Tony K

600mm units are all I need....?

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Afternoon.

I have planning permission for my self build, which I obtained using my own drawings. No architect or engineer has touched this project yet, and I doubt I'll use the former at all. I have drawn a basic kitchen layout already, and am now firming up the details.

 

Following a bit of research I feel my best bet here is to place the main appliances where I want them (having considered the work triangle etc) then essentially fit everything else (the cupboards mostly, though also the secondary stuff like microwave, recycling bins etc) around those main appliances, subject to the variety of design guidelines available online. As this is being done from scratch, I can set the kitchen out so that the gaps between the main appliances are all multiples of 600mm or 300mm. My thinking here is that units come in those dimensions, and by laying out my kitchen accordingly I can proceed to design the plumbing and electric to supply the main appliances, then keep my eye out for the best deals on good kitchen units between now and construction. Once I see some standad units I like, I can pick them up and get a fitter to install them. 

 

The alternative seems to be that Wren (or whoever) design something for me. They were talking in terms of not having standard dimension units. If I had a gap of 800mm, they would build me an 800mm cupboard. 

 

I'd be interested to know....

 

1. Is there actually any value in Wren, Howdens or Wickes designing my kitchen? Are they going to add value that I won't? Am I likely to miss a vital consideration, or is it pretty straightforward really?

2. Is my approach sound, or am I over-valuing the idea of a layout based on multiples of 600mm?

3. Am I actually likely to get a really good range of options and quality in standard 600mm units, or do I have to go down the tailored/built route to get decent stuff anyway?

 

Any thoughts welcome!

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

Edited by Tony K
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I designed our kitchen to fit multiples of standard cabinet/appliance widths, and generally the multiples are 300mm, 400mm, 500mm and 600mm, but corner units can screw things up a bit (ours are 950mm, for example). 

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And don't forget things like at a corner the unit is NOT 600mm out, and then add decor end panels, trim panels for some details etc and all is not mm perfect as you might wish.

 

Why not go to a kitchen supplier and get them to model it?  Even Howdens will do this for you adding all the details and odd amounts for all the details. They will do it for free with no obligation to buy.

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Avoid Howdens tbh if you can - planners have elastic tape measures ...

 

ikea do a good online tool, and DIY Kitchens do the same. Great for realization of ideas and as @ProDave days, it makes you think about end panels etc and the bits you forget that can soon add up. 

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@Tony K

 

There is value in using standard grids, but being a slave to them can make some things difficult.

 

For example, sinks and range cookers, and chest freezers do not conform to that. And I love my 1m wide cutlery and pan drawer .. see below.

 

And you need sufficient flexibility in for when something else does not quite come out as expected.eg if a door suddenly needs to be 150mm wider, or a wall needs an extra thickness of PB you forgot about. If you do everything to +-1mm with no adjustable-But-looks-planned elements, then there is a chance that you will be hoist by your own petard.

 

So plan for a sufficient adaptability. You can use things like bin gaps, places stools go, tray slides, wine coolers, and a row of units that finished on an open wall not a corner where the end can be +- 6 inches.

 

Personally I have found Howdens good, but it is branch based, and they keep offering me 1000 or 2000 screws free if I have a kitchen quote from them.

 

Grid, Yes, Slave to a grid .. a rigidity too far.

 

Ferdinand

 

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Edited by Ferdinand

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Thanks all. 

 

Has anyone found a difference in quality between standard units and custom made ones at all?

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Oh yes, we have had a bespoke kitchen installed in this house and it is superb, solid units, hinges, , everything just right and the installer made everything just perfect, painter followed him in to paint the units which we were having painted, worktop installers spent full day fitting corian and polishing it then the boss arrived in to check all the work, he also is coming back in the spring to check everything once the units have been loaded for a while, couldn’t have wished for better workmanship although it did come at a price which I never thought I would pay for a kitchen! I have had several different kitchens in previous builds but they were never quite right.

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We have never had “quality” kitchens.  Over the years we have bought from Texas Homecare (remember them!) x2, Homebase, B&Q x3 taking into account all the kitchens and utility rooms we have re-modelled.  In my sewing room I have Ikea kitchen cupboards and really like their range of drawer sizes.  I’ve found them all perfectly acceptable and the new house will probably be B&Q unless I find something cheaper.  The last kitchen was huge and I dread to think how much it would have cost with quality units.

i have always designed the kitchens myself.  All fitted by us, just trades in to fit the worktops for the corner cuts (the laminate kitchens) or the last kitchen which was granite composite.

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I have an Italian kitchen.  It is wonderful quality and designed and fitted perfectly.  In my last house I had a perfectly acceptable mid range kitchen but because we ran short of money on the build at the time it was a compromise kitchen. I sold the house with the compromise kitchen still in place and almost as good as new.  I waited a long time for ‘my’ kitchen and I love every inch of it.

