Your kitchen is the heart of your home and so you want it to look great but be functional enough to offer you durability, with a few mod cons aimed at making cooking a little simpler, whether you’re a budding chef or having a busy family home. However, choosing a kitchen isn’t always easy, and whilst many of us choose our kitchens based on what we’ve seen in the showroom, it’s not always easy to picture what a kitchen will look like fully installed in your own home. With this in mind, we asked Tracey Pearce, Managing director of Ramsbottom Kitchen Company to answer some of the pressing questions associated with purchasing a new kitchen. With over 20 different kitchens on display and staff who have been in the industry for over 30 years, there’s nothing Ramsbottom don’t know about kitchen design and installation, so whether you’re looking for a new kitchen right now, or further down the line, it’s well worth taking note of the answers below.
Thanks for speaking to us Tracey – Tell us a little about how you started off in Kitchen design?
“Having started in the kitchen industry in 1984, I have always tried to give customers a positive experience from start to finish, using knowledgeable staff and high quality kitchens and appliances. In 1996 when my husband and I decided to create the company, we started designing by hand and personally delivering kitchens ourselves. From there, we built the business up, buying vehicles and state of the art CAD design systems to offer customers the very best of kitchen design – they can now literally see what a kitchen will look like in their space at home before any work begins. We also work with a huge variety of top brands such as Sheraton Kitchens, Neff Appliances and provide all the extras needed to create a dream kitchen”.
What do I need to consider when planning a kitchen?
Planning a kitchen is the hardest part, as when visiting a showroom you can fall in love with a style that doesn’t offer the functionality you need, or vice versa, so we asked Tracey what the most important things to consider were.
“Deciding to renovate the kitchen has to have come from somewhere – maybe you decided you could do more with the space, or your family life has changed so the kitchen needs to as well. Whatever your reasons, think about how you will use the space and what is important to include within the finished design. From space saving ideas to clever designs, these are all things that a good designer will incorporate for you.
Questions to ask yourself at this stage are:
‘What is my ideal layout?’ ‘How much storage do I need?’ ‘Do I want to update my appliances or incorporate my current ones?’ Then the obvious questions like ‘what colours do I like or dislike?’ or ‘Are there any styles that I really dislike?’
Armed with your answers, you should go along to an independent kitchen showroom and discuss your ideas with their designer who will have the expertise and know-how to chat through what works and doesn’t work in the space you have while also showing you ideas that you may not have even thought about that perfectly answer you needs.”
What’s the most important style element of a kitchen?
“Looking at any kitchen you always notice the doors, and worktops first. A good kitchen showroom should be able to show you different styles including Shaker, Traditional and Modern. Think about what you would like from the kitchen – are you looking for a minimalist feel or a country kitchen or maybe even a rustic finish? Have an idea before going into the showroom but do not just look at one style of kitchen – you may miss out on something you hadn’t previously considered that could be a great fit for you.”
How do I choose a worktop that fits with the design of my cupboards
“This is a regular question at this stage and the answer really depends on the style of kitchen you have gone with. For example, in a country style shaker kitchen, wooden worktops finish off the area with style and also work well in a country style kitchen but if you had high gloss modern doors, then a shiny quartz or granite worktop would be the best option. Seeing the doors and worktop materials next to each other is important, as you may find a certain combination really takes your fancy.
It’s not just about what works in terms of style though. These days, there are worktops to suit all styles of cooking and if you’re hard on your kitchen worktops, brands like Dekton have really put the work in when it comes to development of quality worktops that are durable, hygienic and scratch resistant, making your kitchen look better for longer. “
Do things like door handles and towel rails really matter?
Whilst many of us are more concerned with the cupboard doors and worktops, Tracey also advises us on the importance of those little added touches that really help to pull the look of a kitchen together. She reveals:
“Handles come in all shapes and sizes and can really add to the style of a kitchen. These extra design elements really make your kitchen stylish and unique.”
These are a major part of the kitchen, and something that should be considered carefully before making a purchase. Tracey tells us:
“Make sure the showroom you decide to visit actually displays a wide range of good appliances. Everybody wants something different so it is important there is something to suit everyone’s tastes, for example, some people want their appliances hidden away, and this is possible with a variety of different kitchens. Others choose safety and accessibility with appliances like Neff’s Slide and Hide Ovens. Even taps can add to the functionality and style of a kitchen – Quooker boiling water taps negate the need for a kettle, and can really save on worktop space. Whatever you go for, make sure the sales staff know about the appliances and can tell you about them – this also tells you a huge amount about whom you are buying from and there is some comfort in the knowledge that they will help you choose the best appliances to suit your needs and your budget. You should also consider energy efficient appliances; allowing you to save money on your energy bills too.”
One of the most common subjects for questions about kitchen purchases has to be that of installation. Tracey gets asked a number of questions about installations and some of the answers may be surprising. Here are just a few of those queries:
Can I use the kitchen while it is under construction?
“It is unlikely that you will be able to use the kitchen for normal day-to-day cooking. There will be running water but you will have to think outside the kitchen to feed the family. Microwaves and small grill ovens can help, or you could consider using a slow cooker, which can be plugged in in any room. In most cases, it’s the prep space that is a little bit of an issue, but if you’ve a dining table handy, then you can make use of that – just remember to protect your table first!”
How long can installation take?
“Depending on the size of the project, it could take between 2 and 4 weeks.
A normal installation starts with the removal of the old kitchen (including taking it away) before plastering, giving you a smooth clean canvas already for the kitchen. A registered NAPIT electrician undertakes all electrical work – a full rewire is usually required due to government legislation requiring an electrical part p certificate. Boilers can be worked around including boxing them in, as long as they are ventilated. Then the new kitchen – with a 10 year guarantee in our case – is installed including all plumbing and electrical work, leaving you a finished working kitchen.”
It’s clear to see that there’s more to kitchen design than choosing a kitchen from a catalogue, but with Tracey’s advice, you’re sure to have more of an idea of how to choose the kitchen that best suits your home – both in terms of style and functionality.