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Behemoth

'Fitted' kitchen advice

Any tips on getting a decent kitchen built, not flat pack but not silly kitchen shop prices? Sources of information etc. I was thinking about getting a cabinet maker to make the carcasses and fit the bits and pieces finding the doors and surfaces somewhere sort of thing.

Are there any selfbuild/renovation websites that have info/forums that may have more info?

Cheers
Jonnyboy

I was told my the joiner who fitted our B&Q kitchen that the carcasses are pretty similar even if you go to a posh kitchen shop.

Plus B&Q sell bath panels
dpack

hand build is ace ,tt has a nice kitchen i will ask
RichardW

Re: 'Fitted' kitchen advice

Behemoth wrote:
Any tips on getting a decent kitchen built, not flat pack but not silly kitchen shop prices? Sources of information etc. I was thinking about getting a cabinet maker to make the carcasses and fit the bits and pieces finding the doors and surfaces somewhere sort of thing.



Cheers



I would think that a cabinet makers prices would be higher than a "silly kitchen shop" price. Even using chip / MDF boards (a real cabinet maker would not touch them in my opinion) his time alone would be costly. You can buy flat pack style cabinets but ready made for not much more than normal flat pack prices. Beware one offs as you will have trouble finding standard doors to fit.

I am nearly finished instaling our kitchen. We went down the flat pack unit route but finished of with real wood worktops & some nice touches like sliding wicker baskets & pull out chopping block made out of the same wood as the work tops. As our kitchen is more of a utility room that happens to have a oven / hob in it for back up use as we have a rayburn & prep the food at the kicthen table the units did not need to be top of the range. Top of my head figure of about £1200 for every thing (flooring, 16 units, 2 x 4 bulb lights, sink x2 & tap x 2, paint, tiles & fixer/grout, electric oven & hob, plaster, wood trims, plumbing bits & prob more other bits & bobs) for a 8m x 2m room. The worktops we got from some one on here for doing some work for them (thanks Bodger).


Justme
Behemoth

Jonnyboy wrote:
I was told my the joiner who fitted our B&Q kitchen that the carcasses are pretty similar even if you go to a posh kitchen shop.

Plus B&Q sell bath panels


We went to a 'posh shop' who made the mistake of having partially dismantled display models accessable to the public and the carcasses were not much better than the IKEA stuff I've seen. This undermined the £16000 they wanted for the uninspiring offering.

Could go the flat pack route but we've got the chance to afford (over 20 years) to possibly get some rigid, properly jointed, carcasses. Obvously 'cabinet maker costs' are prohibitive we'll re think but would ike to explore the option. The space it's going into has been designed to accept standard size units so it doesn't have to be unique.
snozzer

Our family company has fitted so many kitchens over the years and I can tell you one thing about the ready built carcasses, there is little difference in the majority of them.

Magnet kitchens are good, but even with 50-60% off (just ask) can still be expensive. We have found that the B&Q flat pack range are REALLY good if you assemble them well (use a decent PVA).

What I would suggest is that you spend your money very cleverly.

Use good cabinets (B&Q Cabinets, but not the real cheap ones))

Get decent door and drawer fronts (B&Q real wood doors are the same quality as Magnets)

Pay for decent hardware such as hinges and runners (B&Q hinges are SH*T, Magnets hinges ACE, but the runners are much the much)

Choose carefully the handles and accrouments, they make a difference in the look and feel.

Buy decent worktop, or better still go for granite. www.diapol.co.uk are excellent amd the granite worktop upstands really make a kitchen look ££Large.

Ensure you get it well fitted and finished, paying attention to unit alignment, worktop cuts (never use jointing strips), ensure all exposed electrical work is neat an level and tiling perfect.

And one last thing, plan, plan, plan and then plan somemore.
Mrs Fiddlesticks

snozzer wrote:


Buy decent worktop, or better still go for granite. www.diapol.co.uk are excellent amd the granite worktop upstands really make a kitchen look ££Large.


we went for a reconstituted stone that looks like granite but has some acrylic in it making it less likely to stain. Agree about the upstands instead of tiles. We also went for a big piece of 'granite' to sit behind the cooker up to the hood. No grout to clean!

snozzer wrote:


And one last thing, plan, plan, plan and then plan somemore.


