East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Have any mums got awesome kitchens?

Hello fellow ED mums.

We're about to buy a totally new kitchen, and do a mini extension to make a family room. We've got two boys, aged 2 and 4, who will, before we know it, be two teenage boys, eating us out of house and home. This is my first time planning a family kitchen and I just wondered if any one had bought kitchen things and found them to be totally brilliant, reliable and useful. Any recommendations at all, from flooring that can cope with a hammering to ovens and hobs that can cope with family cooking, to kitchen storage or cabinets that can fill all of the family cr*p and still look nice. Any tips at all, about the regrets and the failures as well as the wins, would be very much appreciated.

Thanks everyone.
The thing I am most pleased about in our kitchen (3ish years old now) is our Insinkerator. Saves all the faffing about putting food scraps into bags.

Storage-wise, our corner cupboards in the kitchen have wire racks in them, and when you open the cupboard it all swings around so that you can reach right into the back (explained badly, sorry!).
There was a thread on this a few months ago 'New kitchen ideas and thoughts...'. Sorry, I'm too useless to be able to add the link.

It was me that started it. Got some very useful tips, recommend the mumsnet thread referenced in the EDF thread too, and now have an awesome kitchen ;)

Things I rate: Howdens (ED, Kev is great), full size integrated fridge AND freezer, pan drawers where possible, corner units as Pickle says, the amazing laminate type coating Howdens sell which means I have a hopefully ruin-proof wood block countertop, induction rangemaster.

Also recommend Cook! in West Dulwich and not to live there during but very much did the latter!!
Yes, I'm pleased we went with a full size integrated fridge and freezer too. Opted for one without ice making, as it meant more freezer space.

Have fun planning! We moved out for 6 weeks (I took the kids to stay with my family in NZ as they were both pre-schoolers at the time), but then lived in the house with no kitchen for another 6+ weeks.

Get an electric two-ring hob, put your fridge in the front room, be prepared to redecorate the room you end up living/eating/cooking in for the time you're without a kitchen, as despite best efforts, it will have a hard life for a while too!
More thoughts on this thread from a neighbouring forum too [www.nappyvalleynet.com]
I now have a pretty awesome kitchen too after re-doing it last autumn!

Things I love - Quartz worktop (spent ages deliberating on worktops!), corner cupboards (without any pull out gizmos in our case - just like the nice deep cupboards!), lots of big pan and cutlery drawers, our range cooker, a breakfast bar/seating area...

Luxury things - a wine fridge and a boiling water tap! No kettle!

Things that not so great - pull out larder/storage - I keep over filling it - and pull out under counter bin - it's not big enough and we don't use it - we use the big stand alone bin/recycling bin we had before.

We have karndean limed oak look-a-like on the floor - replaced the solid wood we had when we moved in - it's great, doesn't scratch and if you have any disasters you can replace individual strips.
Very big thanks to everyone who is posting here, you really are being a massive help. I love the old thread about kitchens and will be referring to that lots too.

Pickle, the Dh is desperate to have an Insinkerator; his mum has one and loves it. Induction hobs also seem to be the way to go, and pan drawers. Definitely going to visit Cook!, though can't afford any of it!

This, I think, is great advice from Pickle, thank you: Get an electric two-ring hob, put your fridge in the front room, be prepared to redecorate the room you end up living/eating/cooking in for the time you're without a kitchen, as despite best efforts, it will have a hard life for a while too!

Does anyone have any tips about whether sinks and washing machines can be plumbed in to temporary spaces, or does it all get too much / expensive?

Any tips / thoughts on tumble dryers? They are evil, I know, but I'm afraid to say our old one gets used quite a lot. Definitely need a new one - any recommendations?

Would love to know if anyone has used kitchen cabinets from affordable suppliers other than Ikea. We aren't in the posh German kitchen price bracket (I don't even know the name of them), but surely there is more than just Ikea and B&Q-type stuff? Or if anyone highly rate Ikea (my sister says her Ikea planning and installation was brilliant, but she's in Edinburgh).

Thanks so much again everyone - very very helpful!!
We have Howdens kitchen units (bought through the builder) the entire lot cost £1k, mind you this was circa 5 years ago but they have lasted well and still look good. The showroom is somewhere near Orpington and is really worth visiting.
Totally agree on the larder fridge and not getting the ice maker - steals far too much from from the freezer storage space. We bought our appliances from City Appliances (online) which was much cheaper then buying from J Lewis or similar.
The other thing we did which really added storage space was to put floor to ceiling cupboards in a recess down most of one wall. They are flush and are opened by pressing on the door and have been great storage for dishes etc, toys , coats and we even have an office desk in one.
If I had the time over again I might put in underfloor heading but our budget didnt stretch it.
Hope this helps
We got our appliances from Boots appliances online. They were the cheapest, and I got loads of boots advantage card points (about £100 worth) which meant that all my toiletries were free for a while. Would def do that again!
We just did our kitchen (within a big build extension etc) and I found it really hard to plan a kitchen 'on paper' but overall we are really happy with it, especially

