Why do you ask for a retainer?
A retainer is obtained at the design phase to ensure a commitment, both from the client and from Design 1, right from the start. At this point, our team is working for you, helping to make your dream project a reality.
We also feel that the retainer benefits the client as well, eliminating any uncomfortable feeling that the client may have toward asking us to do certain things such as changes, re designs, etc. After all, we are working for you so feel free to ask.
Why do you wait until selections are made to give a final estimate?
We do this for accuracy. Our pre estimate will include expected costs for the project using typical materials and installation methods. After the detail design phase, we have a more comprehensive schedule of materials to be priced and to be installed and can make a more informed estimate. For instance, glass tile is generally a more expensive material to purchase and is also much more challenging to install as opposed to standard ceramic tile. The tile layout is important as well. A standard subway tile layout is much easier to install than a diagonal layout or a herringbone pattern. Add accent tiles into the mix and you’ve got a complete different installation cost.
Tile is but one of many factors that affect the final estimate. Others include final lighting design, plumbing fixtures and location, wall finishes, cabinet layout and style, countertop selection, etc.
How does your firm differ from other companies?
As a design/build firm, we take part in every aspect of your project from inception to completion.
Design work is done in house where we have all of the necessary product and material to choose from. Once the design is complete and all selections are made, we provide a detailed estimate for review. At that time any necessary changes will be made, either for design or budget needs. We finalize all of these long before we start any work on your project. By doing this, we can ensure that all of the materials will fit and will work together in the final product. After that, we get to work on the construction portion of the project. All phases of the construction are in our hands as well, allowing for a more streamlined process.
How does that differ from me going to a general contractor, architect or designer?
Contractor- A lot of homeowners will seek out a general contractor as their first contact to get a project started. While a necessary cog in the wheel, a general contractor will not be able to give an accurate estimate of the project simply because he doesn’t know the final design or scope of the job. He may request that you get a plan or a design done first before he can produce an accurate bid. Most contractors will work with allowances for materials rather than actual accurate numbers. Often times these numbers are far lower than they should be for your project and you may not be able to get the materials you like at that number. Design 1 works with actual numbers based on your actual selections.
Architect - Another first contact may be an architect. An architect is a great choice for a scope of work and working set of plans for a new home or an addition. In fact, they are usually crucial for these projects and we work with them a lot on those type of projects. However, most architects aren’t well versed in kitchen or bath design and will generally only give an idea of the expected layout of those rooms with the final rendition to be provided by the kitchen or bath designer. An architect is rarely needed for a simple kitchen or bath remodel where minimal structure is changing.
Designer - Many independent designers are available to help design your kitchen, bath or other project and are usually very skilled at their craft. They’ll be able to accurately layout the space and in some cases, provide detailed design drawings and renderings. One drawback is that they usually do not have a showroom full of products to show you. That means that you’ll be doing a lot of legwork going to various plumbing suppliers, cabinet showrooms, tile stores, etc to pick out all of your materials. That means gathering and carrying all of your samples for each trip.
On top of all of that, their designs and drawings may not be easily done without custom cabinets, high end tile and more. This could drive your projects costs higher than you expect.
Design 1 Kitchen and Bath has an in-house design staff ready to help, eliminating the need for an outside designer.
What kind of fees can I expect to pay?
A general contractor typically will not charge for his estimate once you have your design and scope of work in place. However, an architect and a designer will usually charge an upfront, non-refundable fee that won’t include any materials or labor costs. This fee will be above and beyond any construction or materials cost and has to be factored into your overall project budget.
Design 1 works on a retainer basis. The retainer is the only upfront cost paid by the homeowner and really isn’t a fee at all. It just puts us to work for you. The cost of our services are built in to our project pricing and once the contract is signed, the retainer gets applied to the job.
What if I have a contractor already or I want to do the work myself?
We are more than happy to help you with this as well. In this case, the process is identical to the design/build format, except that we can drop the “build” part. We will still take you through the process and provide you with a detailed estimate for the costs of your materials. A retainer is still required and is still applied to the purchase. Once the design is complete and purchased, we will provide you and your contractor with the same detailed binder that we provide on our own design/build projects. This ensures a top quality final product.
Can I purchase kitchen cabinets only from your store?
You certainly can. We offer four cabinet lines for you to choose from. We can work from a design that you provide if you’ve already had that done or we can start from scratch and order your cabinets based on a design that we provide.
Do you do work other than kitchens and baths?
We certainly do. We are licensed general contractors who specialize in those project, but we also do work on other parts of the home including decks, screen rooms, porches, additions, basements, attics and mudrooms.
Where can I find pictures of your work?
You can see more photos of our work on Houzz.com
Are you licensed and insured?
We are a fully insured firm and have two licensed construction supervisors on staff.
Do you offer a warranty?
For our design/build projects, we offer a 1- year comprehensive warranty. This covers any parts/materials as well as any necessary labor.
For design and materials projects, standard manufacturer warranties are in place. No labor is provided for under those warranties.