The kitchen refurb of all kitchen refurbs - A Buyers Guide
The Big Plan
Shortly after beginning this project I discovered that re-designing a kitchen can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. I could have probably just nipped down to Magnet and let some spotty young bloke in a badly fitting suit sell me a full package kitchen, but that would be no fun whatsoever!!
After spending many years dreaming of this fully bespoke kitchen, my decision to find each and every part of it from many different stores and suppliers meant that this project would surely take me into a world of stress vs satisfaction. I havn't fully finalised things but here is the shortlist to date including useful links (incase anybody wishes to follow in my footsteps).
Kitchen Layout - where to put things?
Naturally I want to make best use of worktop space and also the efficiency of using the kitchen whilst cooking. Important factors for me are.
- Plenty of worktop space around both sides of the cooker and hob, as I do a lot of food preparation (chopping and peeling) as a meal is actually cooking, and I like to be able to quickly scrape something off of the chopping board into the pan. Secondly, as I take hot trays and dishes out of the oven, I tend to put them straight onto the worktop next to the cooker (so heatproof worktops are 100% necessary).
- It is vital that I have drawers (maybe 2 pan sized drawers and a cutlery drawer) next to the cooker too. When I am cooking (or sometimes burning), I need to be able to reach out and grab an extra pan or utensil.
- The traditional place for a sink is under a window, and for this kitchen I am sticking to tradition. I would much prefer to be looking out of a window than staring at a wall, and the window lets in loads of bright light which helps when cleaning pots and dishes.
- I have always fantasized about having an island / breakfast bar section, where I could stand drinking bubbly and chatting with my friends at dinner parties. It has to have rounded ends, and on a practical level, could accommodate some of the fancy kitchen elements such as a wine rack, end shelving units, etc.
Kitchen Worktops - material choice and workspace
First Choice - Star Galaxy Granite Worktops (pictured above) are the most likely choice for me in this kitchen as they are visually stunning, and they are virtually indestructible. The only downside to using Granite worktops is that I'm pretty heavy handed and anticipate that I will break quite a few dishes on it before I'm used to how hard it is. (unlike my Duropal worktops that I have battered with things for years). - Star Galaxy Granite worktops available from Affordable Granite UK
Second Choice - KORC recycled plastic worktops made from 100% recycled material from vending machine coffee cups and a small mix of electronic component boards. These worktops are very similar to Star Galaxy granite in that they have a fantastic matt black base colour with speckled finish. - KORC recycled worktops available from Milestone Recycled Kitchens
Kitchen Flooring - natural stone or wood?
First Choice - My perfect floor is definitely black slate, our current sub-floor is solid concrete which I will have screeded to make perfectly flat. I also plan to install underfloor heating which works really well with slate as the natural stone conducts and holds the heat very nicely. After receiving free samples of Grey slate, Black slate and also rustic Oyster slate, I decided on black slate in a random 'Opus' pattern. Brazilian black slate tiles available from Harveys Natural Flooring
Second Choice - My love of real timber flooring was outdone by the brazilian slate tiles from Harveys Natural Flooring. This light oak strip flooring (pictured above) came in at a very close second place. 3 strip engineered Oak flooring available from UK Flooring Direct
Cupboard Doors - styles and colours
First Choice - To create a nice contrast against the dark colours of the Brazilian slate flooring and the black granite worktops I want light coloured timber doors, I saw quite a few more modern looking white and metallic doors that would have gone quite nicely, but natural timber has a timeless appeal, and the simple lines in these Maple 'Shaker' style cupboard doors (pictured above) do it for me completely! Available from Signature Kitchens.
Second Choice - Although I dissed good old Magnet earlier on, my second choice of kitchen doors are their beautiful Hatfield range (pictured above). The pale and simple look to these doors would have worked really well in contrast with the darks I have chosen for the project, however the profile on the doors is just slightly too old fashioned for me. Available here at Magnet
Sinks and Taps
Both of these sink designs can be mounted in cut outs in the granite worktops, and I plan to have drainage grooves cut into the granite as a draining board. It was a touch decision but I will be opting for the stainless steel Belfast sink by Astracast which has the wonderful shape of a traditional ceramic sink with an ultra modern twist. The finish looks like brushed steel in the picture, which will be fantastic as I hate constantly polishing shiny metal clean.
First Choice - Astracast Stainless Steel Belfast Sink available from Appliance World
Second Choice - Blanco Ypsilon 550-U Sink Pack available from Home Creations
First Choice - I really wanted natural stone on the walls in the kitchen and I was torn between slate strips (to match the slate flooring) or limestone wall tiles. There are so many limestone options on the market but I chose Moleanos limestone as it had a consistent base colour and lots of interesting little characteristics. I plan to buy a batch of 300 x 600m tiles and have them cut into 100 x 60mm strips (as shown in the picture above) Moleanos Beige Limestone available from Harveys Natural Flooring
Second Choice - My second choice of wall tiles is these awesome Diesel glass mosaic tiles from Topps Tiles. (pictured above) - My only concern was that I might hate them in a couple of years when they go out of fashion, but then I might get bored of the limestone (oh, decisions decisions!)
Kitchen Appliances - a lot of Smeg
Fridge Freezer - SMEG retro fridge freezer in red (pictured above), this fridge freezer is awesome, just awesome! available from Currys
Cooker - The SMEG dual fuel range cooker is 90cm wide and has enough hob rings for me to burn every single pan in my cupboard, (pictured above) amazing! Available from Currys again.