Do you rate Magnet or John Lewis kitchens?

(49 Posts)
mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 13:27:03

Our kitchen is being ripped out tomorrow and we're getting some building work done before fitting a new kitchen. We'll be without a kitchen for a couple of months. I've had quotes from Magnet and John Lewis who were both rather expensive, I thought. I am a bit worried that Magnet's reputation seems rather patchy, and John Lewis wanted to do something wierd with the microwave housing.

The builders have said they could fit an off-the-peg kitchen from somewhere like Wickes or Howdens but my main concern about doing that is that we need to fit a few applicances into rather a tight space and I dread being told "sorry love, your washing machine isn't going to fit"! So I think I would quite like that side of things to be someone else's problem.

Any suggestions?


bossykate Thu 16-Mar-06 13:35:14

we had a magnet kitchen in our last house (btw - always amazes me when they're described as cheap - but then, as i found out, the sky's the limit when it comes to kitchens) and imho, these are the pros and cons:

- good quality carcases and drawer runners etc that last
- great range i thought - from very traditional to uber modern
- good range of work surfaces available - granite, corian, wood etc
- the finished kitchen looked really good, i was really pleased with it
- the design of the kitchen worked really well

- if you are an ethical shopper, they have had a bad reputation for industrial relations in the past
- not cheap (considering a magnet kitchen doesn't have much cachet - but the quality is good for the price)
- "project management" of the job, v. v. poor
- customer service poor

wickes have a good reputation for their units. they have a design service that you can use if you're worried about fitting things in. ikea kitchens also have a good reputation.


bossykate Thu 16-Mar-06 13:35:16

we had a magnet kitchen in our last house (btw - always amazes me when they're described as cheap - but then, as i found out, the sky's the limit when it comes to kitchens) and imho, these are the pros and cons:

- good quality carcases and drawer runners etc that last
- great range i thought - from very traditional to uber modern
- good range of work surfaces available - granite, corian, wood etc
- the finished kitchen looked really good, i was really pleased with it
- the design of the kitchen worked really well

- if you are an ethical shopper, they have had a bad reputation for industrial relations in the past
- not cheap (considering a magnet kitchen doesn't have much cachet - but the quality is good for the price)
- "project management" of the job, v. v. poor
- customer service poor

wickes have a good reputation for their units. they have a design service that you can use if you're worried about fitting things in. ikea kitchens also have a good reputation.


bossykate Thu 16-Mar-06 13:35:52


mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 14:17:17

Thanks Kate. I agree about cost - we had one quote for over £40k - and it didn't even give us much worksurface or storage - and our kitchen isn't very big.

I'll see if I can persuade DH to come to Wickes and B&Q with me.

I quite like some of the Ikea kitchens but the unit interiors are white melemime (I think) and I would like them to be wooden or at least veneered.

mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 18:00:34


TheBlonde Thu 16-Mar-06 18:07:55

We have a JL one. It was already in the house but it is pretty robust apart from the kickboards which are crappy

mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 19:17:55

Falling-off crappy or chip/scratch crappy?

Littlefish Thu 16-Mar-06 19:47:41

Ours is John Lewis. They were fabulous from start to finish. Their design was good. I thought their price was reasonable, and their fitting was excellent. Their aftersales service was also great. Can't recommend them highly enough.

Can you ask John Lewis to re-think their idea for the microwave?

puff Thu 16-Mar-06 19:50:20

I chose a John Lewis kitchen in our last house - it was excellent quality - I loved it.

Only problem we had was when the oven was fitted, somehow the whole thing was live - gave dh a massive electric shock .

GDG Thu 16-Mar-06 19:50:31

We've got a magnet kitchen. Tbh it's annoying me - there are little stoppers behind the doors that supposedly stop the doors going into the cupboard iyswim. Lots of them are falling off and we have to keep screwing them back in.

Also, the door which covers the fridge door looks like it's warped or something. It fits flush to the next door at the top, but sticks out at the bottom. That's driving me nuts too!

Otherwise, I love it! JoolsToo had it put in so I have no idea about the service.

GDG Thu 16-Mar-06 19:51:26

OH, and we put a 'cheap' kitchen in our old house to get it sold. It was from homebase but was actually a magnet kitchen (told by the guy who fitted it - someone we know who is a fitter for Magnet)

TheBlonde Thu 16-Mar-06 20:07:03

our kick boards are falling off crappy
all the built in appliances are smeg - they are also rubbish

mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 20:19:39

Littlefish - their plan for the microwave - we want wall units 900mm high but they only do housing for a microwave in units 720mm high, so he suggested using a drawer front as a filler to take the cupboard up to the right height. I can't imagine how it would look, but I think it sounds rather dodgy. I really don't want to put the microwave on the counter as I can't spare the workspace.

