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Please help me design a fantastic kitchen/diner

(29 Posts)
ptangyangkipperbang Mon 13-Dec-10 16:25:58

We are knocking a wall down to make a kitchen/diner. Apart from knowing that I want a breakfast bar to divide the kitchen from the dining area I am stuck!

What should I be considering? What are the best/worst decisions you have made when designing a kitchen?

Will having a free standing American fridge, rather than an integrated one, make it look like an after thought?

Pros and cons of tiles v glass splashbacks?

I really don't want to make expensive mistakes but don't know where to start.

Your help would be so appreciated.

Fiddledee Mon 13-Dec-10 16:30:44

Sorry I hate breakfast bars - what about an island?

CybillLiberty Mon 13-Dec-10 16:46:04

I dont like breakfast bars either. Noone really sits up at them and they become a dumping ground IMO

Better to open room up and have a large table in the middle

CybillLiberty Mon 13-Dec-10 16:47:39

My fridge freezer free standing in an otherwise integral kitchen, looks fine

I have stainless steel splashbacks-glass might get limey and watermarked

Keep it simple-nothing too trendy or fussy

lalalonglegs Mon 13-Dec-10 16:49:26

I'm not mad on breakfast bars either. My advice is a wall of tall cupboards to hide everything in; don't have black granite (it's beyond ubiquitous); eye-level oven rather than under the counter and position your sink and hob so that you have a lot of worksurface. If you have lots of gadgets (blender/food processor/bread maker etc), I'd get a lot of sockets in one corner and one of those cupboards with a pull down metallic shutter so you can just have them plugged in the whole time, pull out whichever one you need and then stick the main body of it (that doesn't need cleaning) straight back again. And remember, a dishwasher is great storage space if you are trying to tidy up in a hurry when entertaining - only ever get a 600mm wide one though.

ptangyangkipperbang Mon 13-Dec-10 16:56:30

Thanks - great advice. Thought the breakfast bar was a good idea to break the space up but I guess in some way that defeats the object of having a bigger room. I don't think we can fit an island in because the room is pretty long but I don't think quite wide enough.

Our current dumping ground is the wine rack so I don't really want to create another one! The pull down metallic shutter sounds great - I didn't even know they existed.

lalalonglegs Mon 13-Dec-10 18:22:39

Yes, they do, they are brilliant (but I can't remember their real name - Magnet and Ikea both used to have them, don't know if they still do...). Great name by the way wink.

noddyholder Mon 13-Dec-10 18:24:25

Oh no to breakfast bar here aswell and no island unless the kitchen is so big it can fit one and a decent big table aswell.I would prefer to have a table and maybe a sofa where you can drink coffee and listen to radio/read papers rather than a b bar.

noddyholder Mon 13-Dec-10 18:27:13

Agree with cybil no trendy dtuff looks terrible in no time. Stick with wood white decent appliances hide most of them unless attractive.Add interesrt with the back splashes or tiles and keep some space 'open' for shelves for the cooking things you use a lot.I have a freestanding fridge in a kitchen that is all integrated and it is fine.

CybillLiberty Mon 13-Dec-10 18:43:06

I have a tall ceiling height double cupboard (I call it my pantry ) on the opposite side of the kitchen to my work tops, I didnt want food stored in prep areas, just pans, plates cutlery etc .Fridge freezer next to that

I have a free standing sideboard with a zinc top that I love, it matches but doesnt at the same time

i wish I had somewhere to store all my recycling and crap.

lowrib Mon 13-Dec-10 19:28:56

Best (last minute) decision - not to go with IKEA. Despite pretty much the worst customer service I've ever experienced - twice, from the same very stroppy girl in the kitchen dept. at their store in Tottenham - I was still determined to ahead with getting a kitchen from them. But then my builder mate warned me off them as their kitchen units don't allow space for pipes on the wall. (Pretty much all UK brands do). This means that any money we'd saved by going with IKEA would have been a total false economy - we'd have spent it several times over, paying the carpenter to alter the cupbouards to allow for the pipes.

We went with Wickes in the end. Really easy to deal with, nice range, great customer service - we ordered the wrong bit (totally our fault) and they bent over backwards to make it right, even though we had lost the receipt.

The thing I got wrong when planning the kitchen was that I tried to maximise the uninterupted surface space (in a very small kitchen). But this was a mistake, as we ended up with the biggest space being on the side of the sink. With the best will in the world, this is where plates end up, and so it actually I should have made this the smaller space. I hope this makes sense!

