In Part One I talked about the success stories of our kitchen now that we have had a few years to test it. As promised I’m now going to share the bits which didn’t pan out how we intended. We made mistakes (or at least sub-optimal decisions):
1. Bi-fold doors.
As I said in Part One they are great but there are a couple of downsides too. Firstly they are incredibly expensive for the number of times they get used – we live in England and on top of a hill. Secondly they move the attention of visitors to the garden. Within a year we had a garden makeover and started using a gardener to keep it tidy. If you love gardening anyway they will be a chance to show off. If you don’t, get ready for some more work or expense. This is the point though – you are trying to bring the outside in. Finally, opening the bi-fold lets lots of flies into the house – you have been warned.
2. Poor range cooker.
I chose a Rangemaster and I’ve found the build quality to be very poor considering the price. The oven doors don’t fit very well and so the screws on each now mean we sometimes close one door and the other opens. The material used for the control knob is a type of foil which melts when the oven doors open and so they look pretty tatty. Normal oven cleaners have a tendency to remove the text around the knobs. Finally, the roasting tray attached to the oven door seems like a good idea. After all, in principle, you pull open the door and the roast opens with the door. The problem is that there is almost always spillage onto either the floor of the oven or the kitchen floor in the process. We never use it. It cooks well and looks good but I think we could have spent a little more and got something better.
The clean look with bare walls and a tiled floor looks good but the sound echoes round. The impact is that you sometimes can’t hear what someone in the same room says and you can struggle to hear a television properly. It is a shame to spoil the look of all the glass by covering them with curtains but it really could have done with some more soft furnishing to damp the sound a little.
4. White porcelain floor tiles.
They look fantastic but there is very little tolerance when they are laid. To be fair the builder did double check that we really wanted to go for the look and like all excited customers we ignored his sage advice. After four years we have some cracked tiles in the cooking parts of the kitchen either through slight movement or from dropping things. The tiles also show dog hairs and any dirt, especially when the sun is low through the bi-fold doors. They are also extremely slippy when they are being mopped or if we spill any water.
5. Walls are not square or straight and have height
The kitchen design was snug, we knew that. We had chosen units to accommodate the space available but everyone agreed it would work. The only factor that no-one had taken into consideration was the sloping roof on the extension. This was only discovered at the last minute as the fitter tried to slide the last cabinet into place. There were some frantic conversations because the implication of one unit is that the whole run needs adjusting – all the cabinets which were already bought and installed. This was just one of the occasions where our excellent fitter came up trumps. He had some suggestions and was willing to use his joinery skills to make everything fit. There are bound to be issues like this and I think we came up with a good compromise which is only noticeable to us. Everything was budged along a little and he made a bespoke cabinet which pinched a little bit of room back.
This was the biggest project we have ever done but we achieved the design brief. I wish we’d done it earlier while the children were younger so that we could have maximised the benefit. The result is great as an entertaining and relaxing space.