Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

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WeatherGirl
Posts: 34
Joined: 31 Mar 2012 13:19

Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by WeatherGirl »

Now, let's just say that my kitchen was held together with gaffa tape [true story] and I wanted to spend a tiny bit of money on a new one but was finding the sheer quantity of kitchens on the internet to be mind numbing, where should I start?
Where shouldn't I go? Who do I get to fit it for me?

Place address all responses to 'Kitchen Hell'.

Thank you.
Rachael
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010 13:42
Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Rachael »

Options:
1. Find a decent builder and let him do the rest. Most will use either Magnet or Howdens.

2. Find an independent local kitchen company. They often have builders they work with. But tend to be pricey.

3. Check out Ikea - cheap but decent kitchens and they do installation as well.

Stop looking online - most of the cut-price kitchens online are a scam or at the very best poor value for money.
Raphael
Posts: 52
Joined: 7 Aug 2012 06:12
Location: Sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Raphael »

Speak to builder Brian Brooks on 07909-863980. He's done work for us and is honest, reasonably priced and knows what he's talking about.
Savvy
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Joined: 16 Jan 2005 18:20
Location: SE26

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Savvy »

I agree with what Rachael said but also, because kitchens are an expensive and rather permanent feature you need to think about what you want from it. In my case - when I get my next kitchen (which will be some way off I admit, but one can dream) I want everything in my kitchen to be reachable. I have cupboards where I can only reach the second shelf, I have jars containing everyday items too low down. One freezer isn't enough to cope with the glut of soups and tomatoes sauces I'd like to make in the summer and I need a drawer at the bottom of the oven to store roasting tins.
But your 'wishes' will be different. Think about your kitchen now, what would you like moved? Is everything at the right height? Do you have adequate ventilation and a good extractor fan (that's something else I'd like next time). Draw it, be bold, don't be afraid to think you can't have the sink somewhere else and don't think that bespoke always means more expensive. Have a brainstorming session.
My next kitchen will have open shelving all around the walls, I'll be able to reach to the back of every shelf and I'll have a pulley system for pans so I can put them out of reach up high but get to them without stretching.
Its a big expense and you'll have to live with it for some time so take your time and get a sympathetic installer who will listen to what you are saying.

Good luck.
14BradfordRoad
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Joined: 8 Oct 2011 23:22
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow..

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by 14BradfordRoad »

What about an online virtual Kitchen planner like this one (might help to visualise some ideas):
http://www.magnet.co.uk/kitchen-planner/

I've fitted my own in the past (after drawing out on paper) and found that it's easy to overlook the basic services and room structure. For example Doors/Windows in the right/wrong places, condition & location of electrics & plumbing, It's amazing what you see and find when you rip the old kitchen out (the easy bit).. Adventurous but worth it!

I've also travelled round looking at build quality vs price. Magnets, Howdens, Ikea, Wickes (but not cheap range) all look to be good. I ended up with Wickes units dearer range but still cheaper than Magnets (V. good but pricey). A friend did have problems with B&Q units (admittedly 15 years back) which were broken on delivery and not good quality at all and sent them all back and opted for IKEA units which he was over the moon with (good price too).

If you are getting someone in to do the work get a few quotes along with recommendations. Recomended local builders will probably be cheapest compared with Kitchen companies, especially if other basic works are required. Maybe you could have a go at some of the works yourself and save a bit?

Good luck and hope you end up with the kitchen of your dreams. :)
Maria
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Joined: 3 Nov 2010 14:34
Location: Sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Maria »

According to "Results based on a survey of 3,346 Which? Connect members carried out in January 2013" Ikea kitchens have come out as the best value of them all, just above John Lewis and vastly superior to Howdens, B&Q, Homebase etc. And some of them are just beautiful.
Rachael
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Joined: 23 Jan 2010 13:42
Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Rachael »

I have a Howdens kitchen - four years on, it still looks like new. Installed by local builder as part of a larger extension - rebuilding project. We were a bit cheeky - went to Magnet and had them do a design then took it to Howdens to supply!