Definitely. We had a very clear idea of what was wrong with our last kitchen which then helped us work out what we wanted the new one to do. Especially in terms of storage. Although I would add that I had a huge clear-out so that we weren't trying to create storage for things we no longer needed.
Behemoth

Thanks for the info - very helpful. Are there any manufacturers of hard ware that have a good reputation? Particularly pull out larders.

I'm leaning towards the contemporary laminate doors - any good quality suppliers at reasonable prices. - although a plain wood isn't out of the question.


Thanks all Very Happy
Behemoth

What's an 'upstand'? is it the bit that goes up the wall?
cab

I built our kitchen with Ikea stuff. Easy, seems to be tough, I have no complaints about the quality. And extremely cheap compared with other shops. If you can get to a branch of Ikea, go and have a look, you may be pleasantly surprised.

The upstand goes at the back of the bench; if, say, you're putting in wooden worktops then the upstand covers the gap you leave at the back to allow the bench to swell or contract (as wood can do).
Behemoth

I've got an IKEA corner unit at the moment and have been impressed. It would seem that given standard units will fit that good quality flat pack is probably the route to go.

So that leaves doors and fittings. Very Happy
cab

Behemoth wrote:
I've got an IKEA corner unit at the moment and have been impressed. It would seem that given standard units will fit that good quality flat pack is probably the route to go.

So that leaves doors and fittings. Very Happy


Well, our doors and fittings are also from Ikea. Haven't yet encountered any problems with them. The only thing I didn't like is that like any flat pack stuff, if you have to modify them for any reason (there wasn't a corner unit that did what we wanted, and I had to do some fiddling about with the sink area) then they're a little harder to engineer. But its do-able; all the fittings for Ikea cupboards can be re-positioned if you're competent with a drill and/or router.
boisdevie1

I'm a trained cabinetmaker and when I redid the kitchen last year we bought cheap as chips carcasses and then got nice doors on them and nice worktops.
if you use a cabinetmaker for everything it will cost you a fortune. But you could use one to create doors and small bits and pieces to fit in with the big off the shelf units. If you go for a commonly available timber like oak or beech then a cabinetmaker will be able to fit in with that OK as both timbers are easily available.
judith

boisdevie1 wrote:
I'm a trained cabinetmaker and when I redid the kitchen last year we bought cheap as chips carcasses and then got nice doors on them and nice worktops.


My BIL did that in his kitchen, and it looks brilliant.

He recommends getting the carcases from Wickes.
Vic

If you're getting new appliances (you probably know this already) just shop around for them as much as possible. Google is your friend...

we hve just discovered that a 90cm dual fuel range-type cooker is about £150 cheaper than a standard 60cm dual fuel cooker which is continuing to baffle us...

We're getting the kitchen from Howdens since it will take the builder half the time (= half the expense) to fit it.
Behemoth

Cheers I've also noticed that the combined cost of two built in ovens and range hob are cheaper than the range, by the same manufacturer, excluding the cost of the cabinets to bung them in.
cab

Behemoth wrote:
Cheers I've also noticed that the combined cost of two built in ovens and range hob are cheaper than the range, by the same manufacturer, excluding the cost of the cabinets to bung them in.


When you factor in the cabinets that can certainly flatten things out a bit.

I went for a seperate cooker rather than built in. Maybe its just me missing the point, but where is the advantage of seperate cooker bits as opposed to just having a cooker?
Northern_Lad

cab wrote:
Behemoth wrote:
Cheers I've also noticed that the combined cost of two built in ovens and range hob are cheaper than the range, by the same manufacturer, excluding the cost of the cabinets to bung them in.


When you factor in the cabinets that can certainly flatten things out a bit.

I went for a seperate cooker rather than built in. Maybe its just me missing the point, but where is the advantage of seperate cooker bits as opposed to just having a cooker?


You can have the cooker where you want it and the hob where you want that. Most times it's the same place, but there are times when you can't get supply to the same place.
cab

Northern_Lad wrote:
You can have the cooker where you want it and the hob where you want that. Most times it's the same place, but there are times when you can't get supply to the same place.


Oh, I see, so it might in some cases be a means to avoid trailing gas pipes or electicity cables?
snozzer

And as if by magic in this mornings post came "The Buster - Spring 2008" from MagnetTrade - 75% off kitchens anyone...
Northern_Lad

cab wrote:
Northern_Lad wrote:
You can have the cooker where you want it and the hob where you want that. Most times it's the same place, but there are times when you can't get supply to the same place.


Oh, I see, so it might in some cases be a means to avoid trailing gas pipes or electicity cables?


