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Kitchen Secret #10
Your own made-to-measure designer kitchen… or is it???
You must have seen the adverts –
“Your made-to-measure kitchen for the price of a flat-pack!”
The vast majority of kitchens are however made to standardised sizes. Imagine if every kitchen was made to order! The intricate designs within doors would have to be duplicated – but very slightly smaller. It would be very difficult indeed for a kitchen company to start manufacturing some doors at 437.7mm wide with a double carcass internal width of 841.4mm, assuming a carcass width of 17mm.
And in addition to the immense challenge for the designer kitchen company to produce such a size – for the average kitchen there really is no point! However, it is a very saleable commodity for a kitchen company to market its services by announcing that it’s kitchens are custom made. Custom made is of course a relative phrase and never applies to every part of the kitchen – think about the worktops, cornice, plinth etc.
Most kitchen doors sold in this country are pre-made in 300, 400, 500 and 600mm (12 inch, 16 inch, 20 inch and 24 inch) sizes. Kitchens can still look superb whilst sticking to these four particular door widths – and on the bright side, greater standardisation should of course mean a reduction in cost due to economies of scale. (Notice the should in that particular sentence!)
The most important consideration should be how practical and appropriate the kitchen style and quality is for your particular home.
Only very, very rarely would a kitchen designer come up with an occasion when a wholly custom-made piece of furniture is required.
Virtually every ‘designer kitchen’ within the present marketplace will have some sort of ‘filler panel’ in it – fillers are much more common than you think. It’s a great way to hide the fact that you can’t use space.
For example, if a row of kitchen units begins with a tall oven-housing unit next to the wall, to give reasonable access to the appliance it is necessary to bring it out a few centimetres. (Refer to figure 2 in Kitchen Secret 7) It is also quite common for a filler panel to be utilised next to the first wall cabinet in a corner. Commonly, walls aren’t straight. This means that it works better to fix the first wall cabinet a few centimetres from the corner and then use the blended filler to take the ‘look and feel’ all the way to the wall. One other reason why such a cabinet would also start out a few centimetres from the wall is the fact that the door would struggle to open properly otherwise.
Quality in a kitchen doesn’t arrive from making something to order. Quality comes from fixing something together & ensuring that it remains ‘flush’.
One more secret that kitchen companies use to make sure that your kitchen lies in the right place is to alter the size of the worktop.
Worktops generally come in 3 sizes – 600, 700 and 900mm deep. If your kitchen base needs to be ‘stretched’ due to a squint wall or the location of a fixed appliance such as a cooker, then the fitter has the option of placing the front of the cabinet at a location that he prefers and working back by ‘scribing’ the worktop to the correct size and shape. The size of the cabinets remains the same, however the ‘gap’ behind them increases.
The final area to consider when designing a kitchen with fixed sized cabinets is immovable objects. Whether they are electricity sockets, a stop tap for the water, an electricity meter or a gas meter. All these objects can be planned around as long as enough planning goes into it. For instance, you need to make sure that your kitchen designer hasn’t made one electrical socket almost impossible to use due to its location. It’s what you do with it that counts. Remember that most designer kitchen companies use the same, standard sizes. Most, if not all of what you want can be accomplished. As long as if some thought is put into it!