Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Anyone can do it, can't they?

Anyone can fit a kitchen, surely?  Well any builder, certainly?

Well, we at Kitchen Solutions Kent would soundly answer "NO! DEFINITELY NOT!".  Many of the problems we see, and are asked to rectify, are problems caused by inappropriate or poor quality fitting.   So what should you consider when looking to have a kitchen fitted?

Firstly, measure!  Measure all aspects of your kitchen; then measure them again, and then measure them again.  And when we say measure we mean measure to the millimetre.  Kitchen fitting is a precise art and the tolerances are to millimetres not centimetres.

Secondly, consider the quality of your walls and ceiling.  What are the wall and ceiling constructed of, are they sound and strong, and are they true and level. If your kitchen walls are not true and level it will be a devil of a job to install a quality kitchen so you may need to consider dry lining.  Also, is the ceiling level and is the height uniform across the kitchen?

Thirdly, consider who specifically is going to fit the kitchen and whether they are qualified? 

For the gas in the United Kingdom it is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work to be registered on the Gas Safe Register.  This will ensure they are fit and competent to carry out the work. 

For the electrics, consider that "Part P of the Building Regulations" came into effect on 1st January 2005.  Now any electrical work must be carried out by a qualified and certified individual conforming to "Part B".

For plumbing there is no legal certification at the moment but the government are considering such a move.  The sooner the better we say!  But the plumber will need to be able to produce high quality work in some very tight spaces.  There isn't a lot of room behind kitchen cabinets but that's where your plumbing will go.  

Finally, the cabinets themselves.  Nobilia kitchens units come fully built, no flat pack construction here.  But this also means you'll need carpentry skills to cabinet builder quality to treat the units with the respect they deserve.  And if your having stone or corian worktops the cabinets must be completely level.  There's no play in solid worktops so a few millimetres out of level precludes their fitting.

So anyone can fit a kitchen.  Certainly not.   This is a precision job needing gas and electrical certification, top notch plumbing skills and cabinet building carpentry talent. Have a long chat with your kitchen supplier or us at Kitchen Solutions Kent.  Who fits your kitchen will be crucial to it's overall success.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Hug For A Hoody

A kitchen extractor hood is a simple, easy to choose appliance.  Right?  Well, there are a few things you need to consider before you make that choice.

Duct-out or recycled?  So which one should you choose? The duct-out system expels both moisture and odours to the outside.  This makes them much more effective, circulating at least 30% more air than the recycle equivalent while not requiring charcoal filters to clean the air.  The down side is that they will need to be ducted through the wall to the outside involving significantly more fitting work. Recycle extractors, on the other hand, filter the air through a charcoal filter back into the kitchen.  They are quick and simple to fit and will remove the odours, but not the moisture. If possible, it is almost always better to choose a ducted hood.

Think about the practicalities before you choose. With either hood system think about where and how it is going to be fitted.   Is that ceiling sound and strong enough to take the weight of an island hood?  And, if ducted,  where will you route the ducting? If you want the ducting hidden will it go into the ceiling? Does your ceiling have joists and in which direction do they run? 

Consider noise! An open-plan kitchen/diners can enhance your entertaining pleasures significantly, but bear in mind that kitchens "in full swing" can be quite noisy places to sit.   So look at decibel levels for the hood and opt for a quieter extractor.  In other words, think of how you kitchen is going to be used and set your priority list accordingly.  An industrial hood will certainly clear the air but may not be the best company for a quiet glass of wine!

And remember to use your hood wisely.  To remove cooking odours most efficiently, turn on your hood before you start cooking and then leave it running on the lowest speed for a few extra minutes once you’ve finished.

Finally, don't feel an extractor hood is just a blank piece of steel.  Today you can have hoods that look anything but the traditional idea of an extractor. If you need advice, Kitchen Solutions Kent would welcome the opportunity to discuss your ideas and desires.  A little time in reflection over this simple appliance may prove most rewarding.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hidden Art

Small kitchens and small budgets need not dictate a style free kitchen.  With a little thought, a touch of modern technology and a capable kitchen designer it's more than possible to create a stylish kitchen in a small space.   Modern hideaway kitchens are starting to make there mark over here as they are well suited to those space and budget challenges. 

Light, light and light again

In a small space good lighting is an essential. Consider flush ceiling lights with directional spot lights for the cooking and work surface areas.   And fit lights under the wall units.  This will light up the work areas and give the units a floating effect.

Broad shoulders

Working surface will be at a minimum so consider fitting a wide island that can house the sink and cooker.  With suitable design you can fit an entire kitchen into a relatively small island, a kind of kitchen in a box!  

Smooth and silky

Keep the finish smooth and simple.  Minimalism is the watchword here as complex patterns will diminish the feel of space. Consider smaller appliances with minimal detailing, underfloor heating to reduce wall clutter, simple plain units,  and matching floors.  Hideaway kitchens are sleek and streamlined, so any appliances on show should be too.

And breathe...

All kitchen require good ventilation, but the key to success is to choose a hood that hides. Clean lines and simplicity in glass or steel are good for minimalism.  And if you choose that kitchen in an island then go for a designer hood that looks, well, nothing like an extractor!

Why not come and talk to Kitchen Solutions Kent and discuss your ideas.  What ever your design, it can always be hidden

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Nautical Cooking

 A galley kitchen usually consists of two rows of units divided by an essential corridor.  These can be difficult to work with but there are a few tricks you can use. So how do you design a galley kitchen?

The first essential feature is a corridor that's wide enough!  The minimum is considered to be 1.4m. You may believe that you could cope with less but remember you need space to open unit and appliance doors, and you may well need to have two people squeezing passed each other. So 1.4m minimum it is.

Plan in that magic kitchen triangle, an imaginary triangle formed between the sink, cooker and fridge.  You need to check that all three are easy to reach while also allowing room between them to work. Remember you'll need food preparation space next to the hob and never place the cooker, hob or sink within 40cm of a corner or behind a doorway.

As galley kitchens tend to be smallish, plan in plenty of kitchen storage. It's a good idea to speak to your local kitchen designers at Kitchen Solutions Kent  as there are many clever ideas to increase storage space. Innovations include skinny larder units which pull out and then rotate 90 degrees on their axis to make it easy to pick the can or bottle you want. Other helpers are extendable baskets within units, corner units with carousels or pull-out shelves so you can easily reach items at the back, and drawers fitted into the plinth below the units.

If space is really tight bear in mind that small is both beautiful and practical.  Many manufacturers now provide multi-function or half size appliances.  Go for sleek hobs and narrow fridges and freezers. A cooker hood is all the more important in a limited space so get your designer to work out the power you need from it, based on the volume of the room.

A touch of class is always welcome.  Add some luxury with finishes in stone, glass, steel or sleek Corian.  Using the same material for the worktop and splashback is a match made in heaven but coloured glass can have a spectacular effect.   If you do introduce colour limit your choice to one vibrant hue, adding multiple coulours in a small space can easily be an overkill.

And finally maximise daylight!  This is vital in a small room and will help it feel larger, however small the initial space..