The MN lessons learnt kitchen thread.

(300 Posts)
jollydiane Sun 02-Sep-12 12:58:43

I have read loads of kitchen threads so here is my conclusions.

1. Plan for where you bin is going to go.
2. Handless kitchens look lovely but can wind you up.
3. Floor Tiles look stunning but can be a bugger to keep clean.
4. Splash-backs are very practical for cleaning and can look stunning although some of you think they look naff.

What else should I add to the list before I make my purchase?

The one area I'm really stuck on is flooring. I want something that I can use my lakeland steam mop on (another MN suggestion) which I love.

raspberryroop Sun 02-Sep-12 13:04:44

Love my reycling bins in the cupboard !!!
Cull your kitchen now and see what you really need to store
I wish I had gone ahead with 2 diswashers as although it takes up space you can still 'store' crockery in it.
Be honest with yourself about what type of house keeper you are ie - open shelves are very stylish but take quite alot to keep clean all the time.

partystress Sun 02-Sep-12 13:16:50

Exposed brickwork is a bugger to clean and attracts spiders (who are, moreover, camouflaged and therefore even more shock).

partystress Sun 02-Sep-12 13:17:38

Oh, and if you have space for crap on top of your wall cupboards, crap will materialise to fill that space.

EdMcDunnough Sun 02-Sep-12 13:25:16

I'd go with tiles every time - if you move large items, like replacing a washing machine etc, the vinyl will sometimes get ripped or dented by the feet and then you have to do the entire floor again.
Don't ever have brick effect tiles, or anything else rough as they are impossible to clean.
Ceramic sinks will discolour and scratch fairly quickly, I never realised this.
Don't oil your wooden worktop before attaching/sealing in the sink. Silicon will not stick to oiled wood.
use the wood sealant/hardwax from Howdens (Uni-something) not the ronseal worktop oil or plain Danish oil, neither of which is any use.
Chipboard will eventually rot. Wood will last much longer so if you can afford it, build in or buy or even make (I did) your own cabinets from solid wood.
It's an investment and I'm sure mine cost less than chipboard anyway.

EdMcDunnough Sun 02-Sep-12 13:26:37

Oh and tile the floor before you put in the cabinets. That way if you decide to change them (or have to change them), you can keep the same floor and change the layout without having to knock up all the old tiles and start again because there are gaos where the old cupboards used to be.

EdMcDunnough Sun 02-Sep-12 13:26:52


CarpeJugulum Sun 02-Sep-12 13:26:57

Similar to poster above, cupboards all the way to the top.

Gives more storage, and means that you have a "where the hell can I stick this" space (and cuts down on areas to clean).

jollydiane Sun 02-Sep-12 13:35:23

Thanks - re tiles, I want to like them but the risk of grotty grout is really putting me off, and it seems that underfloor heating is usually need unless you wear slippers wink and I'm not old enough yet for slippers (just)

EdMcDunnough Sun 02-Sep-12 13:49:30

Ours aren't cold at all. They are ceramic, we don't have underfloor heating.

I guess it depends on your floor - I think our kitchen is raised up a bit compared to the rest of the house, so has some thick foundations or something that stops it getting too cold maybe.

The grout I used is grey to start with so it doesn't show any dirt. I would not have white grout anywhere on a floor - cream, or grey, every time. It looks fine, seriously. And we have lots of muddy boots and pets in and out of ours.

jollydiane Sun 02-Sep-12 13:52:27

Thanks EdMc - I hadn't thought about coloured grout.

MousyMouse Sun 02-Sep-12 14:02:24

yes, tile the whole floor right up to the edges. will also help to keep the slugs out.
get a few extra parts, for example door handles.

PodiumOfWinners Sun 02-Sep-12 14:14:12

It goes knives, forks, spoons


trixymalixy Sun 02-Sep-12 17:20:16

Undercounter fridges are very annoying. Eye level, or even full height if you have the space, is so much better.

It goes from left to right, forks, knives, spoons, the way you would lay them on the table. Anything else is just plain wrong!!

jollydiane Sun 02-Sep-12 19:15:15

There is an order or a kitchen draw??? Don't you just feel really smug if you can get the draw closed in the first place?

tunnocksteacake Sun 02-Sep-12 19:22:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mathanxiety Sun 02-Sep-12 19:35:25

Leave yourself space for a mud room or some huge cupboard that can function as a closet for boots and shoes and jackets and coats galore.

A nice big pantry cupboard is a necessity.

I agree about the grey floor grout if tiling, but I would always use wood on a kitchen floor, with yacht sealer or some other very strong sealer to keep the wood from staining and to aid cleanup.

YYY to cabinets extending all the way to the ceiling. You don't get the smelly, sticky dust up there that you would otherwise, and what you put there remains out of sight and clean.

A backsplash is a necessity. Cupboard for the bin ditto.

Leave room for a desk for yourself and keep a good big family calendar there. Put in bookshelves for your recipe books and other papers.

goldmedalmother Mon 03-Sep-12 22:59:59

One thing I don't get is range cookers. I find it really hard to get hot food/ trays safely in and out at that level instead of an oven that's higher up. Am I missing something?

Gentleness Mon 03-Sep-12 23:35:38

Everyone loves deep drawers for crockery and all sorts.

A plan for tea-towels in use. A proper plan that doesn't involve a year of asking dh to use rawl plugs.

(And it is knife-fork-spoon - the way you say it).

mathanxiety Tue 04-Sep-12 05:29:47

yy to knife-fork-spoon

MousyMouse Tue 04-Sep-12 08:47:23

no, it's spoon-knife-fork

In our house it goes spoons, forks, knives. So there!

I don't like higher up ovens. I'm short and they're always position too high for me to get stuff in and out easily.

I also hate high cupboards. What's the point of having shelves that I need to climb on the worktop to get to?

stealthsquiggle Tue 04-Sep-12 09:12:53

Deep drawers for crockery and saucepans are the best.

Open shelving is a stupid idea

However many sockets you think you might need, double it.

spoon fork knife.

senua Tue 04-Sep-12 09:25:38

Oh, am I doing it wrong? My cutlery tray goes starters, mains, pudding.

snowballinashoebox Tue 04-Sep-12 09:25:49

spoon fork knife here too - household of left handers.

Bin planning, I hate my bin.

EdMcDunnough Tue 04-Sep-12 09:28:36

Oh I like open shelving and I hate deep drawers for saucepans - I just hang them up on hooks. I would keep tea towels in a deep drawer but nothing else as you can never get to the stuff at the bottom.

Our cutlery stays in the dish drainer till it gets used, we never set a table, it's all a bit casual here.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Tue 04-Sep-12 09:28:43

Drawers are the best. For everything. Fact.

Do not put a sink or hob in an island. The floor on the other side ALWAYS ends up either wet or greasy. I speak from bitter experience. angry

wintersnight Tue 04-Sep-12 09:51:40

I hated having tiles. They were freezing cold. It also meant that anything you dropped was bound to smash. This might not matter if you're a less clumsy family than us.

PorkyandBess Tue 04-Sep-12 10:07:57

Our new kitchen is going in at the moment. I have been heavily influenced by MN.

Rangemaster with induction hob.

Deep drawers and also 3 500mm drawers.

No open shelves - made that mistake before. Looked lovely, but was always cleaning them and the stuff on them.

Sockets inside cupboards, including one cupboard just for charging phones etc as I got sick of chargers/phones/ipads out on counters.

Cupboard for cookery books - another thing I don't like on show.

Oak worktops (hope we don't regret this) ditto butler sink.

Special shelf built into peninsular bit for KitchenAid!

PigletJohn Tue 04-Sep-12 10:16:46

have a fused switch, 200mm above the worktop, at every point where you have, or one day might want to have, an appliance beneath. The fused switch to feed a single unswitched socket below the worktop.

Have a double socket at least every metre along the wall, 200mm above the worktop.

Get a proper electrician who is a member of a self certification scheme. Kitchen fitters are not proper electricians or proper plumbers and are notorious for shoddy and non-compliant work hidden behind the cabinets.

YYY to putting the flooring down before the cabs, it will protect against spillage and wildlife

YYY to cabs going right up to the ceiling. If you are too short to reach them, they will still fill up with your sandwich toaster, granny's best china, disused slow-cooker etc but will look neater and easier to clean

For your wall cabinets, have hanging rail fitted all along the wall. Cabs can then be lifted up and hung on it. You can reposition them at whim; it is very strong; and there is never a problem (as with individual brackets) of having a crumbly bit of wall or an electrical cable where you need to drill a hole.

Be sure to get a cooker hood that actually extracts the steam and greasy fumes through the wall instead of just blowing them round the kitchen.

But wouldn't it be best to just chuck out give away the sandwich toaster and granny's best china. I hate having cupboards full of crap I never use.

My mum's kitchen has far too many cupboards in it. It just facilitates her urge to hoard crap she never uses/will never use again. She does not need 6 or 7 full sets of crockery (complete with matching milk jugs and gravy boats, none of which have ever been used in my lifetime) or 3 sets of glasses of various kinds (i.e. 3 whole sets including red wine glasses, white wine glasses, sherry glasses, brandy glasses - often 12 of each type). She never bakes, yet needs to store enough cake tins to run a large bakery and also to fill a cupboard with flour and other baking products that are all many years old. She has tins in her cupboards with use by dates in the 1990s on them.

She's always complaining that she doesn't have enough room in her cupboards but that's because they're stuffed with utter nonsense.

Having grown up with this kind of kitchen hoarding, I try to keep the stuff I store to a minimum. If I'm unlikely to use it, or I can do just as good a job with the oven/grill/frying pan (I'm definitely thinking of sandwich toasters here!) then it's getting no house room here.

Filling shelves I can't reach with stuff I don't really want fills me with despair.

PigletJohn Tue 04-Sep-12 10:39:55

you will appreciate the extra cupboards when you get old and barmy.

My mother did this kind of hoarding in her early 30s (and continues to this day)! So reasonably young, but bonkers.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Tue 04-Sep-12 11:00:18

I agree if you have too many cupbaords you will fill them with crap. I have very few cupboards because I didn't want a crowded kitchen and am ruthless about throwing crud away. It also helps when keeping it clean.

Make sure you are there when they install the xtractor hood. Nine is too low and I bang my head on it.

If you have the chance, a walk in larder is a wonderful thing. I had one in an old house and I loved it - a lovely cool cupboard with marble shelves, so much better than cupboards.

Don't have wooden floors - they are a sod to keep clean and you will cry if you drop a pan of tomato soup all over it.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Tue 04-Sep-12 11:00:18

I agree if you have too many cupbaords you will fill them with crap. I have very few cupboards because I didn't want a crowded kitchen and am ruthless about throwing crud away. It also helps when keeping it clean.

Make sure you are there when they install the xtractor hood. Nine is too low and I bang my head on it.

If you have the chance, a walk in larder is a wonderful thing. I had one in an old house and I loved it - a lovely cool cupboard with marble shelves, so much better than cupboards.

Don't have wooden floors - they are a sod to keep clean and you will cry if you drop a pan of tomato soup all over it.

GetOrfAKAMrsUsainBolt Tue 04-Sep-12 11:01:42

And induction hobs are wonderful, after years of cleaning gas hobs I would never go back. Induction all the way.

reluctanttownie Tue 04-Sep-12 11:04:08

Unless your kitchen has walls of glass on 3 sides and skylights above, get pale kitchen cabinets so the room stays nice and light!!! (Currently getting kitchen cabinets painted white after living in cave-like gloom for 3 years).

Unless you intend to polish your worktop daily - and esp if you have hard water - consider honed granite rather than polished granite. Shop around for it - the company we went to had no honed granite on offer and I didn't realise at the time that it even existed blush. Looks more chic and understated than the shiny stuff too.

Puts sockets EVERYWHERE.

Work out what you are going to put in each cupboard/drawer before you confirm layout. Right down to things like the annoyingly long rolls of tin foil and the really large packs of cereal and the slightly-taller than average bottles of cleaning fluid etc etc.

YY to planning for bin and teatowels.

The twirly carousel things in corner cupboards are of dubious usefulness. Expensive, tend to break and hugely reduce amount of usable shelf space in said cupboard.

Pan drawers are the best thing in the world ever.

Fridges/freezers of the same size outside vary hugely in terms of usable internal volume. Check carefully.

