Hope you all had a great Easter break and indulged in all that ‘floats your boat’ Been a week or so since I posted as I took some time out to spend with friends and family and I have to say it worked out pretty well. Since my Birthday fell in the week leading up to Easter I managed to extract every last drop out of the whole week, just like me to kick the proverbial ‘backside’ out of it, if it’s worth doing as they say.. I had a fab time, one of the best birthdays ever! Plus, if you follow me on the socials you would have noticed I went out with a bang after my country house project was chosen as Abigail Ahern’s House Crush, whoop, whoop! Such praise coming from Abigail, who has been revered as the current ‘High Priestess of Interiors’ is flattery indeed and I received an outpouring of wonderful positive response from so many for my style and blog, I was ‘made up’, head grew, needed to sit down!
As a result, lots of interior junkies have found me in cyber space and so I would also like to warmly welcome quite a few newbies to our little community. Really hope you will enjoy being here and I value your support and beg your patience, as I maybe an old hand at renovations and interiors but a definite beginner blogger! so feel completely free to comment, good and bad, on stuff I’m doing and showing to keep or put me on the track you want. This blog is all about me giving you guys the most helpful and entertaining interiors blog I can and I hope to do more and facilitate that as I get more proficient, so your feedback is really important to me.
I have a busy and exciting few months planned and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. There’s an apartment renovation challenge soon to get underway and the completion and reveal of the ‘Brigitte’ project, which is building momentum. Not to mention her maiden voyage, so watch this space and connect with me on the socials so you don’t miss any of the updates and I’d love to hear from you, so come on and lets get chatty!!
Anyway, Kitchens and despite storm Katie, (that seems way to nice a name to me to give such a destructive force don’t you think?) Spring is in the air, I can definitely feel it so I thought a kitchen, well kitchen/diner image featuring the ultimate spring colour was in order. I like daffodils but I really don’t think I could do a whole yellow kitchen, but certain shades of .. ie for me mustard-y or certain objects by way of a highlight can be splendid. I have yellow Le Crueset pans as you can see in my kitchen (as old as my marriage, which you may also see) and I love sunflowers (it was summer time when this was taken) and I think I could definitely manage that yellow industrial table in a dining area, what do you think? pretty cool huh? ..gorgeous image is courtesy of the shootfactory a location agency that I mentioned in a past post about hiring out your house for shoots.. anyway enough of all that lets get on with this Kitchen renovation series, you’ve work to do..
Now you’ve stuck and pinned your scrap book to your hearts content, you should be a lot more focused and confident, less overwhelmed. It’s no mean feat pulling together and completing any large project so give yourself a pat on the back for ‘going there’ in the first place. For an Interior Designer, projects are a mixture of creative thinking and practical and ordered execution. Approaching your project in a methodical way will definitely help you stay on top of things.
The Design Process
- The Brief
- Design Analysis
- Mood or concept
- Design Development
- working drawings
- Quotes and costings
- Implementation and project management
4. Design Development
You will remember from part 1 that we looked at how to attack stages 1-3 of the design process, in practice a budget will be discussed at the brief stage, but as an Interior Designer I would now be asking lots of questions to ascertain how the budget should be apportioned, to take the design forward.
What this will be is obviously down to you, but I can help you to consider it. You will probably have a budget in mind already but it’s now time to gather in some prices and work out how you will be apportioning it. Gathering in your costs and setting out the budget will in reality happen somewhat simultaneously, but you can start first by thinking through the main priorities.
What you can afford v’s what is proportionate and appropriate
Primarily the first consideration will probably be down to what you can afford and of course this is the most important but that shouldn’t necessarily be the only consideration. It will also depend on what you want, expect and need from your kitchen. You need now to set not only the total budget but where you are best advised to proportion it, so consider:
- The amount of wear it’s likely to get – do you have children and/or pets? skimping on quality for the sake of looks and design in this case maybe a false economy, if it’s likely to take a daily bashing it will soon need replacing!
- If it needs to be ‘hard core’ go for most hardwearing worktops and finishes and the best quality appliances the budget will allow. Better to go for basic good quality appliances rather than fancy non-essentials such as sleek built in coffee machines and sunken TV’s if this is the case. Sounds obvious? yes, but those kitchen showrooms are nothing if not seductive, you can easily forget that it’s likely that rather than relaxingly knocking up a stir-fry for two over a glass of chablis on a moody lit kitchen island, you are more likely to be surrounded by kids playing tag and the labrador chasing them round that island whilst you drain off the potatoes for the mash!
- Are you a mad keen cook/chef? – a good range of high tech quality appliances will definitely be worth investing in if you spend a lot of time cooking for pleasure.
- If not maybe better quality or more decorative items are worth the splurge.
- How long are you intending to stay at the property ? – It’s probably not necessary to buy top of the range if you are going to be leaving in a years time, however its worth matching the expectation of quality and design to the type of buyer you are likely to sell to. From a resale point of view investment in a Kitchen is usually a good thing, as long as you haven’t spent £80k on a Bulthaup and your house is worth £200k! proportion obviously is the key here, but any estate agent will tell you that the kitchen can often sell a house today. People love the open plan living of a kitchen/dining space, so design and choose carefully.
Consider the route that works best for you..
You now know what you are aiming to achieve, the style and form you are looking for, you know your budget and the priorities for how it will be apportioned. There are three routes you can take to complete the design development and take you through the final steps of working drawings and implementation. Now to decide on which of the three routes will suit your needs the best:
- Kitchen company
- Interior Designer
- DIY – BE YOUR OWN INTERIOR DESIGNER
Whichever of the three options you decide to take, now is the time to get yourself out there and check out the quality and features of whats on offer.
