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New Kitchen Phobia

(109 Posts)
Iluvcruz Fri 22-Sep-17 20:41:24

Probably not the correct term, but I seem to have a psychological problem when it comes to deciding on my new kitchen.

Basically, I've waited over 30 years for a new kitchen (bringing up chikdren, limited funds, reluctant husband all contributed to delay). I am a very patient person (although dh would say I have "banged on about it" for 30 years) and have made do with mismatched shabby (NOT as in shabby chic) units (did once change the worktop and purchase an early range cooker (25 years ago)) and had an American Fridge freezer (same time frame - now defunct).

During this time I have scoured interior mags and kitchen brochures planning my dream kitchen. In the 80s I longed for a mahogany Edwardian kitchen with Laura Ashley accessories; the 90s saw me drawn to beech wood whilst in the noughties I favoured all out contemporary white gloss - all with obligatory island and breakfast bar.

Now we have both taken early retirement we have agreed now is the time. I fell in love with a Neptune hand painted wooden semi-bespoke kitchen which was coming out at around £35k. Dh nearly had a coronary and encouraged me to be more realistic (even though I had ringfenced this money)! Our builder is also a friend and both he and dh are pushing me towards a Howdens kitchen. Problem is I don't like the quality or the door colours. We are now in position of having ripped everything out bar the cooker and sink and work begins in earnest in two weeks. However I can't find a design I like (apparently kitchen too small for my beloved island, we have a couple of doors leading off limiting options, dh and builder hate bin drawers so that's out. Dh doesn't want any structural work done (walls knocked down/chimney breast knocked into - "can of worms)hmm. So I am feeling pressured to accept a kitchen I don't like because of timescales. We got several doors from Howdens today and none of the colours look right. I'm not usually a doormat but do compromise quite a bit. It doesn't help that dh doesn't really place any value on aesthetics.

I keep getting anxiety attacks about it and feel on verge of tears all the time and extremely depressed. I seriously think I am having some sort of "episode" linked to the fact that I have actually spent half my life planning the damn thing.

Any words of wisdom or comfort?

cornergran Fri 22-Sep-17 21:03:28

Time to sit him down for a serious conversation I think. Neither of you want to waste the money. There will be a kitchen somewhere that is within budget and is a compromise that pleases you. If it's colour that's important show them exactly the colour you want. Something that you have thought about over so many years will be difficult in the reality but it doesn't have to be as difficult as it sounds now. Be brave, don't be railroaded. Do let us know how you resolve this, there will be a way.

Eglantine21 Fri 22-Sep-17 21:13:27

Better to live with a sink and a cooker than have a kitchen you hate. Go to some kitchen shops and get the designers to come out and give you a plan. Most will do this with no obligations. Don't use any that ask for a fee. I know a brilliant one in Wellingborough but I don't suppose you're anywhere near 😀

mostlyharmless Fri 22-Sep-17 21:16:52

I can sympathise iluvcruz. So many decisions to take quickly, when you've been planning it in your head for years.

Builders often seem to like doing things the easiest way for them without taking your preferences on board. Spend a few days going round the kitchen showrooms (including IKEA). You may find that what you want can be achieved at a lower price (perhaps using Howdens or another "builders' brand as there are other better quality brands used by builders). But time is short, planning a kitchen layout takes time and order times can be several weeks.

Could you decide on a kitchen brand and have the carcasses installed while you take time to choose the doors and drawer fronts?

Don't be rushed into choosing something you later regret! As you know it's a once in a lifetime investment. You may end up with no proper kitchen for weeks while you decide and wait for delivery. Could you cope with that? Good luck.

JackyB Fri 22-Sep-17 21:36:50

When planning a dream kitchen you unfortunately will have to make sacrifices.

When we last renovated our kitchen, using a generous severance cheque from an employer who had to let us off because the office moved away, I wanted all pull-out cupboards but they were much dearer than simple ones with a door and a shelf inside, so we have those in some places. I got round the inconvenience by keeping everything in them in plastic boxes that I just have to take out, so that nothing gets forgotten at the back.

aggie Fri 22-Sep-17 21:49:03

I have had a new kitchen in the new granny annex off DD1s new build and we went to a joinery firm , the men there were great and My new kitchen suits very well , I have mostly drawers instead of cupboards , not moved in yet . I would not let men dictate , I told them what I wanted and it has worked for me and def not that price . It wasn't an easy thing to fit , we have to have space to move OH around in his big cumbersome chair , the builders moved walls and opened doors into the hall instead of into the kitchen to help

Greyduster Fri 22-Sep-17 22:01:21

Don't dismiss small local firms either. We had quotes from all the big name kitchen suppliers, including Howdens, and ended up with a local company down the road who get all their work by word of mouth. We couldn't fault the quality or the workmanship and I love it to bits.

Alima Fri 22-Sep-17 22:07:21

Heavens, I had no idea that choosing a new kitchen could be so traumatic. Hope you get it resolved soon. I have no words of advice as to me the kitchen is the one room in a house I could do without. All I need is a kettle and toaster.