A friend who is an architect put an Ikea kitchen in his own house and highly recommends them.
Last edited by Rachael on 4 Jan 2015 20:01, edited 1 time in total.
Maria
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Location: Sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Maria »

Perhaps Admin would find it in his heart to start a "Town Kitchen" sub forum for us? :lol:
gerispringer
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Joined: 20 Jul 2009 10:58
Location: sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by gerispringer »

Have a look around a few showrooms- John Lewis in town, Ikea have good kitchen sections to get ideas about what you like - colour, style etc. buy some kitchen mags or do some online research . Pinterest has lots of kitchen ideas.. Do you want contemporary, retro, country etc? Draw up some plans on maybe ikea kitchen planner, or get a company to come in and draw up some designs for you. You can make an appointment in ikea with a planner who will help you draw up plans but go into the store with all your measurements. It depends on your budget but don't expect to have much change out of £5,000 - sky's the limit.
mosy
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Joined: 21 Sep 2007 20:28
Location: London

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by mosy »

I'm in the "decide what you want first" camp. Is it more sockets (need a bigger fuse box?), cupboards (or more suitable cupboards), ergonomics like positioning of sink and cooker, decent lighting or additional location lighting for food prep and defined dining area? Does some furniture have to be free-standing, if flimsy partition walls. Are hot things like cooker and washer away from cold fridges/freezer? Did you want appliances to be built in behind matching doors? Would opening the kitchen door outwards or changing the radiator style give more wall space? New flooring? Ease of access to stopcocks for gas and water (water can have in-pipe turnscrew stops - useful during installation too).

Chances are that you'll decide on a layout, then change your mind 99 times before settling as it's such an expense. Or... could just give an updated look for now by simply replacing cupboard doors. It rather depends on how much you use the kitchen as to what constitutes being worth the money and inevitable upheaval.

Once you do decide to make a contract with someone, be sure to get absolutely everything in writing and be sure to read any small print on guarantees, returns etc.

Never lose sight of exactly why you are wanting to change it in the first place, or you could finish up with something that's very nice but still has the same problems (hence 99 mind changes lol)..
leenewham
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Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by leenewham »

It's worth having a consultation with a kitchen designer (not a sales man). £250 spent up front would pay dividends for some advice.

We went with Ikea units. They are good quality and amazing value. They are deeper too and have more space than most other cabinets. We didn't got with any cupboards unless they had pull out shelves. We looked at lots of kitchens and to be honest, they mostly use the same systems for building, Ikea are as good as many that are far more expensive unless you go for a hand built one.

We bought the worktop and sink/taps etc separately.

Don't got for a light coloured tiled floor like we did, you will be constantly cleaning it, and when we had it grouted, the dark grout stained all the tiles. It took hours of cleaning with harsh chemicals to get it off. Light grout gets dirty in a kitchen and looks rubbish. We ended up having to redo the floor.

I'd also recommend going for units that are easy to clean. Tiled splash backs are really easy to clean, hardwearing and look good.

Ikea cookers, dishwashers and microwaves are really good and amazing value. We have a built in Microwave, it saves loads of countertop space and looks good too. They have very good energy ratings.

They also do oodles of interest free credit.

Get more sockets than you think you need, you will always need more. Tables are better down the end of a kitchen looking out over the garden than stuck in the middle.

Think about where your services already are, moving them makes it expensive.
Maria
Posts: 374
Joined: 3 Nov 2010 14:34
Location: Sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Maria »

Another thing we found was that by changing the opening direction of doors out of kitchen (on from inwards to outwards instead, another towards to right rather than the other way round, we gained not only a major greater sense of space but an actual wider working area itself. And so easy to do...

Finally, if there was only one new item I would decide I could afford that would absolutely be a 1 and 1/2 stainless steel sink bowl: there's your food preparation as well as dish washing made 100 times easier - for not an unacceptably lot more!

Reading the rather clever notes above you just realise what a minefield a whole new kitchen thing is don't you... that, according to estate agents, is the reason why for sale houses with old kitchens in need of renovation stay exactly like that for quite a while... apart from the hellish initial research it is the amount of dust which creates all over the rest of the house that has nearly killed me in the past. But what a pleasure when it's done - it's worth it, good luck!

PS Ah and I have just read Lee's message sent while I was writing: sockets!!!! Think sockets everywhere but invest perhaps in one of those little machine things that bleep when they find (invisible & deadly) electric cables hidden on apparent wholly innocent walls - you don't want to go there!
admin
Site Admin
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Joined: 20 Sep 2004 21:49

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by admin »

Maria wrote:Perhaps Admin would find it in his heart to start a "Town Kitchen" sub forum for us? :lol:
Don't tempt me!

I was alerted to this thread whilst perusing the kitchen department of John Lewis in Bluewater (heaven in hell). I built our current kitchen 29 years ago from MFI units but Mrs Admin for some unfathomable reason has decided she is going to have a new kitchen or divorce.

I'm not sure which is more expensive ... I may start a parallel lawyer thread.

