Here are a few tips / words of advice for anyone in South west London looking at having having a new kitchen installed, we hope you find them useful…
1. Set your budget
And work back from that. Maybe a pretty obvious one, but kitchens can escalate in price, there are so many different types of units / drawers / appliances and options available nowadays, things can get out of control if you let them. I think you need to ask yourself a few questions before starting: Is this new kitchen for your family home? i.e. will you need a more functional kitchen, easy to keep clean, with loads of clever storage space. Or are you a young professional who works in The City and just wants something that looks impressive would be good for resale value, but you won’t necessarily be doing a lot of cooking in?
The advantages and disadvantages of various different…
2. Work surfaces
Solid wood – Looks great, but needs to on-going maintenance because it is a natural, breathable material so might not be suitable for rental property. It’s great for a family home, where you know it’ll be looked after, and goes well with a traditional styled kitchen.
Granite – Is a good, solid material and is very low maintenance. Scratches etc cannot be fixed that easily though, so again not always great for rental properties (depending on the area and the type of tenants though), and it does require a specialist to cut and fit it.
Corian – Also requires a specialist to fit it, and comes with guarantee when done so. It’s a lot more malleable than the above two options and can be moulded into sinks etc, to create a seamless work surface. Any scratches / chips can be repaired quite easily too.
Laminate – You can some pretty good quality laminate worktops these days, and there really is quite a wide variety to choose from too. It’s great for rental properties as it can be easily fitted, and easily changed every 5 years or so too.
Your choice of doors really depends on budget; whether the kitchen is going to be in your family home; or in rental property? If it’s going to be your family kitchen then we’d recommend going for solid doors, as your doors are going get a lot of use and be opened and closed several times a day by little people and big people alike. Vinyl wrapped doors and even MFC doors with 3mm edging are good for rental properties.
Probably the most important thing to get right. Are the units flat packed with a flimsy hardboard back OR are they solid all the way round, making it easier to change all the doors and the worktops every 5 years or so…without the need for a WHOLE new kitchen (Great for rented properties). Our suppliers make their kitchen units solid all the way round, and they also make them to measure too. So instead of trying to make standard unit sizes work in the space you’ve got, for example a space of 1100mm – using standard Howdens / Benchamrks kitchens you’d need a 500 unit and 600 unit, so you wouldn’t have that symmetry that designers are always after. We could just get one large 1100mm unit made to fit the space perfectly, with two 550mm doors. We can also get our units made to fit around pipe boxing etc, and things like drawers can be made to measure too, so if you need a drawer to be shallower than a standard drawer, because there’s something the kitchen we need to work around, we can do that no problem.
5. Splash backs
Glass – Great for modern kitchens, looks very clean and simple (no grout lines) and can come in any colour you want too. Very low maintenance and easy to clean etc.
Tiles – Probably look better with a traditional kitchen, better than a glass splash back that is. The main benefit of tiles is that you honestly have such a large variety of shapes, colours, sizes, styles etc to choose from, which is great so you can do some pretty cool things with a tiled splash back, see this pic below and also the case study on our website
Polished plaster – Also very cool, and comes with like a waxed finish which makes it quite hard wearing and durable. If you do a Google Images search of ‘polished plaster’ there so many different colours and styles to choose from. We have a great guy for this too.
Small up stand with full splash back behind hob – If you’re on a budget this would be recommended I think, as whatever you go for – tiles / glass etc – having a small little up stand and then a full piece behind the hob, is always going to be easier to fit and cheaper to produce too. If you use a good hard wearing paint too, then this is a pretty good option in a rental property.
I guess the main decision is whether you’d like integrated or freestanding appliances, and I guess that would come down to whether this is a rental property or not. If it’s a rental, and again depending on the area / market the property is in, free standing appliances might be better as can easily be replaced / repaired.
Integrated appliances are great if you want to “hide” appliances, even things like microwaves can all be integrated, leaving a much clearer & cleaner looking worktop with less plug sockets and cables etc too. Check out http://www.quooker.co.uk/enuk if you’d like an even CLEARER worktop – it does away with the need for a kettle.
7. Extractor fans
Avoid re-circulating extractor fans (if you can) – I think it’s much better to have your extractor fan vent out of an external wall. You can use a standard cooker hood and run the vent along the top of your units OR a downdraft extractor to vent out under your floor and out for example. Another thing to avoid (again, if you can) is using flexible ducting, it’s a much better job to use rigid ducting if you can as there’s less friction on it and less chance of splits / tears / leaks in hard to fix places
8. Some hidden costs, that you may not have thought about:
– Possibly needing to upgrade your electrical consumer unit? If it’s ancient it could need upgrading to accommodate all the new appliances etc you may be installing in your new kitchen
– Levelling your floor. In a lot of old houses, 99% of them, nothing is level and depending on what flooring etc you’re having in your new kitchen, we may need to level it up and that MAY mean levelling adjacent rooms too, if say you’d like your flooring to run all the way from the front door through to the back of the house, for example. Obviously this ‘issue’ is quite property dependant, but I think it’s one to just bear in mind.
– Do you have to move the boiler? And if so, how old is it? Old boilers can be quite temperamental, especially when moving them. If your boiler is around 10 years old, and needs to be repositioned in your new kitchen, we’d probably recommend just biting the bullet and fitting a new one. New boilers come with a 10 year parts and labour warranty so you’d have that peace of mind at least for 10 years.
9. A couple other things to think about, while you’re at it:
– Fitting a water softener – They can save you money long term and will give you a great shower too. The water is so hard in London, and the lime scale ruins everything. Often your cold mains water will come straight into your kitchen, so when your old kitchen has been ripped out, that’s the perfect time to think about fitting a softener / conditioner.
– Following on from that, upgrading your water main could be a good thing to do – often a kitchen will be on the ground floor, and a new kitchen may mean new flooring throughout, that could be the perfect time to replace the old lead main you might have coming into your property, with a new larger bore plastic pipe. Have a look at an article we wrote on this a while ago, how to increase water pressure.
We hope you foud this article helpful, and would love to hear thoughts or try and answer any questions you might have on this website, so please leave a comment if you have one.
And if you’d like us to come round and take a look at your kitchen and provide you with a free, no obligations quote, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on
or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,
Owen, and the team here at The Hamilton Group
Please have a look at some of our work at https://hamiltongroup.co.uk/refurbishment/