We used a joiner to make our kitchen. He did the lot...units, floor, built shelves and surround for our range, painted the cupboards etc etc. Depends what you want really. A handmade kitchen might cost you more...but you will get a solidly built kitchen made to your specification.
Like Lottie said - a joiner would probably charge a small fortune but it would lovely!
When you go to somewhere like IKEA or some other place to find a kitchen it's not usually people who directly work for them that fit it....and it can end up costing you a fortune. Big companies often tender it out to firms willing to take it on and probably pay them for the constant stream of work. Our friends were quoted 12k to fit a small kitchen from the company IKEA use My DH who often fits kitchens reckoned it was about 25% over the real market price - so he did it instead!
Contact some local builder/joiners/kitchen fitters and ask them how they like to work - speak to them about everything from electrics to plumbing because if you have a dialogue with them from the beginning you can save a fortune in the long run. Some will only buy from say Howdens - because they make a greater profit while others don't like touching IKEA stuff because there is less room for mistakes as the back of the cabinets are more shallow and need nice straight walls. If you can find one that's been recommended then that would be the best way.
We got Wickes to come out to do a plan. I never really intended buying from them. I just wanted their ideas. I then got a carpenter to quote to fit a Howdens kitchen. He assured me he would work out considerably cheaper than Wickes but he didn't and he also didn't show much in the way of imagination. So we've decided on Wickes and it is being fitted in a few weeks. The quoted price bears no resemblance to the brochure price, so don't be put off by that!
have you looked at the IKEA kitchen design tool? it's quite fun to play around with, and you can try all sorts of permutations to get the kitchen you want. You basically try all the units for size, then add the doors/handles you like afterwards, so you can fit everything in before doing the final 'covers' as it were.
We got our kitchen from IKEA, and despite being, um, not very computer literate, I designed the whole thing <preens> and we got it for just over £3K, then we got an independent cowboy builder to fit it for us - to be fair, the fitting was fine, the finishing touches were quite shambolic though, and he kept disappearing for afternoons then reappearing at 6 with power tools and disappearing again for a day or so. However, think we got him to do fitting, electrics, plumbing, plaster for £1.5K (he had pet electricians and plasterers to do those bits).
Also worth going to places like Homebase and B+Q to get them to design you a kitchen based on your measurements, just to get an idea of what's possible.
We liked the IKEA payment plan (0% credit for 1 year if over £1500, 2 years if over £3000), so went with them (plus loved their kitchens) - others I know have used Homebase and loved them.
We got a joiner to build ours as we have sloping ceilings and a funny shaped room. As I wanted a painted finish he suggested a good quality MDF which he routed to make the indents on the cupboard doors. We have 5 wall cupboards, 6 floor cupboards, 4 drawers and a hood above the cooker. It looks fab and cost £2200 including the wooden worktops.
I recently had new doors and worktops fitted instead of a new kitchen as the units where fine. Had a quote from howdens for £11,000, fitted and had the job done by jmckitchens.co.uk for £5,500. Finished job looked superb and the fitters where brilliant.