INTRODUCTION TO OUR KITCHEN RENOVATION SERIES AND SOME VALUABLE TIPS
Designing a kitchen or renovating and refurbishing is a massive subject. As such we have split the subject into four easy to digest sections. You will also be provided with a ‘Finishes Schedule’ which will help take away the mystery of some of the terminology and a Glossary of well used kitchen terms.
You could not have more information! It will take a little patient reading (35 mins in total) but should be very useful to the design and renovation of your kitchen. Design Help’s information is all under one roof, it’s impartial as we do not sell any products and Interior Design biased, with project management tied in as well.
We try to be a ‘one stop design help shop’. Therefore, you can go shopping with real ideas and knowledge and not fall foul of being over sold to!
BEFORE WE GET STARTED
Download our Kitchen Renovation Checklist to help guide you through each section.
KITCHEN RENOVATION CHALLENGES AND AN ORDER OF PLAY
Designing a kitchen can be a challenge but also very exciting.
There is a lot to consider and research to carry out on your part – no one can do this bit for you. So to help, we have broken it down into logical sections. Design Help also has a Kitchen Renovation Check List for the process of designing a new kitchen.
It’s a perfect tool for making sure you do things in the right order. So do download it for a quick reference on the process. Also there is a Top Ten Tips from Design Help some of which are quite unique.
This kitchen renovation blog is broken down into the following sections:
PART 1: An Introduction with valuable tips
PART 2: Kitchen design and layout essentials
PART 3: Appliances; their features and requirements
PART 4: Building your kitchen project management
You also will be provides two bonus articles to help you better understand what you are reading.
- Schedule of Finishes – the building blocks and finishes of a kitchen
- Glossary of terms – common terms used in kitchen design
- Design Helps Top Ten Tips – This is Debby’s personal recommendations which are unique and a Design Help Special
YOUR PERSONAL NEEDS
Nothing will help you more when planning your kitchen renovation than an objective look at your personal needs.
A really good kitchen designer will ask the right questions and, if you have been given any recommendations, these are worth exploring. Obviously you want your kitchen to look good, blend in with the rest of your house or maybe even stand out but, above all, it has to be practical and fit your budget.
There is possibly no other place in your house that needs so much detailed thought.
Image: Wren Kitchen Shaker Style
WHAT DOES A KITCHEN RENOVATION BUDGET CONSIST OF?
Unfortunately it is not just the cost of the kitchen. Kitchen companies are not interested in doing anything other than selling you as many special and beautiful units as possible and installing them to the design.
In general they do not do the dirty work, like removing your old kitchens or installing new services to connect up to new appliance positions, eg sinks, ovens, extractors. They don’t tile or lay new flooring or decorate. Therefore you either DIY, find individual trades and project manage the whole operation or find a builder to do this for you. There are exceptions to this.
You also need to consider the cost of anything additional you might be supplying for the project; eg tiles, new stools for a breakfast bar or any other free standing items.
Add this to your budget as well.
A contingency of 10% is also worth adding as there will be some unexpected revelations when you start removing old kitchens in old houses, although it has been known to be spent on an opening party! Why not!
WHO IS THE PROJECT MANAGER OF YOUR KITCHEN RENOVATION?
Someone needs to be in charge of the whole process which could be you, but it is complicated if working with individual trades without experience. The Kitchen Company will not USUALLY manage them either and only issue instructions in writing with a services plan, once you have committed to them. They will check up on site occasionally when necessary.
WHEN SHOULD YOU START YOUR PROJECT?
It’s never too early to start planning and researching.Talking to friends who have invested in a new kitchen is also very useful as they will have tried and tested out the sales-man’s recommendations.
There are new products and appliances launched all the time but often it’s best to wait until they have been operational and the consumer magazines have tested them out with a professional eye.
I would always take time to plan, get everything ready and install in the warm weather so any disruptions to the services ,eg. heating, is not so important.
A WISH LIST
A ‘Wish List’ is a great start to enthuse and inspire you to start looking and that ‘Essentials List’ – is also important – as they are your ‘must haves’ – e.g a built in coffee maker, a boiling hot water tap or simply a dishwasher, is also important.
This forms the starter brief for a kitchen designer. The more you look, the more you learn and understand how much there is to offer. The ideal is to get as many of your wish list items into your essentials list.
