- Our new kitchen project…and so it begins
- Our new kitchen project…The new kitchen design
- Our new kitchen project…Measuring sloping kitchen walls
- Our new kitchen project: Do our kitchen plans still work?
- Our new kitchen project: Our hardwood flooring refinish
- Our new kitchen project…the final changes to our kitchen plan
- Our new kitchen project…our kitchen design layout is complete
- Our new kitchen project: the kitchen removal and prep works
- Our new kitchen project: How to master a smooth kitchen delivery
- Our new kitchen project: Day One and Two of our kitchen fitting
- Our new kitchen project: Worktop template and worktop fitting
- Our new kitchen project: the kitchen installation and appliance connections
- Our new kitchen project: See the stunning results of our kitchen makeover
After putting all our efforts into planning our wedding last year, my new husband (Tom) and I decided afterwards that we simply couldn’t keep putting off the maintenance and repair works needing carried out within our home! To paint a picture, we have had a leaky roof, damp, a broken boiler, dishwasher, washing machine, shower…and our toilet flooded the night before we left for our honeymoon (what a way to start married life!)
So after fixing all of these things, next on our list, and which has been our goal since Day One, is replacing our existing kitchen…and the time has finally come!
Where should we buy our new kitchen from?
As I work for a kitchen company, I know exactly what products we have available, and with 100% faith in our designers and fitters, it was a no-brainer that our new kitchen should come from LWK Kitchens. I also know they specialise in small kitchen design. But at the same time I have never sat this side of the fence before! Buying a new kitchen is a completely new experience for Tom and I, and I fully expect it to prove quite different from talking and writing about kitchens.This is why I have decided to blog about it. So here I will be sharing our entire journey from the first design discussion through to final completion of what I am confident will be a stunning new kitchen for us!
20th April 2015: The first design meeting!
Armed with a rough (and highly embarrasing) sketch, measurements and photos of our existing kitchen space, Tom met me after work at our London kitchen showroom where we were joined by one of my colleagues, Lesley-Jane, to talk through our plans.
What to include in our new kitchen:-
Choosing a new kitchen hob
From the outset I was conscious that I wanted Tom and I to make decisions together with regards the new kitchen, rather than me influence him too much because of my prior knowledge.
But this was actually very easy as Lesley-Jane’s opening questions revolved around our cooking habits; such as, ‘Do we cook a lot?’ and ‘How keen cooks are we?’ This led into a discussion of what kind of appliances we might want, beginning with the hob. We currently have a gas hob but had already decided to move away from this in favour of induction cooking. The only drawback of this is needing new pans, but our existing are way past their best (and Tom’s mum has already suggested this as a belated wedding present!) Currently we have a 5-ring gas burner but find this makes space a bit crowded during cooking. So we thought a 4-ring induction would be better suited to us; at least we did, until Lesley-Jane suggested a flex-induction hob…These allow for greater flexibility in cooking because rather than separate rings they have a single enlarged cooking zone which will heat pans placed anywhere on its surface. This solves our overcrowded hob problem, and I also like that they are very easy to clean!
Choosing a new kitchen oven
Tom and I have never had the opportunity to choose appliances before but we like cooking, and both agree a quality oven is important to us. It needs more thought on our part but the Neff Slide and Hide with its retracting door would be well suited for our small kitchen space. I also know this has built-in Circotherm, Steam cooking and Pyroclean functions.
However we already have some Siemens appliances we intend to keep so are leaning towards this brand to maintain a consistency in our kitchen’s look; and we know that Siemens are an excellent German brand! The Siemens oven range also offer multifunctional ovens, with innovative features including the automatic cooking programme, cookControl.
As for our existing microwave, this is currently free-standing on our worksurface but as our kitchen is small it takes up a lot of space. Depending on whether we opt for a steam oven, Lesley-Jane has suggested an integrated microwave model, meaning our existing one can be happily advertised on Ebay!
Deciding our Kitchen Washing Up Zone
From washing machines, our conversation turned to sinks and taps. Whilst we currently have a half bowl sink, we only ever use our main sink and so it makes sense to replace this arrangement in the new kitchen design with a single bowl. A brief discussion then ensued about what type of tap would be best suited for us. We contemplated a pull-out spray tap but we finally agreed there are other areas of the kitchen where we personally place more value so a simple model would do just fine for us. In respect of our dishwasher and washer-dryer we have relatively new Siemens models and so definitely want to recycle these from our existing kitchen. Both models (the IQ300 SN66M031GB and IQ500 WK14D540GB respectively) have proved excellent and ideal for our open plan living space as they operate so quietly!
