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New kitchen - caveat emptor, and don't expect a dream come true.

Fri, 4 November, 2016

My kitchen is taking shape. Cupboards - sorry: UNITS - are set up and installed, most appliances in place although not live, waiting just for the worktops to arrive. Am I excited? Do I like what I have so far? Is it my dream kitchen?

Yes and no.

Apparently the desire to get a new kitchen is comparable to religious zeal; and its attainment - the equivalent of paradise for the zealots. But as it often happens with paradise - it’s not all it’s made out to be.

First of all, so-called fitted kitchen turns out to be more of a misfit. The cupbo… UNITS come in regulation sizes; your space doesn’t. I have lost about two whole units’ worth of storage here and there because of my non-conformist wall lengths. Unless you’re in the Poggenpohl class or higher, the bespoke is a mis-spoke.

Secondly, when the c… units turn up, you’ll have completely forgotten what you’d ordered. Having discussed for hours the configurations and the widths, you’ll remember nothing of it when the kitchen arrives. Having given in to sales person’s (oooops: designer’s) persuasion that the Monte Carlo pull-out shelf (I kid you not) and the full height larder are the keys to your happiness, you'll think only WTF? when you actually see them. You won’t remember the details of your order when it becomes reality, so better make copious notes. Still, the best CAD or the most vivid spatial imagination will not spare you nasty surprises of the ‘NOT like I thought it would be!’ kind.

Dream? More like a nightmare...

Thirdly, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot so much you might be able to claim ESA. I’ll seriously struggle to fit any shelving in the utility room because I brainlessly okayed the doors layout - complicated, but my fault entirely. The fridge is not fitted tight enough into the tall bank of units because I confused millimetres with centimetres. Get your past modals dusted off, because you’re gonna could-have and should-have a lot.

In spite of the BEST efforts of the installers!

Next - you have to do your own research on everything all the time, because you won’t get to be sat down, shown samples and options and patiently expected to make your choice. You’ll be brusquely asked: ‘brushed steel or black nickel sockets?’ and expected to know precisely what they might look like.

Then there is the impracticality, the aesthetic over the functional. I’ve no idea where I’ll put the rubbish bin as it will look grubby no matter where - and no, hiding it in a cupboard (CUPBOARD! BLOODY CUPBOARD!!!) is not an option unless its door opens when I frown, hands full and grimy. Hanging tea towels? Fuggedaboutit. There isn’t a bit of WALL, either, where I could stick a calendar, a clock or a cork board for shopping lists: all around glossy units or my designer FEATURE out of splashback shards (cf. shoot, foot and myself).

On the other hand, you’ll learn some new vocabulary. Nogging. Bezels. Footing. Manifold. Pipe overlay. Stud wall. Not sure if I should pepper my conversations with the above and doubt it will make me sound like Stephen Fry, but all knowledge is good knowledge.

And that, of course, is not the only good thing. I’m sure I’ll be ecstatic about most things and quickly gloss over the issues, especially the ones I’m to blame for. But there’s a lesson: it ain’t paradise. It’s just a kitchen and what’s cooking in it is all that matters at the end of the day.

 

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