Kitchen Journeys: Securing the Supplier
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Since our last visit to Celia and David, the building work had come on fast! Celia was living with the view of a building site in her back garden. Many can find the construction part of the journey frustrating; however, Celia was positive about the building work as she could keep an eye on progress and enjoyed watching the results. There is still a long way to go but luckily, at this point, Celia had decided on her kitchen!
A big challenge Celia faced was moving to a much smaller living space. The walls for the extended area of the living room were built and it was time to begin working on the existing living room. The dining room and the living room were shortened. Stud walls were erected to protect the rest of the house from the cold and weather. As the builders had primarily been extending out into the garden, Celia found that she needed to shuffle the garden around and lost a lot of vegetation. This part of the kitchen journey involves a lot of compromise and patience. This is the point of the kitchen extension where Celia has begun to feel frustrated with the building work and would like it to be over.
Whilst the mania of building work surrounded Celia she had made progress on her kitchen design. She had a plan drawn up and a beautiful 3D rendition of what her kitchen would likely look like. She had decided on a galley style kitchen with the kitchen running along the wall and the island providing a break in the middle of the room (so the kitchen did not feel like just a corridor leading to the living space). Celia started the quotation process after having settled on most of the decisions about her kitchen.
Celia described searching for quotes as a “quite a minefield”. Although Celia had settled on a design, she needed to find someone she was confident who was able to execute her vision. Going to different suppliers opened her eyes to how her design needed to change to be achievable, affordable and practical. Originally, she was going to have cupboards along the wall all at the same height but because the range cooker was central in the counter she needed to amend the design to give some height to those cupboards and include an extractor fan. With underfloor heating she needed to make sure that one of her cupboards could be easily accessed for the underfloor heating manifold. Celia said that little things kept changing her mind on the design of her kitchen and she worried at this point that she hadn’t thought of it all. To better cope, she accepted that she was never going to think of everything.
Celia gathered quotes from a variety of suppliers. She had an idea of who she wanted to go with when researching her initial design and online research. During this part of the journey, Celia was keen to get a good idea of the differences in costs between suppliers. Celia got a detail quotation from some of the suppliers she was keen on and got some basic quotations from others to compare. New kitchens are costly as they are a long-term life-time investment which should last at least ten years. The quotation process was an eye-opening experience and the cost influences the decisions you make to the final design. For example, Celia had considered a handless kitchen design for her kitchen but upon receiving quotes where a handless kitchen pushed the price up considerably, she made the decision that personally a handless kitchen wasn’t important enough feature to warrant the price. There is never a wrong or right answer when it comes to designing your own kitchen. Decisions are always down to the individual and what they want from their kitchen.
Celia decided on Belvoir Interiors Ltd as her supplier. The reason Celia decided to go for Belvoir over the other suppliers was because throughout the quotation process Celia felt that the staff at Belvoir listened her ideas and worked with her on what she wanted. She felt that as a supplier they communicated clearly and treated her as a person rather than as ‘just another customer’. They didn’t just try to sell her the most expensive kitchen for the sake of trying to sell which was an issue Celia found with other suppliers. For example, Celia wanted a handless and handled kitchen quote but from other suppliers she only received the more expensive handless quote and sometimes felt that she was being sold a stock kitchen. With a good supplier, she didn’t feel pressured to make decisions she wasn’t happy with.
Celia recommends that everyone at the supplier stage should feel confident with their supplier and ask as many questions as you feel you need to ask. There is a lot of jargon and suppliers in the industry can sometimes take for granted their knowledge about kitchens when discussing it with customers. There is nothing worse than feeling like you don’t really understand what you are buying or how it will be fitted. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
With her supplier chosen, her fitters ready and the building work ongoing Celia placed the order for her new kitchen just in time for Christmas.