It was decision time.
Designing a kitchen from scratch requires making a lot of decisions. Cupboards, worktops, handles, sinks, taps, tiles, appliances, colours, finishes, quality, quantity, budget – the list is endless. We find the best way to make lots of decisions is to make informed decisions. Cue months of research online and driving lengths of the UK to see products in the flesh.
We looked at quite a few kitchens, all in different price brackets, but once we saw Neptune Kitchens it was very hard to consider anything else.
We visited two Neptune retailers. The first – Kitstone, a chain of shops owned by Neptune. The second – Woods of London, an independent shop that stocks Neptune. Kitstone were good and had an extensive range on display, but David and I always get drawn to independent shops.
So far Paul and Alicia, the husband and wife team behind Woods of London, have been great. They know their product inside out and have that perfect balance of offering great advice, and recognising when you have your heart set on something.
Alicia who does all the designing has been super patient with us whilst we have been back and forth on dozens of design changes and has been very honest about what is worth and not worth spending money on within the Neptune range.
After months of fine-tuning the design and saving our pennies, we have finally put in our order!
We have gone for the Suffolk range, painted in Dove Grey with a mixture of chrome button knobs and cup handles.
We decided to get rid of all the top cupboards from our original design. Partly to keep costs down, but also to help the kitchen to feel more open and spacious. We plan to have open selves on one wall to display a few nice pieces and cook books.
I really had my heart set on marble, but having heard mix reviews about how practical marble is in a kitchen, we decided not to risk it. Our kitchen is not going to be a ‘show’ kitchen – it is going to be well used and I would hate to be fretting about spoiling such an expensive item. There is nothing worse than having to chase after guests with coasters in fear of ring marks!
After a lot of research and some wise words from Alicia, we went for Quartz. Slightly more expensive than marble, but this stuff is bullet proof (well not quite bullet proof, but you get my point). We went for the closest match to marble we could find, Compac Carrara.
Whilst we patiently waited the six weeks for our kitchen to be delivered, we turned out attention to appliances. We have chosen an integrated fridge-freezer, dishwasher and washing machine – so I cannot get too excited about those. But the cooker we could get excited about. We have left a whopping 110cm gap for the cooker. She is going to be big so she has to be beautiful.
We were torn between the Rangemaster Elise 110 and the Falcon 1092 Duluxe. We really struggled to find anywhere in London that had either oven in store so we could view them in the flesh. Luckily Gardiner Haskins in Bristol, my home city, came up trumps and had them both in store so we could compare them side by side.
In the end we went for the Rangemaster Elise, but preferred the Falcon super flat extractor hood and came to the conclusion that it did not matter if the brands did not match.
We ordered all the appliances from a local independent shop and actually managed to get a better price than if we have ordered from AO.com. It just goes to show it is worth shopping around and do not assume that buying online will always be cheapest.
Now all we have to do is wait for it all to be delivered!