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Spectric

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Hi all

What is the process for providing a customer with a kitchen, I know for many this is just a case of going to one of the local sheds, picking one and then getting it thrown in, exactly what I did many years ago with MFI the original chipboard flat pack merchants but I was young and followed the crowds. But what if you are looking at being different and want something more bespoke, how do you come up with a design that both meets required looks and functionality, IE how do you decide on whether to have cupboards, drawers or cupboards with drawers above or is it just a random hit and miss affair until you reach the design endpoint. I have looked at plenty of pictures and ideas but often something that looks right is not the best as far as being more practical. I like cupboards with doors, but drawers seem to be more practical.

Any advice or peoples experience?
 

RobinBHM

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how do you come up with a design that both meets required looks and functionality
I would think design is probably to do mostly with being in touch with latest trends.

It seems to me the trend seems to be one wall with full height units around a fridge freezer and the other walls only have base units.

Big pan drawers seem to be on trend - I'm not sure how practical they TBH.


Functionality...well it's a compromise. I would say the starting point is almost always appliance layout as that's dependant on services.
 

Rorton

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for me I prefer cupboards without drawers as there is less bending involved to get into them, then have a bank of drawers for stuff like cutlery, utensils etc.

Pan draws are also great.

Always the kitchen work triangle to look at - sink cooker, fridge
 

Spectric

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Been looking at pictures of kitchens on these forums and there is no pattern as to proportion of drawers to cupboards, pan drawers seem to be in favour but seems anything goes, if it suits you then go for it.
 

clogs

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best to just visit a few stores for ideas...even call in a few top end places..... some good ideas out there...
also depends grately on the room size and shape....is ur's a galley kitchen for example.....
as Roton says, imagine ur working triangle then see whats left.....
lastley what ever u decide u'll see something u like after u've finished.....
it's all about experience....once u'v done a few for urself u'll realise what ya want.....

for client I have bought the units and doors from different suppliers to keep cost reasonable....
my main bug with shed kitchens is the c*rp drawer runners.....got to say I like the Germans stuff...
fully opening and strong enough to stand in....provided the drawer carcass is quality....
u have to decide is it for keeping, say 20 years, will u sell the house on in a few....?
Lastley
I had a house that was almost finished rebuilding, new everything except the kitchen.....
was ready to buy the new one.....BUT the estate agent I dealt with at the time said dont bother....
it'll fetch the same money either way.....he wasnt wrong...saved me £5,000 and he got a bottle of decent Scotch....
 

monster

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Been looking at pictures of kitchens on these forums and there is no pattern as to proportion of drawers to cupboards, pan drawers seem to be in favour but seems anything goes, if it suits you then go for it.
I agree with that - Tailor it to suit your needs within the confines of the space you have. We went for lots of drawers rather than cupboards as the wife finds it easier to access the contents of a drawer which you can see in plan view as opposed to stooping down and rummaging inside a cupboard - As much as it pains me to admit - I have come to agree that she is right on this.

We ended up not using any wall cabinets and instead built a large pantry. The key is to make sure you have enough storage space and that everything is laid out as ergonomically as possible - don't forget things like pull out bins etc.
 

Mrs C

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Triangle rule as above plus pan drawers.

Imagine someone in the space working. Try visualising standing next to both the hob and prep surface for the easiest place to reach for things. Do the same for unloading the dishwasher.

Also, if there is an option, put the prep surface where you can see into the distance instead of facing a wall.
 

Spectric

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Also, if there is an option, put the prep surface where you can see into the distance instead of facing a wall.
So prep surface not facing a wall, want some view like the sink being in front of the window which makes sense and you like pan drawers, something that keeps coming up.
 

Rorton

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worktops - if going for something that's run of the mill laminated chipboard, best advice I had was to go with one with a pattern/texture in it as it doesn't show up the scratches as much - the glossier/smooth ones do look nice when new, but dont seem to wear as well.

We had our kitchen from howdens, installed in 2009 - we cook a lot and its really held up to everything we throw at it. We had basic laminated worktops called basalt slate, which has a light texture to it, and its held up well. Would probably go for a solid stone one if I did it again (or corian)

We went to all the high street places with the dimensions of the kitchen, and all usually offer a free design service, so it was good to see different peoples interpretations of what is possible - we had something in mind, and then a designer came up with the idea of an american fridge freezer with units either side of it and surrounding it, which looked great and gave us so much more space. The designers that do this day in day out tend to have a good feel for what's current and what works well - take different ideas from each of them

Make sure you have soft close on the door and drawers, gives a feeling of luxury instead of doors just banging too.

Extractor is another one I learnt the hard way, there is a calculation of how large your kitchen is and then the amount of cubic meter per hour the extractor can remove.

