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What the f***k am I going to do about my kitchen - full service magnet, Ikea with conrete/quartz worktops or B&Q or shall I just shoot myself

(54 Posts)
splodge2001 Sun 19-Jul-09 12:16:40

I'm having more trouble with this than natural childbirth (though at least with a kitchen I can decide im not going to go through with it)

We live on the 7th floor of a central london mansion block (so access isn't great) and we don't have a car. Our kitchen is a small galley and it desperately needs replacing. We have no cash - we'd borrow from the mortgage at a favourable 2.5%.

I am totally confused about what way to go. So far we have become casually acquainted with Magnet (seems to be good quality but 10k minimum), Ikea (also seems to be 10k minimum inc appliances, Cooke and Lewis at B&Q.

I'd like a high gloss white kitchen with no handles on doors, quartz or concrete worktops and clever storage solutions. I'd like to do it as cheaply as possible but also with the minimum hassle. I get unstuck at this point coz I can't put a value on the hassle aspect. DH is good with DIY but we dont have a car and its not worth him taking time off work to do it. Our flat is tiny and DD is only 3months, so hassle needs to be kept to a minimum.

What shall I do? I'm an awful project manager /planner can't work out where 2 start. Can't visit lots of DIY places as we have no CAR! yesterday went to B&Q on Old Kent Road and was a bit too stressful trying to find somewhere to BF (ended up in ASDA cafe.

Does anyone have any advice - ways to get minimum hassle at little cost. Could I buy own appliances and worktops to save, are fitters from Magnet/Ikea a needless expense or are they much more efficient.

AND AND AND what about concrete - so fa only found intimidating interior design website that supply and am a bit embarrassed to call in case they laugh at me for daring to think I can possibly afford it.

One more thing...if you're getting worktops by someone else at what point to you call them in - when the kitchen is already done?

ps. why am i so stupid? I have a Bsc from a top Russell group Uni and I really really cant my head around an f-ing solution for my horrid kitchen.

serenity Sun 19-Jul-09 12:28:09

OK. Can only address a few of these as I've never had a kitchen done in my life (but my Mum just has!)

Most places, as far as I know, allow you to plan kitchens online (IKEA definitely does, should point out though that I work for them) Have a look at their websites. Might help you make up your mind.

AFAIK B&Q subcontract their fitters, not sure with Magnet, IKEA have their own (so know exactly how to fit it - allegedly grin . My Mum did it the other way around though, she hired someone to fit the kitchen, and got them to run around buying units, work surfaces etc. Not sure how flexible he was though (whether he only bought from certain places)

Hopefully some kitchen savvy person will be along soon!

Onlyaphase Sun 19-Jul-09 12:50:06

I've had 3 kitchens fitted in the last 3 years (I move lots) and have found the easiest way is either to (a) find a good kitchen fitter who will then run around project managing electrics, plumbing, gas etc or (b) go somewhere like Magnet who will do everything for you (and charge accordingly)

Personally, I've used Howdens the last couple of times - price was under £5K last time for kitchen, fitting and appliances. A lot of fitters will use Howdens kitchens. Can you look on the web to find the nearest Howdens to you - they will most likely be on an industrial site somewhere - and go and have a look in their tiny showroom where they will have one door in each of their finishes. You can then make an appointment for a designer to come and see you, plan a kitchen for you and take all the measurements etc and discuss appliances. They should then be able to recommend a fitter for you, who will have mates to do all the electrics and gas etc. You may have to find your own tiler and tiles though. Actually, maybe you could just call them and ask for a designer to come and see you, but you will probably need to see the finishes first.

This also applies to Magnet and all the other places who do kitchens, but Howdens is cheaper IMO and good quality.

I would say that if you aren't sure about things you may be better off going down this route than trying to source everything yourself, plus if you go down the self-sourcing route, you will only have yourself to blame when you have a 90cm wide gap for your oven and a 100cm wide oven being delivered up the stairs

Re worksurfaces - one time I had a granite worktop fitted and the fitters came to measure this when the kitchen was half done so they could take the measurements correctly. Sometimes they will give you a cheap plywood top until the final worksurface is done, so don't panic about having no worksurface for weeks. I'd call up some places and see what their typical costs are per metre and when they would suggest coming out to measure and then fit.

