Building Blox: Week 29 – How to design an interior layout (2/3) – Kitchen

What we did:

  • Interior design – kitchen;
  • Kitchen fitting.

After setting out the main design principles last week, another instalment about design, this time moving on to the kitchen which we began fitting this week.

First, here’s a CGI of the design from a computer programme which looks like it is from the 1980s. As one of the largest kitchen suppliers in the UK, you’d think Howdens would have upped their game with the graphics!

In my experience they are not very customer-focussed, but more about making tradesmen’s lives easier. I only went there because I designed it myself and got a great ideal. Personally I’d recommend Wren or Magnet.

Designing the kitchen

The kitchen layout and functionality also required a lot of thought. Here are the key elements to my design:

  • Simple, gloss finish – Easy to clean and maintain. I also went for a light contemporary colour to make the space look bigger and more modern
  • Appliances – reliability and maintenance is key here
    • Reliability and low maintenance – I actually went for the best model in my price bracket, so none of the brands match! Buyers care a lot about brands, but in this case I looked to minimise potential issues, getting advice from engineers, blogs and (some!) sales people
    • Powerful ducted extractor fan – this will minimise grease build up; I also tried to get a quiet one so tenants are more likely to use them!
    • Dishwasher – tenants expect these in higher end properties
    • Washer with drier – I made sure of this to avoid tenants drying clothes inside and creating damp related problems
    • Built in hob and oven – These are pretty standard sizes these days so can be easily replaced if need be. As well as giving a much nicer finish, you avoid getting dirt and waste stuck in hard to clean places
  • Cabinets on top of flooring – this may not seem like a big deal, but gives a much better finish and limits any issues from the floorboards ‘settling’*** during the first couple of years
  • Tiling around kitchen walls – in an open plan space this helps separate the spaces and also give a bit more of a premium look, as wall as providing an easy to clean surface
  • Electronic descaling – jury is out if this really works but the theory is that hard water can be ‘softened’ using magnetism which impacts minerals in the water. Installing a unit by your boiler could extend its life and generally reduce limescale throughout the property’s plumbing – discussion and links here
***explaining ‘settling’

I’m not entirely sure if this is the technical term, but this is when movement is created as buildings dry and contract. This is prevalent following traditional construction when many wet materials such as mortar, concrete and plaster is used. ‘Settling’ is why often (hopefully only small) cracks appear shortly after construction.
This is yet another reason I want to move away from masonry building and on to ‘dry’ construction using SIPs or other systems largely built offsite in factories.

Next week we go upstairs where I was able to indulge my design vision a bit more to create something pretty unique for a 2 bedroom terraced house in Bucks!

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