A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell
Tuesday 20th May 2014
(published/edited Thursday 20th April 2017)

Choosing a new kitchen

Second meeting with a kitchen company to view their proposal and quote

Today we had a follow-up meeting with the kitchen designer at our local Howdens showroom. I say 'showroom' but they don't have an awful lot of stuff assembled to look at. They do have a lot of door samples, handles, brochures and a couple of assembled kitchens, but you have to use your imagination somewhat to picture your kitchen in the flesh.

What they did have available to view, looked decent quality and well built, with plenty of options to choose from. On offer were their standard range of fitted kitchens which come with many of the components pre-assembled - as well as a budget range in a more limited range of styles and colours, which come flat-packed. Obviously the latter are cheaper, as you have to build the units yourself.

Designing our kitchen

The rough layout of the kitchen had already been thought out and planned during the design of the house. But as there are so many options and combinations of units and extras available, there is plenty of flexibility in the layout.

When originally looking at the layout, I considered the golden triangle rule that people always talk about. Or at least, what I think will be a good layout for how we prepare and cook meals. Fridge on the left, then some work surface, followed by the hob and oven. More work surface then the sink with a window to look out into the garden, while washing up.

There probably isn't such a thing as the perfect kitchen layout, but we think something along these lines work nicely, for the shape and size of the room, in an open plan space.

Other things to think about where the washing machine and possible dish washer will go, as well as things like the microwave, kettle and toaster. These smaller appliances will need worktop space, sockets for the electricity and handy cupboard for mugs etc. All this stuff has to be thought about.

Viewing the 3D design

We had an initial meeting about 2 weeks ago, to view everything Howdens' had available and to discuss our self-build project requirements. They have a big computer screen and some nice design software where the professional designer can build your kitchen in 3D (after the meeting) and then give you a presentation in a follow-up session. Once the first-pass design has been created and costed-up you can tweak it until you're happy.

Bearing in mind all the design work so far has been in 2D plan view, it was mega exciting to finally see something in 3D. Wow... as you can see from these renderings, it looks great and you can really imagine how it will feel inside the house.

We opted to go for the gloss white finish on the units, with integrated handles to give it a clean, comptemporary feel and also to help make the kitchen feel bigger. We also wanted some curved units to make the whole thing feel softer and slicker.

Budget versus features

The kitchen and bathrooms were always going to be rooms where we knew the price could easily get out of hand, so we are being strict with ourselves where the budget is concerned. It's very easy to start including gimmicks like wine chillers, plate warmers, magic whizzy cupboards and full-height pull-out larder cupboards, but all these things start to add up quickly.

The price quoted for this design, has come-out at roughly £10k. In the grand scheme of things this isn't too crazy for a kitchen - but it's quite a bit more than I'd hoped. Howdens have included a couple of extras in the design, but even with removing these and changing a couple of the cupboards from curved to standard, it might only knock £1-2k off this quote.

This has been a fun and eye-opening first step for finding the right kitchen for the right price. We've yet to properly look around the other suppliers... so this will be on the cards for the next few weeks.

Next entry: Brick by brick… and the boundary wall takes shape (Saturday 31st May 2014)

Previous entry: 2 steps forward… 2 steps back (Tuesday 20th May 2014)

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