Don't buy a tap that doesn't have a little diffuser thingy of metal mesh just inside the spout. It will spurt out a horrible jet of water that will splash violently off the ink and soak you and your entire kitchen every time you use it. Certainly do not spend £250 on such a tap angry. Most taps are sensible. Some aren't. I didn't think anyone would design a tap so stupid, and you don't see them working until they're installed!

Reluctanttownie: The previous owners of our new house clearly enjoyed dark, cave-like kitchens. They bricked up a window to minimise the amount of natural light, then installed a nice dark wood-effect kitchen with black granite worktops and black tiles on the walls and floor. To ensure maximum dinginess, they went for a single light in the middle of the ceiling too. They also had plans to stick a big extension on the back to make the entire room internal (because clearly they resented any light getting in through the French doors) but decided they would move instead.

We are, of course, ripping it out and putting in some a nice light kitchen and a big window. And not building the horrible extension that they got planning permission for. Funnily enough, the EA didn't mention this planning permission at all as it would not be a selling point for anyone. It just came up in the searches.

dottygamekeeper Tue 04-Sep-12 11:13:27

Tiled floors are much easier to keep clean and good looking esp if you have dogs (whose claws scratch the wood). Tile right up to walls before installing any appliances/cupboards, and also use the same tiles for skirting (cut to size if necessary) - my plumber suggested this and it looks great and is really practical for cleaning.

Peetle Tue 04-Sep-12 11:17:05

I know it's utterly unfashionable but I hate brushed steel appliances. It'll be white enamel all the way next time - brushed steel looks great but only the instant you clean it. After that it shows every smear.

We had a sort of hanging shelf thing like a minature butchers' rack for all the utensils - spatulas, tongs, etc. Marvellous - you could see everything and weren't forever rooting through a drawer for a draining spoon, etc with a hot pan in the other hand.

You cannot have too many electric sockets, but this is true anywhere these days.

Keep the fridge and the cooker a long way apart or the fridge will waste a lot of electric fighting the heat from the oven.

Have the sink by the window - unless you like staring at a wall when you're doing the washing up.

reluctanttownie Tue 04-Sep-12 11:18:55

Haha, that sounds SO like ours - oak cabinets (DH insisted on the blasted things, he is now fully repentent), black granite, slate floor (which I love, but doesn't help!). We also have a conservatory on the other side (couldn't afford to knock through and do open plan and solid extension when we put kitchen in). Also had to brick up a door to half height and turn it into window (tiny house, needed to to get usable sized kitchen in there. We still have french doors and one window in a fairly small room, but natural light is not its strong point...

We literally didn't consider any of this when we chose kitchen! blush blush blush

Gentleness Tue 04-Sep-12 11:23:06

YYY to deciding what you are going to put where before installing. I was advised to change my layout because people just didn't get that I wanted certain things in certain places for convenience, not just symmetry.

Not sure I agree about the few cupboards thing. I was persuaded against getting the side with wall cupboards going right up the ceiling and I regret it. Even though I'd have nothing to put in them now really, it would be a great place for Christmas decorations, multipacks of crisps that I don't want to binge on when the kids drive me potty and just be there for when the family grows and might need it. AND not get scummy, greasy, dusty layers that are really hard to reach and clean up. In fact, I might just get them put in one day!

Interesting that at the time we installed our kitchen (about 2yrs ago), the mumsnet wisdom was that cupboards to the ceiling would be oppressive!

SundaeGirl Tue 04-Sep-12 11:35:12

Don't get a hard tiled floor. It will smash everything, incl. DC and toys, and quite soon bits of it will smash too.

Get your floor done wall to wall and then have the furniture put on top of it.

The standard height for an extractor fan is far too low - get yours raised or people will be banging their heads on it.

Do not use a pendant lamp - it'll mean you can't move the furniture around at a later date without being restricted.

I like a laundry basket worked into a kitchen. YY to thinking about where your tea towels and towels will go.

Formica/Lino surfaces are underrated.

BerylStreep Tue 04-Sep-12 11:40:46

Get a pop up socket with usb for the island!

stealthsquiggle Tue 04-Sep-12 11:48:00

We rejected pop-up sockets - the kitchen designer was quite taken aback at our vehemence - but we both have experience of them in an office environment and they just don't last - plus we wanted no grease/gunk traps at all on the surfaces (there are a couple of unavoidable joins in the granite, but that is all).

We have oak cabinets and granite worktops - but white walls, pale tiles, and lots of lights. A sloping extractor was the only way we could get one in under our low ceiling and prevents head vs. extractor incidents.

noramum Tue 04-Sep-12 11:48:24

I hate wall tiles, a nightmare to keep the grout clean.

I had glass and granite as splashbacks, lovely and I miss them.

Granite worktops, expensive but easy to keep clean, will tolerate hot pots and pans unlike laminate.

Floor tiles are great, easy to clean and long lasting. I had everything as floor covering, from carpet to wood to laminate to cork. Nothing works as good as tiles.

Drawers are better than cupboards.

Forget wine shelves. Just take up space unless you have a lot of it.

frazzledbutcalm Tue 04-Sep-12 12:05:42

sundae ... my tiled floor fractured dd wrist when she simply fell sad ... but then again, so did the sponge surface at a play park! grin ... I still prefer tiled floor, so easy to clean ...

Iheartpasties Tue 04-Sep-12 12:21:39

hmm kitchen envy, I rent smile

sisteroutlaw Tue 04-Sep-12 12:23:13

I am in a quandary about worktops for my refit as currently have one of those grey speckly laminates that hides crumbs unnervingly and is simply too dark and cheap looking. Laminate looks cheap unless you go for a zingy colour but then you're going to more niche suppliers so it gets pricey so why not go for something else.

I've been drawn to zinc as it will get a natural patina and is pretty hardwearing. Anyone installed zinc already?

For the rest of it:
- cupboards to ceiling
- some sort of larder/pantry
- deep drawers
- lots of sockets
- bin cupboard (waste and recycling)
- dishwasher (no room in current layout!!!)
- tiled floor or this rose des vents vinyl flooring if we were doing a makeover (most likely budget-wise. Sigh)

BBear Tue 04-Sep-12 13:05:08

Just one warning about zinc (presuming that it is like stainless steel work top) When you move pans/dishes about or chop onto it - the scraping noise is like nails down a blackboard - wincing.

We have a worktop that is a little higher (about 4-5 cm) than standard and I love it - why would you want to constantly bend when you are working - I'm only 5'6 it's much better (builders said it was 'European' height - whatever that is) You sometimes have to get the builders to cut a larger plinth but the appliances just need their feet raised. Also delays toddlers grabbing stuff as it is too high for them to reach.

I have put the bin on wheels - you can buy plant movers for round bins or the posh 'Westboy' bin stand on castors - fits large Brabantia models. I have a 4 metre long worktop (and no other workspace so I just wheel it up and down when I am up the other end shopping.

Never thought I would use my insinkerator - I adore it.

Make sure you have a 'useful' drawer - for crap like takeaway menus/scissors/keys/sellotape/candles etc

Underfloor heating is a godsend - nice mellow heat rather than radiator 'hotspot'.

Don't put your kettle under a low shelf/cupboard - paint constantly peels.

Make your extractor higher (and wider) than you think.

PigletJohn Tue 04-Sep-12 13:12:43

I like appliances to be on wheels or trolleys. In some cases you then have to take the top panel off the appliance to let it fit under the worktop, so I prefer the worktop to be slightly higher. The units (almost) all have adjustable legs these days so it's only the plinth to alter if you can be bothered

sisteroutlaw Tue 04-Sep-12 13:15:09

Good point BBear - think DS (2y3m) would move out if there were additional torturous scraping noises. He can't stand the whirr of the blender even if it does make smoothies and goes round and round. He's really conflicted about it.

Gnomi Tue 04-Sep-12 13:55:10

Think about your corners - I like the turntables in corner units, and they work well for me, but others may disagree.
Think about where your kettle/toaster/bread bin etc will go, and where mugs etc will go in relation to this.
If you can, have a tall pantry cupboard - it's amazing! Measure large things like super-size cereal boxes to make sure the shelves are at the right height.

Keep nagging the builders. Mine started working on the kitchen at the beginning of June, and it's still not finished. It was only when I started maternity leave that I started nagging them, and they got a move on. Even so, when DS was born, we had no oven, no washing machine, and no running water downstairs. That was quickly fixed before I came out of hospital!

StillSquiffy Tue 04-Sep-12 14:02:04

Had a new kitchen in January. My pride and joy is my instant boiling/cold filtered water tap thingy. I do not know how I survived 40 years without one.

Insinkerator is good, but does not compare to boiling water on tap.

Lots of advice already. My other piece of advice is Do not get a Corian worksurface. neighbours of ours got one same time we had our kitchen and it is already looking a bit tired and stained. They plan to get it all retreated every 3 years confused. Stick with granite if you can.

YYY to deep drawers, tall cabinets and eye-level appliances. Also YYY to raised fridges.

SilverSixpence Tue 04-Sep-12 14:54:21

porcelain tiles - any plates/glasses that are dropped get smashed to smithereens. Also dark flooring shows every speck of dirt.

Cupboards as high as they go to make use of all available space.

legoballoon Tue 04-Sep-12 15:33:12

Rhinofloor is brilliant - can be steam mopped, warm underfoot, china doesn't smash when you drop it usually.

Cheap wall tiles can look effective - plain white brick shape with or without bevelled edges are the cheapest at Topps (40p each) but look great if kept clean.

Would recommend for excellent units, supplied rigid (cuts down on labour costs for fitting) and much cheaper than similar or same units supplied from high end kitchen shops, whilst quality better than B&Q etc (thicker board etc.)

Keep old units for garage storage solutions (if relevant).

Lever mix tap brilliant when your hands are mucky or if you have arthritis etc..

If room dark, gloss cabinets allow light to reflect more.

legoballoon Tue 04-Sep-12 15:38:19

And definitely go for an induction hob. They blow ceramic and gas out of the water. You need to have special wiring though (as your electrician), as may be the case of you move from single to double oven - but again worth it if you can.

HazleNutt Tue 04-Sep-12 15:38:41

We're just getting our new kitchen in and I'm very excited.

What you want to do is a tiled floor but with a really narrow joint, so you don't have massive amounts of grout on display. Very easy to keep clean with steam cleaner.

Cupboards all the way to the ceiling, as has been said already.

We first went for double sink, but then realized that we don't use the small side, so got one really wide one, that fits also baking sheets.

Corner unit carousels waste a lot of space. we got this for our corner unit:

Themumsnot Tue 04-Sep-12 15:58:36

My slate worksurface is one of my best things.
Also the pull out baskets in my island unit. Have designated one of them 'kitchen filing' for all the bits of paper you need (letters from school etc) but don't want lying around looking cluttery. Works brilliantly.
Tile-wise, I bought the metro brick ones in a peppermint green colour online for about 12p each, much much cheaper than Topps.
I have engineered wood floor, I don't know if you could use a steam cleaner on it, but before we bought it we put a sample plank in a bucket for a couple of days and it didn't swell at all.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Sep-12 16:08:00

I thought Quartz was meant to be harder wearing than Granite?

My wish list would be;

Boiling hot water tap, I used one at work. You wont know how you ever managed before.

Appliances on wheels.

Water softner (ok not strictly kitchen but saves getting limescale everywhere)

In built oven

Induction hob. We have gas here, I am fed up of cleaning the sodding thing.

takingthestairs Tue 04-Sep-12 16:10:02

"Special shelf built into peninsular bit for KitchenAid!"

What is this wonder you speak of porkyandbess? Could we pleeeaseee have a photo?

takingthestairs Tue 04-Sep-12 16:10:53

oh and

knife fork spoon

<runs away>

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Sep-12 16:15:08

We dont use our kitchen sink for anything apart from washing fruit and veg and for dh to pile plates into when the dishwasher is empty but somehow invisable to the male eye. Maybe the Y chromasome blinds them to empty dishwashers.

So I'd want a small round sink with no drainer countersunk into the work surface.

butteroneverything Tue 04-Sep-12 16:18:06

We are in the middle of planning our new kitchen and this is all sooo useful, so glad I found this thread.

Hazlenut - did you get those corner cupboard metal shelves in the UK? They look amazing, I want them!

And for people who say tiles are too cold/break dropped things, what would you suggest as flooring instead? I'm worried about exactly those things (no underfloor heating) but can't think of a practical alternative.

