A beautiful classy kitchen in light oak & red gloss lacquer, with Miele stainless steel appliances & granite worktops. This article takes you through the process from start to finish.
The brief was to transform a tired looking kitchen & give the new one a WOW factor. We certainly achieved this. The late 1980's kitchen was installed when the house was built; it looked badly dated, doors & fittings were starting to fall apart. Overall the whole room looked dark & messy - see initial site photos below.
When discussing the initial new kitchen ideas & design possibilities, it was obvious there were several constraints to overcome. The worst was the overall shape of the room (see plan drawing below); the room opened out at one end. The room also had 3 doors leading in & out of it, cutting down available wall space for furniture.
Next, there was a large utility room built into one end of the room. This killed the space in the kitchen, made a large kitchen not possible & made both rooms darker. And within the utility room there was the main house wall hung boiler in the back corner, which had to remain for practical reasons.
On my advice the clients decided the utility room had to go, to open up the maximum space available. Even though the utility room walls were stud, a structural survey was under taken to make sure they had not become load bearing over time.
Removing the utility room meant the appliances were all going to be in new positions. So it was decided the whole room needed to be re-wired (with a new NICEIC certificate for the work) & re-plumbed. We had allowed for re-plastering the ceiling once the utility room was taken down. However, unexpected site problems always occur. It was found the ceiling & wall of the old utility room were not level with the rest of the kitchen, and so these had to be packed out & plastered.
New low voltage ceiling spot lights were installed for the whole kitchen, with even spacing. One thing you may notice in this kitchen is the lack of electric sockets & fuse spur switches for the appliances. Most kitchens have these electric faceplates everywhere you look, which spoils the nice clean new look. So the kitchen was all wired into a grid plate (shown in bottom RH photo above) in one of the mid height units - more work but it keeps all the fused spur switches all together in 1 place. You only need a couple of sockets above the worktop due to this.
Another aspect of the existing kitchen was adding to the dark look of the kitchen - the charcoal coloured tiled floor. We decided this had to replaced as well, no easy job taking up a tiled floor. Once it was up the floor was levelled across the whole room. We then laid a new under floor heating system around the whole floor (except under the units & island). We then tiled the whole floor with large porcelain limestone coloured tiles - we even tiled under the units, which is a better way to do the job.
Before any work starts on a new kitchen a new plan has to be designed & agreed. You can't quote until this has been done. While some clients are good at seeing how a design works, many more appreciate the CAD drawings showing every wall & 3D from every angle to see the finished room.
These are the above CAD drawings for this kitchen. Often there are alternative designs for a particular area. In the hob elevation above we tried to persuade the client to have an extractor painted red to match the red island. This would have looked great, but was more red than the client wanted.
The general design aim was to have 3 different heights for the units. Standard height units for main kitchen preparation & island worktops. Mid height units to house the ovens & microwaves at a comfortable height, no need for bending down to use them. And worktop right beside you to put hot things down on. They had a black granite top on the units, making them great for storing things like cook books. The tall units, enclosing the fridge & freezer, were placed at the back of the kitchen, where they don't cast shadows.
Most of the kitchen furniture was in light oak, with black granite worktops giving a crisp look. The worktops all had matching black granite upstands. However, we wanted to do something different to the island, to add a splash of colour. So we had these units gloss red lacquered, and topped with a limestone coloured granite (to match the floor tiles). The light granite bounced light around the centre of room.
Having the island on a leg frame system allowed light from the window to wash across the floor, keeping the room brighter. The island also had a chrome towel rail on the side nearest to the sink ( a very practical touch) where it can't be seen in the rest of the room.
The Miele black glass induction hob is a work of industrial art. The best hob method of cooking available. The low profile & the black glass on black polished granite makes it almost invisible. A nice touch is to have a matching black granite window cill.
The stainless steel 1 3/4 under mounted sink gives large bowl sizes, to cope with the largest pot sizes & preparation. Drainer grooves cut in the granite give practical space for leaving small items to drain off. The dishwasher was under the right side of the sink, perfect to go straight from rinse under the sink into the dishwasher without moving. The tap provides hot, cold & filtered water.
The radiator case surround was a great way to hide it & yet integrate it with the overall look of the kitchen. It had a stainless steel mesh grill, & matching black granite worktop. Touches like this really separate quality designers / suppliers from the rest.
Another great touch was to use matching Miele handles from the ovens for the the rest of the furniture. Expensive, but it looks it! A plinth heater was included in the plinth as a quick way to heat the room.
When the new kitchen was installed the customer was potentially without a utility room. However, we had planned this from the start, and a new utility room was installed in the garage. As this wasn't the prettiest of rooms & purely functional, we re-used the kitchen units, appliances, worktops & sink from the main kitchen, with shelves above (as the design). These were carefully removed so we could re-use them. This saved a lot of money & gave them new storage space & functional use of the dead space.
One very happy customer.