Quite possibly, yes.

Also, it can be useful for 'little old ladies' to get them fitted ay waist level, so they don't have to lift things, including themselves.
Dee J

The main thing to remember is that fitted kitchens are essentially a disposable product with a limited lifespan. Even outside the pressures of fashion, and regardless of how much you spend on an expensive worktop. Once the surface finish of the cabinet interior starts to get damaged/ worn or as soon as any damp starts to get into any of the manufactured panels it starts to fall apart - with little chance of recovery. Look at any 10 year old kitchen, and especially at anything 20 years and over. The real problem is the low cost of and easy initial finishing of mdf and chipboard panels totally undercuts any other build method. For longevity and flexibility free standing furniture wins out. Other than something fixed for the sink, a mixture of cupboards, shelves dresser and a decent table all made from solid timber - softwood or hardwood can have a lifespan of centuries and be virtually infinately repairable and re-finishable. Combine this with a decent pantry and a freestanding cooker or range and you've got it made Very Happy

Dee
Northern_Lad

snozzer wrote:
And as if by magic in this mornings post came "The Buster - Spring 2008" from MagnetTrade - 75% off kitchens anyone...


Stop it.

(by 'centre of Britain', do you mean Dunsop Bridge)
Behemoth

cab wrote:
Northern_Lad wrote:
You can have the cooker where you want it and the hob where you want that. Most times it's the same place, but there are times when you can't get supply to the same place.


Oh, I see, so it might in some cases be a means to avoid trailing gas pipes or electicity cables?


Both the above If you prefer your ovens at eye level it helps!

For our lay out there's not much in it but I can creat a counter with two oven under it, at 90degrees to the cooker. The oly advantage this really gives is that things can be lifted out of the ove straight onto a clear surface, pan storage indrawers below the hob, if one of the oven packs in it can be replaced leaving the rest, one of the ovens could be a combi oven.

Still thinking about though. One problem we have is that half of the proposed kitchen is currently garden. Laughing
Barefoot Andrew

This thread rather takes me back to installing alisjs's kitchen.
A.
cab

Dee J wrote:
The main thing to remember is that fitted kitchens are essentially a disposable product with a limited lifespan. Even outside the pressures of fashion, and regardless of how much you spend on an expensive worktop. Once the surface finish of the cabinet interior starts to get damaged/ worn or as soon as any damp starts to get into any of the manufactured panels it starts to fall apart - with little chance of recovery.


I don't entirely agree. I know many people with such kitchens well over ten years old, and they're still pretty much okay. Sometimes replacing doors or individual comonents may be necessary, but it isn't that hard.
Armchair

I'm currently re-painting my kitchen units. They are solid wood (presumably oak) and while I did ponder replacing the whole lot, the cost of a decent kitchen was prohibitive (I'm not much good at DIY so would need to pay for labour).

The photo below is the 'before' shot (click to enlarge). I'm painting the units cream, leaving the worktop and door/drawer knobs as they are. I'll post the 'after' photo in a couple of weeks.

Out of interest, does anyone know roughly how old the units are likely to be?

scoop

We installed an IKEA kitchen recently and were very impressed with the quality. IKEA have freebie kitchen design software that you can download from their web site http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_GB/rooms_ideas/splashplanners.html
Its very easy to use and when you are happy with your design you can "upload" it to their web site drive to your local store and order and take away on the spot.

scoop
cab

The only thing I didn't like about Ikea kitchens was the software. Its all well and good till you decide you want to engineer parts of their units on to stuff you already have, or to take their bits apart and only buy the components you need.

Their pencils were, however, ideal for working out our requirements Laughing

But to be honest, compared with the consultations/design thingies at the other shops we found Ikea to be way ahead and thousands cheaper.
Behemoth

Yes, graph paper, pencil, tape measure - simple. The 'design consultants' I saw on Saturday really though their £250 design service was a good idea and "a bargainin in the market place". Of course it was refundable should I buy their design. I think I offended them when I started laughing.
cab

Ouch! Surely you never paid that?

We did go to B&Q, MFI and a couple of other places to hear what the designers had to say, and we didn't lose anything by doing so.
I was staggered that MFI wanted to charge us 15k for a kitchen that had dead spaces in it (i.e. what we wanted didn't fit best for their units so there were going to be dead gaps between some of them) and wouldn't supply extra doors to re-engineer on to the cupboards underneath our sink (a double drainer, a proper metal one, something increasingly hard to replace!). I was also baffled by MFI not being able to come up with a cheaper price when we refused their free kitchen appliances...

