NWR Kitchen Thread

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by David Crossley, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. Just saw a house with integrated deep fat fryer and (electric grill) next to the hob. Quite cool and very easy to clean (said Madame).
  2. ...any other thoughts on oven brands?
    Leon Marks likes this.
  3. I keep expecting this to be about string!
    Charles Muttar likes this.
  4. We are going through the same process at the moment David. Having looked at many options we are currently favouring a Howdens kitchen which will be fitted by a local building company that has been recommended by friends (we have seen their work). Looking at our galley style kitchen which is approx 3m x 3m the price including appliances is somewhere between £18 and £30 thousand (two different builders quoting for the same things!). We are going induction, two ovens and a warming drawer (for bread proving in the winter as kitchen is on the cold side of the house). Another tip is two get two or three different designers in as they all have slightly different views about what might work. The other tip is if you want granite worktops it is probably better/cheaper to source those from a specialist supplier rather than the kitchen supplier.
    David Crossley likes this.
  5. We went neff and have been very happy. I think they’re the level below Miele in the hierarchy of German cooking suppliers. We have two double ovens, which gives me no end of joy. We also have a neff induction hob with the twist pad - this is a removable magnetic puck which works as a dial. It serves no rational purpose but is so cool and so much fun I can’t even tell you...

    To Andrew’s point - we spent a TON of time on the design - worked with 3 different companies - in fact the design we went with was a mash up of 2 different designs.

    I saw one of these and SO wanted it...but got a very firm no. In fairness - I do have four ovens so I feel lucky...
    Ben Coffman and David Crossley like this.
  6. We have a Neff oven now. It still works perfectly well, one new element in over a decade, but it’s time for a new one. I suppose my main reason for changing would be for a change.

    Am I right that it sort of goes Neff, AEG, Siemens, Miele on ascending order?
  7. I had thought that Neff was the level below Miele. At the very least, as one goes from Ealing into Chiswick, the kitchen shops go from Neff to Miele...
  8. Well I lived in Ealing but only rarely ventured to Chiswick ;).
  9. I have been super impressed with my Gaggenau oven. They were highly recommended on the other kitchen thread and I can see why. Accurately controllable from 30 to 300 degrees (have just done some pretty decent pizza as couldn’t be bothered going outside) and has a built in temp probe. And - most importantly - it’s big enough for two suckling pigs.
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  10. We thought long and hard about Gaggenau but couldn’t justify the cost. There seems to be a lot of chatter around that Miele these days just aren’t what they used to be, quality-wise.

    We went Siemens in the end for the hobs and ovens - extremely pleased with them, the ovens happily run up to 280C which isn’t often needed but nice to have! Went for one normal fan oven and one with steam, plus an integrated microwave/combi.
    David Crossley likes this.
  11. I hear you Bryan. I did a lot of appliance research and spoke to a ridiculous number of people, investing far more time in choosing appliances than could in any way be justified and came to the following conclusions on who makes the best stuff:

    Fridges and freezers: Liebherr (or Miele, which are made by Liebherr)
    Electric ovens and steam ovens: Gaggenau
    Induction hobs with downdraft extraction: Bora
    Dishwashers: Miele

    For me it was then a cost-benefit analysis from that start point, with the suckling pig benefit utterly non-negotiable.

    As you say, the costs soon mount up and if I’d had an unlimited budget I could quite easily have racked up a £25k appliance bill. So trade offs have to be made.
    Chris Davies and Bryan Collins like this.
  12. I have a Gaggenau gas hob that is 30 years old and working like new. You pay serious money, but they really go the distance.
    Jonathan Budd and Bryan Collins like this.
  13. I’m starting to plan a new kitchen so thought I’d share what I’ve found out so far. I’ve been looking at modern frameless kitchens rather the traditional in frame ones but I think the principles below apply to both. I’m no expert and have just been Googling so take this with a large pinch of salt.