Onlyaphase Sun 19-Jul-09 12:50:43

I've had 3 kitchens fitted in the last 3 years (I move lots) and have found the easiest way is either to (a) find a good kitchen fitter who will then run around project managing electrics, plumbing, gas etc or (b) go somewhere like Magnet who will do everything for you (and charge accordingly)

Personally, I've used Howdens the last couple of times - price was under £5K last time for kitchen, fitting and appliances. A lot of fitters will use Howdens kitchens. Can you look on the web to find the nearest Howdens to you - they will most likely be on an industrial site somewhere - and go and have a look in their tiny showroom where they will have one door in each of their finishes. You can then make an appointment for a designer to come and see you, plan a kitchen for you and take all the measurements etc and discuss appliances. They should then be able to recommend a fitter for you, who will have mates to do all the electrics and gas etc. You may have to find your own tiler and tiles though. Actually, maybe you could just call them and ask for a designer to come and see you, but you will probably need to see the finishes first.

This also applies to Magnet and all the other places who do kitchens, but Howdens is cheaper IMO and good quality.

I would say that if you aren't sure about things you may be better off going down this route than trying to source everything yourself, plus if you go down the self-sourcing route, you will only have yourself to blame when you have a 90cm wide gap for your oven and a 100cm wide oven being delivered up the stairs

Re worksurfaces - one time I had a granite worktop fitted and the fitters came to measure this when the kitchen was half done so they could take the measurements correctly. Sometimes they will give you a cheap plywood top until the final worksurface is done, so don't panic about having no worksurface for weeks. I'd call up some places and see what their typical costs are per metre and when they would suggest coming out to measure and then fit.

mumblechum Sun 19-Jul-09 13:30:09

In your cercs I'd be getting Magnet or similar to come in and sort everything out with absolute minimum input from me other than choosing stuff.

Re. the worktops, I got the worktop co. to come in and measure up on my existing kitchen (wasn't replacing the cabinets).

If you go for a Magnet type organisation they'll worry about when and how to sort the worktops out.

mumblechum Sun 19-Jul-09 13:30:26

circs not cercs.

TDiddyIsaMan Sun 19-Jul-09 13:39:47

Once had an Ikea kitchen + granite top fitted by kitchen carpenter. IT looked good when it was done but Ikea delivery people were a nightmare. Took ages to get full set of correct parts.

splodge2001 Sun 19-Jul-09 15:38:39

Thanks everyone. think im gravitating towards magnet - other people recommended it too

jeanjeannie Sun 19-Jul-09 15:49:29

Another YUP! for Magnet.

Is it possible to get see if there is a (good/recommended/quality) builder/fitter near you? only that with a trade account it'll be cheaper! DP has a trade account there and it works out cheaper for the client to have him buy it and install it than it is for them to buy it full price and get Magnet fitters in. Just a thought.

splodge2001 Sun 19-Jul-09 16:31:01

JEANJEANNIE

can you get a design from Magnet Retail and then go the TRADE route with the design/units from the retail side?

Also has anyone experienced getting worktops done by a different contractor? any recommendations for concrete/quartz suppliers/fitters in London

risingstar Sun 19-Jul-09 18:12:16

can i chip in here for John Lewis-esp as you are in central london?

i did the howdens route via builder and was v pleased but then i had a builder that was very good and recommended.

my friend didnt and went and looked at all the usual places, homebase, ikea, magnet, wickes.

then she went to john lewis and found that their base level kitchen was much nicer than mid-range units from everywhere else. They did all the fitting apart from the tiling and it came in a vvv reasonable price.

might be a very good place to at least start.

she also took great comfort from the fact that it was john lewis,,,you know what i mean!

splodge2001 Sun 19-Jul-09 18:47:28

yeah J-LEW!