- boiling water tap (for me the tea addict and also great for the baby bottles)
- lots of deep pan drawers
- one cupboard which has a shelf for your magi mix etc that pulls up to form another surface top with the mixer all plugged and ready to go
- full size integrated freezer as well as fridge
- induction hob that even I the non cook can use!
- two ovens at higher height and one is also the microwave (so no clutter of work surface with kettle or microwave)

Less good is the fact that we moved the worktop higher as husband (the cook) tall and as a result I can only just reach the middle shelf of wall units! Larder cupboard is great but we could do with two too.

We went for a white quartz top with sparkly bits (not too bling honest) and it copes well with all we throw at it. Literally.

Good luck: we lived on site the whole build during which I had baby no 2. We had a temporary kitchen in the sitting room which the builders made us using the old units. They also hooked up the washing machine too.
I've now decided to get a boiling water tap when we do our kitchen. We're saving up now to do ours.

On the subject of tumble dryers, we got this one recently and I'm loving it. [www.appliance-reviews.co.uk]

For those who just replaced a kitchen and didn't do other building work alongside, how long did it take? We'd need to rewire as well. I want to look into shifting our boiler but could try and do that beforehand.
I really like IKEA kitchens. My aunt is an atchitect, and she often recommends IKEA kitchens to clients. You can put a fancier door on the carcass if you want it to look different/nicer. It's good qulaity and lasts well, and they have lots of neat options for interior fittings and other gadgets.

It can also be economical to get a builder to construct your kitchen for you if you like the painted MDF/wood look.

While we had our kitchen done, we had a temporary sink and washing machine set up. Couldn't have coped without the washing machine for 8 weeks!
We are also looking at a new kitchen in the next couple of months.

Thanks for all the links and advice, they have really helped with decisions on cupboards, flooring and worktops.

We are ready to start looking for tradesmen to do this now and I have done an extensive search in the business section here but few recommendations seem to be repeated by seasoned posters.Do any of you who have done this, have any advice about how to start the search for someone to do this work? PMs of your experiences of local tradesmen would also be very helpful if possible.

A quick question on flooring. I like the idea of the Karndean / Rhino floors as I am sure there will be a massive increase in breakages if I go for tiles (this was my original plan). How hard wearing is it? The Amtico tiles look lovely on the floor in LL carpets. But when I got home and moved the dining chairs about over a sample, it scratched the surface of the tile quite easily.
Unsure about Amtico in kitchen, but we had it in our bathroom and loved it. We got it from/ fitted by a company based in Petts Wood (IIRC - was 9yrs ago!) as LL carpets weren't registered fitters so the guarantee (?25yrs)wouldn't be valid. It didn't scratch/show any signs of wear over the following 5yrs.
Has anyone got experience of the boiling water taps working OK, because we've just had one put in at my work and it fizzles and spits like crazy, and cups of tea come out with scum on them - looks revolting. Are now in process of replacing it - health and safety nightmare!!
Our boiling water tap going strong but only in for about four months so far... There is a nack to it but it doesn't spit and water v clean: no concerns for baby bottles and her water. We didn't get the cheapest but nor did we opt for the priciest one. I love it.

On flooring - we have dark engineered wood throughout (works with the underfloor heating in extension)which looks good with the white units but is also easy to keep clean.
Am watching this thread with interest in the hopes that we'll do something with our kitchen soon.

On the boiling water taps - we have Zip Hydro Taps all over our office and they work fantastically well. Need regular maintenance of course.
We are on Day One of our extension build and still haven't decided which kitchen to put in - for those interested in Ikea they are relaunching their entire kitchen range in March, so worth waiting to see if it's got something you may like. Someone on here had recommended British Standard Kitchens and they are the front-runner for me, they have a showroom in Hoxton, worth a look (the costs are transparent, no extras for plints, sides etc - those 'extras' drive me crazy!).
Friends have amtico in their kitchen, in wood effect to match the natural parquet in their 30s house, and it looks brilliant and seems to be wearing well.

Thanks for the British Standard tip. They look really lovely, and obviously well made. I love the bespoke ranges from Plain English, too. It's stuff to dream about really, as I'm pretty sure we couldn't even afford the British Standard range, never mind the £50k bespoke. Fantastic ideas for my Pinterest board though. Did anyone put together Pinterest boards that we could swap?

Great to hear about hooking up a washing machine. I was panicking about that!
We have wood effect Karndean and it doesn't scratch at all - it looks great!