EssieW Tue 04-Sep-12 16:27:41

We just have a new kitchen - love it.

Definitely work out where tea towels go - we seem to have forgotten this one.
Also spice storage.

We have the most brilliant shelving with pull down tambour shutters. We keep blender, mixer, cookery books etc in here. We have sockets in there so easy to use appliances. Pull down the shutters and you can't see them.

Get lots of quotes and possible designs. We were unimpressed with some of them who seemed to have spent 30 minutes coming up with something. The design we went for was by someone who thought it out properly (local mum who has a kitchen business).

Drawers definitely good. Find out about all the different types of fittings that can go into them - there are spice racks, peg boards which can make a big difference to how you can organise things.

SuoceraBlues Tue 04-Sep-12 16:30:53

If you hate fiddling about in the back of 60cm deep base cupboards, you can create a kitchen with IVAR cupboards at 50 or 30 cm depth, paint them and slap a worktop on top, leaving room at the back for pipes etc.

I "made" my kitchen with IVAR cupboards we no longer needed in the bedrooms. Was so chuffed with myself and happy that my "back of the cupboard" rummaging was over.

Do not order nice fat 80cm cooker until you have checked if anybody makes an 80 cm wide cooker hood ...that you actually like.

Hersetta Tue 04-Sep-12 16:34:15

I had a new kitchen 18 months ago.

things I love :-

1 Induction hob - it is the dogs bollocks.
2 Everything under counter top height is a pull our drawer. No more searching for stuff hiding at the back of a cupboard.
3 Pull out larder now holds all our dried/tinned/ jarred food plus bread etc.
4. Complete glass splashback surround above all counter tops and sink/window etc. Takes 2 mins to clean with an e-cloth and looks stunning.
5. Flooring. We used Karndean and i steam mop it every other day.

MairiGal Tue 04-Sep-12 16:42:41

Definitely drawers for everything below worktop: pots, pasta, plates - the lot.

Fisher and Paykel do a great drawer dishwasher and also a fridge. They totally make your kitchen.

Then all relatives over 70 years old who see and use it decide they need that same layout too, because there is no scrabbling on the floor, trying to reach items at the back of the bottom shelf. My knees and joints are fine, but I would find it a metaphorical pain too if I had to revert to shelving in these cupboards.

PorkyandBess Tue 04-Sep-12 18:27:24

takingthestairs I'll upload a photo when it's done. Looks like a building site at the moment.

jollydiane Tue 04-Sep-12 18:30:56

my thanks to everyone for the responses.

I have not considered the induction hob or karndean floor.

1. Do you have to use special saucepans for an induction hob or will my ancient saucepans be ok?

2. There seems to be a difference of opinion about Karndean floor. I don't think my lazy housekeeping is up to special routines. I basically want to steam mop it and return to my glass of wine ironing.

GoingforGoingforGOLD Tue 04-Sep-12 18:40:28

Where are these 12p tiles of which you speak?

ImNotCrazyMyMotherHadMeTested Tue 04-Sep-12 18:48:15

Magnetic knife rack over the cooker. No knife block on the worksurface, and you can grab the knife you need much more easily than scrabbling in a drawer.

I also have magnetic spice jars on the side of the fridge which means I don't have to open a door to get the spices I want, I can also see at a glance what's running out.

A small bin inside a cupboard means it gets emptied before it gets a chance to smell. Apparently this is a huge problem with a bin that sits directly on a floor with underfloor heating (but I'm not posh enough to have that!!!)

Themumsnot Tue 04-Sep-12 18:49:09

I got them from tons of tiles here. They vary in price depending on the colour. I got samples from here and from walls and floors as well, both were much cheaper than Topps.

SarahStratton Tue 04-Sep-12 19:10:22

Karndean flooring is fantastic. Just as good as Amtico (have had both), and a damn sight cheaper. No need for fancy cleaning routines, mine did perfectly well with a squeeze of washing up liquid in a bucket of hot water, and a mop.

Lovely stuff, virtually indestructible.

Catsmamma Tue 04-Sep-12 19:22:00

a second vote for shallow cupboards, I have floor to ceiling "wall units" set into a slight recess and it's so much easier to open them and find things than grovel about in deep dark cupboards.

HazleNutt Tue 04-Sep-12 19:23:46

butter no sorry no idea where to get the pull-out thingy in the UK, we're in France. But I'm sure it must be available, the mechanism is very simple.

AllPastYears Tue 04-Sep-12 19:25:54

"Oh and tile the floor before you put in the cabinets. That way if you decide to change them (or have to change them), you can keep the same floor and change the layout without having to knock up all the old tiles and start again because there are gaos where the old cupboards used to be. "

I'm not so sure about this one. I want to replace the floor in our kitchen, but it's laminate that goes all the way under the cabinets. So the cabinets will all have to come out. Not sure if we can take them out without removing the worktops. All a big pain! And the kitchen is too small to change the layout.

MadBusLady Tue 04-Sep-12 19:46:16

More on bins! How big a bin do you really, really need? Trouble with big bins is they get stinky, specially in summer, and the bag is heavy and sometimes splits when you get it out, so unless you really do create 50L of rubbish every couple of days (in which case, WTF?) consider sizing down. We now have a diddy 12L one (there are only two of us) and it has changed my quality of life not having to heave big stinky heavy binbags around.

Also plan ALL your bins, not just the "main" bin. I was surprised tother day when I calculated that we recycle about 50% of everything, and we do that through a carrier bag hanging on the corner of an IKEA omar unit, which is not ideal.

MadBusLady Tue 04-Sep-12 19:46:53

<exits to buy Lakeland steam mop>

AllPastYears Tue 04-Sep-12 19:59:49

I am dreaming now of having enough cupboard space to put the recycling in cupboards. Only way to do that is to knock a hole in the wall somewhere!

Anything you've always dreamed of (insinkerator, hot water tap, plumbed-in fridge), now is the time to get it. Don't scrimp! Fridge with ice & cold filtered water on tap is the best part of our new kitchen, my friend absolutely loves her boiling tap (we didn't have space for one).

If you really like cooking, go for a gas hob. Ours has a triple burner for woks etc and it is fabulous to cook on, DH is making a prawn stir fry right now! Not easy to do with induction, but to each her own.

AllPastYears Tue 04-Sep-12 20:18:29

Had an induction hob on holiday, just couldn't get on with it. Took ages to get hot and to cool down. confused

goldnikcname Tue 04-Sep-12 20:29:31

All these ideas are great! We are about to move and kitchen is the first 'big' thing on the list.

We put a kitchen in our current house about 8 years ago, NO to carousel cupboards, why oh why! Everything falls off or drops down. We had shelves put in at different heights depending on tins/food or pans/baking trays. Really useful. Also had a 'gap' low shelf without a door put it where we store chopping boards, is really useful, all 6 of them fit in and don't get in the way, easy to grab when needed.

Also knives, forks, big spoons, little spoons, sharp knives that don't go in block, underneath a space for tin opener, peeler and garlic press. WE have BIG drawers ! grin

BodminPill Tue 04-Sep-12 20:40:41

AllPastYears I think you are talking about a ceramic hob. An induction hob is a thing of beauty different thing all together

perfectstorm Tue 04-Sep-12 20:46:24

Don't get a wooden worksurface unless you're someone who will sand and oil them really regularly, and not resent doing it. We now have granite and it is bliss, comparatively. But laminate is better than wood otherwise, in all but aesthetic terms. Wood looks beautiful but doesn't like water. This is not ideal in a kitchen. I fell in love with beech block and still think it looks nicer than anything else, but it's totally impractical for anyone who dislikes DIY. Granite is hard to damage.

AllPastYears Tue 04-Sep-12 20:46:38

Could have been Bodmin, they look the same to me confusedgrin.

CharlieBoo Tue 04-Sep-12 20:53:35

We also had new kitchen 18 months ago...

We love...
-Induction hob
-Pan drawers
-huge 2 drawer hot point fridge
-pull out larder
-oak work top... Had no probs so far with it
-karndean floor, sooo easy to keep clean I also steam mop mine.

Don't have a carousel ... Absolutely pointless..

I'd I had my time again I'd have had a hot water tap too..

Induction hobs heat up really quickly. In fact they don't heat up, only the pan heats. And the residual heat from the pan cools quickly too.

I would never go back to anything else. It's so easy to clean as well.

How I wish I could afford and have space for two dishwashers! - Fab idea.

And it's knives, forks, spoons.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 04-Sep-12 20:58:56

I hated our wood worktop.

I always wanted a waste disposal unit till I heard of kids putting small animals in it. Put me right off them.

Ladyemem Tue 04-Sep-12 21:10:05

go for kardean flooring. We've just put it in our new kitchen (classic oak). Love it!

Ladyemem Tue 04-Sep-12 21:10:22

oops Karndean

withgreatpower Tue 04-Sep-12 21:18:18

I don't know if it has been said already, but I would invest on a granite worktop. It costs as much as solid wood, more or less, and it is so much nicer and stays nice forever.

withgreatpower Tue 04-Sep-12 21:25:31

I just read that perfectstorm suggested granite too. I agree.

Also, I would get a big big big sink. A ceramic (?) one, 1 metre long. I love mine, but I guess we need it as we don't have/want a waching machine.

We also have a drainer that is attached to the wall over the big big big sink, something like But I guess you don't need this if you have a dishwasher.

MadBusLady Tue 04-Sep-12 21:27:55

Is slate similar to granite or not really, does anyone know? Some people seem to think it's just as good and tough, takes everything you throw at it etc, others talk about it staining.

Ploom Tue 04-Sep-12 21:31:33

I much love my slate floor tiles but they show every single last crumb - have to brush it too often for my liking.

WilfSell Tue 04-Sep-12 21:36:15

No to wooden worktops here too. Voice of (mouldy, black and slimy, must bloody sand and reseal every 6 months) experience here.

Always factor in somewhere to store long things, if not in kitchen then utility room, special cupboard. Ironing boards, brushes do not hide themselves away however much I might wish it.

DownyEmerald Tue 04-Sep-12 21:50:01

Accept that however hard you think things through there will be at least one feature of your new kitchen that won't quite work and will annoy you.

In our kitchen it's the height of the cooker hoody type thing - wrong for tall dp.

Also, but this isn't one that crossed my mind before, when unloading the dishwasher, I have to push the door up a bit slightly to get at the saucepan drawers. So usually have to unload saucepans to the work surface, close the dishwasher door, open pan door.

Never had a dishwasher before is my excuse!

WilfSell Tue 04-Sep-12 21:53:50

Can someone explain the hot water boily thing please - yes I have one at work which I use happily but it seems to be permanently ON. Does this mean you have to permanently leave it on at home for it to be any use, and what does this mean for energy consumption? I know kettles are horrific energy burners but is this actually better overall?

Murtette Tue 04-Sep-12 22:21:50

Essie can you post a picture of your cupboard with gadgets & plugs inside it? I have read about these on MN but never seen them in real life? I vaguely mentioned it to DP and he got very excited about the idea. As its the only bit of the whole kitchen plan he's shown any interest in, I feel that I should make sure we get this bit.

Inertia Tue 04-Sep-12 22:38:10

Flooring- our wooden floor was already in the room before we made it into a kitchen so we kept it, had it professionally sanded and sealed, and it's stood up surprisingly well. Most dropped plates etc don't actually break. We have a separate utility with mashing machine etc in, and that has ceramic floor tiles, which are perfect in there.

Get a big /double oven and extra hobs. We thought we didn't need one, but it'd be really handy to have 2 ovens.

Big upright / US style fridge freezer- we love ours.

Cupboard layout- plan exactly what you want to put in each cupboard/ drawers so that the layout works for you. For instance, cupboards either side of the oven for baking trays, pans , oven dishes; crockery cupboard close to the dishwasher as this is what you'll be unloading most often; glasses near fridge; cups/ teabags close to kettle.

Agree with cupboards to the ceiling.

Loads of sockets, not too far into corners as you won't be able to reach them.

goldmedalmother Tue 04-Sep-12 23:07:31

I find those Qooker hot water taps a bit scary and splattery. Always freaks me out a bit when I use them at friends.
Am I doing something wrong with them?

PigletJohn Tue 04-Sep-12 23:40:10

sharp knives should not go in a drawer, the sharp edges will knock and be damaged. A magnetic wall rack is ideal.