So I am following this thread with special interest. I am in despair as even the most illustrious names including John Lewis have appalling reviews when it comes to delivery and fitting. I think one of the major issues with kitchen fitters is that you design and order the kitchen to one plan but when it comes to removing the existing units it doesn't quite work out. You have bumps in walls, right angles aren't quite right angles, things don't quite measure up. And if you are fitting standard units then what should fit, doesn't. Bending them is problematical. The fitters have been allocated one or more days to do the job and they are off to the next. so problems are bodged and getting them back to complete your snagging list is blood/stone territory.

I'm tempted to do it slow, step by step. In my case its partially demolishing a non-structural wall under a RSJ, relocating the radiator and putting in a new electrical feed from the box. That's a plumber, electrician and a plasterer. Then build a breakfast bar, relax, then demolish the kitchen units and measure and do the final design then.

The downside is a significant period of time with no proper kitchen. But we can get by with a temporary hob, oven and microwave. I'm inclined to fit the units myself so I can take time to solve any issues that come up (and that bit from memory is fairly quick and easy).

The really hard bit is getting the worktop right and fitting it precisely. And that's the bit that shows most. Again I'm inclined to leave that until all the units are in place. Then build a template (out of plywood) for the professionals to check, build and install. Hopefully getting it perfect first time around - especially as it is likely to be the single most expensive component of the build.

But then my expertise died nearly 30 years ago so it would be great to get other people's views. Perhaps' we should all meet and share ideas and info in Lee's new superduper kitchen :D

Admin
Rachael
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Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Rachael »

The easy solution to that, admin, is not to use kitchen fitters, but a builder. A local builder, to boot. We had all sorts of lovely (not) surprises when we ripped out a twenty-year old kitchen. Like the fact that the joists underneath the floor had been chopped out and replaced with (wait for it) various sizes of gate post. Yup. Entire floor had to be taken up and the joists replaced.

Having a builder on site doing the job meant that it was sorted before we put a new kitchen on top of a collapsing floor.

The other advantage of using a builder is that they will do what you pay them for, not what has been allowed by the supplier. We had lots of custom bits and pieces done as we went along for little extra cost. I'm particularly fond of the wine rack / cupboard combo that my builder put together from various odds and ends from the Howdens catalogue. It sits in an otherwise awkward space and is quite delightful.
Maria
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Joined: 3 Nov 2010 14:34
Location: Sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Maria »

Absolutely agree with that Rachael has written re getting a general builder: that's exactly what we did when we moved here but there again we already knew one I trusted implicitly.

First of all we got our builder to tidy up and make more practical our utility room; we said, Daniel it is a utility room, who cares, please can you get us some plain NON GLOSSLY and with NO HANDLES so that the whole thing merges in with the walls? So he did. Then we looked at the finish project, and one year later found ourselves saying - well do you know that utility room you built for us a while ago Daniel? Please can you give us an estimate for exactly the same thing to be done with the kitchen (NOT forgetting the 1 and 1/2 matt stained steel bowl)?

Pronto. And now 1/2 of our neighbours come here (we do lots of Christmases communal celebrations in each others' houses around here) and say wow where did you get those cupboards? Well we confess that although the carcasses all came from Ikea the doors etc came god knows where, from... our builder! (he even did a huge ambition of mine inspired as I was from one of J Lewis Kitchens: a ROUND cupboard with round doors and
a ROUND worktop to match.
He can order, he can do the installation and the electrics and sort any structural fault in the room's flooring (though may claim a bit more for that if need be), he can paint, he can put hooks up, can advise on central heating vs electrical vs dual energy radiators and so on.

And now, as I was saying, 1/2 of our neighbours want him; he is not local but may well become because I keep telling him what a fabulous area this is.

PS Lee:such great advice against a light coloured flooring: never thought about that before!

PPS Rachael: a wine rack?!! it wouldn't last long in our place as it would look down right ridiculous: permanently empty as permanently drunk as soon as filled. (don't please call the social workers...)
Rachael
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Location: Sydenham / Forest Hill Intersection

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Rachael »

I buy wine by the case, Maria, so it full for at least a few days...

It's a wonder, my little cupboard - a small double door cupboard with off-the-shelf bottle holders attached on each side. The cupboard was cut back to match the depth of the bottle-holders and to make it fit neatly under a window. Shelves were made from off-cuts. In went my wine glasses and bottle opener. A piece of work top was cut to top it off, with a hole drilled in and capped off with a neat chrome lid.

What's the hole for? Well...

There happened to be a useful electrical socket where the cupboard was going. So it's still there, inside the cupboard on the bottom shelf. I have my radio on top of the cupboard, the cable for which drops in through the hole in the worktop.

