Month: February 2014

Are You “Pinning” Yourself into a Very Expensive Corner?

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Are You “Pinning” Yourself into a Very Expensive Corner?.


Are You “Pinning” Yourself into a Very Expensive Corner?

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I was just talking to a designer friend this morning, and I have to share our discussion. We feel like there’s a HUGE issue that needs to be addressed. As designers, we already know this.. but as a consumer, you should be aware.

As much fun as Pinterest and Houzz are, you need to know the truth: Most of the projects you see online, even small, “budget” remodels, are thousands of dollars more than you think they are. If you see a beautiful kitchen that you would LOVE to have, with cabinets stretching to a 10′ ceiling with huge beautiful lights, lots of glass, stone and marble, and even a really cool rolling ladder; OF COURSE it’s going to make you wishful. Just be careful! You should know that the kitchen you’re lusting after would probably cost you a whopping $50,000-$75,000.. easily. That’s why they’re showing it off!

Although I’m not a huge fan of HGTV, shows like “Bang for your Buck” offer a real glimpse into the cost of these luxury makeovers. You may scoff at the TV when they’re giving their 6-figure renovation total, but, that’s reality. If you have to have that commercial oven, curved ceiling, hammered copper hood, or any other “cool” thing you see, they’re going to cost you.

One of the questions people ask me all the time is, “What does an average kitchen cost?” Sometimes, the answer blows them away.. even in our central Pennsylvania rural market. So how much DOES it cost? The average kitchen I sell is about $12,000. That is generally cabinets, countertops, hardware, moldings, and installation. I’m not including appliances, flooring, furniture, or new walls. I rarely see a new kitchen completed for less than $8,000, and often the price is closer to double that. A painted finish, such as the ever-popular white, costs you about 20% more than a stain.


If you add granite or quartz to that must-have list, be aware that the average price for a stone surface in our area is around $3,000. Most people have about 30 square feet of counter space in their kitchen, and I have done jobs that cost $8,000 for countertops alone.

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel and you’re pinning pictures to your home board or adding things to an ideabook on Houzz, your price ticket is going to be higher. It just IS. The shocking truth: Those sites are advertising! When you’re online, someone is trying to sell you something.. be it a product or a service. Working with a designer can help you adjust your expectations, or your budget, so that you can still have the perfect kitchen for you and your home.

I have helped many clients achieve their dream kitchens, and kept them within their budget. The key is communication, and knowing when to save and when to splurge. Aligning expectations with your budget will keep you on track. Here’s a kitchen I was able to help with. By not wasting money on all new appliances and flooring when the existing ones were in good condition, they were able to achieve these beautiful results:

Please don’t get me wrong. I post a lot about budgets and expectations because I am speaking from personal experience. There ARE budget makeovers. You just aren’t going to see as many of them on the internet or on tv. So set reasonable expectations.  If your budget is really $3,000 and you want a new kitchen, consider going with stock cabinets from Lowe’s or Home Depot, and installing laminate countertops. Plan to DIY or have a friend help you, because there won’t be extra money to pay for installation.

To refresh a kitchen that already has a workable layout, paint your existing cabinets and add some convenient storage options to them. Replacing old countertops and hardware, and adding a tile backsplash can change the look of your entire room without having to borrow from your retirement or emergency fund.

Adding pull-outs to your existing cabinets can make them more accessible without having to completely remodel.

Don’t be nervous about starting a kitchen remodel. It can be intimidating, but having the right expectations and professional help makes all the difference.  

Have you already been through a kitchen remodeling experience? Were your expectations met, or did you have to make adjustments to your wishlist or budget along the way? Please, share your thoughts and experience with us!!


Best of Houzz 2014!!

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I am so happy to announce that my company, CDH Designs, has won the Best of Houzz 2014 award! 

Here’s the official press release:

Lewistown, PA, February 4, 2014 – CDH Designs of Lewistown, Pennsylvania has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The interior design consulting company was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. 

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhoneapp and Androidapp. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.  

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize CDH Designs among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

 With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like CDH Designs, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

 Follow CDH Designs on Houzz []

 About CDH Designs

Cherie Miller graduated from Ai-York, PA in 2005 with an Associate’s Degree in Interior Design. After 7 years of working for others, both in the furniture industry and as a kitchen designer, Cherie decided to actively pursue her dream of running her own design business. She promotes affordable design services for everyone, and works with her clients to achieve rooms they will love for years to come.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit


It is an honor to be recognized among the top design professionals on Houzz. I am thrilled to be able to do what I love every day, and help people create beautiful spaces to live in.

A huge “thank you” to all who have reviewed me, liked my Facebook page, and followed my company this past year. 
I am so excited to see where we go in 2014!