B&Q were polite and helpful, Homebase were stressed, the bespoke kitchen shops were good but ultimately waaaaaaay more expensive than we were willing to pay for basically the same product as Ikea had... I know, I'm sounding like a walking Ikea advert (when I actually hate the place!), but good product, good service, best price.
Behemoth

cab wrote:
Ouch! Surely you never paid that?


Noooo - just laughed, out loud. In their faces. We left.
RichardW

Have just finished doing the tiling (well fitting them still have to grout about 1 square meter). Bought exactly 4 m2 of tiles in 4 colours. Have the equivilent of 14 tiles left (1 full tile the rest in cuts). This works out at 3.685m2 on the wall & .315m2 left in bits (no I dint measure each one but I did put them together as a big jig saw puzzel). That works out at almost exactly the 10% cutting wastage they tell you to allow for. Now I tried realy hard not to cut a tile unless I had no bits avaliable already cut to roughly the right size. There were very few cuts due to how I had designed it & the area that needed doing (work top to wall units so no cuts top or bottom, in two long runs plus round 2 windows). Had this been a more typical situation the cuts would have been far greater. How much wastage do others get when tiling? Is the 10% extra a reliable number to use?


Justme
lottie

I was in Jewsons the other day picking up flooring and noticed they had kitchens in, ready made not flat pack---anybody know what they're like-?--bit limited here unless you drive a fair way---the magnet here doesn't have kitchens and no b&q. Present old fitted kitchen [Shreiber] was put in in the 70's and is in as good a nick as the day it went in--so some last---just inadequate storage for me--so it's next on the list but it'll have to "see me out" Wink can't do it twice.
Chez

I bought our units second hand on eBay - they are the Ikea solid wood ones and I reckon I spent a third of what I would have new.

There used to be a chap from Liverpool on Ebay, advertising solid wood carcasses for really reasonable prices but I don't know if he's around at them moment.

The think to remember if you go the Ikea route is that all their carcasses are flat-back to the wall - ie, they expect you to have the pipework plastered in - rather than leaving a gap like B&Q and people like that.
earthyvirgo

We also have an Ikea kitchen, it was installed about 12 years ago by a friend's husband (professional carpenter and kitchen fitter) and apart from a lot of cursing about it being designed for 90 degree angles (our house is an old stone house, so no wall is straight) he said it was excellent quality and very easy to put together.

It doesn't look bad 12 years on and nothing has fallen off or broken. The only thing I've done is painted one of the wall cabinet doors in blackboard paint for shopping lists.

Ikea currently have a solid wood, free standing range which is v nice but, unfortunately, it looks like they're downscaling it in favour of ultra-fitted ranges, shame really.

The amount some folk spend on installing brand new kitchens scares me, Country Living mag is a good one, 10K+ seems to be a starting point for some people, ouch!!

EV
lottie

I had wood for 20 years before we moved-- looked nice and wore well but I want a change----and something that copes well with stuff tipped down it---moulded wood fronts are a pig to clean.
Chez

Behemoth wrote:
Yes, graph paper, pencil, tape measure - simple. The 'design consultants' I saw on Saturday really though their £250 design service was a good idea and "a bargainin in the market place". Of course it was refundable should I buy their design. I think I offended them when I started laughing.


Ikea have quite a good downloadable planning tool thingy. I used it to rough out what I wanted before I went on to precise measurements with graph paper.
Vic

Behemoth wrote:
Yes, graph paper, pencil, tape measure - simple. The 'design consultants' I saw on Saturday really though their £250 design service was a good idea and "a bargainin in the market place". Of course it was refundable should I buy their design. I think I offended them when I started laughing.


OH went into MFI and asked for an appointment with their kitchen planners, so that we could get some idea of price and so on. He was told, in all seriousness, that we could only have an appointment if we were definitely going to buy a kitchen from them... He did argue a bit (!) but got nowhere, which is why we're not buying anything from them.

Howdens on the other hand answered all our (stupid) questions, took us into the warehouse and showed us things not out on display, and spent some considerable time doing a plan and making helpful suggestions, without any pressure to buy.

Trying to look at kitchen units in Ikea on a Sunday morning was a Bad Mistake and has possibly coloured our whole attitude to them!
Chez

Vic wrote:
OH went into MFI and asked for an appointment with their kitchen planners, so that we could get some idea of price and so on. He was told, in all seriousness, that we could only have an appointment if we were definitely going to buy a kitchen from them... He did argue a bit (!) but got nowhere, which is why we're not buying anything from them.