i often hang out there after dropping ds at school (though thats over now) will give them a go.

just been flipping through catalogues and base units seem to b way more exp in b&q, JL, magnetb than Ikea - am i missing a trick here? whats going on?

cece Sun 19-Jul-09 22:10:59

For your info, after months of kitchen research, I am having delivered this week;

white gloss kitchen from Benchmarx (Wickes kitchens but rigid built carcasses instead of flatpack.)

appliances bought separately from appliancesdirect.co.uk. Got a Neff oven and hob and a bargain price.

timber worktops on order from Barncrest.co.uk price reasonable and they send you free samples

HTH

splodge2001 Sun 19-Jul-09 23:47:47

What made you go down that particular route cece? did you design it yourself? did you start off by hiring a builder

Lusi Mon 20-Jul-09 01:07:20

I've just had a new kitchen fitted...
I spent ages dithering and first got quotes nearly 3 years ago from B&Q, Wickes, MFI and Howdens. My mistake was telling them how much I was prepared to spent - all came in at around my maximum...and they all had little scams...eg Wickes a sink for almost £300...or an oven from B&Q for £500 that you could buy from Comet for £350. Also B&Q wanted to charge me £60 for pulling my freestanding fridge out and putting it back again!

In the end I went to Ikea - the units seem good quality and everyone I know with one is really impressed and they have a 25 yr guarantee on the units. I didn't use Ikea fitters - if you look at reviews it depends where you are in the country as to how good they are - I managed to get someone through a friend of a friend - they did everything including laying the floor and tiling. They would have got someone in to do the electrics but I needed a rewire and a new consumer unit so got my brother (electrician) and his work mate to come 300 miles to do it (and it still cost £1K). I also had my ceiling and one wall replastered and a window sill made.
With Ikea you can download a planner and do your own design and then take it them and they will fiddle a bit and you can go away again and play a bit more...and the units are cheaper so you can then spend a bit more on things like appliances.
I got Bosch appliances - read up lots of reviews and they seem to be good mid range quality (and brands like Smeg/Siemens seem to not do so well...although Miele are good)
I got my dishwasher from Coop electric and my hob and cooker from my local Euronics shop - who price matched big companies on the internet. (Coop would have done the same price but couldn't get the model of oven I wanted in time)
Ikea appliances also do quite well at Which and they have a 5yr guarantee (but it excludes normal wear and tear????)
I got my work tops from Buildbase cos they do a 4m and 3 m lengths - and that meant I had just the right amount. I looked at granite/concrete/wood but
firstly granite would have doubled the price of the kitchen, concrete (as I understand) is very heavy and might need the base cabinets strengthening and can take a long time and wood apparently stains really badly...so I chose a good quality non-gloss dark laminate - which actually looks ok.
Finally do you really want white high gloss with a DC? Will show every dirty fingerprint and could easily get scuffed (a bit like high gloss work tops)and look a mess really quickly (even the guy in Ikea said that the cheaper plain ones were the best bet with children - you can always change the doors when they grow up!).

Mine (15 units) came in at £7.5K - including the electrics and extras like a garden tap, security light and extraction vented outside - £1k above original budget...

What you need to do is set a budget - which is in line with the value of your property and how long you intend to live there and then work around that. If you spent £3-4k on a granite work top and you moved in 2 years time would that have added that much extra on the value of your house????

KristinaM Mon 20-Jul-09 01:25:56

splodge - no disrespect, but you dont sound very pratically minded

its a lot of time and work to project manage this yourself and you admit yourself that its not "your thing"

i your situation i woudl get a good builder who can buy what you want from howdens or similar and fit it

your prices seem very high, espcially as you have no savings, are having to borrow the money and are ( i assume) on maternity leave

we have a large kitchen and all our units were £5K ( solid oak) and our granite worktops less than £2k

i think you are over specifying for a tiny galley kitchen in a tiny flat.forget the concrete and go for decent laminate or granite

plain white gloss units are murder to clean but availabel everywhere

i cant see how you need to spend £10K PLUS worktops

you need to give more thought to pratical issues like layout, electrics, splashbacks, flooring, appliances and storage solutions

step away from the glossy magazines and get out your measuring tape and pencil and paper

think how you actually use the kitchen.

why is it "horrible" now?

the lighting?

lack of space?

poor layout?

hard to clean?

etc etc

jeanjeannie Mon 20-Jul-09 09:06:14

Yes, you can get a design for free from Magnet but i assume you're going to be dodging the salesman at every turn!