Nanabilly Fri 22-Sep-17 22:23:07

We had a new kitchen about 4 years ago now . We knocked 2 rooms into one huge kitchen dining space with an extra wide peninsula ( Island that remains connected to building on one side) and we love the space but the mess was awful for weeks. We got ours from b and q but it's a something and cooke one.
Aubergine and cream gloss with rounded corners which gives it a retro feeling, everyone who sees it loves it .we often hear a sharp intake of breath when people first walk into it. It is beautiful !
Things we are glad we did and would not change are...
The brand's great quality
Waiting for the sale...great price and a genuine sale price and 0% interest.
The colours
The layout which I measured and planned myself using a kitchen unit brochure for measurement and graph paper . Loved doing this as only I knew how I used my kitchen.

Things I would change if I did it again are..
The cupboard fronts ..Never have high gloss I'm always polishing it even when I've just done it.I
I would not have the inserts for the deep drawers I have they take up too much space.
I would not have the corner cupboard pullouts as it really wastes loads of cupboard space.
I would have a full height pull out larder unit like my old kitchen . Very useful for small items I'm always losing.
I would make space for the extra width range style cooker I wanted at the beginning.
Other than that we still love it
I would never spend silly amounts of money on a kitchen
Also if you do go to b and q or Howden don't use their fitters they charge mega bucks and the way they operate can restrict work that needs doing for some reason , we had a small independent fitter and builder .
Hope that helps a little

NanaMacGeek Fri 22-Sep-17 22:23:52

I think you are being given good advice. We had our kitchen completely gutted 5 years ago and I have been enjoying it's replacement ever since. We had several designers in and went through numerous design iterations with several of them.

We finally decided to go with a local firm that project managed for us, directly employing local labourers to carry out the work. They also supplied and fitted most of our appliances and ensured we had suitable guarantees. Everything was clearly costed, there were no surprises. There were things I wasn't prepared to compromise over (I wanted an island or peninsular unit that could seat 3), but found the pull-out drawer units just too expensive but can live without them.

I'm sorry, but if your DH doesn't care about the aesthetics and your builder won't do what you want, then don't listen to them. You have a healthy budget, your business will be welcome to whoever you choose to carry out the work.

I would take a deep breath, call a halt to proceedings and start getting designs and quotes based on your requirements. You are spending a lot of money on, what I believe to be, the heart of a house. Spend it wisely, get what you want and enjoy it, I am convinced you will regret so many compromises if you don't. Good luck.

paddyann Fri 22-Sep-17 22:29:37

Ive had 5 kitchens in this house in 27 years ,the last two were from Ikea and the quality was as good as some of the expensive ones.Go have a look theres a great range and you're sure to find something you like ...for a lot less than 35k ...I'd avoid Howdens they're overpriced for what they are ,even B and Q have better quality.Good luck and dont stress ,...and dont let anyone talk you into something you'll not be happy with

lemongrove Fri 22-Sep-17 22:45:04

I have heard that Howdens do a very good job.However, it's a kitchen at the end of the day, and you are investing too much emotion in it, because, as you say, you have craved it for a long time.
There must be one colour that you like, surely? Go safe and buy cream coloured? pale green or pale blue are popular.

Nandalot Fri 22-Sep-17 23:12:43

Do try and give yourself time to choose what's right for you. I usually end up compromising and then regret it. Good advice on here. There seems to be something about builders and Howdens. I know Howdens will only deal with builders. Builders like them because the units are not flat pack. Our builder friend wanted us to do our kitchen with Howdens but I just didn't like any of the units enough. Decided to shop around and fell in love with the first units in the first shop we went into. They were ready built too. High gloss but I still like them Nanbilly. I also love my corner cupboard pull out. Saves me scrabbling about.
Decided to compromise on cost and not knock through to the adjoining breakfast room. Which part do I regret? The compromise.
Hope you feel less anxious soon and that you walk in somewhere and find just what you are looking for.

seacliff Fri 22-Sep-17 23:23:35

We were on a much tighter budget, so got ours from wickes. I had 3 firms out to quote and give advice and their computer impressions of what it would look like. It shouldn't be rushed, ideas evolve once you find what's available.

We chose real wood worktops and good quality taps, and had our own local very skilled carpenter to fit it all, and adapt the units where needed. He also ordered us much better quality drawer interiors from a specialist supplier, pull out metal shelves etc. Love my pan drawers.

We took several months to decide, we were having an extension built also. We wanted an island originally, but i made up a temporary one from boxes, to same dimensions, and once it was there in the room with us walking round it, we decided it wasnt right.
You've waited this long, put your foot down, and although you may have to compromise, you must be happy with what you choose.

grannycakes Sat 23-Sep-17 06:58:29

if you like Neptune try DIY kitchens - fantastic quality but much cheaper

Nelliemoser Sat 23-Sep-17 08:03:06

5 kitchens in 27 years? My mind is boggling.