45E97D69-5D4A-48DB-9CC4-7FB4348B9D2F.jpeg

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sorry if this is an obtuse question, but what makes a kitchen "Italian" or "German"? Are there specific design features unique to that locale or is it just where the factory is?

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I’ve always assumed it’s down to where the units are manufactured.

 

if it were down to design mine is a Scottish kitchen as that’s where the designer hails from.

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35 minutes ago, dpmiller said:

sorry if this is an obtuse question, but what makes a kitchen "Italian" or "German"? Are there specific design features unique to that locale or is it just where the factory is?

In my view not only where the factory is there are things that make Italian kitchens different to German kitchens to British kitchens they have small but significant style differences. Different levels of quality available in all.

 

@Triassic my units hail from Italy, my granite from Italy, my oak from Denmark, my designer from Paris.  The whole lot sourced through a design studio in Warwick England. Guess that makes it a mongrel like me with my Welsh/Italian/Irish heritage.

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I found the on-line design tool at nobilia.de/en to be pretty good (and free) for putting together designs and basic rendering of the kitchen (although the rendering obviously based on the Nobilia range).

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Diy kitchens have a great online design tool.  Not easy to find though - no direct link from their website.  

 

They do standard units at 300, 400,500, ... right up to 1200.  with lots of solutions for different drawer types and pullouts as well as standard cupboards.  They also have cupboards only (I think) at 150, 350 and 450mm.  The also have fitting for tray storage, bottles, towels etc at 100 and 150mm, so there is really no need to stick to 600mm.

 

They also have loads of ideas of things you may not have thought of (corner solutions, bins, pull out ironing board, quadrants etc.)

 

Although they are not made to measure they make all the cabinets to order at the site in Pontefract and their showroom is well worth a visit (Free tea, coffee and cakes) and it's close to M1, M62 and A1.  Their customer service is great and everything comes very well packed.

 

Here is the link  https://planner.diy-kitchens.com/

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And Wren refused to do me a plan without visiting to measure up for themselves.  Salesman was very pushy too so that might just be him rather than standard practice

 

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On 18/02/2019 at 17:29, Tony K said:

 

 

Are they going to add value that I won't?

 

My answer is no, you know what you want and if you can design your house you can sure as hell design your own kitchen.

 

The "designer" is someone who can work their in house software, I am sure it is a great service and it is good for getting parts lists but other than that they are just given a job of blasting a design together for you and with all due respect don't really care about our individual needs.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Hecateh said:

And Wren refused to do me a plan without visiting to measure up for themselves.  Salesman was very pushy too so that might just be him rather than standard practice

 

If they tried that with me I would flip. Especially given that most of us here probably know more about the critical measurements of our houses than anyone else and probably even did a lot of the design.

 

I remember going into a place like this with a CAD drawing, the guy started to tell me how it may not be 100% accurate, I told him it was and told him it would be more accurate than any measurements he would ever get. He said it was their policy to do it themselves and I told him it was my policy not to let someone disrespect me by implying I cannot measure a room properly.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Carrerahill said:

If they tried that with me I would flip. Especially given that most of us here probably know more about the critical measurements of our houses than anyone else and probably even did a lot of the design.

 

I remember going into a place like this with a CAD drawing, the guy started to tell me how it may not be 100% accurate, I told him it was and told him it would be more accurate than any measurements he would ever get. He said it was their policy to do it themselves and I told him it was my policy not to let someone disrespect me by implying I cannot measure a room properly.

 

 

 

Exactly mirrors my experience with a kitchen supplier.  He refused to accept that my CAD drawings were accurate, I insisted that they were, and anyway, I wasn't asking them to fit the thing, just supply the units. 

 

Had some friends around the weekend before last, who have recently had a kitchen fitted.  They remarked that we had no infill panels anywhere, and I just said that I'd designed the finished dimensions of the kitchen, allowing for the thickness of plasterboard and skim, such that the units would all fit exactly (in fact there's a ~2mm gap, which is hidden by the splashbacks, but I reckon 2mm is "good enough for government work").

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On 18/02/2019 at 17:29, Tony K said:

Are they going to add value that I won't?

 

I think in the days before online design, someone with experience could knock up a design more accurately and much more quickly than a layman.  They also knew what was available in a way that we didn't before easy access to online stores.  You could walk round a showroom all day without being confident that you could remember everything you had seen. Or visit 3 showrooms and have very little idea what you had seen where. (Or I could anyway lol)

 

Now, visit a website, do your own plan, sit on it for a day or 2, week or 2 or even a month or 2, tweaking it as often as you want. 

