If your project partners come with a gold-plated referral, you can get to “trust but verify” quickly. It is a lot less stressful compared to attempting to get three or four apples-to-apples bids. The room is way too complex for that kind of comparison. 

Remember, it is not uncommon for the planning, ordering, actual work and punch list process to take six months or longer.  The communication and relationship with your team is key to not only a great finished project, but also the process of getting there. 

For more information about Kitchens by Gedney, Inc. visit

Photos: kitchens designed by Kitchens by Gedney, Inc.