Our kitchen/diner is 6m x 4m, and the calculation for that was to get an extractor that could shift 600+ m3 per hour - and we bought one that could only do half that and suffered. Recently replaced it (it was integrated into a chimney breast so not easy to find something that powerful that would fit in the space we have available
 

Rorton

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electrical - make sure you have enough sockets, and then double it! can never have enough sockets for stuff you never think you need, microwave, kettle, toaster, phone charger(s) hifi/smart speaker, spare to plug in the vacuum cleaner etc - low level sockets for washer/dishwasher/dryer/wine fridge/fridge freezer etc, with isolation switches either in a cupboard or above the worktop

Under cabinet lighting if you have wall units too.... Some people also add some bling with led lighting in the kick/plinths at floor level.

Dont under estimate the main room lighting too depending on room size, nice to be able to just light up some or all of the space.
 

Spectric

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I am not looking for the latest modern look and want something more traditional and will use a standalone pantry unit on one side to keep all food products in one place. I made this decision on the basis that I used to keep all my mechanical tools in a single toolbox, if I needed any mechanical tool then I only needed to look in one place. I also do not want the kitchen cramed floor to ceiling with units so on the outside wall with the window it will be a double ceramic sink and units but nothing on the walls. So I suppose it will not be a fully fitted kitchen but still leaves the choices for the different storage options although pan drawers will be used somewhere.
 

Spectric

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Hi Rorton

I wish my kitchen design could be as easy as the electrical aspect, I have wired so many kitchens in the past but never took any notice of the actual kitchen or layout which could now be helpful.
 

Rorton

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maybe you could put some drawings up of the space you have available and people could contribute to the layout?
 

Tuna808

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The above advice is the first step,a simple layout drawing with the dimensions will help to make positive suggestions.I take it youre going to make it yourself?
 

AJB Temple

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Kitchen designers get this wrong constantly. This is because they are not there to design kitchens - they are employed to sell stuff. It will last a few years so they are not worried about repeat business. I went to a high end kitchen designer. They do top notch bespoke kitchens. The designer was a very nice bloke but he was clueless about cooking workflow for an actual cook. His focus was aesthetics.

I have just done a very large kitchen and I made it myself. I have also done stages in a number of pro kitchens. And I cook a lot so I know exactly how I prefer to work. You may be very different. Your kitchen design should be based on your work flow. This is NOT the conventional triangle in my view. This is how I see work flow that obviously always starts with produce:
  • Easy unloading and storing of dry and refrigerated and frozen produce. You will do this at least every week and maybe more often. You want bag drop, easy cleaning and easy access to fridge, freezer and larder. (In my case this is all in the utility area which is accessed directly from the parking area. I have a drawer pull prep fridge in the kitchen, beneath the prep area).
  • Preparation (or mise en place). This involves gathering from storage, prepping the food ready for cooking, and disposal of waste (food and wrappings). Prep is the most important part of cooking and the prep area uses most space and is the part invariably missed out of the so called triangle. It may be slightly different too if you do lots of baking or pastry (cold area is best).
  • For prep, you need to have easy access to water, and to the hob and ovens. Stuff that comes off the hob often has to go into the oven (colour meat then roast for example) and yet many designs do not address this. You also need somewhere to put hot pans down when they come out of the ovens. I use three ovens so I made sure that I have a "cook" area (hob, ovens and plating) that is listing from my prep area (directly opposite my sink and close to all bins).
  • We need to plate up (service). So you need a clean space in easy reach of the ovens and hob. Usually the same as the prep area in domestic kitchens.
  • Then we need easy access to dishwashing and somewhere to put the dirty stuff. In my case this is all in a clean down area in the utility room. This is because my kitchen is also a family room and I don't want the noise of dishwashers.

Before you do anything, think about extraction and drainage. Many good quality kitchens are now using downdraught extractors (eg Bora) built into the hobs. These are much better extracted to outside rather than recirculated, so if you want the hob in an Island, underfloor vent channels are necessary.

Think about drainage. I installed a grease trap. They are cheap and you will never get blocked drains.

If you want see a good set up, watch James Martin's weekend cooking show on Saturday morning TV. He is using super expensive gear: 3 phase Athanor commercial induction etc. plus Wolf ovens and sub zero cooling, but ignore that and look at the workflow. His is a square. Fridge and ovens and sink in a line behind him. Prep in front of him, and hobs, deep fryers etc. to his left directly off the prep boards. This is pretty similar to his set up in commercial kitchens. It's obviously compressed for TV and the arrangements are a bit odd at the moment due to Covid distancing (so he is using a silly little board and keeping gusts 2 metres away) but the work flow is clear. What you don't see is that he also has undercounted mise on place fridges.

Kitchens these days can be a huge investment. So I would plan by workflow, not by looking in showrooms.