Also, I wish I'd put more plugs in. Next time I design a kitchen, I'll start with the plugs!

noddyholder Mon 13-Dec-10 19:55:59

I have ikea cupbiards as they are deeper and v strong but you do need deep worktops to be able to allow for pipes at the back.A good carpenter can adapt them though.I have no wall units but a 6m run of triple shelves with all my crockery on BUT i am v tidy and anal about keeping them tidy blush.

thesecondcoming Mon 13-Dec-10 20:20:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CybillLiberty Mon 13-Dec-10 20:52:29

I have no wall units either-just a painted dresser top wall mounted

lowrib Mon 13-Dec-10 21:43:32

Hiya noddyholder. I totaly agree, an experienced carpenter will be able to sort out IKEA cupboards to work with pipes.

But if you're on a tight budget this is worth knowing before you buy. If you're paying your carpenter by the hour, then it's basically a hidden cost of buying an IKEA kitchen.

Pannacotta Mon 13-Dec-10 22:02:33

Loads of good advice here,I do think its important to know how you shop and cook and plan accordingly, a kitchen designer wont know this.

I find that working out what doesnt work and writing it down is a good first step.
Also, save any photos of kitchens/interiors which you like and see if there is a common theme (there usually is).

Get some good designers round to have a look and consider independent suppliers too, they are often good in terms of service.

lalalonglegs Mon 13-Dec-10 22:57:08

I just have the pipes run under my Ikea units as much as possible and run through the units to meet the tap etc - it's not a big deal and it means that the cupboards don't have to removed if there is a leak. My (non-Ikea) kitchen fitter didn't even mention it being a problem.

There's a lot of stuff I wouldn't buy from Ikea but their kitchens are excellent and they have great storage ideas such as pull out drawers rather than shelves within cupboards. Soooo useful.

Pannacotta Mon 13-Dec-10 22:59:46

lala what kind of worktop do you have to go with your units?

Kristingle Mon 13-Dec-10 23:06:37

I got lots of great tips from mumsnetters when designing our new kitchen - the thread is here

lalalonglegs Tue 14-Dec-10 18:45:13

I have an oak worktop (Ikea again) - I used to have slate in my old home but couldn't afford it this time round. It was gorgeous. Next home I am thinking of concrete...

twosoups Tue 14-Dec-10 23:16:14

I disagree about having a centre table. We have a huge kitchen with a central table and it drives me absolutely nuts. I'm always walking around it and if there's somebody blocking (for example) the path to the fridge, I have to go right the way around that damned table to get to it.

Our worst design mistake was the central table. Granite is fabulous but I wouldn't choose black again because it shows the streaks.

soapydishcloth Wed 15-Dec-10 14:31:37

Our kitchen should be finished by the end of this week, so while I can't tell yet what's been a mistake, I know what looks fab.

It's a Howdens Tewkesbury kitchen with a mix of white and oak units and I love them. The worktop is a mottled black/grey granite - my spec was for one which looks like a cat's walked over it because that's what will happen.

Good things are the big pull out bin (fills a 600mm unit), the Neff oven with door which slides underneath and a warming drawer.

I also don't like breakfast bars or central tables, but I'm lucky in that the room is L shaped and separating the cooking and eating spaces is easy.

The kitchen designer was OK but unimaginative - I designed it myself essentially.

monkeychambers Wed 15-Dec-10 15:16:17

Can I hi-jack ?

Soapy dish cloth - we are planning an extension which will give us an L shaped kitchen / diner - but I just can't work out how it should be laid out - would you have any tips?

soapydishcloth Thu 16-Dec-10 15:20:28

Hi monkey,

The dining area is a conservatory type side return extension we built a couple of years ago and we have been saving up since to replace the kitchen. Essentially the kitchen part is a galley style with hob and sink on one side, ovens on the other. The other part of the L shape (IYSWIM) is the dining bit with the table and chairs in. This is open to the old dining room (rear reception room of an end terrace) but we're probably going to put glass doors there.

Does this help?

notasize10yetbutoneday Thu 16-Dec-10 16:01:01

Ptangyang- are you me?! we are also in the process of designing a kitchen diner, knocking a wall down- even down to having a frestanding fridge instead of integrated!

I think we have finally decided on having tall larder units on one wall, and no wall units on the other- although one of the kitchen designers half-suggested that this might look imbalanced- what do you all think? I really don't want wall units though.

Going for solid oak units and black quartz worktops.

I don't know what to do about heating though. it has no heating at the moment and is like an icebox in this weather, and will undoiubtedly be even colder once we open the space up. the kitchen designers seem anti-underloor heating though. Any thoughts?

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