Kitchen companies (deVOL, Higham etc) or local joiner to make plain english/shaker style in-frame kitchen?

(26 Posts)
VioletElizabethBott Wed 04-Nov-15 22:52:33

I wonder if anyone here could help me make a decision?

I'm in the market (hallelujah!) for a new kitchen and have a really clear idea of what I want (Plain English style (without the price tag) in-frame kitchen - dark blue shaker units, white marble (type!) surfaces, a single wall cabinet (rest shelves) down to virtually every detail. But in essence it is this kitchen by deVOL in their Shoreditch showroom: www.remodelista.com/posts/devols-new-kitchen-showroom-in-london

Now, Higham look amazing (have heard great things from friends who have used them too) but lead time is MAY next year (!) which is really too long for me. deVOL are very pricey for what you get I think (ie same prices as fully bespoke but the units are just butted up against eachother (looks a bit ugly to me now I'm being super picky!) and most are standard, not bespoke) and I've discounted another kitchen company despite liking the owner personally because the company has got some really confidence denting online reviews (I should ask him about them really but had already suspected the build quality is not what I want anyway).

But I could get a good local joiner to make me these units for pretty much the same as the companies are asking for, fully bespoke. I guess where he loses out on economies of scale, he wins on the zero advertising/design service front.

Has anyone used a joiner in preference to a kitchen company? It feels a bit riskier but I guess if I produce really detailed to-scale drawings myself of EXACTLY what I want then we're well covered? Have you any tips if you've done it this way?

Or has anyone got a great kitchen company they'd heartily recommend in this price range (which is approx £15,000 for just the units (no surface) for a island, a long run of base cabinets, a short double set of units and one solitary wall unit.

Many thanks for your help if so!

Nepotism Wed 04-Nov-15 22:57:48

Handmade Kitchens in Christchurch - very fussy friend has had two from them (in different houses...) and they look amazing.

I used The Olive Branch in Wetherby. Both were less than half what you're quoting!

silversixpence Wed 04-Nov-15 23:25:15

Have you looked at British Standard Cupboards? They are made by Plain English but are off the peg so cheaper. You do have to have them painted but they would come in within your price range easily.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 05-Nov-15 09:06:16

Nepotism - Thank you for that reminder! I've got two friends locally who have used Christchurch and I'm going to go look at their kitchens this week now. Their prices are really reasonable!

silversixpence - Yes! Thank you! They are gorgeous and exactly that Plain English look I adore (I wonder if what I adore about it is the sheer lack of STUFF i.e. the antithesis of a family kitchen!) but you have to go collect in Suffolk (I'm a good 5 hours away) and also we have an awkward space so I'd still have to get a joiner to work round them somehow as they are, as they say, standard sizes (deVOL also use standard cupboards but then can do the odd bespoke so that you can make the rest of it work). But they look fantastic and are the same build quality (according to the sales lady) as the PE ones. I think they are a winner if you are closer/ have a more standard shaped kitchen.

Thank you both!

silversixpence Thu 05-Nov-15 15:22:30

I love the British standard ones but would worry about getting a good finish when painting them. I had our old cupboards painted but the edges look sloppy inside and wouldn't want that with a new kitchen.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 05-Nov-15 22:45:34

I saw a brand new kitchen today which was gorgeous in every way (by Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch) but the paint job wasn't as completely perfect as I'd hope for in a spanking new kitchen. They supply unpainted too and I don't know if it is possible to get the great finish you get on painted kitchens when your decorator is painting in situ. It might just have been this case though. They are so SO much cheaper than the other options though I wonder if I should compromise on this and just get the best painter/decorator I can (and put the fear of god into them re my neat freak German genes!)

silversixpence Mon 16-Nov-15 23:42:18

Did you see The Shaker Kitchen Company someone recommended on another thread. Prices seem a lot less than Devol etc and they supply painted. It does cost a bit extra but they do 4 coats inside and out and the finish looks good.