Sinkingfeeling Wed 05-Sep-12 00:01:33

PigletJohn has spoken and he is, of course, right about knives and drawers.

Make a list of EVERYTHING you need to store in your kitchen from cereal boxes to food processor to tinfoil and use it to plan in advance how many cupboards or drawers you need and what you'll store in each one.

Not having wall cupboards makes for a more airy and streamlined look, but it's a pain to reach down for cups and glasses.

We had extra deep cupboards in our last kitchen, but it was very hard to access things right at the back. Pan drawers are great though.

PigletJohn Wed 05-Sep-12 00:06:05


perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 00:15:30

Oooh yes, magnetic knife drawers are brilliant.

I love, love love the carousel. I'm a food hoarder (I buy all the novelty stuff like saffron and weird oils and strange tins from holidays) and if I stuff them in a normal cupboard I don't see them again for years. Carousel means they actually get used.

I hate to sound the voice of doom, but make sure you have cupboards for foodstuffs without holes or gaps. Mice love cutouts for plugs or pipes. Love them. If you can keep mice-attracting food in plastic tubs in a cupboard without any holes, with any luck you won't be infested.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 00:16:14

Sorry - magnetic knife wall strips! I have loved those in every house we've had them.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 00:17:31

I've always wanted one of those huge ceramic sinks - butler's sinks I think they call them! One day, maybe.

nankypeevy Wed 05-Sep-12 00:33:25

we're getting divorced doing an extension.

I want easy clean. Don't much care about anything else...

So, granite. Is it REALLY worth the extra money as compared with a really, really good laminate?


They both clean the same, right?

Until both DC start school and we can afford to change it. I am stuck with the pine kitchen that the previous owners put in. The pine I can live with.
There is only one kitchen drawer shock.

I ask you what sane person only puts one drawer in the kitchen of a 3 bed house. confused.
I have been suffering one drawer syndrome for nearly 5 years now and get severe cupboard envy when I visit other people's homes.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 00:47:57

You don't need granite. It's only worth it if the pleasure outweighs the cost. We're renting, so it's a bonus of the kitchen, but it's a visual appeal thing in all honesty. Sure, it's easy to clean, and sure, it makes good pastry, but it's not that different from any other surface (except wood, which is horrible in a kitchen unless it's genuine butchers block quality, and nowhere near the sink). If you don't hate mind laminate, then I'd spend the £ on something else. And it's also undeniable that you get more breakages on a material like granite or tile than you would laminate or vinyl, too.

You can always get the cabinetry strong enough that you can upgrade to granite a few years down the track when the savings haven't been so depleted by the extension, too. But do make sure they know that's the end plan so it is strong enough - granite's heavy and many cabinets just aren't built to be strong enough to carry all that weight, so I'm told.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 00:52:12

Marking place cause we are planning kitchen at the moment.

for those with the hot tap thingy - is there a way of ensuring that the kids don't burn themselves by mistake, or visiting relatives? It sounds great but I would be worried about accidental scaldings.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 00:54:50

the house we were in last only had one drawer in the kitchen. I used the warming drawer of the oven to put cutlery in (better use of that drawer than the previous renter - she put candles into it).

I am going to have lots and lots of drawers.

pippop1 Wed 05-Sep-12 01:51:58

I'm short and I had two ovens put in at a good height for me. Also had telescopic shelves in the ovens so dishes don't fall out.

Remember ovens and hob don't have to be in the same place in your kitchen.

GreyElephant Wed 05-Sep-12 07:04:53

Granite - i HATE it.

Sorry but i find it hard to clean - wipe down with cloth and spray, then dry with micrifibre cloth to avoid watermarks, then dry with tea towel to avoid streaks. Laboursome for me.

My Kitchen Aid mixer and blender have little rubber feet which have marked the surface so they now have to sit on a little table cloth to avoid further damage (beautiful Kitchen Aid on a table cloth on a granite work top is not a good look).

Watermarks are a nightmare. Whilst in hospital Mother cooked me a big chilli for the freezer, washed up and washed and stacked the tins for recycling by the sink. 24 hours later there are 5 big ring marks on my granite countertop. They will not go, they are permanant.

DH put some trainers on the countertop, sprayed with Fabreze and didn't realise there were tiny droplet left behind. We now have bubble marks left over from the droplets.

I am so paranoid now that no one is allowed to wash up in my house but me. Our property is rental, i don't think we will get much of our deposit back.

EdMcDunnough Wed 05-Sep-12 07:52:46

I disagree about the knife storage.

Mine are in a drawer especially for the purpose of foiling burglars, who might want to kill me.

We only have two drawers, one has the knives, one has all the other crap - birthday cake things and pastry cutters and stuff I never use really.

I would have more but our kitchen here is tiny, there's one work surface 3.3 metres long, which has the sink in it, and the other side of the room has the free standing fridge and stove. I have a Victorian sort of butcher's blocky-tabley thing with the other drawer in it, at one end.

Very short of wall cupboards, I'm trying to find some wood for building shelves at the moment. It is a gradually appearing kitchen.

comixminx Wed 05-Sep-12 08:46:07

Yy to magnetic knife racks: they are the business!

Flooring: I don't like the idea of Karnden cos I don't like things that look like other things that they aren't, if you see what I mean - stone effect, tile effect etc. I like Lino, which comes in a range of colours and just looks like itself - it's also a natural material with better ecocredentials. Marmoleum?

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 09:15:48

What is the alternative to granite worktops? I don't want wood cause of the upkeep.

Is ceramic any good?

I don't want any wall cupboards. I don't like the look of them and am short so can't reach into the top cupboards anyway.

BerylStreep Wed 05-Sep-12 09:18:21

GreyElephant, you can get rid of marks on granite by going over them really well with cream cleaner, like cif. Need to do it really hard - that's what the granite people who installed mine told me.

I love granite!

merrymouse Wed 05-Sep-12 09:28:50

Try to eat all your food before installation, then plan to cook using a microwave without refrigeration or running water for 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the scale of your renovation.

We were assured we would be without an oven/access to the fridge for 1 day, and then kept being told that it would be ready tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow etc. We ended up spending so much money on emergency food and takeaways that we could have rented a house for a couple of weeks and broken even. (We had previously done kitchen renovations without children, when it is easier to survive on pot noodles and our budget included things like eating out anyway).

Integrated fridges and freezers are the devil's work.

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 09:37:52

MmeLindor When I do my next kitchen and win the lottery I want to have these. Anyone have any experience of them?

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Sep-12 09:41:01

what colour is your granite, GreyElephant? We have black granite (with very few speckles - the one and only time DH and I liked the cheaper option - apparently more speckles = more expensive) and ours takes all sorts of abuse and comes up clean. Stubborn marks can be removed with this magic stuff

Due to lack of wall space and deep and otherwise useless windowsills, we have our knifes on magnetic blocks like these (except we bought ours without knives) - they get damaged in drawers.

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Sep-12 09:45:00

Those glass worktops look lovely, but I would worry about scratching them, and could you put how things down without them shattering, I wonder? (I am sure the manufacturers have answers)

MmeL - we looked at Corian, and cast concrete, but they both worked out just as expensive as granite, TBH. We have had tiled worktops in previous (inherited) kitchens - not too bad as long as you are prepared to periodically bleach the grout, and a laminate worktop in a new build kitchen which actually lasted fine and looked fine for the 10 years we were there.

PigletJohn Wed 05-Sep-12 09:46:54

Laminated worktops are extremely practical, easy to clean, hygenic, available in numerous colours and textures, easy to replace with a new one, easy to cut to size and shape, inexpensive etc.

Their main drawback is that they are not expensive enough to impress the neighbours. A bit like stainless steel sinks which are also the most practical sink going.

You can get an extract fan that fits flush into the ceiling. Our hob is in the island unit and we were worried about the extractor as DH is tall and the nice man in John Lewis told us about the flush in the ceiling one. It's great.

Don't get granite with sparkly bits in. Looks like crumbs.

Gipfeli Wed 05-Sep-12 09:53:39

Pyrolytic oven
Induction hob
Drawers rather than cupboards under worksurfaces
Zodiaq worksurfaces (like this)

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 09:54:37

Not worried about impressing the neighbours, PJ. We are not living in Kensington!

I like the look of the glass worktops but think they may be too expensive. Granite too, perhaps.

We are renovating a whole house so have only a small budget for the kitchen. And I am concious of the fact that if we overspend that we will never get it back if we ever sell the house.

Am off to look into the laminated worktops - it is what we have had in other kitchens in rented houses.

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 09:56:16

I disagree re ceramic sinks. I've lived mainly in hardwater areas and stainless steel seems to retain the calcium build-up unless you wipe down every five minutes, whereas ceramic seems to shrug it off.

Also, my main reason for liking ceramic sinks is that they are DEEP, which is what I need because I am normally doing splashy things like washing veg or big pots that won't go in the dishwasher. I am starting to see stainless steel butler-shaped sinks around, however.

Gipfeli Wed 05-Sep-12 09:58:27

And if you must have an under worksurface fridge, and especially if you find it difficult to bend down, get one with "drawers" (more like shelves on runners that pull out) to save on rummaging around at the back.

And something else - the more energy efficient fridges achieve this by having more insulation, thus thicker walls and less actual space inside. Something to bear in mind.

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 10:01:01

One thing I've never understood about worktops <hits stride> is that it's supposed to be an advantage to cut food directly onto them and put pans on them straight from the stove. Hence why wood, laminate etc get a bad rap. Does anyone actually cut straight onto a worksurface? confused

BerylStreep Wed 05-Sep-12 10:01:31

Sharp knives can live in drawers if you get ones like these with blade covers.

PigletJohn Wed 05-Sep-12 10:02:39

ah, hard water and watermarks. the bane of kitchens and bathrooms. Yes, it doesn't show so much on light-coloured surfaces, although it is always present. It polishes off better with an old towel.

You might consider saving up for a water-softener (not one that works runs on magnetism). Once you've had one you will not want to be without it. You will be stunned at the absence of limescale, softness of towels, tiny amounts of soap and detergent used, cleanliness of windows, shinyness of hair, softness of skin, etc.

BerylStreep Wed 05-Sep-12 10:04:14

I would never cut on to granite directly, nor would I put a hot pan on.

We always use chopping boards, but that is as much to do with hygiene and cats walking on the counters.

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 10:06:37

I suspect it may also be to do with the shape of the sink, PJ. Ceramic sinks are usually under-mounted and most of the surface that gets wet is either the bottom (which drains obvs) and the sides, which are vertical. So less standing hardwater. Most stainless steel sinks are a big seamless shape with lots of horizontal surfaces and nooks and crannies that get frequently splashed but not drained.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 10:07:16

I always use a cutting board, and it would feel v odd to cut directly onto a worktop.

We live in Scotland, so the hardness of the water is not really an issue.

nankypeevy Wed 05-Sep-12 10:13:55

Piglet - that's where I am at with it.

I want to spend a ridiculous bunch of cash on an oven. I really am struggling to see what the advantage is of spending even more money on granite, fancy tiles and whatnots.

I think I'm going for a lino floor, a decent melanine worksurface with a low splashback, giant stainless steel sink, washable paint and one of those gorgeous backlit glass splashbacks that don't seem to be more expensive than the bogging smokey grey one that rangmaster sell to fit their ovens

Whilst I am glad you all love your granite, I'm unable to bear the thought of spending that much money on a worksurface. A splashback made out of gin bottles though? NOW you are talking! whips out credit card

Themumsnot Wed 05-Sep-12 10:20:31

I can put hot pans directly onto my slate worktop. I've had it for a year and it hasn't stained or chipped yet. I love it so much. I've had wood before which was really hard to keep and laminate which was fine (until DH put a hot pan down on it in a panic and burnt a huge hole in it shock don't ask why) but I adore my slate.

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Sep-12 10:26:35

We don't cut straight onto our granite, but we do definitely put hot pans down on it - and that was one of the major selling points. The only damage to our laminate worktop in last house was scorch marks. However, if it was a choice between that and a decent oven, then I would definitely opt for laminate worktops which look fine and last well as long as you use trivets. We massively overspent on our kitchen renovation, and effectively put off doing the rest of the house for a few years by doing so, but it's a big room which we now spend more time in than anywhere else in the house, so I still think it was the right decision.

