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Q: Hi Ed: We're doing a complete remodel of our kitchen and plan to do a lot of it ourselves, including the design. Since we're not professionals, just handy-people, can you give us some ideas that can help with planning and design aspects? — Bob, Massachusetts

A: It's a good idea to work with a professional kitchen designer or at least consult with one for the latest trends and layouts. Many kitchen centers and supply houses even have in-house consultants that are happy to work with you. With that said, as a plumber I can tell you a couple of tips from my perspective.

First, I've seen a lot of jobs held up because materials needed on the job site for one reason or another were not available for installation. So if you have any special order or out-of-stock fixtures, make sure you have them at the job site before starting.

Also, to help with decorating, some companies do make suite fixtures like sinks, faucets and even kitchen lighting that are designed to complement each other. In some suite kits, the lighting fixture finishes are manufactured to match the kitchen faucet finishes, a bright decorating idea.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write [email protected] Always consult local contractors and codes.

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