Fitting a kitchen can be a stressful experience. Rightly or wrongly when customers visit our showroom we still assume that they are probably looking for us to provide a full service when quoting them for a new kitchen. This has certainly been our experience over the years but there are signs that customer thinking has changed recently. More and more often potential customers are only wanting a quote for supply only as they “know someone that can fit kitchens’’ or the “builder is going to fit it’’ or “I can fit the units myself’’ All are valid reasons but is it really cost effective to do it yourself?
It might seem like it is going to save money by getting the installation done by someone else but what is the reality and what are the pitfalls.
The delivery – when we deliver a kitchen and our fitters are going to install it we will be responsible for opening the boxes and checking for damages or missing items which will be replaced or delivered probably before the customer even knows that something is amiss. If delivery of the kitchen is on a supply only basis it is up to the customer to check for damages or missing items and unpacking bulky kitchen units is not easy.
Damages discovered during the fitting – again, if our fitters are installing the kitchen they will take responsibility for any damages that might occur during the installation but if it is only supplied it is a massive grey area to establish where the damage was done if it was not picked up in the initial inspection on delivery.
What does a fit consist of? Usually a multitude of different skills are employed when fitting a kitchen. If a builder is involved does he really want the responsibility of fitting someone else`s kitchen especially at the end of the build when he will already be thinking of his next job. If a builder is not involved in the project who is going to take care of the disposal of the old kitchen, the electrics, the plumbing, the fitting of worktops and the clearing of packaging? All these things are costly to budget for and add up dramatically when taken into account individually. A skilled kitchen fitter is worth his weight in gold because he has the experience and knowledge to cope with all aspects of the job.
Even if you `know someone’ who can fit your kitchen, our advice is to still get a costing for the installation of your kitchen from your supplier as this is usually priced separately. You might be pleasantly surprised at the cost and it will ultimately give you peace of mind that if there are any issues they will be sorted. The suppliers reputation is of paramount importance to them.
Live Well, Buywell.
As one of our longest and most trusted suppliers the Symphony Group celebrates 50 years trading this year and it has underlined its commitment to sustainability.
Symphony Group have stated that they take responsibility to the environment very seriously. Whilst industry as a whole has started to respond to the ongoing climate crisis, Symphony have been leading the way for a number of years.
They are committed to playing their part through continual learning, innovating and implementing sustainable actions to ensure the business looks after employees, customers and the planet. Symphony has a history of innovation and have continuously reviewed and enhanced its operations to ensure that they are a leading example in sustainability within our industry.
In the past three years, Symphony says that it has reduced carbon emissions per million pound of turnover by 27% and recycles more than 98% of manufacturing and office waste over its three sites. The company installed a biomass boiler, which saved 1,762 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking 381 cars off the road for one year or the annual energy usage of 203 homes.
In terms of its products, Symphony says that 49% of its cabinet chipboard is made from recycled material and 100% of its timber-based materials are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).The company also uses water-based paints and its plastic cabinet legs are made from 100% recycled materials. That also applies to all of the cardboard boxes it uses.
Symphony has also formed a partnership with The Used Kitchen Company to encourage its retailers to sell their old displays through that channel and suggests that our customers do the same with their old kitchens.
We are proud to have been a Symphony retailer for over fifteen years and that we can feel confident in promoting their products to you, our customer, safe in the knowledge that as a British manufacturer they are committed to combating the global climate crisis.
Fitted kitchens without a visible handle are becoming increasingly popular especially in smaller kitchens when handles can sometimes make the kitchen look too busy. The question often asked is how do we achieve the handleless look in a practical way? The answer is that there are several ways to design a kitchen without handles and the three most popular are as follows:-
Push/touch to open – In our experience this is the least practical solution to making a kitchen handleless. Each of the doors and drawers are fitted with a mechanism that enables the user to push lightly on the the door/drawer and it will spring open. The downside to this option is that the mechanism will not work with integrated appliances therefore a discrete handle would have to be fitted instead and this slightly defeats the object of the exercise. The other thing to bear in mind when considering this option is that mechanical openers tend to break down at some point and you may have to replace them in the future.