    I started off by trying to understand what makes a good quality kitchen and what spending more money gets you. I’ve also considered how good a kitchen needs to be. Design, appliances, installation, construction and materials seem to be the main elements. Obviously this has to combined with good customer service from the supplier and fitter.

    The construction part has been the most interesting aspect to find out about. I think kitchen units are quite simple things, they’re just boxes on legs so the standard of the joinery and materials used will define the quality. Very cheap kitchens mainly use MFC, melamine faced chipboard, and use Ikea style butt joints with barrel bolts and nuts. They’re often flat packed. There are different grades of MFC and the cheap ones aren’t very dense (160kg per m3 compared to 500 kg per m3 for good quality) and struggle to hold a screw firmly and so can result in drooping doors and wobbly cabinets. They also give off volatile organic compounds which can be harmful. The edges will be 0.4mm ABS plastic and prone to peeling. If the coating on the MFC is cheap it could also detach with time. This means water can get in damaging the chipboard and will result in a ruined cabinet. The cheaper cabinets have very thin backs and the tops are reinforced with only minimum support. This means only the bottom and 2 sides are providing most of the structural strength. Hinges and drawer runners will be cheap although some do offer Blum which seems to be a good standard even for high end kitchens. Despite all of this they do seem to last for a good while (maybe 5 to 10 years) before needing replacement. I have a Howdens kitchen which I’d say is in this category, it’s 7 years old and still looks and works fine. Customer service was terrible though! I think this is the category most of the big chains will be in. Not sure there’s much to choose between them despite the different price points. One interesting option is DIY Kitchens who are able to offer better quality than this for a similar price and are well rated by Which? and in many online reviews.

    I don’t think you have to spend much more to get something better which will should last 20 years. Maybe spending double, say £6000 instead of £3000 on cabinetry (based on a normal size kitchen, cabinets only) is probably enough. A smaller, local firm is probably the best place to buy from. For this you should be able to get constructed (not flat packed) units made out high quality, dense 18mm thick MFC ( Eggerboard from Austria is apparently a good one) with 2mm thick ABS edging and solid structural backs and tops made out of the same material. Glued dowelled joints and Blum or Grasse hinges/drawer runners should feature and are an significant upgrade over the cheaper options.

    Spending a bit more, maybe up to £10k can add nice sold oak drawer boxes with dovetail joints, slightly nicer doors (but an expensive painted door looks a lot like a cheap painted door), more choice of finishes and bespoke sizes.

    Interestingly, lots of the high end kitchens appear to use the same construction methods and materials and I really struggle to see how they can justify being 4 to 10 times the cost. I could be wrong but I suspect they make very nice margins and spend a lot on brand positioning and making sure they are perceived as a luxury product.

    There are some exceptions. Good quality plywood (18mm thick, 5 layer, BWR grade) seems to the best material to make cabinets from. It’s very strong and stable which is important in the kitchen environment (real wood moves under such conditions and is more expensive). It is dense and holds a screw solidly so no drooping! Naked Kitchens in Norfolk are one supplier who use this and appear to be good. However, cost is up to £20 or £30k for the cabinets. Koivu and Common Projects are similar I think. There are some smaller suppliers who offer a similar thing at about half that price (I’m in contact with Celtica and Farmwood kitchens, small firms but who will supply nationwide). The question is whether spending the extra on ply rather than a good quality MFC kitchen is worthwhile given the cheaper options have a lifespan of 20 years. That’s probably long enough and the saved money can be better spent on decent worktops and appliances.

    Phew. Need to start researching layouts, worktops and appliances now. Should be ready to go ahead with kitchen by 2024 at the earliest.
  14. Chris - completely agree with all of the above. Ply is an excellent option. We have gone for a combination of ply, solid maple and elm and the thing seems bullet proof. I think a lot of the decision is around sturdiness and longevity. Our kitchen in our last place was a cheap B&Q job and it was fine and lasted 5-10 yrs but nothing was perfectly straight and lined up and things invariably moved around slightly, loosening over time.