TheBlonde, that's a shame about the Smeg appliances. I like the look of their stuff but I don't think we are planning any in the new kitchen. DS2 desperately wants a pink Smeg frige!

Which JL/Magnet kitchens did you have, GDG and Puff? We like the Vincenza from Magnet and the Richmond from JL (both oak shaker)

Passionflower Thu 16-Mar-06 22:06:19

We put a Magnet kitchen in (it was top of their range not a cheaper one)and I will never have any dealings with them ever again. I wouldn't say that the units are particularly good quality and the customer service is pants.

Sorry wouldn't touch them with a v. long barge pole.

GDG Thu 16-Mar-06 22:13:33

this one

I love it actually - we have those handles and we have white tiles and deep red above, a bit like in teh picture. We have beech effect type worktops and I'd like to change them to granite eventually.

GDG Thu 16-Mar-06 22:14:14

But we don't have any of those pillar effect things and no doors with glass in either.

zubb Thu 16-Mar-06 22:18:21

we got a quote from Magnet for our kitchen and they were really expensive for what it was. We found that the local independant firms were a lot cheaper than we thought they would be, and spent more time trying to get it right.

Passionflower Thu 16-Mar-06 22:31:48

here is ours. I have to be honest, it does look gorgeous. We have the solid beech worktops and lovely handmade tiles in dark blue. I wouldn't buy from them again though! Our purchasing experience culminated with DH having a stand-up row with the manager outside the store (manager was just on his way out to an apt when we arrived)First they sent the wrong sink, our fitter cut the hole for this sink before I saw it. Then they sent the right sink, but it had a huge crack in it and also the hole the fitter had cut was too big. They had the sink in the showroom which would fix the problem for us but the manager was refusing to let us have it despite that it was the lack of a kitchen sink that was preventing us from moving into our house! In the end DH got an underling (who also thought the manager was being an idiot)to put him on the phone to head office who authorised the underling to let us have the sink. I so wish I could have seen the managers face when he got back to the showroom and found 'his' sink gone. We also bought a fridge freezer from them that got 'lost' twice and has broken down three times in the 3.5 years that we've had it. It is a whirlpool (don't buy one)

puff Thu 16-Mar-06 22:32:59

I can't remember the name of it - it was about 6 years ago now

GDG Thu 16-Mar-06 22:34:42

Ours is 6 yrs old too Puff - see if you can find it on the website - I'm very nosey!

puff Thu 16-Mar-06 22:38:23

I've had a look at the JL website but can't see anything about their range of kitchens......

Mumbojumbo Thu 16-Mar-06 22:43:10

Magnet were pants!

We refitted our kitchen 2 years ago (whilst I was pregnant with ds2). Well, you could have a baby quicker than you could get a kitchen installed!

Carcasses damaged, doors damaged, shelves wobbled, onsite survery was 5 mins - the guy couldn't get out of the door fast enough), they were not interested when things went wrong. We had so many rows with them about sub-standard parts and a meeting with the local manager culminated in DH requesting he left our house. It was a total nightmare experience.

Eventually got the new kitchen installed, it's OK - not great. Would I go there again - never!

GDG Thu 16-Mar-06 22:49:00

Ohsorry PUff, I thought you meant Magnet.

puff Thu 16-Mar-06 22:51:08

typical John Lewis though, not to have their range to view online - they'll catch up eventually!

mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 23:03:56

Those kitchens are lovely Passionflower and GDG. I liked both of them in the showroom but didn't like the column things on the Charleston one. I bet it looks great without them. The one we are interested in is here although the posts here about Magnet are confirming some of my reservations about them. The John Lewis kitchen is similar.

It's the granite worktop that's bringing the price up so much. I'd compromise on a wooden one if I didn't think it would make the whole room look like a tree house!

I did go to a local kitchen shop but I didn't like the designer and he really rushed the design, which put me off - if he's like that when he's trying to sign me up, what would he be like once he has my money? I guess it will be worth trying some other lcoal ones though.