The `J’ Door – This is the most practical way of achieving the sleek handleless look. The ‘J’ door is so called because the top/bottom of the door is cut out in the shape of a J creating a finger grip. The advantage of the J door system is that any unit will take a J door so there are no restrictions concerning the design of the kitchen. The only thing to be aware of when looking to purchase this style is the thickness of the door used, ideally, you should be looking at a 22m thick door which gives a wider finger grip and makes the weak point of the door stronger and less vulnerable to snapping, a cheaper 18mm thick option might create the same look but will certainly be more of a risk and less comfortable to open.
The Rail System – This is the style that most people associate with the true handleless system and is seen more often than not in German style kitchens. It is the most expensive option and usually suits galley kitchens or kitchens with the space to have an island and a bank of tall units. The handleless effect is achieved by adding a metal top, middle or side rail to all the cabinets creating a gap to allow for fingers. The end result is a very sleek, linear look but there are lots of components to account for and heights of built under appliances can be an issue if the cabinets have not been made taller to account for the top rail. It is certainly a wise move to seek a designer to help you plan this style of kitchen.
Handleless kitchens can really make a big difference to your space and hopefully the above information will help you choose the right product for you. We are always at hand in our showroom to give you more insights into the options that are available for any style of kitchen you are looking for, so why not pay us a visit. Live Well, Buy Well.
It has felt as if Spring is here over the last few days and we can also afford ourselves a little bit of optimism as our showroom is due to reopen on April 12th.
We hope to see many of you that have decided to do something with your old kitchen or bedroom over the lockdown period and it might help you to know that we can now offer a finance package to help pay for your new project.
More and more people are seeing the benefits of finance to fund a house project because it has been proved that a new fitted kitchen can deliver a good return on investment when it comes to selling your home.
Even more good news is that you don`t even need a deposit to put down! All you need to do is come down to the showroom at the Thorp Arch Estate and choose from our extensive ranges the kitchen or bedroom you want, make an appointment for us to visit your home where we will do a free survey and then create a kitchen or bedroom design to suit your lifestyle and budget.
We will price everything up for you including a monthly payment plan (subject to status and affordability).
Our Lender have a digital platform that can provide you with a finance quote instantly on application, it is as easy as that!
Live Well, Buy Well.
What makes a good kitchen unit? The first thing to make sure of when you are considering buying kitchen units is panel thickness. They should be 18mm thick including the back panel but many cheaper kitchen units are often 16mm thick with an 8mm back panel. Not a lot of difference you might say for the extra money you might save but in the long term you would notice the difference – fixings and hinges coming loose, doors sagging, drawers catching – all common issues associated with a cheap carcase. Other things to bear in mind when purchasing kitchen units are: Edging- especially the front edge of the cabinet, the most vulnerable part of the unit where you are liable to catch it with a plate or pan. Construction – how it is put together, the quality of mechanical things, hinges/drawer boxes etc.
Firstly the edging – cheap kitchen units will normally have an iron on melamine edging which is susceptible to chipping if banged, the better quality cabinets have at least a 0.9mm PVC edging all around which is bonded to the carcase and even better cabinets will have a 2mm front edge, a much sturdier edging that will definitely protect from impact.
Secondly construction, a cheap cabinet will simply be glued, doweled and screwed together (see left ), So what? – you ask. Well, if this has been pre-assembled and sold as a rigid kitchen ( I will get on to those soon!), and the assembler was having a bad day the chances of the unit being square and plumb are slim to none and rectifying this issue on site is made very difficult. The best form of construction is to use the cam and dowel system – wooden dowels secured in holes with two sets of metal studs and cams. These are essentially discs that, once inserted into the holes and turned 90 degrees, secure the dowel in place but importantly no gluing is required and if necessary the unit can be taken apart.
This leads us nicely to the question of rigid( pre-constructed) or flat pack (ready to assemble) units. I think a lot of companies have tried to demonise the good old flat packed kitchen and I think it is unwise to dismiss them completely. What are the pros and cons? In reality all the pros of the rigid kitchen seem to be in aiding the installation of the unit, on paper it saves time for the installer as he is not spending time building them up – What if your walls are not level? What if a unit has to be modified on site? What if the unit is not square? All these issues are a reality and if the unit can’t be modified on site the fitter will be hanging around waiting for a replacement etc resulting in delays and frustrated customers! So, the pros of a flat packed kitchen( so long as the units have the specifications already discussed) are – easier to modify and also easier to store – Have you got enough room to store a rigid kitchen? Will it be easy enough to get bulky or tall units into your property? On balance I think there is a lot to say for the good quality flat packed kitchen but sadly a lot of manufactures are favouring the rigid kitchen. Luckily for us, we still have the option of both.