<<goes off to ring plumber about the water coming through the sitting room ceiling>>

Nope, still the right decision...

CelticOlympian Wed 05-Sep-12 10:39:55

I haven't read the whole thread, but my lesson ( having put in new kitchen about four years ago) is add a LOT of storage, and when you think you've planned too much storage, add some more STORAGE!

Lots of crap in my kitchen despite tons of cupboards!

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 11:06:57

I have always said that I would have gas hob if I were planning my own kitchen.

At the moment, we have an old electric hob and it annoys me to have to clean out the dirt and grime. Am I going to regret the gas hob? Should I go for induction instead?

Wanted gas cause I prefer cooking on it cause it is so responsive.

Gipfeli Wed 05-Sep-12 11:14:32

My induction hob is way more responsive than any gas hob I've used, particularly good for getting consistent low simmering temperatures without flamse going out. It only needs a wipe over in terms of cleaning.

Sandgroper Wed 05-Sep-12 12:22:02


Fab thread, am in the middle of major house rennos and planning kitchen, lots of useful hints and tips!

Themumsnot - did you get any floor tiles from "Tons of Tiles"? I need to cover 50 m2 of flooring downstairs and did get a quote from Topps at £59 p2m for a porcelain floor tile. TOT much much cheaper and I have found another tile almost the same. Samples tiles on order waiting for delivery. Thanks for the tip. Hope they are the business, could save me £2,000. Fingers crossed.

Themumsnot Wed 05-Sep-12 13:50:32

Sandgroper - no just wall tiles. We went for engineered wood on the floor - it is a Victorian house and the new room is made up of four previously seperate spaces with different subfloors so we could never have got it level enough for tiles. Got wall tile samples from both the companies I linked to though and they all seemed good quality.

princesschick Wed 05-Sep-12 13:56:53

Absolutely loving this thread ladies smile

In the middle of a mega (and uncordinated) renovation that we DH are largely doing ourselves.

The kitchen is being plastered as we speak and will soon be a blank canvas for me to put in it exactly what I want. Budget pending of course. This thread is enormously helpful. I would have never have thought of things like, no bins on underfloor heating because of the smell and big drawers under the work surface rather than cupboards - geniuses!! Plus I'm definitely going to explore hot water taps and metallic knife strips.

I do have a couple of questions that you may / may not be able to answer:

- built in fridge / freezer with cupboard storage above (to ceiling height) or standalone fridge freezer. We have an alcoves either side of the old fireplace that will house the new Rangemaster (pulls fists back, closes and eyes and shouts "yes" at this win). One of them is 110cm wide. I want to put a pull out larder in here and the fridge-freezer too. Someone mentioned that built in fridge-freezers are the work of the devil. Why?

- are open shelves really that bad? We had planned to keep it open, light and airy because the previous owners kitchen was full of minging cupboards and was really oppressive. I am good at culling crap but not so good at cleaning blush I also don't have children yet, so I may be living in a rose tinted world where cupboards are not yet needed to hide mega packets of crisps.

- is a beverage centre / wine fridge worthwhile or a waste of space and money?! wink see I told you I had rose tinted newly married no children spectacles on smile But they look really useful (and cool).

Thanks all, you've inspired me for an afternoon of kitchen planning and researching work can wait until tomorrow

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Sep-12 14:01:55

princesschick - we have a freestanding fridge/freezer with a cupboard above it - so it is not neccesarily one or the other <<complicates choices further>> - Personally, I don't like built in ones because they tend to be more expensive and limit your choice when replacing them.

Open shelves - yes, really that bad. Even leaving asside the clutter accumulation issue, they get gunky. Revoltingly so. We have a whole run of shallow cupboards for cookery books which I love because on that mythical day when I get the kitchen really tidy then everything would be behind doors.

princesschick Wed 05-Sep-12 14:08:08

Squiggle interesting. Definitely food for thought. The shelves are more for things like my juicer, food processor etc to keep off the counter to allow for food prep. We had also planned to have book shelves above the kitchen table and a radio because I refuse to have a telly in the kitchen But still I take your point. Open shelves and my crappy cleaning does worry me slightly. Hmm. And for me the energy efficiency of the fridge is most important so maybe freestanding with cupboard above could work. Do you have much of a gap around your fridge-freezer. Thank you smile

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 14:08:29

I like open shelves.

But yes, no kids here either. My lovely, lovely open shelves in our old house used to be by the cooker and have saucepans etc on them. Much better than groping around in cupboards. Here in the crap rented, the saucepans are on a carousel and it's bloody awful.

I guess a compromise would be shallow cupboards, but I just can't get over the closed in feeling wall cupboards give.

princesschick Wed 05-Sep-12 14:14:18

MadBusLady as the open shelves will only be along one wall and above the counter which will be used for prep I am still toying with this one. I really don't like feeling boxed in by cupboards. Maybe I just need to learn to clean more. We do have quite a big kitchen (3.5 x 4m) but it will need to be utility and dining room too. I guess shelves are cheaper than cupboards and if they are that bad they could always be replaced in the future...

LittleFrieda Wed 05-Sep-12 14:23:19

When my kitchen was made, I told them I didn't want any corner carousels. They put in two carousels in the corner -- German and very well made -- and I loathe them. I swear and groan every time I open the door and I'm not a sweary person.

LittleFrieda Wed 05-Sep-12 14:25:08

I have a 4 oven Aga and a gas hob. I love both and find them exceptionally easy to keep clean.

What's difficult to clean on a gas hob?

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 14:25:25

shock Seriously? They installed stuff you'd specifically told them not to? I'd be tempted to name and shame, that's rubbish. Bet it cost you more than a plain corner cupboard as well.

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Sep-12 14:26:12

I can sort of imagine open, easy to clean (maybe frosted glass?) shelves with appliances on - just not in our terminally messy kitchen. Our previous house had (not chosen by us) little shelves on the end of a run of cupboards and they were a complete grease trap. Bleugh.

We have about an inch gap (maybe 2 at the top) around a big American style fridge-freezer, but previous (did I mention not chosen by us grin) kitchen had much tighter slots for under counter fridge, dishwasher, etc and that worked fine apart from it taking about an hour to 'ease' the dishwasher into position.

Taffeta Wed 05-Sep-12 14:45:55

Underfloor heating
Cupbaords up to ceiling so no mess or cobwebs
As much workspace as you can muster
Spots exactly above where you are doing food prep
yy To masses of sockets

And personally, a gas hob that faces out, so I can cook and talk to friends at the same time.

lingle Wed 05-Sep-12 14:46:21

I have just been told by the lady who cleans for us

- not to have wood because we are not the right kind of people as we leave wet things on the work surfaces.

- not to get dark granite because you have to buff it to a shine for it to look good . If you just wipe it down it leaves streak marks.

- not to get stainless steel appliances because you can't scrub stuff off if it gets on them.

I'd already figured out the first one for myself but the second one was new to me about the granite. Is that right?

Taffeta Wed 05-Sep-12 14:48:54

princesschick - we have a massive fridge freezer so rarely use our wine cooler fridge thingy. In fact I forget its there most of the time. blush

Its useful for parties and Christmas

Taffeta Wed 05-Sep-12 14:49:41

We have white silestone worksurface. Love it.

stealthsquiggle Wed 05-Sep-12 14:55:43

lingle - I think there is some self-interest from your cleaner involved there - dark granite is hard(ish) to get perfectly shiny - but I just polish mine with glass cleaner and kitchen towel after I have scrubbed it - doesn't take long and the result is incredibly satisfying.

reluctanttownie Wed 05-Sep-12 15:06:31

Gas hobs lovely - I'd never be without one. Whener we stay in self catered accomodation with electric I got cross every time I cook. Everything boils over as it's so unresponsive and then it always seems to take longer to clean because even though it's just flat and doesn't have fiddly bits like gas, it always seems to go really smeary.

Granite does take more than a quick wipe with a cloth. I use Method spray on mine, wipe with wet cloth and then dry with an old soft tea-towel. Not overly onerous. And I am a lazy cow!

reastie Wed 05-Sep-12 15:19:20

Interesting thread. We are thinking of getting a new kitchen in the next year or so and I want to get it spot on so am thinking alot about where to put everything.

A couple of questions though:

- Light painted cabinets - are they harder to keep clean than wooden ones as they show up any spillages more obviously?

- only one mention of a water softener - we are thinking this is a must to make things easier to keep clean and shiny - any feedback on if they're worth it?

-If wood is hard to upkeep and not that practical, and granite is hard to keep looking nice and shiny, what is the work surface material of choice?

Love the tip of plug socket in a cupboard for all the phone chargers/other junk - I hate all this stuff being left out.

reluctanttownie Wed 05-Sep-12 15:49:17

lingle I think that sounds a little alarmist re granite. Dark granite is not the lowest maintenance thing ever, but it's a lot lower maintenance than wood, for instance. What I find with it is you can't just leave it after use, or make do with a quick wipe with whatever damp cloth you have to hand like you could with, say, beige speckly laminate. But buffing to a shine?? All you need is a spray of any cheapo window/glass/shiny surface cleaner (windowlene or own brand equivalent) and a glass polishy e-cloth. Cleans and polishes in one go with a couple of wipes. I'd rather have something slightly less dark and less shiny if I was choosing again as have vv hard water and I'd like to be able to have it look presentable for a bit longer than it does, but it's certaintly not a nightmare.

comixminx Wed 05-Sep-12 16:46:18

We have composite granite rather than solid so it may be a bit different, but we don't find we're buffing it to a shine or anything. The main thing we're doing is wiping off the breadcrumbs every so often so clearly we're far from houseproud with it (at present at any rate - wrangling a 2 year old DD and 3 week old DS!). Never noticed any water marks, anyway.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 16:46:44

I think it depends where your open cupboards are. I am not having any near the hob, cause that is where the worst of the grease/steam is.

Am also going with a wine fridge - you can get a small one that takes about 6 bottles which will be perfect for us.

Am also going with built in appliances - we only recently relocated from Switzerland and I could not believe that anyone would not have built in appliances. It is totally standard there. Looks much neater.

Just the wee nooks and crannies under the gas outlets - are they not difficult to clean?

Badvoc Wed 05-Sep-12 17:01:06

Knife, fork, spoon.
Don't have wooden work tops, ceramic sinks or wooden Venetian blinds...they look great but are not practical and are a nightmare to clean/keep nice.
My current kitchen has laminate work easy to clean! Stainless steel sink..looks fab and won't crack, and a roller blind that easy to replace.
Make sure your job, oven and sink are well spaced.
An area for recycling would be very useful.
Lots of sockets, decent lighting.
Ceramic tile floor...I have a Lakeland mop too! smile

Badvoc Wed 05-Sep-12 17:03:22

I would love an induction hm but my oven is electric and if we have a power cut at least I can make soup/pancakes/omelettes etc with a gas hob.
Yes to in built appliances...dishwasher a must for me.
Ime cooker hoods are a waste of the and money....

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 17:40:45

Depends on the kind of granite you have. My stepmother had speckly granite and now so do we, and it's fine, as it doesn't show spills. But on honeymoon we stayed at a hotel that had that nero black granite around the sink, and my God did I feel for the chambermaids - a single drop of water made a mess and dried badly. That pure black was really popular for kitchens a few years back. IMO it's as impractical as stainless steel surfaces in a domestic home, and for the same reasons.

I hate laminate that pretends to be stone or wood. It looks fake. Laminate should look like laminate IMO. I love the look of granite because it's a natural material, same as wood, but it's not important.

Telescopic shelves in ovens are essential though, IMO. Also dishwashers.

HazleNutt Wed 05-Sep-12 19:19:50

you want satin finish granite, not shiny. very easy to keep clean and does not show stains.

HazleNutt Wed 05-Sep-12 19:22:28

Oh and if you want stainless steel, make sure it has the special no fingerprint coating, one option here:

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 19:33:38

Talk to me about stainless steel - these say stainless steel effect

which I take to mean that it is some other metal with a coating on them which will at some point come off and look awful.

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 19:34:28

Our appliances are allegedly fingerprint free, too. Unfortunately nobody told them that....

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 19:47:03

Steel does look nice though. Worth the cleaning on fridges. Dishwashers etc, and whatever the design, integrated ones won't date. Stainless steel will eventually, too - look how much black or white finish ovens have dated now, for example.