 

I had 3 designs done, (Wickes, Ikea and Sheffield Kitchens) all of them just asked what I wanted and put it in.  I got no suggestions of how to make better use of the space - or even the things that I was already considering - mainly around future proofing IE drawers and pull out units instead of cupboards so nothing is left at the back and high cupboards having bifold doors because I'm fed up of banging my head.  

 

1 hour ago, Carrerahill said:

If they tried that with me I would flip. Especially given that most of us here probably know more about the critical measurements of our houses than anyone else and probably even did a lot of the design.

 

Wren's was the first place I visited.  I had looked round one in Bristol when I was at my sister's and thought they looked great.  His attitude meant I left there knowing that it was the last place I would buy a kitchen.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

... I just said that I'd designed the finished dimensions of the kitchen, allowing for the thickness of plasterboard and skim, such that the units would all fit exactly (in fact there's a ~2mm gap, which is hidden by the splashbacks, but I reckon 2mm is "good enough for government work").

 

Nice work, that is the sort of thing that I like to do, but lets face it, you only get that where someone pays a lot of attention to doing a design for you, or you do it yourself and take the time and care. Bearing in mine infill panels can cost upward of £50 (probably more on some materials) on some finishes it is in your best interest budget wise not to waste money on bits of chipboard with a nice finish on them. 

 

My brother got a kitchen from Wren, it's a nice kitchen, but the design was done by them in house, I was not overly impressed with some of the corner cutting - rather than make best use of space lots of bits of infill and panels stuck on here and there. Luckily he had a really good joiner, who was able to work with the units and parts he had to make a better version than what Wren had designed. He modified units superbly to fit around things and hid a boiler that was not even on the original plan to be hidden as they somehow ended up with an extra door. It is rare to get a joiner that good, I would class him as more of a high end shop fitter type.

 

 

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+1 for DIY kitchens. My joiners started fitting my units last week and are really impressed with the quality. As they were so well priced we could afford to upgrade everything - soft close, custom paint etc. we are also getting our joiner to do custom finishing touches such as end panels, trim etc which should it make it look much more expensive. DIY kitchens sold us some extra paint, custom depth units and have replaced a few slightly scratched doors without a murmur. All in all an excellent experience and we spent just under £7000 including a load of units for built in living room stuff and a big kitchen. Were going back to get some 100mm deep cabinets for the bathrooms and 1m wide multi drawers for the dressing rooms. 

 

Also, the fittings box contained a box of yorkshire teabags and a packet of biscuits. 

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@divorcingjack good to hear. I wonder, did you design the kitchen yourself, with all those details you mention? Its one of the steps I will find daunting so I am looking for some inspiration. I am awful at anything which involves visual design.

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Posted (edited)

@Dreadnaught post the dimensions of your kitchen and I will do a design for you.  I suspect others will too. 

 

A few questions to help with making sure that it meets your needs.

 

How many people will be using the kitchen?  cooking? preparing food - even if just  making tea/coffee or toast.

 

Will you eat in the kitchen regularly - just breakfast or casual dining too

 

Do you have/use a lot of appliances - large mixer; dry fryer; halogen hob; coffee maker; bread maker; soup maker etc etc

 

How often is food prepared from scratch?  

 

What sort of fridge/freezer do you want.  How much fridge freezer space do you need.  More fridge (if you cook mostly from scratch) bigger freezer if you either buy ready meals or batch cook and store your own 'ready' meals/soup/ice cream?

 

I or 2 or more ovens - built in at accessible level or floor level.  separate grill or built in to over

 

Microwave? 

 

Washing machine/Dryer in the kitchen or elsewhere?

 

Dishwasher?  built in or free standing?

 

Refuse Do you want built in?  For recycling? How many discrete recycling?

 

Hot water tap?

 

Would you like a walk in pantry

 

Lots of tins? Lots of spices used regularly? 

 

These are all questions that I can think of off the top of my head.  It's a good idea to have the answers even if you go to a designer 

 

A bit of 'office' space - for bill paying, list making etc etc.  

 

A 'charging' area?

 

There is also the type of kitchen you want (modern; traditional; shaker; solid wood; handles or handleless'; colour or finish; matte or gloss?

 

I'm sure others will know of other things to consider as well.

 

 


 

Edited by Hecateh
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@Hecateh, that's a very kind offer! As soon as my layout is finalised (I am still in the middle of planning approval) I will do as you suggest.

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One thing people forget is that big fridges and cupboards have big doors - the 700mm Samsung fridge opens out and the door edge is 1360mm from the wall ... that’s the equivalent of two full depth work surfaces. Most kitchen “designers” leave 900 between cabinets and openings - that’s basically a route closed off when the door is opened. 

 

Ive done a couple with narrower doors - 800mm wide units with two 400mm doors works well, as do 600mm with pairs of 300mm doors. This is especially good in galley kitchens and means you don’t end up with doors closing off the whole space. 

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