+ Our New Kitchen Design

Our current kitchen

Before moving into our new flat, we were convinced that our first DIY job would be ripping up the flooring. We’ve inherited some Spanish villa-style tiles throughout the house – including the bedroom! In our first week living here we realised we’d overlooked a bigger issue. While the kitchen looks fine, there were a few deal breakers for us:

  • Our plates don’t fit in ANY of the cupboards
  • The oven is so old that the rubber seal has stopped working and sags, leaving a gap which makes cooking that little bit harder.
  • The wall units are so low that our knife block barely fits underneath, and our coffee machine has to be pulled towards the edge of the worktop so that we can fill it!

Yep, some of these issues could be resolved with a handyman, but we figured popping into Funktional Kitchens for a free design service would help make our minds up. I love a more traditional, rustic kitchen whereas Ned’s all about contemporary design – anything that would feel at home in a bachelor pad basically! The designer had his work cut out..

The Free Plan and Design Service

Andy at Funktional Kitchens sat us down for about an hour, talking through the options for units, appliances and asked us basic questions like “double, 1.5 or single sink?” We then sent through our floor plan and some photos so he could get to work on our digital mockup based on our choices, as you can see below:

Our first kitchen render

Once you’re happy with the overall vision and want to discuss next steps prior to actually getting it installed, you hand over £500 as a deposit. Even better, you can also start to pick out accessories and flooring which Andy then helpfully inserted into the digital render. See below for our choice of trio pendant from Jim Lawrence. Andy then found similar lighting in his tool and sent us back a mock-up:

Digital render of trio pendant lighting in the kitchen design

Some Tips:

  • Everything will be itemized in the quotation. Take a look and see if there’s any easy switches you can make yourself to cut costs. For example, Andy chose an awesome Siemens integrated microwave, but I found an even cheaper one online with a grill function.
  • Does each cupboard really have to be a functional unit? We saved ourselves several hundred quid by making an awkward corner unit a superficial panel. Every unit that had to be made to measure was considerably more expensive, so avoid these where you can.
  • Some accessories that seem luxurious and unnecessary are not always that expensive. We are getting a 6-bottle wine fridge to add a unique selling point and its ~£250

What We Chose:

The Cabinets – German supplier Häcker offer three different finishes in their Classic range, all at varying prices. We’re opting for the mid-range (slightly better finish, less IKEA) in magnolia.

Wall Tiles for the Splashback – Shelter Island – Harbour View tiles from Fired Earth. It’s nigh on impossible to find cheaper herringbone marble tiles from anywhere else despite searching relentlessly.
Fired Earth's Shelter Island Harbour view tiles (marble look/herringbone)

Floor tiles – Ca’Pietra Shepton Flagstones, via Tiles Etc, had the right shade of grey to make me swoon and enough rugged specks to please Ned. Our builder told us that slate tiles are a bugger to look after and that we’re better off going for porcelain, but the look of these tiles is so spectacular its hard to listen to sensible advice.
Ca'Pietra Shepton Flagstones

The worktop – Against my better judgement, knowing full well all the oiling and extra care it requires, we’re in love with Spëkva‘s range of wooden worktops. Ours will come in the Bavarian Wild finish. I was super sad that my dreams of an island kitchen wouldn’t come to fruition in this flat, but Andy our designer really delivered with his ‘peninsula’ design, which is made from the same wood.

Chimney Extractor Hood – Initially we opted for a concealed extractor, but the more I looked at the initial designs, the more the main wall seemed to be OTT on the cupboards! Instead, I opted for the Siemens iQ300 chimney extractor. As you can see from the image below on the left, it really helps to break up the never-ending wall of units:

Kitchen with and without the chimney hood

The next step is to sign off each of the ‘order of goods’, pay 35% of the total cost and then wait until February when it will get installed. Funktional Kitchens don’t actually install everything – they only do a dry fit. Be prepared to fork out an additional costs of ££££s to get the appliances plumbed in and any extra building work sorted too.

I’ll update you in February when the work is complete!