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No experience of Howden but I wouldn't put too much faith in professional' kitchen designers. I had a large space for my current kitchen and wanted a large centre island (2 cupboards width with sink and built in dishwasher side by side and same depth other side for stools to go around. I have A half depth single cupboard under backing onto the dishwasher to help support the granite for the breakfast bar. The designer insisted I didn't have enough room and could only have a narrow one which wouldn't have allowed a dishwasher or 4 person breakfast bar. I measured around and held firm and it's perfect size we can even carry sofas down the gap (it's the easiest route to get furniture into the house) We also had pullout larders either side of the fridge that when our builders came to fit they realised the wall positions meant one was unusable and they looked terrible as the fridge jutted out too far. Builders worked around and built out the whole section so we could use the larders. They also got the size of the slot for the built in microwave wrong. And length on cornice at top of cupboards wrong. Many other smaller problems. We were lucky we had good builders fitting it that worked around each problem as it arose but I was appalled at how many mistakes the supposed expert made.

The best thing I did (other than use fitters we already trusted) was get a friend who had recently had her kitchen redone go over my thoughts.

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17 hours ago, AndyRoo said:

It's a yes and no answer. They are better with heat than laminate - and sometimes wood, BUT the resin in them can burn if you put something really hot on them like a pan straight off the stove. They don't split and crack like granite might under heat, but they can discolour and scorch!

Google 'quartz countertop burns' and do some research if you're thinking of getting them. :)

Oh ok - I was thinking of getting white quartz worktops with sparkly bits but now I'm worried about tea stains!! O.o

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1 hour ago, SeramaSilly said:

Oh ok - I was thinking of getting white quartz worktops with sparkly bits but now I'm worried about tea stains!! O.o

We're getting a white counter with sparkly bits too!! :D

They can stain, but they're pretty hardy overall. The worst things to go on them are acidic things - but even then, if you wipe things up quick enough, you'll be fine.

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My granite one was all sorts of browns, creams and black.  No sparkly bits, but the tea stains didn't show at all - in fact I scrubbed at what I thought was a tea stain only to see that it was actually a brown splodge!:lol:  My neighbour has sparkly blue/white in a black granite.  Hers is gorgeous.

When we had our kitchen done it was pretty much to my specs.  It was pine and I said I didn't mind a bit of distress work but not too much.  Their way of distressing it was not exactly what I wanted and I refused to have one corner shelf - it had a face with designer stubble.  They did argue about it but I wasn't budging - that was too extreme.  So they took it out and then installed another one, and I did check underneath in case they'd turned it upside down.  Then the shelf on the other side was installed - it was the same unit and I "persuaded" them to remove it at once.  Otherwise the woodwork was fine.

Then came the granite - the bit behind the sink had an extra hole in it.  What's that I said, there should only be one for the tap.  It's for the filtered water tap.  I'm not having filtered water.  Yes you are.  No, the water filter is in the utility room for the American fridge freezer - not the sink in the kitchen.  Well why don't you have one.  Because I don't want one.  You can have a soap dispenser here or a hose spray to wash the dishes.  NO!  Take it away and come back with the part with ONE hole for the tap!  

So you do need to keep an eye on the installers too - and they will try and fob you off if they make a mistake, just don't let them bully you into having something or settling for something you do not want.

 

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7 hours ago, Valkyrie said:

So you do need to keep an eye on the installers too - and they will try and fob you off if they make a mistake, just don't let them bully you into having something or settling for something you do not want.

 

Oh, our builders know where I stand on attention to detail: I was able to visually identify several sizing issues; 1) that the height of the ceiling was too low by about a half foot, 2) (the one that really impressed them) that the height they had built the flooring level up to was out by a centimetre.

One of them actually asked "How the hell could you tell that was out just by looking?" lol

I made them re-do both things, and I'm about to have them remove all the ceiling plasterboard again because they had bits of wiring in the wrong place which meant I couldn't have a few lights where I wanted them - so they're going to have it rewired. lol

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I had a similar problem as Kezza... "why don't you want lighting under your cupboards?", "I can't understand why you don't want a TV point in the kitchen" and so on :roll:

I think it was a cultural/generational thing more than anything else; I don't like downlighters or lighting under the top cupboards; there are windows and a light in the middle of the kitchen, that is sufficient (and cheaper!). I don't watch the one TV that I have, let alone putting one in the kitchen - I am in there to enjoy cooking, not watch rubbish 

 

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Just remembering the wiring - we were supposed to have a switch on the wall that was linked to the socket below so that we could override the electricity on the cooker before pulling it out to clean.  Seems it was wired to the extractor fan instead - which already had a wall switch next to the one supposedly for the cooker!  The socket for the dishwasher wasn't wired properly - and several years later I smelt burning and thought it was the ancient cooker.  Nope!  The socket hadn't been earthed - goodness knows what would have happened if that happened during the night!  I won't say what our electrician said about their wiring - pretty rude!  On a plus side that particular company no longer do kitchens, but continue to install bathrooms.  Hope their electrician is better there!!!!

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Forgot to say - glad I had lights under the cupboards - and a couple over the sink.  Could see to prep dinners and work at the sink without casting a shadow, having to turn sideways to see what I was doing.  But I guess that is just personal preference.  Here there isn't a light over the sink - and it's so difficult to see in these dismal evenings - I miss the spotlights there.  

