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I'm Firing My Designer...
Old 10-13-2014, 05:43 PM   #1
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I'm Firing My Designer...

do I have any issues with the contract?

We have decided this will be our 'forever home' and are updating the master bath and laundry room (total guts) and kitchen (keeping footprint, but making some modifications to cabinetry). I have no design sense but do know what I like and don't like and badly need assistance in pulling everything together.

We hired a designer and signed a contract to cover tiers including the design, assistance in selecting/purchasing products, and hiring/overseeing the contractor.

I've had it. My issues are non-responsiveness and not listening to what I want. At this point in time, we don't have a design because she used the measurements in the original house plans, even though I told her not to because I knew they were off. An initial design (mine) didn't work; now it does since she f.... up and her design won't work because she used the wrong measurements and now all of a sudden mine works ?

To get to the point, what, if any problems will I encounter if I decide to fire her? We've paid 1/3 of the contract costs and even though I feel we did not receive that value, I am willing to chalk it up to experience and say our goodbye's.

Am I overlooking anything?
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Old 10-13-2014, 05:56 PM   #2
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Depends what the contract said.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:07 PM   #3
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Depends what the contract said.
Very simple contract...that we would engage her to provide

1. design
2. assistance in product selection
3. assistance in contractor selection and oversight of contractor

No cancellation or other clauses.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:34 PM   #4
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Assuming 1/3 the total price represents the cost of the design phase of work, and she gave you final plans that can be incorporated into a bid package for a contractor, I'd say you're even. If she hasn't delivered what she has promised for the "design" phase, and you are cancelling due to poor performance, negotiate a partial refund to allow for work not done.

If she made mistakes (like using incorrect measurements over your objections), she's liable for any rework that's required to get the job done. You could also specify the additional delays in your project and ask her to consider that in reaching a fair agreement on fees actually owed (which may be a lot less than what you paid).

I'm curious if this is a licensed architect or an unlicensed "designer"?
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:49 PM   #5
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I assume this was a designer, not an architect. (Presuming you were not doing structural stuff - just replacing vanities, toilets, etc.)

Was she ever in your house? If so - cancel with impunity - the mistakes are totally on her. She should have measured herself.

My husband (a licensed architect) stated he would never trust a designer that didn't do his/her own dimensions before spec'ing products in a tight space. If she's a member of ASID - consider pursuing things with them, if she gives you guff about being fired.
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Old 10-13-2014, 07:40 PM   #6
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She has credentials which I insisted upon as we are moving plumbing, maybe a load bearing wall, windows, etc. She is a licensed kitchen and bath designer and has a good reputation. I think she is expanding and may be overwhelmed, but that is not my problem. We thought we had a design, but then discovered she was using measurements she shouldn't have and are now back to square one...no design. We have done some product selection, but again, she's not listening to my wants and came up with a cheese head counter top which I told her at our first concept meeting was a huge NO along with Corian-type look.

At this point, all I want is out and not to have to pay more than I already have.
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:34 PM   #7
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We thought we had a design, but then discovered she was using measurements she shouldn't have and are now back to square one...no design. We have done some product selection...
I'd ask for a full refund in that case if you don't have a design at all.
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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If you're moving a load bearing wall, hopefully you have a structural engineer looking at things.

Given that your contract doesn't include cancellation clauses - I'd think you could sever it at this point. But I'm not a lawyer and don't play one on tv.
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:35 PM   #9
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She received the original house plans for purposes of determining if the wall was load-bearing and was told not to use the measurements as they were off. She was going to have a structural engineer out (at our cost) for that determination. That never happened and she is using the wall location in her current designs. Based on my wants for more storage and the fact that she's using erroneous dimensions, her designs don't work. We have 3 windows that we prefer not to move or eliminate, so if wall was not load-bearing, great, we'd rip it out for add'l design options.

The space measures approx. 12x12 with a shower bump out, so not a tight space.
However, DH has some genetic medical issues whereby he'll most likely be in a wheelchair w/in the next 10 years...a claustrophobic bathroom is out. Wheelchair access is a must.

Assuming the wall is non-loadbearing would give us more design options but frankly, at this point, I have lost all confidence in her. In fact, I sent her an e-mail Friday early afternoon requiring response and no response as of yet (they were closed yesterday for holiday).

And I just got another bill this morning for an add'l $2K :face palm:.

We need to have a talk...
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:42 PM   #10
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There is no such thing as a 'licensed Kitchen and Bath Designer', at least in Oregon and Washington. They may be licensed contractors which in my state means that they are bonded and have passed a test that assures that they know the difference between a saw and a hammer. (snide comment, I know)

As a wife of an architect (that cute guy to the left) at a certain level I want to say you got the skill level you paid for, on the other hand - as a home owner - you need to call a halt to the project and have a meeting with your 'designer' and your lawyer. Stop the work!
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:42 PM   #11
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There is no such thing as a 'licensed Kitchen and Bath Designer', at least in Oregon and Washington. They may be licensed contractors which in my state means that they are bonded and have passed a test that assures that they know the difference between a saw and a hammer. (snide comment, I know)

As a wife of an architect (that cute guy to the left) at a certain level I want to say you got the skill level you paid for, on the other hand - as a home owner - you need to call a halt to the project and have a meeting with your 'designer' and your lawyer. Stop the work!
My apologies...I meant to say 'credentialed' rather than 'licensed.' You know, all those letters, CID, CKD, CBD and a bunch of others. She is quite skilled, however, seems to not be putting the effort into our project that I expect. I'm not trying to get something for nothing. In my neck of the woods, the design by credentialed designers costs approx 10-15% of the project plus the $ they get for 'trade markup' on the products. Or about $150+/hr. My expectations are high and they are not being met.

I just got an e-mail with drawings that indicates she's been working overtime on my project. As I don't want to start from scratch, I'm thinking of getting that structural engineer in to make the determination on the wall and assuming it is not load-bearing, have her do some additional concept drawings based on the new space and go from there.

edit: probably makes sense to have her do some concept drawings w/o wall and go from there.
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:57 PM   #12
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There is no such thing as a 'licensed Kitchen and Bath Designer', at least in Oregon and Washington. They may be licensed contractors which in my state means that they are bonded and have passed a test that assures that they know the difference between a saw and a hammer. (snide comment, I know)

As a wife of an architect (that cute guy to the left) at a certain level I want to say you got the skill level you paid for, on the other hand - as a home owner - you need to call a halt to the project and have a meeting with your 'designer' and your lawyer. Stop the work!
You must be referring to Oregon on the test, no such thing in Washington, although most would welcome a very vigorous interrogation to weed out the blockheads.
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