Not a chance a regular kitchen fitter would do this. My builder, however, had a lot of fun with it and only charged me for the materials, not the extra time.
Smiffy
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Location: Upstairs in the spare room

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by Smiffy »

If you're rebuilding the kitchen from scratch I can recommend the B&Q 3D design application. I completely stripped the kitchen out but didn't have a clue what I wanted and found it difficult to visualise my ideas in an empty room. With the B&Q site you create a floor plan, add units, appliances and furniture, customise flooring, walls and unit doors. You can then view a 3D representation.
OK, you might not buy your stuff at B&Q but it gives you a good idea of what works.
mosy
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Location: London

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by mosy »

Maria wrote:...[clip]...PS Ah and I have just read Lee's message sent while I was writing: sockets!!!! Think sockets everywhere but invest perhaps in one of those little machine things that bleep when they find (invisible & deadly) electric cables hidden on apparent wholly innocent walls - you don't want to go there!
Indeed! My battery operated one was about a tenner, probably a bit dearer now. It found weird, not to say Yikes!, things like horizontal wiring (which shouldn't have been) and 13 amp socket cables dropped down from an upstairs 5amp ring(!), plus old gas pipes running to the upstairs.

On cupboards, some are built for cheapness to include a fixed base board (sometimes called a kick board). Avoid those. Buy ones on four legs, as each leg can be height-adjusted to ensure level. They use removable kickboards (fixed with big jubilee clips around the front legs). Get also the additional nylon(?) dust/crumb preventers - they're like plastic grooved strips that the board slots into.and takes up any unevenness in the floor.

For any re-fit, partial or total, it's a good idea to at least triple the duration time that it'll supposedly take. So don't get annoyed by holdups - expect them. Much less stressful if you hope for the best but expect the worst timescale-wise.
KM
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Joined: 10 Dec 2006 19:38
Location: Sydenham

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by KM »

Like Lee, I also recommend IKEA for price, look and ease of buying things.
They have a design consultation service where a planner/builder comes to you (there is an in-store one too), measures up, listens and asks questions about what you want, finds out about your budget. And i think it turned out free, (or maybe £50?) as we then bought our kitchen from IKEA..They can even build it for you.
We did this, it was well worth it for the small consultation price but we used our own builder.
I tried the online IKEA DIY design tool and failed miserably at it.
Our kitchen was considerably cheaper than a Howdens and I love it.

Have you tried Pinterest? This is EXCELLENT - it's like an online scrap book, and whatever the subject (and yes mine was open plan kitchen in small terraced house!) I would definitely recommend this to look at photos and pictures from all over the world for some brilliant inspiration. I'm not a very visual person so this was invaluable. And to nose at people's lovely houses...Love it.

Some good threads on the EDF too about fitting kitchen although it being East Dulwich their price brackets are quite different to mine...
JRobinson
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Location: De Frene Rd

Re: Where the chuff does one start with a new kitchen?

Post by JRobinson »

we've recently refitted out kitchen. We had three different quotes from builders, got a design from Howdens, and got a different builder to fit it. We had to take out a breakfast bar, moved the hob, created internal odouble oven, and fridge freezer inside where the chimney breast used to be - removed 9/10ths of it leaving the side walls, and a concrete lintel across the top, units slotted in. units aligned along the front, difficult to tell there's still most of the chimney breast there.
Also we're doing a lot of finishing off ourselves. We made a kitchen table from an offcut of the new worktop with four legs made from breakfast bar legs sawn down to size, and polished up. Also using a piece of the old worktop in our utility room, with some of the old wall units underneath, with some bespoke shelves/wine rack. Our flooring we will lightly sand and paint dark grey. Sink didn't move position, extra sockets were provided. door has been reversed to open against the wall rather than into the room. glass splash backs rather than tiles - far easier to install in one large piece than tens of small ones.
gas pipes moved for relocation of hob, wiring checked from the mains fuse box.
Light switch moved (so that it's not behind the door now that the door opens against the wall), double switch installed, second light fitting installed (had to lift floor boards in upstairs bedroom!)
Radiator moved from internal wall to next to the window.
lots done, but as above, a kitchen fitter wouldn't have done all this, but a general builder, who specialises in fitting kitchens, knew about possible problems, knew who to get round when, in what order, and was prepared for delays - like four days doing nothing whilst the new plaster dried out.
Also suggest drawing an outline plan on graph paper, then putting tracing paper over the top and trying different variations. If you don't like it on paper, you can re-draw it, but once it's in, you have to live with it for 15 years till it wears out and you can replace it.
also look at LED light bulbs which are more expensive to install (£25 a bulb) but at very low wattage (5w?) save vast amounts on electricity, and last thousands of hours longer (apparently), and don't generate huge amounts of heat.

just a few ideas.
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