Image: Quooker Hot Water Boiling Tap.
THE SURVEY FOR YOUR KITCHEN RENOVATION
I would always have a go myself, so I can go into a showroom with something in my hand and drawn to scale is even more useful.
See the Design Help Blogs, Videos and Fact Sheets in the Members area on how to Draw your Survey.
Photos help too. Some kitchen companies will want to come and see you in your own home and measure up. This gives them a useful opportunity to sell and also make an accurate survey which allows them to plan and design what will work.
The more budget proof or flat pack companies tend not to have the resources to do this until you have committed to them with a deposit. A survey done by the company supplying the kitchen is essential before starting the project.
Most people have an idea about the style they want and choose to research companies that they know who emulate the image they want from their showrooms and brochures, so do visit as many as you can. If you don’t have the time, you could consult an Interior Designer or Architect if they are working on other parts of your project.
It is unusual for them to either design a kitchen, other than a ‘bespoke’ kitchen (usually top end in cost) or use a basic flat pack (Ikea Style) to accommodate a tight fit budget, as part of a larger project. Either way they will do an excellent and highly creative design. ‘Bespoke’ allows anything to be done if you have the money and does not rely on a ‘library of Cad size carcass etc… Everything is made to measure.
Image: A Bespoke wine storage unit in hardwood and polished.
Using a flat pack kitchen can be challenging because it has limitations, but by adding unique worktops, handles and clever layouts from the basic sizes available with a good joiner to fit it, you can produce surprisingly good results. It is advisable not to involve too many cutting up of set sizes as they can be very difficult to fit, especially the doors.
Creative minds are trained to be original. Usually a kitchen company is engaged to design the kitchen which forms part of a general refurbishment. There are some basic design rules which we will discuss in the next section if you want to do this yourself.
Image: An Ikea flat pack kitchen with different laminated worktops, sprayed kitchen wall units and a stainless steel hob area.
THE MAKE-UP OF A KITCHEN
A huge percentage of kitchens are made in factories, to modular sizes from laminated, veneered or sprayed particle board with finished edges either in contrast or the same material. Each company ranging from B&Q, Wickes and Ikea to Poggenphol, Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson have their own unique range of sizes for the carcass, specials and finishes to the inside and outside of the carcass (the basic structure).
Image: An Original Mark Wilkinson hand built and bespoke kitchen
A range of colours and finishes to the doors will be available as will the different types of worktops which can range from man-made composite materials like Corian, to Laminated tops with post-formed edges and Stone or Quartz.
Understandably, it’s difficult to get a like for like comparison in design and just the choice is confusing, as the various possibilities runs into thousands. Kitchen companies also do not want you to have a direct price comparison.
Image: Caption; Corian in arrowroot, white onyx 4 & deep nocturne 2 with new Polyrey soft matt laminates in Blanc Neve TCH and N005 Noir TCH, Gris mystic TCH G176
Solid wood is unusual but used by bespoke carpenters as it’s expensive, heavy and needs to come from renewable sources, but can look amazing and gaining popularity in work tops again. Unusual mixes of old furniture pieces and new sections interspersed with differing heights, finishes and work surfaces are eclectic, unique and often budget proof, if DIY, but may not have top marks for easy maintenance.
Image 1: Solid strips of hardwood with drainer worktop – Image 2: Patience and Gough freestanding furniture
I wish I could say there is a ‘cheap to buy, easy to maintain and work in and it’s the most fantastic looking kitchen’ available, but this does not exist.
Each one will have its fortes and therefore you have to decide what is important to you, which brings me back to my first question!
What are your personal needs and what are your priorities for achieving the best kitchen for you?
This helps you define where your money should be focused
Image: Poggenphol Kitchen
PART 2 is all about the design of your kitchen and how to lay it out so look out for it as its the heart of the matter.
It comes with amazing advice on all the finishes available and a Glossary of well used kitchen terminology to help you better the design world.
FOR MORE HELP ON HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR KITCHEN AND YOUR HOME, JOIN DESIGN HELP FOR JUST £12 PER MONTH, WITH NO CONTRACT. LEARN EVERYTHING FROM PLANNING SPACE, DEVELOPING A CONCEPT AND MUCH MORE.