dontcallmelen Tue 17-Nov-15 10:26:29

Not sure if still in business as we used them about seven years ago
Real wood kitchens in Haywards Heath, we got our in frame shaker kitchen from them, came supplied painted & was a good finish, we used a joiner/fitter recommend by them & he was excellent, maybe worth a look.
Kitchen still in great condition, looks as good as the day it was fitted.

wickedwaterwitch Tue 17-Nov-15 15:51:48

I got a local kitchen company to copy a Plain English kitchen and then got a joiner and plumber to fit it

This is the kitchen I wanted

www.plainenglishdesign.co.uk/spitalfields-4

And this is some of my kitchen

MrsFlorrick Wed 18-Nov-15 23:53:28

Handmade kitchens direct and shaker kitchen co are made differently to Higham and Devol. Higham are generally solid timber (poplar) frames and rails with the interiors being lacquered ply or lacquered oak faced ply. Whereas Handmade are oak faced MFC board so not quite as good but that's why their prices are so much more reasonable.

I've already had one Higham kitchen. Coming to the end of current refurb of new house and having another Higham kitchen. Can't beat their quality and how well all their work is finished.

Personally I'd wait for Higham. There may be some flex in the long lead time as well. Sometimes people are putting their kitchens back if an extension is running late for example so slots do become available. The slot will be something you can sort out

I'd speak to Higham again and discuss it.

Handmade kitchens direct are actually very good for the price point but not really comparable to the quality of Higham.

Where about are you? I might be able to recommend another joinery. Danger with some joineries are that they say they do kitchens but often they do everything else as well and perhaps don't do kitchens as well as specialist kitchen joinery.

floppyflapjack Fri 27-Nov-15 11:32:59

We still love our Simon Benjamin kitchen, two years on it still looks absolutely beautiful and everyone comments on it. I would definitely recommend them (and have recommended them quite a bit!)

The quality and attention to detail is wonderful, and quite refreshing to see. They were also really personable and seem to go the extra mile when your in the process of selecting your new kitchen - which was a huge bonus for me because it can all become a little overwhelming!

We opted for a warm grey handpainted shaker with oak interiors and drawers, the contrast is lovely and thats what initially appealed to me about the P.E kitchens. I also really liked their big larder cabinets with the oak internals, they seemed to be really sturdy and space saving which is exactly what I wanted. A few other companies we looked at seemed a little flimsy in the flesh by comparison.

We looked at Plain English because I loved the look of their kitchens but was really pleased to find that the people at Simon Benjamin were happy to work with us to achieve the exact look we wanted. We visited their workshop during the process to see our kitchen being made, which was really interesting.

They were very helpful afterwards too and have recently built us a dresser to match... which I love! Good luck in your new kitchen search.

VioletElizabethBott Thu 10-Dec-15 15:32:35

You're all super kind to have given me so much info (and photos! that kitchen is DIVINE!).

I'm going to go with a deVOL kitchen after all - just the L shape of it (blind corner, sink unit, dishwasher, bin unit, more cupboards) as I couldn't get away from teh fact that I just love, love, love their aesthetic.

And then (sneaky this) I'm going to use Handmade Kitchens Direct for the island (just x4 drawer units backed together with a marble top) and paint in same deVOL Pantry Blue (ink blue - swoony colour). Getting a friend who is a decorative painter (thus very precise) do paint for me.

In case it helps anyone else - I looked at a Handmade Kitchens Direct kitchen which was 2 years old and the doors weren't perfect any more - a little trouble with closing etc - though drawers were absolutely as new. Thus I'm JUST using drawer units from them.

Oh and I'm going for their bifold countertop pantry cupboard as it looks fine and is literally less than a third of the cost of deVOL.

I'm sure the build quality isn't the finest BUT I also think they shave off £££ because they have no freebie design service and very little slickness to the operation (perfectly professional and super kind people but not slick).