Personally I wouldn't let a company that I bought from fit it for me - I'd find a decent builder. COmpanies just hire anyone they can get their hands on at the time and if it's not good quality or something is wrong then it's often a painful process to put right. Plus - it's not cheap!

Think you should see if you could get a builder to perhaps talk you through the possibilites in the space you have.

splodge2001 Mon 20-Jul-09 10:38:20

ok thanks guys - im starting to get it all a little better. maybe i am slightly over complicating things.

youve all made some very good points. I read on Kirstie's Homemade home that a new kitchen could add 8% to the value of ur home. weve got a small but exp flat in the middle of london - hence zero saving wink - i guess 8% doesnt apply in this situation?

if we spent 7-10k would we get it back?

KristinaM Mon 20-Jul-09 13:33:46

if we spent 7-10k would we get it back?

impossible to say, a kitchen salesperson will say yes of course. but we are in a recession, you have no savings and are on mat leave? you don't have a lot of spare cash. you have a tiny kitchen. you honestly don't need top of the range units and concrtete worktops

you can get gloss door units from howdens/ ikea/ wickes and granite or good laminate worktops. mid range appliances, sinks and taps sourced on the net. clever lighting, a well though out layout and an excellent finish are crucial

i spent just under £10K on my kitchen last year for:

units
appliances
worktops
sinks and taps
tiles

and its a lot bigger than yours. i dont think it looks cheap but see for yourself on my profile. i know its a very traditional look and you want modern, which shoudl be easier to do on a budget

that doesnt include building work, new doors, flooring, and decoration but sounds like you wont need to do that

honestly you can do this smile

splodge2001 Mon 20-Jul-09 19:09:49

Thanks for all the help - I just did a kitchen plan on the IKEA website! going to magnet on sat and J-Lew on fri BUT there is one thing

If you start off with a builder - who does the design? And whats starts the ball rolling - do you get a design first then show your builder, does he design it? How does it work? grin

cece Mon 20-Jul-09 22:59:27

I went to several places, ranging from Wickes to Magnet to a posh kitchen shop. Got them to design my kitchen from scratch and then took the best of all of their ideas.

After several months or refining my design, thinking about where everything would go, where I would work etc, I then got quotes from several places for my final design - cupboards only so it was easy to compare the prices.

Ithen used these quotes to haggle down the price for my chosen supplier.

I then chose my oven etc and searched online for the cheapest price for the models I wanted. The company I bought from price matched the two items that they sold for more than I had found them for. All you have to do is ask them !

The worktops were chosen because I wanted an expensive look but found granite a bit too expensive! We have gone for walnut, which is one of the most expensive timbers for worktops. Havign spent less on the cupboards I felt spending more on the worktop would be more noticeable. We have also chosen expensive looking handles too.

Basically it was a lot of work but tbh I have enjoyed doing all the research and leg work. Can't wait for it to be fitted now,

Lusi Tue 21-Jul-09 00:21:57

As cece says go to all these places with your dimensions and let them do a design for you ...and give you a price (and for fitting)but be aware that if you need to move your gas appliances/water, electrics - it will all add onto the cost - much cheaper to try and leave near to where they are. (also Ikea cupboards don't have a space behind them -so you can't easily run pipes etc behind them.)
Do try and avoid the big company fitters - do you have a local community website - might be worth asking on there for recommendations...(beware of someone sneakily recommending themselves though) ask for references and to see their completed work if possible...also you could ask your neighbours (just remembered you are in London...so IME they probably aren't very approachablesad), friends, work colleagues etc. Show the fitter/builder your design(s) and ask for a quote - but make sure it contains all the work you want them to do - eg stripping and disposing of your old kitchen , flooring, tiling, decorating - guessing you don't want to do any of those things yourself...but of course it will be more expensive.

