One of my projects for 2020 was fully replacing the kitchen and utility room. We have an open plan kitchen with a dining table and an adjoining utility room, which is used for storage, heavy duty washing up and laundry.
We designed and managed the whole process ourselves, and even, unexpectedly, had to finish the installation ourselves as we went into lockdown in the Spring of 2020, so we really do have an intimate knowledge of every part of the process.
Given everything we have learnt, I wanted to offer some advice on planning and choosing a kitchen, as it’s something I’ve been asked about a lot. I am also happy to offer more detailed advice in my Online Consultations, so do book a session if you would like some more personal advice for your circumstances.
It is so important to make a good plan from the start. Think about how you want to use the space, what you cook, how you will clean up and what you need to store and how. All of these considerations will help you to plan a genuinely useful, functional kitchen that will serve you well for years to come.
I’d especially urge anyone to carefully consider the functionality and maintenance of every option you choose. If you cook, then you will need options that are durable. No-one wants a kitchen that is going to be hard work to keep looking good, nor one that cannot withstand the rigours of everyday use without risking damages, scratches and stains.
I also think it’s incredibly useful to ensure you check plans with plumbers, electricians and gas engineers from the start. Get someone round to check. With water, for example, many houses have a mains supply and stopcock in the kitchen somewhere, so make sure your plumbing will fit around the cupboards, your gas piping fits the new layout (if you have it, of course) and ensure your electricity supply can handle the appliances you have chosen. Many appliances need to be wired, not plugged in. Some brands, such as Miele, require wiring for their appliances.
Do your research
Think carefully about the options you choose and get plenty of quotes if you can. One thing that shocked me was how much quotes varied from suppliers, for broadly the same job and time commitment. We ended up buying from lots of different suppliers, rather than getting everything in from one place. It’s really worth spending time on this part of the planning.
In terms of the units, doors and hardware, I’d encourage anyone to look at a wide range of suppliers from the outset.
What do you really need?
It’s really, really important to think about this. It’s also very easy to succumb to ideas of what you would like, but will you really use it? How much oven space do you need? How many people do you want to be able to cook for? Do you really need a steam oven? AGA are really lovely, but I think probably best in country/period/open plan homes and busy ones too – you need to use them to justify the cost, space and heat generated. Do you really need a wine fridge? Is a built-in coffee machine worth it? All questions that are worth asking.
I hope this is helpful, and please do get in touch if you’d like some personal advice for your own project.