My kitchen a new house in 1987 still works.
The cooker, sink, fridge, etc are all in exactly the right places for easy and ergonomic access.
We have had the units updated.
We have a table in the kitchen which seats 4 people. Now there are just two of us.
How many in your household now?
How much serious cooking do you do?

As you are so stressed I would seriously suggest you leave this whole project alone for a few months and look at it again in the new year.

(I have just looked at the brochure for our house with the dimensions of the rooms, They are all in "ft and inches" I haven't dealt in ft and inches for years now .) I am struggling with them. Metric systems rule.

Greyduster Sat 23-Sep-17 08:14:24

Probably the best decisions we made in our kitchen were to have two 700ml 3 drawer units fitted in place of cupboards. They look good and are so much easier to get things in and out of than cupboards you have to stoop down to (especially with my back). The most expensive element were the two rounded corner cupboards which were a horrendous price but do give the kitchen a wow factor. We explored all sorts of colour combinations and in the end chose plain pale cream gloss. Unless you have a large space, strong colours will close it down. Because of the new layout, this is the easiest kitchen to work in I have ever had, and it cleans up in minutes. Good luck with it all - it's not easy getting it right.

Greyduster Sat 23-Sep-17 08:17:00

That should be 900mm not 700ml!! Like Nelliemoser I struggle with metric!

NonnaW Sat 23-Sep-17 10:51:55

We live in a bungalow, and the original kitchen was a bit too small for us. When we retired we decided to swap over the dining room and kitchen. We looked around a few places, went to Homebase and sat with one of their planners but in the end we went with Magnet. We have white, with red worktop and I still love it. It has a wow factor which people comment on. DH fitted it himself, which saved on money, and as we still had a working kitchen he was not under time pressure.

goldengirl Sat 23-Sep-17 11:03:41

Have you asked friends / relatives who've had new kitchens. Even if they're not in your vicinity they might be able to give you the pros and cons of certain companies.
Also could you ask companies to see their work in a couple of homes where you can also talk to the homeowner?

I was very pleased with a Howdens kitchen I put into my mother's house and I liked the ideas from discussions with the Howdens store. I had a local person put it in and it was great.

Some years ago we had a John Lewis kitchen which was lovely. The contractor appointed by JL was superb and we also got him to put in a new bathroom on another occasion [not JL].

IKEA is certainly worth exploring as previously mentioned.

I'd love a new kitchen but at present couldn't stand the upheaval. I wouldn't mind a free standing kitchen but I've not thought through the pros and cons I must admit

I do like Corian surfaces and sinks though. Expensive yes, but in my view worth every penny. We've had ours for at least 20 years and they look as good as the day they were installed. Very easy to clean and in a wide variety of colours

paddyann Sat 23-Sep-17 11:48:49

I love my high gloss kitchen its a vast improvememnt on doors that had paneling that things stuck in,a quick spray with window cleaner and a wipe and its lovely and clean .When I change again I'll stick with the flat gloss doors ,and I have 15 drawers that hold allsorts of things from t-towels and napkins to baking supplies like colours and cutters ,my spices are all in a drawer as are tin foils and cling films and freezer bags etc.Drawers are far more practical for so many things

mostlyharmless Sat 23-Sep-17 13:43:53

I agree that deep drawers are brilliant. Much easier on your back as you get older as you can see and reach everything easily, so less bending.

Corner cupboards are awkward things and the fancy (expensive) pull out carousels are a waste of space.

Keep it simple with standard sized units if possible as these are better value for money than narrower units.

I love our oak work surfaces but they need regular oiling and do get damaged by hot pans and wet areas round the taps.

Don't be rushed into too many compromises iluvcruz.

varian Sat 23-Sep-17 18:58:19

If you really want a bigger kitchen, although it means doing structural work, you should be able to afford that and a nice fitted kitchen if you have a budget of £35k.

The most important thing is getting the space right. Do not let your OH and builder rule it out. Ikea could do a lovely fitted kitchen for around £10k. Structural work will need building regs approval but don't let that stop you. Examine your options and get them properly costed. You have waited long enough.

MargaretX Sat 23-Sep-17 19:23:51

5 kitchens! I live in house built in 1980 and still have the same kitchen. its light oak surface with oatmeal doors etc

I love the colours and have had the work suraces done three times and all electrical appliances replaced several times.
I had so ittle money in 1980 but my kitchen planner told me to keep 1 metre space between sink and cooker and that squashed the sink a bit but he was right. Its a lovely kitchen to work in.

I had a small dining table on the other wall, but I've got rid of that and have 2 units in similar colour from IKEA and between them a kneehole -nothing. Where I keep my basket for plastic recycling etc I sit there as well for coffee with my lap top.

I have warmly recommended a kneehole space but my DDs don't listen as this is never popular with male planners who never work in the kitchen
Those corner cupboards are so expensive and I use them at my DDs houses but find them clumsy and a waste of space.

MargaretX Sat 23-Sep-17 19:25:33

Do we have an edit function on GN?