Friday, March 4, 2011

Oh The Possibilities!

After deciding that Ikea wasn't the way for us, PK and I (well, mostly me really) sifted through many different options for the new kitchen. I visited the Home Base Expo to check out supplier's stands and then took PK along for a second look. That expedition helped us to decide that we just weren't that into the other modular-type kitchen installers either, so we went back to getting quotes from cabinet makers. We started with a (quite rudimentary and not really to scale) picture of what we were currently dealing with in terms of a layout:
Current layout(ish)
And of course, our list of wants helped a little more to convey to the cabinetmakers what we were looking for. At first, we thought we could satisfy all of our wants with minimal  work and therefore, minimal cost! After the first couple of interviews (is that what you call them?) with a couple of companies, we found that we weren't really inspired by the solutions. Nothing was jumping out at us and making us think that it was worthwhile to spend the money that these ideas were being priced at...
Ho hum...
Then we were pitched an idea by Modular Kitchens that got us excited again! The designer/cabinet maker, Shannon came out to Muriel, took a look around and listened to what we wanted with interest. He then sat down and drew out a few options right there and then. Needless to say, I was impressed! The first option he drew out for us involved following the lines of our current kitchen, incorporating the dishwasher and the rangehood as we wanted and then also taking out the corner pantry to give us the extra drawer and benchtop space as we had dreamed. He suggested that we could hide the microwave inside the new pantry (or place it on the bench in a more convenient place), which meant that we could have a large bank of drawers where we currently have cupboards and the cutlery drawers. It looked something like this (although not exactly, I want to respect his design!):
Modular Kitchens Option 1(ish)
This idea of removing the corner pantry really appealed to me and PK- we could see how much we would be gaining and Shannon told us it probably wouldn't actually cost too much. We had some doubts about a few features though, like the second 'pull out' pantry next to the narrow 'walk in' pantry and the narrow drawer next to the dishwasher. It just wasn't 100% on the mark. His second option was along the lines of this kitchen:
From Renomart
He suggested that we could knock out the wall that our fridge is currently residing on, switch it around to the other wall and add in an island bench. This idea was very dramatic and in the right setting, would definitely be an amazing transformation! Unfortunately, when I showed PK the design, he realised the one thing that I didn't: by removing the wall, there would be direct traffic from the kitchen to the (only) bathroom. So someone stepping out of the bathroom would be smack bang in the kitchen- which was not such a crash hot idea! I was a little disappointed that neither idea was right- Shannon had such enthusiasm for his designs that I really wanted to give him the job (with some alterations), but the price just wasn't right either. And all of our desired features (undermount sink, soft closing drawers, stone benchtop) were going to cost extra on top of the 'out of our budget' cabinetry, so we had to part ways. :(

We went back to a few of the cabinet makers with the new ideas that Shannon had sparked in us, but nothing seemed right after that and no-one seemed to have the same verve that he had! Then I remembered one place that I regularly passed near work that I had seen recently advertised called KitchenHaus. I dropped in after work one afternoon and had a look around- I was impressed! The quality was there, they had a wide range of choice and soft closing drawers were standard! After a design meeting one Saturday morning, PK and I were on our way to our new kitchen and we were excited!
Kitchen Haus Preliminary Design
There were still a few things to tweak here and there, but this was the design that we carried around for a few weeks while we shopped for appliances (more on that later!). PK and I were happy with everything - the price was right and everything on the lists (both of them!) was ticked off. The designer, Gerard was also very helpful and was eager to answer every question we had- perfect customer service too!

So, now that we had the design and the supplier, it was time for the demolition to start! PK and I learnt a lot on this journey- have you had a similarly eye opening experience recently?

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