Better get back to emptying out the current kitchen before the builders come . My DD (8 months) is bellowing in the background and I have SO much still to pack up.

robinpud Thu 16-Mar-06 23:04:59

John Lewis are fab. You will get a price down to the last screw, quality of tradesmen is fabulous, after sales ervice is brilliant. I chose the cheapest John Lewis kitchen I could and it is worth evry penny. Still looks drop dead gorgeous. Drawers are fab , snmooth running and easy to clean. Would not touch magnet at all. Mine is along established John Lewis so all their fitters are well known. would be a little more cautious if yours is a new JL

mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 23:07:45

Our John Lewis has been around forever. I wish they could think of another way of housing the microwave though.

robinpud Thu 16-Mar-06 23:16:40

Can you not leave out the microwave bit somehow- I just got dh to put up a shelf and put microwave on that myself in another part of the kitchen?

mrsdarcy Thu 16-Mar-06 23:33:18

Yes, I think I will do something like that. We rarely use a microwave anyway so it seems a shame for it to be the big sticking point.

Littlefish Fri 17-Mar-06 13:15:23

Special microwave bracket thing on the wall? I did this so I didn't have to use up work surface - it worked really well (not terribly beautiful though.)

blueshoes Fri 17-Mar-06 14:23:36

John Lewis of Hungerford (who specialise in kitchens), rather than John Lewis, the high street store, I presume.

mcmudda Fri 17-Mar-06 14:26:11

John Lewis the store does kitchens too - this thread is persuading me not to contact them though!

Passionflower Fri 17-Mar-06 15:51:42

deffo don't get column thingies - they are a pain to keep clean, ditto doors with glass in.

PeachyClair Fri 17-Mar-06 16:35:39

Ooh my Aunt got a John Lewis (chain Store) kitchen last year

currently taking them to court I believe to have repairs done, as they deny doing it but she knows they did (gouged areas from her new work surface)

mrsdarcy Fri 17-Mar-06 19:29:54

It's John Lewis the store. I'd forgotten about John Lewis of Hungerford.

Our old kitchen has been ripped out today . All the gloopy green cabinets are now in a skip (where they belong!).

robinpud Fri 17-Mar-06 23:19:18

I mean John Lewis the department store. John Lewis of Hungerford is definitely not in my league

brimfull Sat 18-Mar-06 00:14:01

mrs darcy,we have our microwave housed in a 900mm wall unit.There is a cupboard above with a door that swings up iyswim.It's very handy for big appliances like blender ,coffeemaker etc.

Think JL is being ridiculous not, being able to compromise,it's hardly radical is it?

We used an independent kitchen shop ,they were excellent.
Why don't you ask on mumsnet for recommendations in your area?

Bedshaped Sat 18-Mar-06 06:50:54

we've got this magnet kitchen - Carrington and its ok quality, the fitting was ok, the customer service was ok, but not ok enough for me to give them another £30K next time.

babyjackal Sat 18-Mar-06 23:04:41

Probably wouldn't get one again.
It was a lot of hassle but eventually got about £300 compensation for when the Manager's (!) design didn't fit in our kitchen. It did look nice in the end but I did cry a few times when it was being installed. Also, what they claimed was solid beech wasn't - you could see when they cut it - just a good veneer. We got the cream & beech Shaker which they may or may not do anymore and after 4.5 years was still good but would totally avoid their Smeg oven which broke down about 3 times.
I would try probably myself a local independent company next time

spub Mon 20-Mar-06 10:36:39

Magnet are the spawn of the devil. I had a horrendous time with them and ended up taking them to Qualitas - the industry watchdog, for compensation.
TBH, I think the quality of their kitchens is probably ok but you are held ransom by the quality of the fitters they sub contract to. You may get lucky - or not.
I would consider buying a kitchen from them but would seek my own fitter. I will never, ever, ever have any Magnet staff in my house ever again. I could rant for days but will instead parp myself!

scienceteacher Thu 20-Apr-06 10:03:30

We had a Magnet kitchen installed 9 years ago - we picked the second cheapest range they had at the time as we have a big kitchen and couldn't afford a lot.

It's only just starting to look tired now, but still extremely functional (we haven't had any problems with the carcasses) - and that's with 5 kids and a string of au pairs, plus young tennants living in the house for four years.

When we decide to re-do the kitchen, we will probably keep all the carcasses and just renew worktop and cupboard fronts.

bundle Thu 20-Apr-06 10:11:00


JoolsToo Thu 20-Apr-06 10:13:13

I have nothing but good things to say about Magnet. They gave a cracking service to us, we got a great fitter, everything was great, great, great!

EstherN62 Mon 14-Nov-11 16:22:41

We had been quoted £37k for our new kitchen by John Lewis, however we were told to speak to someone at Malo Kitchens as they sell the same kitchens but for almost half the price.

When we eventually spoke with Malo Kitchens they quoted us even less than we had expected and were told that this was due to the Xmas sale to celebrate the opening of a new showroom and that they were giving the Mereway kitchen range away at cost price until the 24th December.

