Kitchen designers - my own Great Kitchen Design Off.
Wed, 5 October, 2016
Kitchen designers are quite a lot like ready microwavable meals: precisely the same at a given price range and bland, bland, BLAND. When I started shopping around I was worried I’d be daunted by the daring and floored by the prices necessary to pay to achieve the audacious, yet functional. I need not have feared.
Nothing. Like. That.
I picked four kitchen companies into my focus group: one local, one a bit less local, one a nationwide chain and one glam London outfit from Mayfair plucked out of a magazine. The last went first - and, contrary to expectations, not because their quote killed me but the ‘meh’ factor of their design. Still, I spied the black mirror splashbacks there which stayed with me for the duration so not all time wasted.
The local had the best software package so his CAD images looked proper swanky and expensive. After several iterations we seemed to get where I wanted to be with the layout, I liked his doors (sounds like such an innuendo, doesn’t it) and he seemed to understand that facing a dark wall sitting at a breakfast bar is not my heart’s desire. But then he threw a wobbly when I argued my case for Miele appliances (they all get commission of sorts flogging a particular make) and asked stroppily why I wouldn’t get NEFF ‘like everybody else’.
Smart package, but - no.
The chain was all right except for reasons now forgotten (I think it was because the designer wouldn’t bother even once to visit us to see or measure whereabouts we wanted to stick their kitchen) we put them on the back burner quite from the start. Thus we let them promote the wall-facing bar idea and the suggestion of an enormous ‘feature’ radiator to sit in the middle of the most prominent wall. Anyway, our allocated designer did a bunk before the finalised version so the matter resolved itself, so to speak.
Facing the wall! REALLY?
And so after a fashion of Bake Off or The Apprentice, the not-so-local won ground. I passed the ideas poached off the also-runners onto him and he patiently revised and re-iterated. His CADs weren’t great and he would insist on placing a Keep Calm and Rock On (I’m not joking) poster on a wall, but he promised to introduce us to our future granite worktops, magnanimously let us order our own Mieles and didn’t try to charge for first design or second layouts up front. And the best breakfast place in town serving proper eggs being right next door wasn’t an insignificant fact.
Of course, that was all months ago and I have now quite forgotten a lot of details so will undoubtedly be in for a lot of potentially nasty surprises, when the fitter named Kelly (boy? girl?) arrives in two weeks’ time. Subject to tiling finished. Subject to floor ready for tiling. Subject to screed drying. I’m meeting my granite next Monday and am excited and nervous like an arranged bride. And then - mere five weeks from now - I might actually own a kitchen again.