I won't have anything to do with MFI since we went in to look at kitchens one day and were told by the sales person that unless we were going to buy THAT DAY that they wouldn't give us any help. Their attitude was disgusting and I think they should be poked in the eye with a sharp stick.
cab

Vic wrote:

Trying to look at kitchen units in Ikea on a Sunday morning was a Bad Mistake and has possibly coloured our whole attitude to them!


Ahh, yes, it can be a bit frantic!

If you can get in when its quieter then do so. As I say, we found the quality and service excellent (even to the point where they posted out extra bits for free when we asked because we thought we'd need more than we had).
cab

Chez wrote:
Vic wrote:
OH went into MFI and asked for an appointment with their kitchen planners, so that we could get some idea of price and so on. He was told, in all seriousness, that we could only have an appointment if we were definitely going to buy a kitchen from them... He did argue a bit (!) but got nowhere, which is why we're not buying anything from them.


I won't have anything to do with MFI since we went in to look at kitchens one day and were told by the sales person that unless we were going to buy THAT DAY that they wouldn't give us any help. Their attitude was disgusting and I think they should be poked in the eye with a sharp stick.


Sad to hear that. We didn't go with them in the end, but we didn't find them to be in any way rude or troublesome.
sean

I've used them twice, once for our last house, and once for some new doors and stuff down here. They've been fine both times. May well be variable from store to store though like most chains.
earthyvirgo

Vic wrote:

Trying to look at kitchen units in Ikea on a Sunday morning was a Bad Mistake and has possibly coloured our whole attitude to them!


Try Ikea's late night opening. Warrington branch is often empty 10pm at night. Makes for a much more pleasant visit.

Ditto B&Q, Saturday evening, 7.30pm, empty, plenty of staff on hand too.

EV
bernie-woman

If you can find someone in the trade who can get to Howdens they supply MFI with a lot of their stuff and have solid ready made carcasses - we couldn't actually get anyone who was willing to fit a non-solid carcass kitchen Very Happy

http://www.howdens.com/
James

http://www.diy-kitchens.com/acatalog/Index_Home.html?gclid=CLCp_7yNipICFQSKMAod0klI-Q

are very good. Cheap for what you get also.
You need to know exactly what you want first, and donít expect much help. But the stuff is good quality and much more affordable than the high street.


At the risk of being a sad scientist-
We had lots of tiled area. To break up the effect, we went for 3 different shades. I realised that if you repeat a sequence of tiles which is a prime number in length, your eye cannot easily pick up the pattern, so it looks random, but due to the prime number repetition, sits comfortably on the eye. My sequence was 23 tiles long.
Vanessa

Another IKEA fan here, I'm afraid!! Twice the quality of B&Q (I know, I've fitted a B&Q one fairly recently, too Rolling Eyes ) and half (or less) the price.

As for getting "just the bits you want" ... easy in the larger stores where everything is "self-pick" except the doors. You "order" the whole lot, then just "pick" the bits you know you want Wink

For anyone who can get there, the Lakeside IKEA at Thurrock (just north of the Dartford Crossing) is GREAT anytime apart from Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Go mid-week, and it's quiet as can be - staff there to help, etc. Wonderful!! Wink
tahir

We did an IKEA Lakeside shop when we moved, got there 1st thing on a Tuesday morning totally empty, even had time to sample some of their really crappy cakes
yummersetter

I used Kitchendraw.com free (limited time) design program to work out how to redesign the layout for our L shaped kitchen with sloping roofs. Screwfix have good forums for technical advice.
lottie

James wrote:
http://www.diy-kitchens.com/acatalog/Index_Home.html?gclid=CLCp_7yNipICFQSKMAod0klI-Q

are very good. Cheap for what you get also.
You need to know exactly what you want first, and donít expect much help. But the stuff is good quality and much more affordable than the high street.


At the risk of being a sad scientist-
We had lots of tiled area. To break up the effect, we went for 3 different shades. I realised that if you repeat a sequence of tiles which is a prime number in length, your eye cannot easily pick up the pattern, so it looks random, but due to the prime number repetition, sits comfortably on the eye. My sequence was 23 tiles long.

Thanks for the info James---I'd had these up on the web but didn't know anyone who'd used them
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