I hope this may be helpful to someone and that I have help save a few pounds as things are tight for everyone at the moment.

ettebel Thu 24-Nov-11 15:30:21

This is an update to an earlier post with a bit more flesh on it.

This relates to an Innsbruck kitchen bought from Magnet Lichfield branch in Staffordshire.

We had a good start with magnet. The Sales staff were pleasant and helpful and after 3 iterations we got the design exactly as we wanted it.

We opted for the Innsbruck kitchen. We did want the Studio White but this was £2,000 more expensive.

We paid a total of £7,169.

They asked us to pay all the money up front which we weren't happy with, but did because they were a large and supposedly reliable national firm. We had a magnet kitchen before but a friend fitted it - this time we had moved area so this option wasn't available and we went with their Magnet fitter to get the guarantees.

With hindsight we would never pay up front again even with a big national because once they have your money there is no incentive for them to put right any snagging items.

The fitter's first efforts weren't good. The worktop wasn't fitted right, end panels also not right, doors not adjusted properly, and the worktop had both manufacturing marks and tool marks in it, two of the doors were warped, plus other minor issues.

After that fitting it took 8 weeks to get the same fitter back in - after 2 further site meetings and numerous phone calls and e-mails badgering them to get it sorted out. So we lived with all our kitchen stuff in the dining room for 8 weeks. this was because the worktops were coming out and new ones were being fitted, which meant a lot of disruption. No point putting all our stuff back in at that point.

The fitter wasn't known to the branch but recommended from another branch because our branch (Lichfield, Staffs) had a lot of response to the sale offers. We debated with our contact at Lichfield whether to have him back for some time, and eventually decided (with misgivings) that we would give him a chance to rectify the faults.

Then when the guy came back he offered no apology for the standard the first time around, blamed everything else but himself and STILL didn't do it right. In fact we had some different issues after he left to the first time!

Another site meeting and snagging list later, numerous e-mails to fix a date which never arrived, people going on leave without doing what they promised first, a visit from a new fitter (a good one this time), then a visit from the customer services manager, and then the fitter back for the last time to provide an adequate solution. All in all from fitting to resolution took over 3 MONTHS.

There have been some plus points. We got a good design. We opted for Magnet because they did the extra tall wall units in many of their ranges, and having a small kitchen meant extra storage was really important. Using the extra tall units also gave us the ability to use the space over the doors with 300mm deep top boxes, giving even more space and making the kitchen feel much larger.

So the kitchen achieved the storage and look we wanted, but it should not have taken 3 months to achieve it. It is only because I would not give in that we got where we are now. However it has been stressful and depressing at times, and what annoyed us most of all was phone calls not answered, calls not returned after messages left, poor communication between staff and e-mails also not replied to.

We even got to the stage of threatening legal action and contacting the local paper to see if they wanted our story.

Magnet offered £400 towards the cost of finishing off the kitchen as a goodwill gesture. Welcome as it will pay for much of the tiling but it's a bit 'too little too late'.

I would not recommend them and will never use their service again. If you like their ranges I would do what we did the first time and det a design, then have a local fitter (who comes with a local recommendation and can give references/photos) buy it trade and install it for you.

The last time we did this we got a better quality kitchen for a larger kitchen installed for £2,500 less than we paid this time round. And it was done in less time even though our friend had to do most of the work at weekends.

walkingdead Thu 15-Dec-11 19:36:28

For what it's worth:

John Lewis kitchens are junk in my opinion.

The fitter was useless (I am reasonably competent at DIY myself, but some of the work he did, I would be ashamed to present to my wife as a finished piece of work).

Eventually, with all the things that go wrong, you just give up and accept what you have been given. Sad but true. The whole experience was that bad. I could go on for hours.

The electrician was worse. The most arrogant, useless, know-it-all tradesperson that I have ever had the misfortune to have working in my house. And that is saying something....

After several months, we still have not received the vital certificates for the Gas and Electrical work (that are a LEGAL requirement). JL are curiously silent at the moment.

All in all, I would say this is around £13K worth of work that is probably worth only half that price.

I'm not saying that other suppliers are any better, but if this is what you get from JL, I can only shudder at the thought of what the others are doing.

Approach with caution.

ukdesign Wed 21-Mar-12 17:39:43

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

andrea99 Wed 06-Nov-13 22:34:14

We are having a terrible time with John Lewis (Peter Jones). Today the builder lost my keys (he told my nanny he had to take hers and left). I have no idea where he lost them but he will not respond to text or phone calls so I'm left wondering if I'm safe at home with my small child tonight.

We also have problems with the work which surprises us as we paid extra vs. other options to avoid headache! Really unhappy.

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