Live well, Buy well
As we approach the end of the year, we look back on what has turned out to be an unprecedented one. Who would have believed anyone – had they said that the world would come to a standstill because of a new strain of virus – that we would be socially distancing and isolating, even from our closest family. Certainly not me!
As a result of these strange times it has been an extremely tough year for many businesses – hospitality, travel and the high streets have all been hit badly – and we can only hope that next year things might start getting back to normal. But it is not all doom and gloom, as we do have something to cheer about with the recent news about the vaccines, and there is light at the end of the tunnel!
So, we want to get our New Year off to a flying start by announcing that our winter sale starts on December 28th with up to 30% off our kitchen units (minimum purchase of 5 units to qualify), and we are also pleased to announce that we are now able to offer finance on all of our products. So why not spread the cost of your dream kitchen or bedroom out on a monthly basis? Please ask in store for details.
All of us at Buywell interiors want to thank everyone who has purchased from us this year, and helped to support a local family business. We want to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2021.
Designing a kitchen involves choosing materials and appliances – determining a layout – working through plumbing and electrical configurations- and so much more. A professional kitchen designer can help put all of these pieces together so you get the kitchen of your dreams.
It is best to search for companies that employ designers who are not on commission only fees, usually they are independent retailers like us of course! But seriously, it is best to research a suitable company and when you have found one make an appointment to start the process, here are some tips to help you prepare:–
At your initial meeting with the designer take a current floor plan of your kitchen and gather a wish-list ideas for appliances, cabinet styles and finishes. You could even compile a portfolio of magazine photos that shows your style preferences. Also, make the designer aware of the scope of your requirements – supply only, building work to be done etc.
The designer will want information from you, but you should also seek information from the designer too, including actual photos of his or her work — not brochures from manufacturers.
The designer will want to know about your lifestyle: Who’s in the family? What’s your cooking style? Where do the kids do homework? Are there ergonomic considerations — height or accessibility needs? Do you have pets? Are the cooks right- or left- handed? All of these things can be of great help to the designer to come up with an initial proposal that suits your needs.
Talking about the scope of the project should also include a candid discussion about budget, an emotive subject but one that has to happen at some point. Unfortunately budget is more often than not discussed at the end of the process when a price has been given and the customer, still reeling, says “ Oh! that’s way too expensive” This awkward situation can be avoided if you trust in the designer to be fair with you right from the start and you both jointly plan the kitchen together. If an honest designer asks you “What is your budget?” He will be wanting this information to steer you in the right direction, it is a waste of his time and yours to go through what can be a long process only for both parties to feel let down at the end of it.
Getting the right designer and company to deal with your new kitchen can seem daunting but if you choose wisely it can make the whole process a lot easier than you think.
Why not try us at Buywell interiors for a free design service!
Live Well, Buy Well.
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It’s difficult for us not to be biased on this question. But let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of buying your kitchens and bedrooms from either of the two. Let’s begin with the national chains.
Several major names will probably spring to mind. They often have large showrooms in major cities, with easy access, and a multitude of displays across huge showrooms and usually they offer attractive financing deals. Also, national chains usually have mass advertising coverage on TV, national radio press so most people would have heard or know of them. Bearing all this in mind it is made easy for the potential buyer to make a trip to the national retailer in the first step to buying their dream kitchen. So, why think twice about buying from one of the `big boys`? Well, In the first instance you might be put off by the lack of experienced staff on the showroom floor, most chains will employ people from outside the industry and train them on the job. More often than not the designer you deal with will be incentivised by commission and he will have only one thing on his mind when dealing with you – how much is in it for me? – and the most common issue with national chains is the question of who will fit your kitchen, the most important criteria when buying a fitted kitchen. The product you buy maybe good value for money but all that value may be lost if the fitter makes a bad job of it. Why would the fitter do a bad job you ask. Again, the answer is to do with incentive, it is in the fitters best interest to finish your job as soon as possible because most likely he will be on a tight schedule and a fixed price meaning corners may be cut. But what if the fitter does make a bad job of it you would think that the store would bend over backwards to rectify the situation? Alas, the answer is usually no, the blame will be passed on and the customer service department will probably help to make things worse! Your kitchen should get finished eventually but is it worth the risk. Take a look at the various reviews of the big stores and make your own mind up, there are often as many good reviews as bad ones making your odds fifty fifty of getting a good job done!
