Designer Op-Ed: Rising Tides Lifts All Boats

Design Collaboration – The New Normal

By KBtribechat host The Kitchen Design Network


There comes a time in our career when we recognize, if we’re smart, that we can’t be all things to all people; that learning the power of doing what we do and doing it well is better than being a mediocre “jack-of-all -trades”. But as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

We’re talking about Kitchen Design, not heart surgery my friends, but let me go on the record and say that nowhere is precision planning, training, and years of experience more important than in the design and planning of a new kitchen, soup to nuts. However, that is not to say that kitchen designers are the only ones competent enough to practice the art of kitchen design?


The economic climate of the past few years found many in the design industry, by necessity, running a “jack of all trades” design practice and struggling to learn new skills to survive. When new work came along, who could afford to say no? While the design business in general was very weak, if you had a strong referral clientele, kitchen projects still existed that provided a lifeline.

Welcome to the “new normal”, a design industry where everyone “does” everything. We don’t have to agree with it or like it but it’s the way that it is. You either change or you’ll find yourself swimming against the current. Not smart. Through it all, many designers find that while designing kitchens is fun, it’s a lot of hard work and it takes a different set of skills than they have in their tool bag and if you make a few mistakes your profit margin plummets South of the Border along with your sanity.


Conversely, kitchen designers, while not trained interior designers, incorporate many aspects of interior design into their finished design projects. Many don’t charge properly and give valuable design time, they’re not buying product well enough to generate adequate revenue to make it feel worth it. So what’s the answer? Collaboration. We’ve been doing this for years and so should you.

The Kitchen Design Network Co-Founders, Rebecca Reynolds and Lori Gilder, own and manage their own design practices. On the majority of their projects they complete all aspects of the kitchen and interior design but have in recent years been asked to collaborate with designers who are not comfortable with designing or managing a kitchen renovation.

The KDN is stopping for next weeks KBTribeChat on Wednesday,  April 8th, to discuss how designers and vendors will benefit through collaboration with other design professionals. Enhance your profile, increase your bottom line and build your professional portfolio.

The Kitchen Design Network seeks to bridge the talents of both professional industries. The “new normal” is here to stay. So while we can’t be all things to all clients, we can say yes to new opportunities. Be savvy, smart designers and designers on both sides of the aisle will benefit because “Rising Tides Lifts All Boats”.

Our KBtribechat QUESTIONS:

1- What changes do you foresee in the Kitchen Industry that will alter how you do business/ generate revenue in the future? i.e., do you see manufacturers selling directly to consumer?

2- What changes would foster a more united industry among kitchen and interior design professionals? With vendors?

3 – What are the pros and cons of designer collaboration on Kitchen Design projects?

4 – What type of products or services would you like to see more of at KBIS?

5- Do you currently collaborate with a designers/architects on kitchen projects? How do separate the lines of responsibility?

6- What could the Kitchen Industry do to elevate the professional images of kitchen designers the way the interior design industry does for interior designers?

Join this Twitter Chat discussion

on Wednesday, April 8th

from 2 to 3pm eastern time

by adding #KBtribechat to your tweets!

Please follow The Kitchen Design Network on:




The Kitchen Design Network is extending an invitation to the KBTribe Chat community to submit 6-8 images of their best kitchen projects along with a head shot, a short bio and link to their site for inclusion in our curated invitation only designer directory which launches this spring. After May 31st, the directory will be by invitation only. Send your request to and we’ll send you an invite from Drop Box to upload your images.

Please take our quick Survey!

Here is the transcript for this KBtribechat.


Filed under kbtribechat questions, Topic Descriptions

2 responses to “Designer Op-Ed: Rising Tides Lifts All Boats

  1. I totally agree with your post, Rebecca and Lori too, on how things have certainly changed. But what has not changed is one’s expertise through experience and knowledge. I can design a kitchen but I would never be responsible for the layout or purchasing of the cabinets.I only work with kitchen designers or those who know what I do not know or want to know! I do what I do best and go to experts like yourself for what you do best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mitzi. Please take the time to take the quick KDN Survey (link at end of this post above)….and join us at #KBtribechat on Wednesday to weigh in on this important topic! We look forward to your input.


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