In case anyone's interested in my cheapskate ways: Reclaimed SOLID brass taps from ebay (amazing quality), marble-a-like quartz from Teltos, and brass cup pulls and catches from a shipping cabinet supplier and just boring old online deals.

Gives me the deVOL look without the £

Having said that if anyone else is in teh market do look at deVol's affiliate - Floors of Stone as their travertine is unbelievably good value. £20 a metre for beautiful tumbled floors.

mumsgreentrees Tue 15-Dec-15 17:34:11

this is an amazing thread and perfect timing for me. I am currently looking at these exact kitchens. We have building work that starts in January and so will need a whole new kitchen to go int he extension. I'm in love with the 1909 shaker kitchen painted in farrow and ball railings and ever since I've seen this, I've tried to replicate it for cheeper. I'm hoping that Devol will have a sale in the new year as they are the only ones that come anywhere near. We would need some bespoke stuff doing though but seeing your thread has made me think that perhaps we could mix and match, as you are, therefore saving some money. I don't know why I didn't think of this. I'm going to look into this right now. thankyou or this post.

VioletElizabethBott Sun 27-Dec-15 17:43:19

Hi mumsgreentrees - deVOL seem super busy but fingers crossed for you that they have some discounting. I honestly think that you can mix if you are really careful with looking etc. For instance Handmade Kitchens Direct units are 2cm shorter than deVOL - not a disaster for me as I'm only getting island and wall units but I could easily have slipped up. Maybe a joiner could copy the more expensive stuff for you? I mean if you got your 'dream kitchen' (is the 1909 the Plain English one? I think it is) in its bare minimum (i.e. just doors, just cabinetry, nothing fancy) then got your joiner to copy it for the more frilly bits (i.e. bin housing, appliance covers etc) then at least you'd have a template to work from?

TBH if you like this sort of kitchen it is entirely 'right' to mix units to an extent. It's how it might have been (!) in 1909.

Just checking though - have you found British Standard by Plain English? The diffusion line? It is really lovely. A friend has just ordered from them and is v. pleased. britishstandardcupboards.co.uk

mumsgreentrees Fri 08-Jan-16 13:57:14

thankyou for that VioletElizabehtBott
I'm currently waiting for Devol and Handmade to come back to me with regards to costings, I think in another week I will have both.
I didn't realise about the 2 cm shorter thing so thank you but like you have suggested, I'm thinking of having the island from handmade (just 2 large drawer cabinets and a book case at the end (and then worktop for overhang all the way across for a breakfast bar), and then the rest I'm thinking Devol, although this is quite a lot so it depends on the price. They don't have any January reductions like I was hoping for but I'll have to see. Both companies are already booked un until an April delivery so I need to get my skates on.

Just had a look at british standard cupboards (thank you) and I actually don't like them quite as much, although beautiful, I prefer the shaker style on the door to be a bit more prominent (stick out a bit more) then these I think (fussy I know).

I have read elsewhere on mums net about somebody buying from Handmade and then have had their kitchen fitter upspeck the hinges to make them stronger. This could at least be an option later on if they start to look tired (as I think you mentioned - that the cupboards aren't quite so good as the drawers a few years on).

The 1909 one is super expensive and the only option is to have amazing carpentry and thickness of wood and cowling etc etc, lots of money but looks the bees knees.

VioletElizabethBott Mon 11-Jan-16 12:37:40

Hi mumsgreentrees - Fingers crossed that Devol come back reasonably... I genuinely think they are SO beautiful.

You're doing the same thing of avoiding HMKD not so nice hinges if you do what you describe - also that should come in at under £1500 for the island I think? DeVOl would charge about £1000 for just one drawer unit.

We're ALL about fussy with these kitchens, all of us, aren't we! I'm beyond obsessed. No worries re British Standard - actually my friend who has ordered from them is now a little sigh as she prefers deVol's units (nb still ahven't worked out how to spell their name re capitals).