Why the independent then, Do they have a good product range? Are they big enough to cope with my kitchen project? Will the designer be able to impress me with his skill? Are the fitters they use experienced? Will I get good after sales experience? Will I get value for money?
I have to say yes is the most likely answer to all the above. Independents will more often than not deal with various national manufacturers who specialise in producing good quality kitchens and bedrooms with large product ranges, covering most styles and designs available. An independent should be able to handle any size job because the showroom staff and fitters invariably know each other well and how each other works so they should be able to coordinate and liaise on any job large or small. The designer that works for an independent may or not be on commission but his brief will be different. He will want to do the best design he can for you and make sure it works because he will be looking for the recommendation from you on having done a great job. Although the great job would not have been possible without the fitting team. This team have usually worked for the company for years and know the pitfalls of fitting kitchens and want to get paid so any problems that arise are usually sorted out before the end of a job and of course they want you to tell your friends about what a great job they have done! Value for money depends on the end result and not on the initial cost but an independent supplier is more likely to cost a job realistically from the start.
Recommendation is the lifeblood of independents and there is no greater incentive to make sure they do a good job. Good after sales is equally important and handling an unhappy customer for whatever reason is an opportunity to make it more likely that the customer will trust and recommend you in future.
In conclusion, we need to pass the buck over to you and ask the question – What do you want from a fitted kitchen/bedroom supplier? Short or long term gain and who is more likely to give either?
Times are a changing and never more so as the days we live in at present and so are our working habits. More and more people are now working from home and this might become more the new norm in the future.
With the current enforced working from home people might be having to make do with a desk at the kitchen table or in a spare bedroom, not ideal for the long term. So, this might be the time to think about investing in fitted home office furniture.
You may never have thought it existed until now but the advantages are great. The smallest corner of a room could be changed to accommodate fitted office furniture. Maybe you need file drawers, wall cupboards or book case shelving. It can all be designed to suit your unique space. Our fitted office furniture runs along side our well established fitted bedroom furniture and is all made to measure. We have a vast array of colours and wood effect designs that can be suited to blend in with your existing furniture and decor.
It makes sense to maximise the space you have available for an office in the home and as a consequence it might even make working from home feel more natural. If you are interested in getting a quote or a free design for your space why not get in touch with us or call in to our Leeds showroom at the Thorp Arch Estate, Wetherby.
Live Well, Buywell
Just a note to say how pleased we are with the new fitted wardrobe… Paul was most thorough in his work and did an excellent job of fitting the wardrobe, despite the precautions and social distancing still required… Thank you again for all you have done, and we look forward to visiting you in your new showroom before too long.
E & C, Harrogate
I would just like to say a big thank you to you for my lovely new kitchen and to Michelle for all the help she gave me…
I would just like to thank everyone for the success of my new kitchen…very pleased with the fitter and electrician.
J M (Mrs)., Wetherby
Now that the tiling and floor covering in our new kitchen are finished I write to let you know that I and my wife are absolutely thrilled with everything. The quality is superb… we were so very impressed with Buywell Interiors from sqaure one.
We just wanted to express our appreciation for the work done in our kitchen. We are delighted with the results and the workmanship is first class.
Mr & Mrs S., Wetherby
We would like to congratulate your good selves and your excellent colleagues… for the work involved in supplying and fitting of our new kitchen… a very friendly and professional job done by all.
Mr & Mrs W., Boston Spa
Now that our kitchen is nearing completion, we would like to take this opportunity to express our satisfaction of the work that has been carried out by your company… in particular we would like to commend the skill and work ethos of your fitter Peter, he is an outstanding , skilful craftsman… we would have no hesitation in recommending Buywell interiors to future customers.
L and J S., Pontefract.
Dear Simon and your lovely sidekick Michelle, your service is great without the hard sell…They`ve fitted my kitchen with zeal and zest, but in all sincerity they are infinitely the best
C and F C., Wetherby