CKD is a designation from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) that is reserved for experienced, highly-qualified kitchen designers. Certified Kitchen Designers must meet strict educational, testing and experience requirements.
Specifically, a CKD must have seven years of experience designing residential kitchen spaces. According to the NKBA, he or she must be skilled in design, space planning and product selection, as well as have extensive knowledge of building codes, flooring materials, appliances and mechanical systems. CKDs are required to pass written and practical exams, and participate in annual education programs.
Most homeowners who hire a CKD do so because they want someone to translate their project vision into a reality. A CKD can handle the design process from start to finish, including drawing plans and writing specifications that are carried out by installers, plumbers and electricians. CKDs are also experts in identifying needs and solutions that may not occur to the average consumer. Need clever ideas to make the most of a small space or maximize storage? A CKD’s job is to figure that out for you.
NKBA offers several other certifications, including Associate Kitchen and Bath Designers and Certified Kitchen and Bath Professional, but the certification requirements are not as rigorous.
Keep in mind that hiring a CKD does come at an added cost. Rates vary based on the designer, the project and your location, but the NKBA estimates that design costs usually make up about 4 percent of the project cost. So if you’re doing a $20,000 renovation, the designer’s fee might be $800.