I think our units are crown units, with matt finished cabinet doors. I went to a small kitchen shop (not in Se22 sadly) as I couldn't really face trawling round magnet/howdens/ikea etc and they did the design, advised on brands and recommended a kitchen fitter. We have quite a big kitchen and it took just over 2 weeks for the kitchen works with another week for the floors and finishes - we are lucky enough to have a utility room so managed just using the sink, kettle and microwave in there (and obv washing machine!) - we blew the budget on the worktop but I think the units came in at about 5k?

I don't really get pinterest....shall we post photos on here or is that a bit too personal?!?
If you like Plain English, check out Neptune. We had Howdens in our previous project and although I was very happy with them, once I had my heart set on Plain English look, there was no going back!

Plain English too expensive of course and we went to see Neptune kitchen at Woods of London in Blackeath or KitStone in Wandsworth - excellent quality kitchen and you can really feel it but not nearly as expensive as PE.

We have ordered them but not fitted yet. Will report back when fitted.
Another recommendation - if you like Plain English style (in frame painted wooden kitchens) - take a look at Higham Kitchens (google and you'll find their website plus loads of interior magazine features on them. Much cheaper than the big name brands; they don't have a London showroom/shop. Their bespoke larders are fabulous.

One of my favourite tips is get your builder/installer to fit electric sockets INSIDE cupboards or drawers - we have a whole cupboard dedicated to "recharging" (phones/ipads/latops etc - you can't have enough power points) but they are all hidden away nicely so you don't get tangles of cables on your countertop.
Because we have a big/open plan kitchen, so no walls to put sockets on in the middle of the room, we also got a few sockets hidden in the floor (a bit like you see in offices) under the island. And sockets on either end of the island.

Oh and I love the Fischer&Paykel dishwasher drawers, such a good design compared to the traditional pull-down door.
I also love their big wide 900mm+ fridge, it has a few freezer drawers at the bottom and we kept a small freezer to put in the utility room as extra. I much prefer this layout to the side by side fridge/freezers, I just don't use the freezer enough times a day to warrant it taking up valuable eye-level space (versus the fridge).

We didn't bother with the boiling water tap (though they do seem good) but we did get a full width (60cm) modern belfast style sink which is a million times better than all the 1.5 sinks I've ever had. You can fit roasting tins/baking trays etc in to wash/soak. And we got a Franke tap with integrated water filter for drinking water.

Plan out your storage in advance, literally take an inventory of everything in your current kitchen (write it down) and make sure you have a home for it in the new plan, plus add some extra storage.
Natural light is very important especially in a kitchen and can't be added on later without massive expense so think about putting in extra velux/windows if you don't have enough already.

Finally, I spent hours and hours on design, and I think it was worth it as we are really happy with the layout. So draw it out on graph paper, cut out shapes, online CAD systems - whatever works for you but it's worth the time investment. And I also literally chalked it out on the floor so I could walk around it, and used cardboard boxes for a 3D effect. OTT perhaps but I needed help to visualise! And I used houzz.com loads for ideas/mood boards etc, it is absolutely fantastic for house refurb ideas.
My kitchen is "awesome".

I often hear the sharp intake of breath from visitors to it and I too, frequently, find my eyebrows raised as I survey the scene.
Thanks very much sb. Lots of food for thought in your answer. Great ideas about sockets, and a fab tip about Higham kitchens. I'm inspired by your level of planning. DO you want to come round and do mine for me?! Please!!
It's worth considering a small company because they can build a bespoke kitchen for a lot less than Plain English etc. conflict of interest alert - my other half has such a company. I'm not going to post the name here because this is supposed to be a plea to support all small businesses!
we have rubber flooring and you can drop pretty much anything on it and it doesn't break. It's called SaarFloor Noppe tiles and it's the kind of thing you get around swimming pools.


we have it in red. It's fantastic. Every admires it (except our ex-neighbour, who after feeding our cats one holiday said 'I have to tell you, I really don't like your new floor.' No, you ^didn't^ have to tell me that, actually!).
Reviving this thread as ours is about to begin - going between excitement and pure fear! Having a painted wooden kitchen but big thing I don't have a view on yet is The worktop. Any tips?
oimissus Wrote:

we have rubber flooring and you can drop pretty
much anything on it and it doesn't break. It's
called SaarFloor Noppe tiles and it's the kind of
thing you get around swimming pools.


we have it in red. It's fantastic. Every admires
it (except our ex-neighbour, who after feeding our
cats one holiday said 'I have to tell you, I
really don't like your new floor.' No, you
^didn't^ have to tell me that, actually!).

Always wanted rubber flooring. How warm is it? Does it take underfloor heating? And, does it show marks and how easy is it to clean?
Does anyone have a fav in terms of worktop beyond quartz? Thanks

Original thread | JSON