If you want wall panelling (I'm getting some to tie teh room together) have a look at Scumble Goosie's MDF wall panelling www.theenglishpanellingcompany.co.uk/scumble.shtml

ALSO if you are in teh market for one of deVOl's recommended mixer taps from Perrin and Rowe I've just found a brand new chrome one (wall mounted) on ebay for £190. I can't use it but can hook you up to the link if you want it.

Good luck! Exciting but TERRIFYING at the same time. Wait til you get to the worktops - that's a breathtaking amoutn of money.

fabadodo Fri 19-Feb-16 17:42:41

Hi mumsgreentrees,

did you get on OK with those? Reason I ask is that we went through almost the exact same thing as you and ended up with a fab company called Naked Kitchens. I'd highly recommend them as their quality versus the price is so worth it. The other thing when I tried Devol they said it was a beposke kitchen but it wasn't really - they were standard sizes and we just couldn't make it work like that. It didn't really make the kitchen look how we wanted. That's the main reason we started looking at Naked, but once we saw them - after a bit of a drive to Norfolk it has to be said - we were hooked. Anyway whatever you do good luck!

G

VioletElizabethBott Sat 20-Feb-16 08:01:42

Hi fabadodo - I think deVol call themselves 'semi' bespoke on that Shaker Kitchen (fully bespoke on their other kitchens). Basically this means that they offer standard units at a set price but they can make bespoke elements to fit it all together. Thus in my kitchen there are standard units coupled with one bespoke unit width (which means no wasted 'blanks' on the wall).

If you wanted lots of bespoke widths they end up being very expensive.

The 'best' look in my opinion is fully bespoke - so you get an entire frontpiece made up with no joins rather than lots of units butted together - but I think that matters less with dark coloured units (which mine are) as you can't see the joins as clearly. Will look at Naked Kitchens for next time round, thank you.

fabadodo Sat 20-Feb-16 09:10:26

No problem. I went for dark colours too which look great - I used Stiffkey Blue and Mouse's back which work beautifully together - what darks did you go for? G

VioletElizabethBott Sat 20-Feb-16 09:24:29

Oh I love Stiffkey blue - am possibly using it for hall panelling. I actually went inkier for the kitchen - deVol do a house colour that is almost black called "Pantry Blue" which is somewhere towards F&B's Railings but bluer. Am hoping it isn't too dark when it arrives...
www.devolkitchens.co.uk/kitchens/shaker-kitchens/cotes-utility-room/

fabadodo Sat 20-Feb-16 09:32:05

wow that looks stunning - I'm starting to think my Stiffkey Blue is too light now!!! I'll bet it looks incredible when it's in. Great choice of colour. G

VioletElizabethBott Sat 20-Feb-16 09:44:26

Stiffkey is completely beautiful - I have a panel of it on wallpaper up in my kitchen to test and it changes with the day in a lovely manner. All these darker colours are tricky though - they take on an entirely different aspect the more of it you use... I'm never going to forget my delight painting my hall in a great French Grey (F&B) - had most of it done... and then night fell and the electric lights went on and... urgh!!! Concrete walls! Well it looked that way... Very expensive and time consuming mistake!

fabadodo Sat 20-Feb-16 09:55:09

Ow! We had a similar thing, but with Charlston Grey - after doing everything and it look fab, after six months of dogs and children we re-painted a wall and the new paint - from F&B again - was a different colour! Furious. Had to repaint the whole room. Naturally they said it wasn't their fault. Hey ho. G

fabadodo Sat 20-Feb-16 09:56:09

Just as a matter of interest, what floor is going with the Pantry Blue? We've got limed Oak with the Stiffkey which looks lovely and 'coastal'....G

Pelly8 Sun 10-Apr-16 17:47:22

Hello has anyone found a similar colour to Pantry Blue? I have had a look at F&B railings and it just isn't the same! Thanks in advance :-)

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