Focus On: Planning A New Kitchen

I catch up with Looeeze Grossman, founder of The Used Kitchen Company, to ask for her top tips on planning a new kitchen
by Sofia Delgado
22nd February 2018

It’s not uncommon for the team here at Build It to hear about readers wishing they’d done something different with their kitchen project – whether that’d be setting a realistic budget or thinking about the smaller details in the layout.

So I was keen to find out what are they key points to consider ahead of creating a new culinary zone to avoid costly surprises.

How much storage will you need? Will the glazing help your scheme? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before you start thinking of worktops and light pendants.

What’s your advice for homeowners planning a new kitchen?

Kitchens today have become the hub of the home, with many people shifting to open-plan designs and choosing to combine their living space to make a larger entertaining area.

Light is very important in these type of rooms and something you should definitely plan for.

This Linee Kitchen pull-out drawer is built to order
The Cabinet Innovation Plus by Magnet makes it easier to reach the back of your cupboards

Features such as glazed bifold and sliding doors are becoming increasingly popular as they completely transform the look of your home.

Islands are also a growing trend, because you can be busy cooking a meal but you’re still part of what’s going on.

Do you have any top tips for designing the kitchen area?

I’d say making a list of what you want in your kitchen would be a good start. Write down even the simple things you wouldn’t normally worry about until you are furnishing your space. I’ve recently done up my own kitchen and this exercise was a huge help, for example I knew I wanted to have a spice drawer near the hob.

Organising where you are going to have larger items, such as appliances, can also help with planning your worktops and cabinets.

You should also think about lighting and electrical plugs – you can never have too many sockets in your kitchen!

How can self-builders and renovators budget for a project?

Buying a kitchen is one of the biggest investments anyone makes in their home, so setting out a financial plan is crucial.

Looeeze Grossman is the founder of The Used Kitchen Company
TUKC sells ex-display units, such as this Rotpunkt kitchen, island and granite worktops

Homeowners will need to think about the cost of stripping out the current space, whether they’ll just be painting the walls or deciding if more building work will be needed. All of these steps have to be sorted in an informed estimate before you start any work.

It’s important to shop around for high-value items such as flooring, lighting and worktops. Renovators also have to think about whether they are buying any appliances.

Browse the gallery for more kitchen design ideas from our Readers’ Homes:

There is a huge variety of quality and price to take into account, and used appliances are an option worth exploring. They can make a terrific difference to your finances.

I would advise people to always figure out exactly what products they want in their kitchen before setting up their final budget, so as to avoid any surprises at the end. It’s never pleasant to realise you are £500 out of pocket because you forgot to consider splashbacks.

What are the go-to materials to choose from for a durable, stylish and cost-friendly kitchen?

There is such a variety of good, sturdy worktops now that will make a big impact on the zone. Those on a strict allowance should look at laminate worktops. They have come on leaps and bounds and you can find ones with fabulous granite and stone effects.

 

There are all sort of finishes on the market, too, including concrete lookalikes that would give your dwelling a rustic and modern aesthetic.

But if your budget permits then you can also look into ceramic worktops, which are very popular at the moment. They are incredibly hardy and look fantastic. Materials like granite and composite stone are classics that appear very impressive once they are installed.

How can renovators add wow factor to their kitchens?

Adding a striking feature will depend on the size of the room and your budget. If you’ve got enough room for a kitchen island, these make a superb centrepiece. But if neither space nor budget permits, then there are still options to make a statement. You could have a fabulous pendant light over your table or a state of the art extractor hood – such as the Elica Celestial model that looks like a beautiful chandelier.

Victorian semi-detached with contemporary rear extension
Natural light can completely transform your space

On the other hand, I’d say that because a lot of people are now incorporating their kitchen into their living spaces, they are also trying to make them look less like cooking areas.

You can disguise tall racks and shelving space as simple cupboards in the room. Pocket doors are also very popular, as they let you hide your appliances – such as your toaster and your kettle – when you’re not using them.

What are the benefits of recycling a kitchen?

Recycling has become so important nowadays. It’s not only significant environmentally, but on an ethical level, too. How can someone throw something perfectly usable to landfill? In the UK we are sometimes very quick to chuck things out, and I think many people are not aware that there is a market for their used kitchens.

But recycling doesn’t just give you a good feeling after saving your kitchen from landfill; it can also contribute financially towards your new project. Selling your old setup means you avoid having to spend money on the skip or having to pay someone else to take it out. At The Used Kitchen Company we have a team to dismantle, deliver and reinstall every kitchen that people buy.

 

This Lybra cooker hood acts as a statement piece in this industrial style kitchen
The copper pendants bring a modern twist when paired with this LochAnna Georgian kitchen

How can a homeowner know if their kitchen is worth recycling?

Kitchens are generally built to last. Looking back, 30 odd years ago people kept theirs for two or three decades.

Today we change a lot more often, but really there’s no good reason why most units can’t be reused. Well built, older kitchens can easily be reconfigured to fit into someone else’s home.

And they don’t have to be very top end for buyers to be interested. Once dismantled, kitchens can be easily reconfigured with the worktops cut down or rearranged.

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