In my build, in the actual kitchen, practically everything is in big drawers, using Blum push to open and soft close. Far more efficient than cupboards as there is no inaccessible back bit with a load of stuff in front.
 
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peter-harrison

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One thing I always ask my clients is what they dislike about their present kitchen. Price also figures- drawers more expensive than doors which are more than open shelves.
 

doctor Bob

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Kitchen designers get this wrong constantly. This is because they are not there to design kitchens - they are employed to sell stuff. It will last a few years so they are not worried about repeat business. I went to a high end kitchen designer. They do top notch bespoke kitchens. The designer was a very nice bloke but he was clueless about c cooking workflow for an actual cook. His focus was aesthetics.

I have just done a very large kitchen and I made it myself. I have also done stages in a number of pro kitchens. And I cook a lot so I know exactly how I prefer to work. You may be very different. Your kitchen design should be based on your work flow. This is NOT the conventional triangle in my view. This is how I see work flow that obviously always starts with produce:
  • Easy unloading and storing of dry and refrigerated and frozen produce. You will do this at least every week and maybe more often. You want bag drop, easy cleaning and easy access to fridge, freezer and larder. (In my case this is all in the utility area which is accessed directly from the parking area. I have a drawer pull prep fridge in the kitchen, beneath the prep area).
  • Preparation (or mise en place). This involves gathering from storage, prepping the food ready for cooking, and disposal of waste (food and wrappings). Prep is the most important part of cooking and the prep area uses most space and is the part invariably missed out of the so called triangle. It may be slightly different too if you do lots of baking or pastry (cold area is best).
  • For prep, you need to have easy access to water, and to the hob and ovens. Stuff that comes off the hob often has to go into the oven (colour meat then roast for example) and yet many designs do not address this. You also need somewhere to put hot pans down when they come out of the ovens. I use three ovens so I made sure that I have a "cook" area (hob, ovens and plating) that is listing from my prep area (directly opposite my sink and close to all bins).
  • We need to plate up (service). So you need a clean space in easy reach of the ovens and hob. Usually the same as the prep area in domestic kitchens.
  • Then we need easy access to dishwashing and somewhere to put the dirty stuff. In my case this is all in a clean down area in the utility room. This is because my kitchen is also a family room and I don't want the noise of dishwashers.

Before you do anything, think about extraction and drainage. Many good quality kitchens are now using downright extractors (eg Bora) built into the hobs. These are much better extracted to outside rather than recirculated, so if you want the hob in an Island, underfloor vent channels are necessary.

Think about drainage. I installed a grease trap. They are cheap and you will never get blocked drains.

If you want see a good set up, watch James Martin's weekend cooking show on Saturday morning TV. He is using super expensive gear: 3 phase Athanor commercial induction etc. plus Wolf ovens and sub zero cooling, but ignore that and look at the workflow. His is a square. Fridge and ovens and sink in a line behind him. Prep in front of him, and hobs, deep fryers etc. to his left directly off the prep boards. This is pretty similar to his set up in commercial kitchens. It's obviously compressed for TV and the arrangements are a bit odd at the moment due to Covid distancing (so he is using a silly little board and keeping gusts 2 metres away) but the work flow is clear. What you don't see is that he also has undercounted mise on place fridges.

Kitchens these days can be a huge investment. So I would plan by workflow, not by looking in showrooms.

In my build, in the actual kitchen, practically everything is in big drawers, using Blum push to open and soft close. Far more efficient than cupboards as there is no inaccessible back bit with a load of stuff in front.
Great post, however a lot of clients don't cook.
 

peter-harrison

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And I agree with AJB Temple above about drawers being better than doors. However, the drawers I use come in at at least £110 each when you add up boxes, runners, fitting etc. People often have a lot of stuff in their kitchens (fondue set/ spiralizer etc) that they rarely use, so spending a lot for easy access to those items seems a bit overkill.
 

doctor Bob

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And I agree with AJB Temple above about drawers being better than doors. However, the drawers I use come in at at least £110 each when you add up boxes, runners, fitting etc. People often have a lot of stuff in their kitchens (fondue set/ spiralizer etc) that they rarely use, so spending a lot for easy access to those items seems a bit overkill.
I'll have you know I used my spiralizer only last decade, and definately got the fondue set out just last millenium.
 

AJB Temple

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Great post, however a lot of clients don't cook.
This made me laugh. It's true. The kitchen designer I referred to, told us all about a kitchen he had done for a Russian client. Serious money. But he mentioned that she likes to cook "occasionally" when she is in the UK.

In a past life I used to be a property developer for a while - converting country houses. We would do 1o to 12 kitchens at a time, all subbed out to a firm who made all the cabinets. The entire focus was on the kitchens looking good and being on trend so we could sell the units. Never considered work flow at all.
 
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