Don't know if it was just my brother doing a good job for me or it is now a requirement but all my appliances are now on isolation switches - so they plug in at the back but you can turn it off at a switch at worktop level - if a fault develops you don't need to pull an appliance out to disconnect it...(also very handy if your DC likes pressing buttons...especially when they turn on the dishwasher again before you have got round to emptying it -haven't worked out the childproof lock yet!) If your kitchen doesn't already have this then you might need to have it installed - which could be an extra expense.

As to budget...your current kitchen didn't put you off buying - (you either thought I will have to get that replaced or it was only as you lived with it you began to dislike it...) In the first case - as in mine - the 8% should be true - when I bought I thought it needs a new kitchen ... In the second case - it will add almost nothing -you paid what you paid thinking it was ok. Also how long do you intend to live there? (I have a view to buying a bigger house and renting this one out - so I kept it neutral and easy to clean). Also remember that some of the more modern/indivdual styles will soon become dated and that won't add value to your house...
Finally I had this house surveyed a few years ago when I had stripped all the wallpaper off the living room walls, it needed a new kitchen and a new bathroom...I asked the surveyor if that would devalue the house - and he said not really - some people prefer to buy like this and then they can put their own stamp on it...

BTW My dad/brothers are doing up a house they inherited and are looking for a kitchen (just kitchen - not the fitting) - he was going to go with Magnet until he saw my kitchen - now he is going with Ikea...

KristinaM Tue 21-Jul-09 23:22:52

well done on your kitchen plan

now stand in your kitchen and see how it works with the things you do every day

eg get out mugs,spoons, coffe tea, fill kettel, boil, get milk out fridge etc

did you have to move more than a few steps?

if so you need to re think

what about collecting dirty dishes, scrape waste into bin, rinse, put in dishwasher, empty, put away

does it work for you?

if not it doesnt matter how nice it looks, you will hate it

re eletrics - we didnt want lots of switches on the walls for isolating appliances and so we fitted a small consumer unit in one of the wall cupboarsd to simplify wiring. but thats probably not necessary in small flat / kitchen

we bought lighting similar to thisfrom ikea. it was £30 and not £50 and only white so i guess thsi is the new version

its meant to be plugged in but we hardwired it

we have two sections ( of one set of lights) under the wall cabinets and two sitting on top. they are really lightweight, you can just stick then on with sticky pads as they don't get hot. and a small switch underneath one of the cabinets at the door. i mean stuck to it, not on the wall

the effect at night is really fab and everyone thinks they were mega £££

if you have an all white kitchen it woudl be fun to have the option of different colours, or if you think thats naff you coudl set it to white

we also put pressure switch operated light inside some cupboards, so they go on when you open the door. useful, looks great and very inexpensive. if bought off teh net from specialist shop and not from expensive kitchen showroom

if i were you i would go for inexpensive white units from howdens etc, good quality worktops ( but not concrete or corian ), sink and taps, glass splashbacks and some clever lighting and storage

remember safety since your baby will soon be a toddler

splodge2001 Wed 22-Jul-09 10:17:37

Excellent info - like the haggling idea and the plinth lights - coloured lights sounds like 'kitchen of the future'! grin

Armed with new knowledge had a man from magnet round yesterday morning -what a wanker!

told me it would b 16k!!!!!!!!!

i said ' i dont understand where you get that figure from' his quote included 4k appliances and 4k for worktops. i laughed and said well you can get rid of all of that coz i'll get them much cheaper online.

Howdens seems to b popular. how do their carcasses/hinges compare to ikea or magnet???

KristinaM Wed 22-Jul-09 11:01:12

oh splodge, you are really getting into it now

re lights - we put ours under and above wall cabinets

i fancied the plinth lights too but MNers said that they highlight the floor so you have to keep it spotless at all times. so that was scored off the list right away grin

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