In terms of appliances, our engineer said to always go for the lower end of any major range. Build quality is the same as with the top of that range, because varying that costs the manufacturer more than they'd save, so you're paying for bells and whistles, not basic quality, as you go up the price points. That doesn't help you if the oven isn't insulated properly, despite having a million extra options, or the washing machine has a trillian settings but is stabilised by concrete rather than steel... so always go for the bottom end of the best range you are comfortable with. We got a Miele washing machine with a 20 year guarantee (they offer those as a sales tool every year at some point, apparently) at the bottom of their range, and it cost not that much more than the Zanussi it replaced, which didn't wash anything like as well despite a massive array of gimmicks, but died just a couple of months outside guarantee. (Similarly I wish we'd not gone for a SMEG dishwasher. Looks nice, but not that great at actually washing, and not that long-lasting. We might as well have gone for a cheapie and saved some £.) I figure spending £700 on a washing machine will be cheaper than spending £300 4 or 5 times, which is how long we were told a bottom of the range Zanussi would likely last, and we had the cash at the time which we couldn't guarantee we would when the next machine decided to go phut.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 20:00:47

We have always gone for Siemens/Bosch/AEG - which are basically the same machines with different tags on them. Have lasted us ages.

Anyone bought Lamona machines? Never heard of them before, but Howdens are offering them. Don't know hwat the prices are like compared to Bosch et al.

Taffeta Wed 05-Sep-12 20:03:57

We have a 2m kitchen island which consists of stainless steel drawers on all sides. I have 2 children and whilst I wouldn't say its always pristine, it by no means looks a mess. Its very easy to clean, one drop of baby oil and some gentle rubbing.

It looks stunning. Its Ikea! But I got a decent worktop.

I think its important to think about where you want to spend your money. For us, it was the worktop, a few solid wood units ( only a few, the others are floor to ceiling Ikea plus the island ), the foldy slidey door things and the floor. In general, the things that will stay if we want to update the kitchen in 10 years time.

Taffeta Wed 05-Sep-12 20:07:28

Oh and yy to cooker hood hatred. No way was I having a gigantic extractor on the island.

We have a small inconspicuous vent thingy in the back wall but if I burn something or it gets smoky I just open the foldy slidey door things.

PigletJohn Wed 05-Sep-12 20:23:20

Am also going with built in appliances - we only recently relocated from Switzerland and I could not believe that anyone would not have built in appliances. It is totally standard there.

You didn't go to the homes of any people who live in Switzerland and are short of money?

legoballoon Wed 05-Sep-12 20:48:50

Not sure about Karndean. We have it in bathroom, and it scratches very easily (e.g. moving wicker laundry basket about on floor). Rhinofloor is properly childproof.

jollydiane Wed 05-Sep-12 20:52:53

Hi lego - I am beginning to think that vinyl (Rhinofloor) is going to be the best route. I think it is underestimated.

Viperidae Wed 05-Sep-12 20:55:58

lego I have a light oak effect Karndean in my kitchen and we can only have chairs on the sides of the table, not at the ends, as it scratches if a chair moves against the grain of the floor.

PorkyandBess Wed 05-Sep-12 21:28:55

I have cooker hood hatred too! I am going for mechanical extractor only, but haven't decided how to hide it yet.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 21:39:24

No, we were living in an expat bubble. The kitchens aren't actually great in Switzerland, in rented accommodation at least. And of course some people still had non-built in appliances, but if they were putting in a new kitchen then it was built in all the way.

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 22:04:23

I love all the emergency planning here: no magnetic knife strips in case of burglars stabbing you, and gas just in case of power cuts (isn't that what Domino's pizza is for?) grin

However <stamps foot petulantly> nobody has answered my or MmeL's questions about the hot water boily thingy...

1. Does it eat electricity compared to a kettle?
2. Does it kill small children and senile grannies?

And in MY drawer, it goes

as the slots are laid horizontally. This may be very Non-U, however I could not give a FF as long as they are not still encrusted in weetabix.

Thank you.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 22:21:58

yes, I like that burglar proof knife thing Wilf. Would never ever have occurred to me.

Lol at children and senile grannies. I was thinking of my MIL actually. She will never get the hang of it. She won't be visiting often though, so I could ban her from the kitchen sink.

goldmedalmother Wed 05-Sep-12 22:35:17

I hide the knives at the back of the cutlery tray to ensure small children burglars can't easily grab them. Paranoid, moi?

PigletJohn Wed 05-Sep-12 22:36:00

top row
serving spoons, soup spoons, dessert spoons, dessert forks, table forks, table knives, small knives, steak knives

bottom row
fruit spoons, coffee spoons, tea spoons

other sections
corkscrews, scissors, useless bits and pieces.

MadBusLady Wed 05-Sep-12 22:38:05

I just forget to sharpen make sure all my knives are blunt and crap. A burglar would be better off stabbing me with the rolling pin.

Fruit spoons

That one is made up! grin

perfectstorm Wed 05-Sep-12 22:39:22

Surely a burglar prepared to use a knife would bring one, though? And if you make enough noise before going downstairs they'd scarper?

I don't know how safe those taps are, WillSelf, but I do know they can break, as my DSM # 1 had one that was out of action for a good 5 years. It sat there forlornly on the worksurface after that. I can't see it being an improvement on a kettle, really. Just more expensive to sort when it breaks.

My DM has grapefruit spoons. Serated on one side, size/shape of a slightly pointy teaspoon. For those '60'/70's starters of half a grapefruit with a cherry in it.

Why she has them still I am not sure.

Probably need to advise her to keep them hidden in case of burglars though.

jollydiane Wed 05-Sep-12 23:02:13

Am I the only one with a 'messy draw' where you put batteries that don't work, keys to bike locks that you have lost, pens that don't work, half a packet of UNO cards, string that has caught up on the fruit spoons.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 23:04:23

I have a messy drawer or two

And we have cake forks. Every self-respecting German household does. DH is always bemused when someone gives him cake without a cake fork.

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 23:07:41

Sorry <pedant>, but I have been restraining myself ALL THREAD LONG and I cannot any longer:

It is a DRAWER. A thing that one draws, a draw-er. In a set or chest of drawers.

Shoot me. Go on. I can't help myself.

jollydiane Wed 05-Sep-12 23:09:19

... oh and dictionary that I never use to spell. <flicks through it> that is what I put in my drawer.

WilfSell Wed 05-Sep-12 23:09:51


jollydiane Wed 05-Sep-12 23:10:00

drawer, drawer, drawer. Yup got it now

Gentleness Wed 05-Sep-12 23:10:49

Karndean comes in different 'grades' - mine has one scratch from an idiotic lazy blunder by dh which would have scratched anything. Otherwise no problem. It was the middle grade one.

MmeLindor Wed 05-Sep-12 23:11:13

I passive aggressively corrected JollyD's spelling in my post. Sorry ;)

When I recently put some stuff on Freecycle, I had loads of emails about the chest of draws, and had to resist writing back that the chest of DRAWERS had gone already.

minipie Wed 05-Sep-12 23:56:59

Not read whole thread so apols for any repetition:

Make sure your dishwasher can be opened while someone is at the sink washing up
Try to find space somewhere else in your house for washing machine and dryer
Tiled floors are the best option <gavel>
American style massive fridge freezers are completely worth it - get one with a built in water dispenser
Build in your recycling but not necessarily your main bin (it's a pain to have to open a cupboard or drawer when your hands are full of peelings etc, a freestanding pedal bin or touch-to-open is much easier)
Not convinced about hot water taps
Cabinet space you can't reach is more annoying than useful
Think about where the laptop/takeaway menus/gardening kit/etc will go as well as more obvious kitchen stuff

princesschick Thu 06-Sep-12 10:08:53

grin at drawers, wilfsell grin the exact reaction I had when we took the old cupboards off our kitchen walls and someone had written in huge blue letters "KITCHEN DRAWS" on the wall...

Anyone on here know anything about architectural soapstone? I've found some beautiful American kitchens in my google travels over the last 24 hours. Apparently it doesn't mark (unlike marble and wood) and although it can be scratched it can be sanded and oiled. And it's heat resistant.

HazleNutt Thu 06-Sep-12 10:13:51

our bin will be under the sink and opened by bumping the door with your knee. something like this, just no handles.

Issy Thu 06-Sep-12 10:26:29

Knife, fork, spoon? None of the combinations below. We just chuck all the cutlery straight from the dishwasher into heavy jars on the table and then the kids pluck out what they need as they lay the table.

jicky Thu 06-Sep-12 10:35:54

Dalsouple rubber floor - can be steam mopped, isn't cold and doesn't break stuff dropped on it.

Corner fridge - its massive and can store everything

Drawers built into corners - great for storing long utensils.

Appliance 'garages' - shelves with tambour doors and sockets, lighting etc. Pull out things like mixers to use, use breadmakers/slow cookers in situ.

Drawers in kick boards for baking sheets. Plus one with folding step stool to use to reach those to the ceiling cupboards!

nankypeevy Thu 06-Sep-12 11:27:32

You can get a drawer in a kick board? And a step in another?


Am scared to look outside incase the pavements are paved with gold and I'm in Heaven. Or, am Bruce Willis.

reastie Thu 06-Sep-12 11:46:12

shock also to drawer in kick board - what a great idea - why do all kitchens not have this!

nankypeevy Thu 06-Sep-12 11:52:31

jicky I've been mulling over floors (cos, that's the way I roll) and am all excited at the prospect of a rubber one.

Are you in the UK - got a supplier of this magic?

BerylStreep Thu 06-Sep-12 11:56:24

We have the Franke Minerva hot tap, which is boiling water combined with the normal tap.

Both DC still living, along with grandparents (although they are not senile).

There is a safety button that you press in as you switch on the boiling water. You can also switch it off at the wall if you want to be super sure. We do however have a safety brief that we give to visitors who may be using the tap (babysitters etc). When it is being used, it can sound quite alarming, there is a lot of hissing, but it is fine and safe to use.

It doesn't use more electricity. In fact, our usage has gone down, but hard to tell if that is due to the tap or other factors.

The tank sits behind the kick board, so doesn't use up space in the cupboard.

We love it.

minipie Thu 06-Sep-12 11:59:31

hazlenutt love the open-with-knee bin idea, but if you put it under the sink, that will mean you can't have one person washing up while another scrapes plates into the bin... which is how DH and I often work... but perhaps you work differently.

jicky where do you get your folding step stool? I need one (I have ridiculous 6'6 wall cupboards and I am 5'3 <sigh>)

HazleNutt Thu 06-Sep-12 12:26:00

mini I guess you could put it next to the sink as well, so can use both at the same time? We have dogs so scraping any leftovers to bin is not necesssary, just give the plates for them to lick a dishwasher, so rarely any washing up by hand.

minipie Thu 06-Sep-12 12:31:32

ah yes if you have dogs then no bin scraping needed! we have a dishwasher but there still always seem to be a few things to wash up and that is firmly DH's job

jicky Thu 06-Sep-12 12:51:33

nankypeevy - the floor was recommended by our architect who dealt with Dalsouple. They used to have an online system where you could custom pick your main colour and then the size and colours of the flecks in it.

minipie - the stool was from Hafele - search for stepfix step stool.

MadBusLady Thu 06-Sep-12 13:06:13

Dalsouple doesn't sell direct to domestic customers any more though <cries>. You have to do it through an architect/designer. Though I guess a builder would be able to get it too??

I really love the speckly terrazzo style ones they do. Remind me of Italian gelaterias.

Marking place on this most wondrous of threads grin

We are about to knock a wall down to create the Massive Kitchen of My Dreams and DH says we have 'a fair whack' of money to spend on it <rubs hands in glee>

Badvoc Thu 06-Sep-12 15:27:19

Wilfsell...but what if the power dust affects the take out places too??
<nods sagely>
I have to say if we ever change our current kitchen (its about 5 years old) I would get an ikea one.
I dont think any other kitchen company gives as many options for cupboard depth and width, handles, types of sinks, canny storage solutions....
I want glossy black work tops with glittery bits in!
There I have admitted it!

Badvoc Thu 06-Sep-12 15:27:36

Power cut, obv....bloody auto correct!

MadBusLady Thu 06-Sep-12 15:48:34

I'm mainly a fan of freestanding but if I had to do fitted I'd do IKEA too. Stainless steel cupboards (yes, I've had stainless steel surfaces before and yes, I like them), probably a white granite/corian/recycled glass worktop. Basically because I'm a control freak who wants to use the planning tool. I can't understand the "Tell the builder what you want and he'll get a price from Howdens" model. It's probably how unwanted carousel disasters happen.