Sorting our rubbish!
One of our main gripes within our existing kitchen is the lack of bin space. This means our two large rubbish and recycling bins sit outside of our kitchen by our hallway bannister. Our kitchen is on the first floor so food waste sometimes gets splashed and spilled onto the hallway carpet below when being scraped into the bin. This is far from ideal, or hygienic(!) so in the new kitchen design we would really like sufficient bin space within the kitchen itself. Lesley-Jane suggested a drawer pullout with x2, 8cl bins, but I know these won’t do for us; we currently have these and use them for storing cleaning products. With this in mind, Lesley-Jane reconsidered the developing draft and found space within our design to upgrade to a 30cl bin for recycling. She also suggested a waste disposal to take care of all other food leftovers.
Fridge and Freezer options
At the moment we have very old freestanding, below counter, fridge and freezer models. But both of these take up a lot of space.We also rarely use the freezer, and so Lesley-Jane has suggested one large integrated fridge with freezer drawer for the new kitchen design. This seems a much better alternative. We also have a small 300mm wine cooler in our current kitchen, which we would like to keep. This will be especially helpful as we are now to lose some of our existing fridge space in favour of the freezer drawer.
Rearranging our existing kitchen layout
During our meeting as we have been contemplating the options we would like for our new kitchen, Lesley-Jane has simultaneously been drafting a kitchen plan and layout. This incorporates everything we would like, and within sizes that should fit, according to the rough sketch and measurements we brought along with us anyway!
One of the prospects I am very excited about for our new design is swapping around some of the current layout for a more practical and sociable kitchen space. This will mean a fridge freezer and storage in the site where our sink currently is. The reason we don’t like this at the moment is because when washing up, a wall blocks you from the open plan living space, making it impossible to carry on a conversation with the person at the other side. And having nothing to look at but the wall in front when washing up isn’t much fun either!
If we swap this around so the sink is in front of the open hatch in the other wall it will become a much more sociable arrangement. Whilst maintaining a fluid work flow, this will also allow for a tall cupboard next to the new fridge. This is something I desperately want for housing a mop and my ironing board; whilst possible, this sort of cupboard is a bespoke option so we will need to check the cost of it (…but I am excited all the same!)
Anticipated design obstacles!
So far, so good and every item we have requested has been accommodated within our small kitchen design and seems feasible (at least in terms of the design; the cost may be another matter!) The only real problem we can anticipate at this stage is the existing position of our boiler. As it is presently, we lose space because of the direction it faces. To reposition this would benefit the space but this may prove very expensive.
Choosing Kitchen colours
The final part of our design consultation was choosing colours for our new kitchen….and after all the good that had gone before, this is where Tom and I came somewhat undone! In my role at LWK Kitchens I spend a lot of time looking at and talking about colour, and I know all of our available finishes inside and out! My preference would be a White satin lacquer handleless finish, but the reality is this is too contemporary for our not-so-contemporary, open plan home. At the same time, Tom picked out a Midnight blue satin lacquer kitchen door. This one is also a ‘no.’ It seems we couldn’t be further apart in our choice of colour, but at least we agree on the finish; and to my mind, that can still be considered progress!
Complementing our home’s existing décor
The other problem in choosing kitchen colours is our existing flooring; this is something we intend to keep. This is a medium hardwood flooring which runs continuously from our living room into the kitchen area.
Despite my preferences, it simply won’t work in its existing state with a more contemporary kitchen style. But this does lend the question of whether we could sand it down and lighten the tone; something we will need to give some thought to. Unfortunately the flooring also won’t work with any of the beautiful textured wood finishes LWK Kitchens offer, and which could have been stunning for the base finish of a two-tone kitchen arrangement. Our kitchen colour choice is something we will need to give more thought to but in the meantime we have agreed on a matt Pearl grey laser finish for the base units, white matt wall units and a Cenzia quartz worktop. We are fully aware that getting the layout and design right is much more important than colours at this stage and so we still have time to think about what colour options will work for us.
The design consultation seemed hugely successful (apart from the question of colour, but this was between my husband and I, and not to do with LWK Kitchens or Lesley-Jane!) Lesley-Jan was excellent in helping us, but it is now left for us to wait on the designs being drawn up. Both of us are very excited; we have waited a long time to redo our kitchen and now the wheels are finally in motion we really can’t wait to see what our new kitchen might look like!
Don’t miss the next instalment of our kitchen journey where we will share our brand new kitchen designs with you…