A bespoke kitchen is the pipe dream for many home owners. Just like we’d all love to own a tailor made designer suit that fits us perfectly and shows the body in the most flattering light, a kitchen made from scratch to fit the exact specifications of the room is the icing on the cake for any home. It can supports your lifestyle and complement your taste preferences. And here at Season in Colour it is what we currently talk about (with a home extension and new kitchen coming up next year!)
No doubt, going bespoke has a different cost to buying units 'off the shelf'. Given that the kitchen is not only the hardest working space in the home but also its undisputed heart, designing one to your exact specification is an investment worth making and actually, less unattainable than you would think. Let’s demystify a few things.
What do we mean by ‘bespoke kitchen’?
Mostly it means a kitchen that is designed, manufactured and installed by expert craftsmen. You work with a company from concept to implementation. The obvious benefit is that you can maximise the available space with cabinets of any type and size you wish. Instead of having to rely on mass produced standard sizes, you have full control and unlimited choice when it comes to the look and feel of your new space.
The result will be a kitchen where everything has been designed to suit your specific lifestyle needs, is built to last for many years and is installed by professionals. A bespoke kitchen is an excellent investment into the value of your home.
Source: Simon Taylor
Where to go for inspiration?
Kitchen design follows general interiors trends, so before you commit to a new kitchen – whether bespoke or mass produced – it’s a good idea to get an idea of current styles and designs. Take inspiration from home interiors magazine in print or online, and check Pinterest, a great source of endless creative ideas.
Make a point of visiting local kitchen showrooms, trade fairs and exhibitions too. Not only is it going to help you put things in perspective, you will also be able to pick up new trends about must have kitchen gadgets.
Collect all your ideas together in a scrapbook of photos and snippets or start your own Pinterest board to get a clearer view of the styles and features that you find most appealing. Include detailed photos of materials and equipment that you will want to include as these will have to be considered later into the design. For example, if you are lusting after a massive range cooker (and here are 10 reasons why you should) your cabinetry sizes will need to accommodate it.
After a while, you will end up with a mood board that will show exactly the type of kitchen redesign you are envisioning. Share it with your kitchen designer to help him/her inform their thinking and visualise your ideas for kitchen styles and colours, finishes and materials.
Source: Simon Taylor
How to find a great designer ?
Once you have a clear vision of your new kitchen, now is the time to find a good designer who can make your dream a reality. This is easier said than done – where do you even start? Ask for word of mouth recommendations from family, friends and neighbours. Do your own online research too. For each kitchen design company, check out their website, case studies, testimonials and Google reviews to get a feel for how they work.
In particular, you want to hear reassuring answers to the following questions: How easy were they to work with? Did the designer listen to client ideas? How good were they at incorporating the client’s views into their creative solutions? Did they come up with innovative, original design ideas of their own? Did they stay on budget and deliver within given timescales? How did they deal with problems that occurred during the build or installation phase?
Many kitchen companies talk about offering bespoke solutions but if that’s really what you’re after, don’t be fooled by companies who merely adapt standard ranges to fit your kitchen space. Find out if your shortlisted companies manufacture cabinetry from scratch or whether they use other suppliers’ kitchen ranges and customise as necessary. The latter may be more cost effective but you will use the uniqueness that makes a bespoke kitchen stand out from the crowd.
What to tell your kitchen designer?
When you think you’ve found the right designer for your bespoke kitchen project, it’s time to put them through their paces. A face-to-face meeting is non-negotiable, as is a home visit for them to truly understand the space and your ideas for it. Ideally, you want to brief them in fully into any home renovation plans that affect the kitchen and beyond, and provide architectural drawings the kitchen designer can work with.
Before you home in on different styles, colours and finishes, it’s important to have an in-depth conversation about how the new kitchen will be used. Do you do lots of cooking and entertaining? Will you need an integrated breakfast or dining area? From space for homework to room for a dog basket, dedicated wine storage, additional freezer space or a second sink, the design of your kitchen should be tailored exactly around your and your family’s lifestyle needs.
Make a separate list with important details and features such as your favourite appliance brands or preferred worktop materials, and historic references to the rest of the house if it is a period property.
Finally, don’t forget to set a realistic budget and stick to it. It is one of the top skills of a great kitchen designer to be able to work with a given budget and help you to invest this wisely. Whether you go for a luxury bespoke design or a cheaper alternative, there are always areas where it pays to get the best, and where savings can be made.
Design, build and fit
Having chosen the right kitchen designer to work with, you should soon receive and initial kitchen design for you to consider. This is where it gets interesting. The first draft is just that: a working document that can be tweaked and amended until everyone is happy with the design and ready to proceed. When you’ve given the go ahead, there will be a deposit to pay before the build can begin.
Your new kitchen will start life at a joinery workshop where a team of skilled artisans and craftsmen will get to work on the agreed design. The beauty of having a bespoke kitchen is that there’s a vast choice of materials, colours, finishes and fittings that can be used to make kitchen units and cabinetry in any size and according to your exact specifications.
Every kitchen company has their own working processes, but bespoke kitchen designers should have a dedicated project manager whose job it is to oversee every detail from the design stage through to manufacturing and installation.
While it is perfectly possible to project manage a standard kitchen redesign yourself, this is not recommended for complex bespoke projects that require detailed technical knowledge and expert management of larger teams. Here, it’s best to leave it up to the professionals to deliver your dream kitchen seamlessly and without any undue stress, meaning you can look forward to a beautiful bespoke kitchen that completes your home and should last a lifetime.