StiffyByng Thu 06-Sep-12 16:02:13

My own little thread got no attention so I am bringing my kitchen dilemma to this mighty kitchen thread.

We have a decent sized square kitchen, about 15ft x 15ft. It has units on four sides, broken up by the door from the hall, door into the utility room and an 8ft space into the side return.

The side return has been converted with minimum effort, that is, without removing most of the side wall. We have a nice glass PVC framed roof, French windows to the garden, but a rather narrow space that we'd like to use for eating.

Questions are:

1. What might it cost to remove this wall, put up RSJ etc. if most of the side return work is already done?

2. Would I have room to put an island in to store the sink and dishwasher that are on the wall curretly?

3. Given that there was no evidence of building regs for either the side return, or the utility room (which has been added at the back of the house), am I sailing into trouble by doing more work? Both were done well over six years ago.

stealthsquiggle Thu 06-Sep-12 16:06:34

How strong are ikea kitchens though, really? We hosted a reference visit for our kitchen a few months after it was finished, and the lady said "how strong are the pan drawers, though?" - I just pulled out one (they are the extra-wide ones) and showed it to her heaped stacked full of Le Creuset cast iron pans grin - could an ikea kitchen take that kind of abuse?

TakingTheStairs Thu 06-Sep-12 16:13:24

stealth My ikea deep kitchen drawers hold all my le creuset with no issues at all.
The drawers are crammed with heavy saucepans and cast iron casserole dishes stacked inside each other and we've had no problems.

stealthsquiggle Thu 06-Sep-12 16:14:59


<<hides thread from DH in case the question of "couldn't we have done it for a fraction of the price with an ikea kitchen?" ever gets raised>>

TakingTheStairs Thu 06-Sep-12 16:17:47

grin @ stealth

MadBusLady Thu 06-Sep-12 16:19:44

How long have you had your kitchen Takingthestairs? <nosy>

Taffeta Thu 06-Sep-12 16:20:30

yy to strength of Ikea units/drawers etc.

I am the clumsiest, slammiest person you could meet. I also shove waaay too much on shelves, ram things into cupboards and shove things into drawers.

Our kitchen is 3 years old and not one problem yet.

<amazed, quite frankly>

gettingeasier Thu 06-Sep-12 16:55:20

Franke Triflow Tap. Very hard water here so need filtered water for the kettle but didnt want a jug on worktop, no more Brita smile

TakingTheStairs Thu 06-Sep-12 17:27:19

@ madbuslady Since Feb 2010, so just over 2.5 years.

We moved into a new build flat and there was a ready installed kitchen along one wall in the kitchen area. It was't big enough for us, so we made a large island with 4 deep drawers, 2 normal drawers and a cupboard with a custom made 2m x 1m counter top to allow for room for stools on the opposite side to the drawers if that makes sense?

It's brilliant and we've had no issues with quality, even with moving it twice to have a new floor put in.

TakingTheStairs Thu 06-Sep-12 17:33:08



reastie Thu 06-Sep-12 18:41:28

Re: Ikea kitchens, we did our old house kitchen with ikea cabinets and although the cabinets themselves were fine, we found the cupboard fronts were going all manky and starting to peel a bit to show the ply (or whatever it was made of underneath) after a couple of years. Maybe we were unlucky hmm

Sandgroper Thu 06-Sep-12 19:52:57

Themumsnot - wow yours sounded a lot more complicated than ours, we are in a 70's built house so concrete floors everywhere, still not level though once we knocked through walls!

The samples arrived today and look pretty good, DH is thrilled at the prospect of saving £2,000. I am going to ring and see if I can get a full size tile delivered to double check. The sceptic in me thinks the price seems too good to be true. hmm.

Many thanks for the tip, much appreciated. smile

AllPastYears Thu 06-Sep-12 21:02:50

Our Ikea kitchen was in place when we moved in 14 years ago. It's showing its age now, but is not really on its last legs yet.

WilfSell Thu 06-Sep-12 21:43:09

This thread is making me miserable now. My kitchen is shite. Unfortunately we have no spare money and redoing it would required, actually rebuilding the whole house... It is far too small and stupidly designed for a family of 5, including 3 growing human dustbins boys. The only way we could get more space is to extend outwards; and to do this, we'd also have to excavate some garden AND reinstall a new central heating boiler AND all the pipes, because they are cast iron and you can't just replace one section. And if that happened, we'd have to replumb, refloor and replaster the whole house and put in a new bathroom.

Bah. It means we're going to be living in a cupboard for a kitchen forever, probably, with no lovely hot water boiler, anti-burglar draws wink and power dust.

jollydiane Thu 06-Sep-12 21:48:08

Oh Wilf at least you know how to spell drawer. wink Get yourself an steam mop and cup cake.

MmeLindor Thu 06-Sep-12 22:18:44

oh, I forgot about the drawer with the step.

We are having our kitchen planned by a friend who is a German kitchen planner. As in a German person who plans kitchens, not a person who plans German kitchens. Although most of the kitchens he plans happen to be German cause he is German and lives in Germany.

Oh, shut up, Lindor.

Anyway. <puts wine away>

He is due to deliver the most wondrous of plans soon so I will share all his wonderful wisdom with you all. I am sure that he talked about drawer steps doodahs.

Murtette Thu 06-Sep-12 22:56:05

Optiplan have the cunning step thing. Basically, its where the plinth is and looks like the plinth but when you pull it out it miraculously unfolds and turns into a step allowing you to reach the above-the-usual-top-of-wall-unit-cupboards or, if you don't have those, the dust where those cupboards should be. I am seriously considering getting our kitchen from Optiplan as they are the only people I have found who offer it. This is despite the fact that a similarish kitchen from Wickes or similar is half the price and I could get them to design a kitchen with a gap for a folding stool which I could probably pick up in Ikea or somewhere for about £4.99

Murtette Thu 06-Sep-12 22:57:25

On a more serious note, this thread has completely converted me to utensils on the wall but I'm not so sure about knives as toddler DD often sits on the work top to "help" or just chat as I'm worried she'd cut herself.

MmeLindor Fri 07-Sep-12 00:30:58

But your toddler won't be sitting on the worktops for much longer. Soon she will be a sullen pre-teen grumping at you from behind her fringe.

You can always keep them in a drawer for now, and put them on the wall later.

PigletJohn Fri 07-Sep-12 00:52:35

do you keep your other dangerous things, like bleach, dishwasher tablets, white spirit, matches, toasters and kettles in drawers?

MissPerception Fri 07-Sep-12 06:05:13

I'm not convinced about bins under the kitchen sink. We've got that just now for the first time and I find it a PITA having to stand away from the sink to chuck something away (or to have to leave the door to it wide open). I much preferred a big transportable bin (which I could move close to me when I needed (eg when chopping up vegetables)

Wilfself - thanks re drawers. It was hurting my eyes too.

MissPerception Fri 07-Sep-12 06:14:50

To whoever suggested the Fisher and Paykel double dishwasher, I've always fancied one however it doesn't get good reviews here

BloooCowWonders Fri 07-Sep-12 06:43:40

Pigletjohn: We had huge drawers and the toaster had its own space when we'd finished with it.
All cleaning products in a small wall cupboard. Much easier and safer than under sink and we never had to have cupboard locks.

jicky Fri 07-Sep-12 07:54:08

MissPerception we had a Fisher and Paykel dishwasher for 7 years and didn't have that experience. It washed well, but does need cleaning out every week (which doesn't take long). Only had to call someone to fix it once and was pleasantly surprised at the cost of the parts. We will get another one when we redo the current kitchen next year.

minipie Fri 07-Sep-12 10:56:15

thanks jicky for the step stool recommendation! Funnily enough that looks very similar to one my mum (also short) had in our kitchen when I was growing up.

now, off to work out whether one could be retro fitted inside our (currently empty and pointless) plinth space. Or hung inside a cupboard door.

aufaniae Fri 07-Sep-12 11:02:21

You need more sockets than you think you do!

IMPORTANT any electrical work you do in your kitchen (or bathroom) beyond replacing old with new is notifiable. You or your electrician needs to inform the council.

You will be asked for proof of this when you sell your house, and the buyers could use a lack of documentation as a bargaining tool, or demand you get it checked / insured then.

Also not complying might put you at risk of fines I think.

(I'm a bit wooly on the consequences as have just found out mid sale that we should have done this!)

<bitter experience>

MissPerception Fri 07-Sep-12 15:31:21

aufaniae - how would anyone know when you had installed any electrical work in a kitchen?? Sounds like when I was replacing windows in my 1900s flat. Was told I needed planning permission (oh yeah...council money making scheme). No way Jose.

fossil97 Fri 07-Sep-12 16:16:28

What I would say about deep drawers is that it's helpful having the sides and back, as deep as the front. I've got wooden drawers but you can get clip-on bits to fill the gap above the drawer side and "gallery rail". That way things don't fall out of it.

What I've learnt about kitchens is that there is far more choice available from the manufacturers than the limited choice in say a B&Q or Wickes catalogue. Different sizes of unit, shelf configurations, trims and interior fittings.

Also that the kitchen fitter is basically a carpenter so can quite often customise something that's not in the standard range out of extra shelves, worktops or decor panels.

I don't know why but our integrated dishwasher (a bosch) hasn't integrated well. It has gaps both sides, a big chunk cut out of the plinth underneath so the door opens and a rubber flap thing under the door that keeps un-tucking itself and hanging out like a shirt. Anyone else have this?

alli1968 Fri 07-Sep-12 16:30:44

Am currently doing the rounds of kitchen shops so this thread is fab.

One question - I have seen some proper fab cath kidson spotty lino

Price is sending DH stratospheric - anyone seen this type of thing anywhere else?

PigletJohn Fri 07-Sep-12 16:50:55


The new regulations are safer and better documented. The standard colours for cables were changed at about the same time the regulations changed, and old-colours cable is now unobtainable through official channels.

There is however a thriving trade in it, at high prices, on Ebay. I can't think why...

goldmedalmother Fri 07-Sep-12 16:51:43

Is it better to get a third party installer - e.g. local builder or use the kitchen company's own installation service?

aufaniae Fri 07-Sep-12 17:05:50

When you sell your house you will be asked if you have done any electrical work since 2005.

MissPerception If you choose to lie and hope for the best that's your choice!

But I suspect a decent surveyor will be looking out for work which looks like it's recent, and the further we get away from 2005, the more obvious it will be.

Also if you want to mention your brand new kitchen as a selling point, probably best to have it all properly registered!

Just saying as I wish we'd known.

PigletJohn Fri 07-Sep-12 17:28:33


I recommend asking around for good tradesmen, and getting an electrician to do the electrics, a plumber to do the plumbing, a plasterer to do the plastering (all in that order please), a joiner to fit the cabinets, and a tiler to do the tiling.

Kitchen fitters are notorious for poor-quality and non-compliant electrical and plumbing work, there are plenty of skilled tradesmen who are underemployed.

A general builder will either be a jack-of-all trades, or employ general workmen, or farm the skilled work out to professionals and add on his own profit. That might suit you if you think that general builders prevent you having problems. Most general builders have one trade that they are quite skilled at, and can made a fair effort at everything else.

Personal recommendation, from someone who will show you the standard of recent similar work, is the best way to go.

WindUpBird Fri 07-Sep-12 18:48:07

alli1968 we have the Harvey Maria cath kidston tiles in the bathroom! I love them, and they feel nice underfoot, but I'm not sure I'd use them again. They are basically just tiles that you stick on the floor next to each other, so any slight gaps are quite obvious. I think the design would be better if they clicked together like some laminate floors do. Although maybe our fitter just wasn't that great, and the room shape is a bit wonky. Also, I'm not sure they would be hard wearing enough for a kitchen? Having said that they haven't scratched at all, and we've had them nearly 2 years.
Currently planning a kitchen extension to get rid of the world's worst kitchen that I have been living with for the past 2 years and 2 weeks, so getting loads of top tips from this thread!