Having said that, since getting the electricity smart meter, we discovered that the under cupboards use far less electricity than the overhead spots so I tend to use those more often.  Probably down to being the first switch that I manage to find groping around in the dark!:lol:

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12 hours ago, The Dogmother said:

"why don't you want lighting under your cupboards?", "I can't understand why you don't want a TV point in the kitchen" and so on :roll:

It would look lovely if you had glazed doors (I’m too untidy and have nothing that matches), open shelves are very fashionable and would look good there (I’d have to dust), a straight run of cabinets there might look a bit dull (I want a straight run thanks), you could have taller wall cupboards (I’m 5’3”)......

 

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“This is the absolute latest fashion in kitchens!”

Right... So kitchen will be outdated in exactly one week? I’m not going to look at a fashion statement for the next 15 years... 

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Isn't it always the way!? Why can't fitters just listen to what the client wants and GET ON WITH IT!

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Because they like to think as they are the experts, then you know nothing.  But when you've lived in a kitchen that you know could be done better, then don't take "computa says nahhh" for an answer!:lol:

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One thing I wish I had done was to change all the low down cupboards to drawers.

It would be so much easier to reach the heavy saucepans/frying pans that live at the back of the cupboards.

The best thing about having a new kitchen is being able to have a built in oven. I had a built in oven before (and still have the same one now) but would never go to back to a standing  oven.

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I’m with Dogmother Life’s too short to get worked up about marks in a room that is in so much use.  I knew a young man whose Mother wouldn’t let him anyway near the kitchen in case he spilt a crumb.  Consequence, he’s a burden on his present partner as he can’t ( won’t) cook.   He sees the kitchen as a female preserve.  Mines a family space with visiting children welcome to cook.  So I chose our worktops on the basis of the ones that survived being stabbed by a biro by the salesman.  A mixture of tough laminate and wood that can be sanded down if necessary.  But each to their own. 

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22 hours ago, Luvachicken said:

I wish I had done was to change all the low down cupboards to drawers

My dads partner keeps saying that too 🤔

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Completely agree about the drawers. We had some but wish we’d had more.  Can’t get down low enough these days to reach the back of the cupboards!

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Not a fan of carousels - feel that they waste space.  We did have folding doors for our corner cupboard and that was brilliant.  Here we have carousels on both sides of a large set of drawers.  I like the drawers but loathe the carousels.  In a previous house we had an MFI carousel and that finished it for me because of the wasted space.  Now lumbered with 4 peanut shaped shelves - yuk!

Edited by Valkyrie
oops

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On 08/11/2018 at 9:00 PM, mullethunter said:

What about corner units? Shelves? Carousels? Expensive foldy-outy bits?

I'm very proud of my bin in the drawer :-D

When we used to have Daisy, our cocker spaniel, our normal swing bin was kept next to her bed.

She was always very good until one night, the waft of baked potato skins was just too much and she couldn't help herself.

From that day the bin always lived in the cupboard under the sink.

When we came to do our kitchen, the shop sold bins in drawers, not the little peddle bin that goes on the door, and I couldn't wait to get one of them.

The bin is what I show all of my friends :lol:

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12 minutes ago, Luvachicken said:

The bin is what I show all of my friends :lol:

My mom has a bin drawer as well!

I do think that caroussels have become a lot better. The Dutch brand Bruynzeel has one that sort of folds out too, which seems much smarter than the old type. It is sort of squarish too.

If proper drawers are too expensive (at least much more expensive than just a door) than you can get those drawers behind a door.

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We had our kitchen redone almost a year ago, it was finished about a week before Christmas, we had been promised it would be ready for Christmas and it was. We used a local business who had also done our cloakroom, bathroom and ensuite during the previous 12 months. 

I think it was Howdens that our builder suggested came with him to give ideas as the Howden man was supposedly the expert but he was awful.  No exciting ideas, all very boring simple ideas and he just kept saying what a lovely cottage, dog etc you've got. I couldn't wait to get him out the door.

We ended up using a local kitchen company for the kitchen and the local business for design and installation. They were great but as they worked they did suggest changes to improve the design and these were a great success. 

 

On 08/11/2018 at 9:00 PM, mullethunter said:

What about corner units? Shelves? Carousels? Expensive foldy-outy bits?

We went for a carousel. OH said it was a very expensive piece of metal work. It is great I love it. It rotates and sections pull out. 

The old kitchen just had a cupboard that was very difficult to access. I just piled my tins and stuff in there and never rotated things in date order. With this carousel older at the front new goes in at the back which rotates round to give access to the back of the shelves. 

Well worth the money.  I love it. 

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I think my mother still has the same kitchen units she had put in in the 1980s, and in fact other family members had original 30s and 50s kitchens (not in a trendy way).  A good thing about being in Portugal is the fact that granite and marble are quarried here and so are dirt cheap.  All kitchens come with granite worksurfaces as standard and I wouldn't go back to anything else now if I could choose/afford it.  The kitchen was here when we moved in, the surface is grey/black/white granite which isn't anything special but its tough and 100% unmarked despite 5 years of housefuls of guests of all ages, plus 5 years before that.  To my eye it wears better than Corian. 

Mind you, the electrics here are something else.  We have overhead lighting, its rubbish because its just a central shade which casts too many shadows, but the electrician won't come round despite his many promises to fit task lights.  I have to use the light over the hob and in desperation I have just bought an 8 euro desk light to aim at my chopping space and will get another one for the sink!

My mother has had her carousel in a corner cupboard since the 80s and keeps her saucepans etc there, on 2 levels.  I have to say her kit is a darn sight easier to get at than mine! In the UK I had a pantry so I kept food in there, in Portugal I don't and I just don't have enough cupboard space. My biggest bugbear is getting things out of the back of low cupboards, so I think I would go for drawers next time. 

I guess kitchens are deeply personal and we all like different things. We know someone in the UK selling a house with a red sparkly granite kitchen.  It certainly dominates the photos!

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