1. The Kitchen Company
Choose your kitchen supplier don’t let them choose you!
All kitchen suppliers from the top to the bottom of the chain will offer a free kitchen design service which is great but before you jump in and book in a design appointment first check out whats on offer and who’s got what.
You will have already spotted who has got designs you are looking for (you will have done this in step 1). Now go and physically check them out for the quality they are offering and at what price. There is quite a variation. According to Which, their survey on several big kitchen companies including Ikea, B&Q and John Lewis, revealed prices for a basic, standard set of eight units for a small kitchen, varied from around £500 to almost £5,000 (these prices include units only and are excluding installation and appliances). The majority of the kitchens cost between £1,000 and £3,000 at this end of the market. Further up the scale bespoke kitchens will obviously be more expensive but even these can vary enormously.
Whatever your budget you are going to want to get the best value you can for your money so look at the quality of the actual carcass. More expensive units will tend to be made with thicker and denser material, look at the drawers runners, hinges, and the backs of the units, what are they made of? These are the areas that will wear first, so be sure they are going to be what you need them to be. What are the guarantees being offered?
It would be a good idea now to get some comparative quotes from two or three different suppliers. Ask them for a price list or a quote on a small basic kitchen, comprising:
- Sink and base unit
- Two base units with a drawer and shelf
- A base unit with four drawers
- Two wall units with a door and two shelves each
- A housing unit for an oven,
- All including handles, hinges and fixings, and a 40mm worktop.
Its worth remembering the kitchen designer is in reality a salesman for the company and their job is to sell you as many and as much of their product as possible. They normally won’t let you take away any design they draw up until you have agreed a deal and paid a deposit, so you won’t be able to take it away and get a comparative quote and they will invariably add in items that other suppliers don’t have etc so you need to keep it simple. Getting a basic price like this will allow you to gauge prices more accurately. Once you have started going down the route of kitchen design appointments you will have jumped this stage and may find it very difficult to make direct comparisons, especially once they start offering you all sorts of deals and discounts. It’s important to stay ahead and in control of the game remember you are doing the choosing not the other way around.
NEVER agree to a deal on the day, however attractive or ‘about to end’ the offer is, this is hard selling and should put you off anyway! always go home and sleep on it, that deal will still be there next week, trust!
Advantages & Disadvantages
The advantage of a kitchen company is mainly convenience. They will design your kitchen and supply working drawings and supply and fit. However you will need to ensure that any other remodelling works are done before they fit. For example if you are removing walls, extending, moving services etc.. you will need to get tradesmen in prior to this. The convenience will also come at a higher cost. Designers, showrooms and advertising are all costs you will ultimately be paying for in the price of your kitchen.
2. The Interior Designer
You might also want consider on-boarding an interior designer on a consultancy basis for to help you with the design development and drawings. You will have a clear picture of what you are looking for and most designers will be happy to take on consultancy for certain stages and aspects of your project. If you are keen to manage the project yourself but find the idea of working drawings and space planning a bit more than you want to take on, this could be an ideal solution.
Advantages & Disadvantages
The advantages of hiring an interior designer are that they are not tied in to any one company and will be looking to design the best solution for you. In contrast to the kitchen company, who in the main offer a kitchen space planning service, they are designers as and will also be considering the whole space including your dining area etc..and how it will also work cohesively. They can give you great design ideas and features and probably give you the confidence to add the extra wow factor that you really want but are not quite sure how to achieve and hopefully help you to avoid what I call ‘kitchen laboratory syndrome’ which I will cover in another post!
They will charge you for their services but the cost maybe off set by the discounts they maybe able to obtain for you (most will pass these on to their client). They may also, as I did in my kitchen, work directly with joiners, who will execute their designs to create a bespoke kitchen at a much lower cost than an upper end kitchen company.
3. DIY -Be Your Own Interior Designer
Its not as easy as 1 and 2 but its do-able. Basically It will involve all of the above. You will need to go and check out the suppliers for quality and gather basic cost kitchen prices. If you are going it alone you will have to get your design together but there are now plenty of online programs to help you with this. Many companies such as IKEA and Homebase have their own programs. They are obviously provided to help sell their product so are fine if you have decided on that particular kitchen but these will be of limited use if you want a general plan. I would suggest that you draw up a plan on a generic design program such as Easy Planner 3d there are a few like this around and most are free. If this feels a bit scary you can always buy some graph paper and cut out pieces of paper to scale, representing the units and devise a layout this way, it’s a bit more basic and you won’t have the advantage of 3d but at least it will be to scale and you will know if it fits! You can then either buy off the shelf units from your chosen supplier or submit your plans to smaller joiners in your local area for quotes.
Advantages & Disadvantages
The advantage of doing it yourself is of course the cost. If you can lose the cost of the design fee via the more expensive kitchen company or the Interior Designer’s fee, you are definitely going to save. However this is only worth it if you feel you are going to be confident in getting the design that you want. You don’t want to be making expensive mistakes.
“Take your time, kitchens are a major investment and the heart of the home”
A few things to consider then. Most importantly I think is take your time kitchens are a major investment whatever your budget and the heart of the home, so it’s important to give it plenty of thought and planning, it’s not something you are likely to be doing again for a while and it causes a fair amount of upheaval so you want to be in control and sure you are going to get exactly what you want.
In the next post of this Kitchen Design Series I’m going to look at adding personality to your kitchen and avoiding ‘Laboratory syndrome’ hope you are enjoying the series? would love to know your thoughts and if there are other areas you would like me to cover? Drop me a line in the comments below.. or at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS If you need Design Consultancy and would like more information on working with me would love to hear from you, find out more here