WindUpBird Fri 07-Sep-12 18:50:20

Oh, also, re the price, they worked out cheaper than fairly basic (and unattractive) vinyl as we could buy exactly the amount we needed, whereas with the vinyl there would have been quite a bit of wastage.

goldmedalmother Fri 07-Sep-12 20:49:31

Piglet, but won't that lengthen the process as we will have to wait for one lot to finish and the next e.g. the plasterer, to be available and make it hard to co-ordinate them all?

I know a couple of good building companies locally but yes I guess that means paying their considerable margin on top.

Yikes about the electrical work in bathrooms. Can the certification be done retrospectively?

Viperidae Fri 07-Sep-12 20:57:58

goldmedal That is why I used a kitchen company who provided a whole service, they project managed it and got the right tradesmen in at the right times. I reckon what it cost us extra it saved us in terms of time, stress and paying people extra because their jobs took longer because of hold ups.

I also have a Franke Triflow Tap for filtered water which is great in our hard water area.

I wish I'd known before I bought it that it would cost me nearly £50 every 6 months for filter cartridges though.

PigletJohn Fri 07-Sep-12 22:10:36


it might, provided that in your town the builders don't roll up, start work and then disappear to work on some other job without telling you.

Project Management is a job that needs skill, experience and aptitude, as well as lots of hard work, which is why good ones are well-paid and hard to find.

no, electrical work can not be "signed off" retrospectively. It has to be signed by the person who designed it, the person who installed it, and the person who tested it (they may be the same person)

goldmedalmother Fri 07-Sep-12 22:38:20

Hmm so if I had a new bathroom and the (supposedly very professional) builders never mentioned the need for electrical certification, can I go back to them and complain now?

aufaniae Fri 07-Sep-12 23:55:42

I would, goldmedalmother.

I am annoyed with the builder / friend who did mine!

moogdroog Sat 08-Sep-12 19:41:40

Mmelindor Do not buy Lamona! God awful. Got them as we hd no them to shop around and within year there was a problem with every single appliance. Crappo quality. I've heard they are just rebadged BEKO.

bottlealley Fri 14-Sep-12 16:43:09

Thank you to MadBusLady for liking our Recycled Glass Worktops and splashbacks.
To answer Stealthsquiggle our glass is made from fused recycled glass bottles and is different to normal glass used in windows etc. It is a very strong ceramic type of glass and is therefore as scratch and heat resistant as granite, but has the advantages of being non-pourous (stain resistant) and easy to clean as it has a matt finish which doesn't show watermarks!
Our recycled glass is handmade in Yorkshire from bottles collected from pubs/clubs and bottle manufacturers. The labels are removed by a social enterprise called Bottle Rescue in Keighley which employs young adults with learning difficulties to clean, delabel and refill bottles collected from pubs and clubs. The majority of these bottles are sold back to microbrewers and home brewers, but we buy the exciting blue and green ones!
Our recycled glass worktops are roughtly the same price as granite and our splashbacks are one of a kind pieces of Art.
Anyone in the Wetherby/Leeds/york area is very welcome to come and visit our showroom/workshop to see how it is all made etc.
Make your kitchen different, save landfill, reduce the impact of electricity and give your firends and family a kitchen to talk about with some Recycled glass.

minipie Fri 14-Sep-12 17:33:13

Normally I'd report you for advertising bottle but actually I'm really intrigued by your worktops. can you give me an idea of cost compared with eg granite? Any plans to do different colours (eg a darker green, I love the greens but they are quite bright).

Yorky Sat 15-Sep-12 08:47:58

Ooh bottle, you may just have solved my lighting dilemma smile

Would your lighting panels be suitable for hanging flat from a ceiling to diffuse a few bulbs above/behind them?
How child friendly is your showroom - and how much of the making can you see? I can watch a glass blower for hours and know what you do is different but still think the DC might be interested, but the eldest is 5.5 so I'm happy to park them on GP while DH and I come and nosey.

Not sure when we'll next be in Leeds though

I wanted a magnetic knife board but we have ceramic knives - any suggestions?!

Plan, Plan, Plan your kitchen extractor/cooker hood very is dull. But necessary. Especially if you are knocking walls down/moving where the cooker is. We are now having fun trying to work all this out after everything planned around a range in the middle of the house...

PigletJohn Sun 23-Sep-12 22:26:30

obsessed with extractors now grin

MmeLindor Mon 24-Sep-12 00:15:24

Thanks for the warning. I was already looking into Bosch appliances, and you have confirmed my thoughts (and saved me arguing with DH cause when I say, 'oooooh noooooooo, MN says they are crap', he will accept that it has to be Bosch')

hihohiho Mon 24-Sep-12 00:24:02


justbogoffnow Mon 24-Sep-12 00:41:17

Self cleaning ovens (set on the 'cremate' setting, which automatically locks the doors too). Just wipe out bit of fine white dust after.

Insinkerator with biggest motor you can afford.

Underfloor heating.

Butler sinks.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Sep-12 01:01:42

why butler sinks?

justbogoffnow Mon 24-Sep-12 01:16:14

Just love them, great for soaking big pots, baking trays. Other one good for handwashing and um.....making marble effect paper. Didn't see point of them until stayed somewhere which had 2 butler sinks and was converted.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Sep-12 01:26:30

what about the stains, the large amount of hot water they take, and the fact that they break things? I'm guessing you're not very tall so don't get backache from leaning over them?

justbogoffnow Mon 24-Sep-12 01:49:56

No stains (have always used bicarb of soda for cleaning white enamel). Need lots of quite hot water sometimes (if not, use less in there). Broken one small bowl only so far. I'm 5 ft 8 and dh 6ft 2, never had backache problems due to the sinks. They work for us anyway. Miss using them for bathing the children when they were babies/ toddlers smile.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 24-Sep-12 08:39:12

I hated our butler sink.

My next kitchen will have a teeny tiny blink and you miss it black granite sink with no drainer. I only need one for washing veg and fruit.

Themumsnot Mon 24-Sep-12 09:09:27

I have a double butler sink and I love it. It is an unforgiving surface though - have already broken two cafetieres by bashing them against the edge. But great for soaking stuff, will take big pans and dishes and looks lovely.

PropositionJoe Mon 24-Sep-12 09:12:33

My granite only needs a wipe over with an ecloth to look shiny, honestly. It is black/grey with lots of speckles (to avoid the tombstone effect grin). I don't use cleaner or polish after the ecloth. Is it because it came from Martin Moore so maybe it is more polished (how can it be more polished?)

PropositionJoe Mon 24-Sep-12 09:13:50

Fluffy - that's fine if you never want to sell the house!

PigletJohn Mon 24-Sep-12 09:43:33

By the time Fluffy sells her next house, I have a feeling that Butler sinks and Agas will have followed downlighters and laminate flooring to the place where Artex and Stone Cladding went. Timber decking is already on its way.

minipie Mon 24-Sep-12 10:52:02

Oh yes, don't know if anyone has said this yet, but have a separate fan AS WELL AS the extractor hood.

We have one and it's a god send. It's quieter than the hood and so can be left on in the background to get rid of any lingering smells from lamb/fish or if something has burned etc.

Fluffycloudland77 Mon 24-Sep-12 12:46:36

You can add a bigger sink though, cut a hole and plumb it in.

I've moved 3 times in 7 years, next one will be sold when I'm dead so I won't care!.

aylsham Mon 24-Sep-12 14:18:43

I did post separately asking if anyone had this

I am replacing sink and Worktop only. This sink would mean I only need to pieces of granite, one each side, rather than one piece with thin back behind sink ie would be cheaper and the sink depth would work with my existing cupboards. Canyou give me views please

aylsham Mon 24-Sep-12 14:22:26
PropositionJoe Mon 24-Sep-12 15:10:23


I have neither a butler sink nor an aga (don't believe you on the latter, piglet John) but I do have a 1 1/2 bowl sink and I think most people want that. With room for a draining rack too.

PigletJohn Mon 24-Sep-12 15:23:34

so do I

the new one is a stainless 1.5 Bistro sink.

typicalvirgo Thu 27-Sep-12 09:50:35

Butler sinks are fantastic for leaving dirty rugby kits in.

I want a huge one in my utility.

Been advised by friend that posh kitchen taps with extending hoses are a total PITA to keep looking decent.

tricot39 Sun 30-Sep-12 15:22:20

Just noted 110 points to consider!

Our lessons:
-vinyl is ok but dents and is sliced very easily.
- keep kettle and toaster off to one side so drniks can be made without blocking the kitchen up.
- ikea sell knife drawer insets for safe storage
- plinth drawers dusty so ok for non food, baking trays etc
- dont scrimp on worktop lighting and connect all lights to wall switch

Brycie Sun 30-Sep-12 15:40:58

NEVER buy a carousel,. They are terrible.

VikingVagine Tue 19-Feb-13 11:27:44

Reviving this thread to ask why the corner carrousels are so awful? What else are you supposed to put in a corner?

Am also very disappointed to realise I've just bought a nice new set of knives but won't be able to have a magnetic strip on the wall because they're ceramic, d'oh.

greenhill Tue 19-Feb-13 11:46:06

I have a corner carousel, it is very useful, but if I looked with a torch to the back of the cupboard, I would see a load of cobwebs, dust, etc. Maybe that is a job for today.

Yesterday I cleaned the detergent drawer with spray bleach and put the empty washing machine on at 90 degrees. It is like new again. Thanks MN'ers for the top tip.

ILikeBirds Tue 19-Feb-13 11:51:41

there are better corner solutions than a carousel. If i had a corner unit i'd have one which has fancy sliding drawers.

ILikeBirds Tue 19-Feb-13 11:55:55
Mandy2003 Tue 19-Feb-13 20:26:59

Don't buy anything Swedish-style from B&Q (not that you would grin). It looked lovely when I moved in but 1 year later the kettle steam has loosened and furled the laminate from the cupboard doors above and the oven has loosened/melted/burned the laminate from doors and units alongside.

annalouiseh Tue 19-Feb-13 20:54:39

That's the down fall of vinyl or foil wrapped doors no matter where you buy them.
Most that supply these doors all use the same suppliers or same quality suppliers.
there is no difference in the quality, if b&q, howdens or ikea on the door really as there is only a few ways to glue a cover on a board. As its glued on, the steam will loosen the glue so it has an orange peel effect. If they haven't used a moister resistant board under (and it wont be) it will also bow over time

fossil971 Tue 19-Feb-13 21:15:19

Viking I have just found carousels to be wobbly and inefficient on space, plus how do you clean behind, or see what's in the cupboard.

An alternative way to do a corner cabinet (an L-shaped one with a double hinged door) is two shelves at 1/3 and 2/3 height, not too deep, maybe 35cm. That way you get the whole base plus two extra levels to put things, but everything is visible and easy to reach. No machinery or inaccessible corners.

You can't easily buy this though for some baffling reason, so we have twice now had it done by the fitter just buying an extra shelf and cutting down the one that came with the unit.

see for example pg 60 of the Magnet brochure

VikingVagine Wed 20-Feb-13 10:34:47

We're going with an Ikea kitchen. They do have similar possibilities for corners (the shelves that kind of pivot and pull out, but we just can't fit them in and have to opt for the carousel version. Oh well, I will have been warned!

VikingVagine Wed 20-Feb-13 10:37:47

Oh, and it's:

Big spoons, forks, knives, tea spoons.

Mandy2003 Wed 20-Feb-13 10:40:18

I would strongly agree with fossil971. The only people I've ever met who truly understand the construction of a corner cupboard at base level like this are the Council kitchen fitters who can knock one up in moments. Must be from having plenty of practice in confined spaces!

superfluouscurves Sun 24-Mar-13 19:17:47

Nit-picking now but in addition to incorporating space for ordinary bin and recycling bins ... maybe the odd cook book etc etc ... a long thin space for trays (perhaps next to dishwasher) is really v. useful (esp. if you entertain a lot) - otherwise where do you keep them?

Gay40 Mon 13-May-13 00:01:01

I have an IKEA kitchen.

NEVER AGAIN. And for the record NEVER AGAIN

superlambanana Tue 04-Jun-13 22:50:00

Why not, Gay40? Please expand before I buy one!!

katatonic Wed 19-Jun-13 22:40:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LizzieM11 Wed 14-May-14 14:55:03

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

wavingfuriously Fri 09-Jan-15 00:04:34

just reading this thread as am currently choosing a new kitchen, totally brilliant /relevant even after a couple of years !
Going to start a NEW thread however about integrated cooker hoods
Great to be on this website !

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now