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Good Kai's Kitchen Design - How to Manage a Remodel

So here I was sitting in the waiting room at a Dental Surgery in East Twickenham, leafing nervously (I'm a dental phobe) through their glossy mags and there it was, this tiny picture of a kitchen. Washed oak cabinetry, contrasting black worktop, not your usual outfit but I really liked it. I quickly snapped a pick aiming to google further at home. I also sent the image to my husband who equally agreed it looked great. We'd been tossing up the idea of putting in a new kitchen for a while. Our current one had its own unique set of issues - falling kick boards, hideous aqua green composite sink (what were the previous owners thinking?), dishwasher was starting to accumulate rust, all the freezer drawers had snapped, but more importantly it was severely lacking cupboard space due to the poor design.

So when the opportunity came a few months later to renovate we decided to jump right in to re-do the whole kitchen. We also in this time had a water softener for the house installed. I had in fact discovered that the new kitchen I fancied in the magazine was from an outfit called Neptune. It seemed like a reputable place, so hubby and I headed into their Chiswick branch to have a look at their showroom. It was a lovely showroom with an equally lovely price tag from 25k upwards, we weren't going to sink that kind of capital into a kitchen especially when you can get a very nice new kitchen for 5k-10k. We made a hasty exit to say the least and headed to the Wickes down the road who's show room service was ok but the kitchens just didn't hit the spot like the one I had seen in Neptune.

Before Renovation
After a bit more internet research I discovered a German Kitchen manufacturer Nobilia, made bespoke kitchens for a manageable price compared to Neptunes, and that a local company Richmond Kitchens specialised in installing the kitchens, perfect! So off we went to the showroom, found the style and and cabinets that I loved and talked the manager Vahid that we wanted to press further.

I know a kitchen renovation can be a stressful time but here are some tips on how to make it a smooth transition. Our kitchen was designed and manufactured in Germany and then shipped to the UK. Nobilia being German have extremely efficient logistics and IT systems that so far they have had to this day 100% delivery success.

Kitchen delivered, packaged kitchen in spare room, builders setup

So the process itself kind of goes like this:
You look around online for kitchens and go to a few showrooms, decide on the one you like. Make an appointment, at the appointment you sit down and design the kitchen. The kitchen makers mock up your kitchen in 3D and present it to you. You make a few adjustments, pick your whiteware (can do this earlier) and then you are issued a quote.

If you get harassed with a hard sell from some less than ideal installer, I won't name names but for example, Wickes.... Lets say you made an appointment and you decide you don't want to go with them, cancel your appointment and say 'that your circumstances have changed and you will no longer be moving forward with the kitchen' otherwise they may try to interrogate you, and ask why and if you have gone to their opposition, etc etc, just say no. You have no obligation whatsoever to go with any company, period.
Mini Kitchens: Tea/Coffee snacks for builders, Our setup in conservatory

How to Manage the Renovation
Now once you decide yes you'd like to ahead, make sure you set out a payment schedule with the Kitchen company first. You will need to exercise a fair amount of trust when it comes to payments so it is important to get a reputable company that has been operating for at least ten years. Firstly you will need to make a deposit before they can start work, how much is between you and the installers, and it can vary widely so don't get caught up with all the negative naysayer reviews online who say x amount here x amount there. You need to mindful that some installers will need to pay for suppliers up front, some companies will need to whole amount upfront so whatever works for you. We made payments in stages. Everything is tracked by the bank, you don't need to purchase it on your credit card for 'safety' as all banks are capable of reversing transactions regardless of type of purchase.

Post removal, staging & prep for new floor and cabinetry
Guideline for when Payments can be made
When the Kitchen is delivered to your house
The last day of install
Hold back 10% until all work is complete (this is entirely up to you)

You will need to get paint, a new radiator and radiator valves if you are removing/moving radiators. Plug sockets and light switches. Sometimes kitchen companies sub contract different people for different parts, but Richmond Kitchens have their own team who do all the work so ideally I would recommend you find a company who have their own installers.

Preparing for the start day
Make sure you have a spare room to store where the kitchen is going to be delivered or a secured garage. They wont be able to store the new kitchen in your existing kitchen while they are demolishing and working in it.
You will need to clear all of your cupboards out, I started tentatively a few weeks before getting rid of old stuff and moving items I didn't use regularly, including food from the fridge and freezer. Keep any barbecue kit out as it might come in handy if its warm enough. Don't shop for too much food a few weeks out. Three days before clean out your fridge and freezer and start preparing to eat take out, or microwave meals. Get paper plates, plastic utensils rubbish bags, paper coffee cups as you will have no where to wash or anything. Of course you can wash in your bath, that is entirely up to you but to be honest disposable kit is dirt cheap. Set up a mini kitchen somewhere. We set one up in our conservatory for us and one in the spare room for the builders with tea coffee, biscuits and munchies - these go down very well. You can have fresh water simply buying 5L bottled water for a pound from Tesco. We have a wine fridge in our conservatory (mostly filled with husbands beer) that we kept milk and butter in and that was all. We lived on microwave dinners - and tried to stick to healthy ones and the odd takeaway, deliveroo from Chicago Rib Shack.

Building Site, making progress
Most kitchens will take between a week or two weeks to install, allow for mishaps or delays. If you are having a backsplash instead of tiles, this will need to take place a few weeks after the install to measure around everything. Make sure your gas hob is the legal distance away from the backsplash and also ensure that it is tempered glass - obviously. It is helpful having someone home during the install so you can answer any questions. I setup a mini office upstairs in our bedroom to avoid the noise but if you can't do this, go out to a cafe to have a break.

The New Kitchen
After all the noise, and work you will have the kitchen that you love.

Richmond Kitchens:
Nobilia Kitchens:


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