    And it’s amazing how much you can spend on an MFC kitchen. You are quite right about the high-end companies. It’s all made of the same stuff as the cheap ones, but with a better paint or veneer. My kitchen company replaced a Smallbone kitchen recently and showed me the materials that they had ripped out. I was shocked, especially when Smallbone kitchens can easily be £100k.

    You’ll save money by not having a frame. From all the quotes we got, in-frame designs were 25-40% more, mainly due to the extra labour. I do think that in-frame looks better though - but it’s obviously a personal choice.
    Chris Davies likes this.
  15. Definitely going down the route of construction rather than flat pack. Nölte is probably the way we will go...and I took K to the showroom today and the designer is coming out next Friday, so we’re off!!!

    The big decision is hob type. I’m inclined to trust those I know here and make the significant move from gas to induction. I don’t mind the price difference but annoyingly the nice Siemens 5-ring i saw might be 10cm too wide.

    I’m just hoping the guy who comes lives up to his billing as “senior designer”. In a 3.5x4m kitchen the design will be the toughest part, with more trade offs on what we can fit in than on price.

    The clock is ticking because 2024 is too long for us, we need it done by 1May!
  16. Does everyone go for built in rather than freestanding units? suppliers to the restaurant business have some pretty interesting options.
    I'd like a floor with drains in it that can be hosed down.
    Charles Muttar likes this.
  17. Are you planning a home abattoir Tom :eek:?
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  18. I've got one of those: it's called a shower.
  19. A ruthlessly forensic examination of the current landscape, Chris . We put in a new kitchen three years ago but am tempted to rip it out and start again given what I've learnt from your post. Bravo!
  20. Very impressive research.
    I went for Ikea cabinets which I think they guarantee for 25 years. But I did not investigate what they are made from. I have found Ikea oak surface worktops can get water damage and loose their appearance, so I had high quality wood work surfaces made.
    Chris Davies likes this.
  21. Nothing wrong with being prepared!
  22. Hi David,

    In my experience sometimes the kitchen designers don’t cook themselves and as a result suggest some quite odd things! Make sure he takes into account practicality and doesn’t just come up with something that looks good.

    I think a good way to do this is to think about the workflows. For example, when cooking we tend to get food from a fridge or cupboard, take it to a sink for washing or peeling, then to a worktop for prep and finally to the hob or oven for cooking. Try to get all of these close together or at least have a clear and easy path between them. Similarly, when cleaning up we bin/recycle/compost waste, rinse plates in the sink, put them in dishwasher and the unload clean stuff from the dishwasher into cupboards/drawers. Again all of these should be close together, I’d find it a bit of pain to have to walk around the kitchen to put clean plates/cutlery away, better to have the plate storage and cutlery drawer within arms reach of the dishwasher. An even better option is 2 dishwashers, you never have to unload!
    Having some worktop space near the oven where you can put hot dishes down is useful and it will reduce the chance of acccidents as you won’t be carrying hot stuff too far.
    Just one more thing, check what you want to store in the new kitchen and plan to make sure you have somewhere to put it. Enough storage space for pots and pans near the hob for example.

    Good luck! Hope it goes well.
    Toby Morrhall and Leon Marks like this.
  23. Thank you Chris. When we last had a new kitchen we basically replaced what we had before in the same configuration. Then we spent ten years realising we had a nice enough kitchen but hadn’t put right the poor design of the one we inherited. Ten years on I hope we can improve in all the areas you suggest. As we do both enjoy cooking I’m hoping we know the issues. It’s really the prime mover for changing it, though at 12-y-o the present one is just beginning to show its age.

    I’m also very much hoping that when we pack up all the cupboards we can throw out a lot of accumulated crap.

    The good thing about modern design is that storage seems much better thought through. I’m aiming for far less time on my knees or on tiptoe groping for stuff at the back of a cupboard.

    What you say about a designer not necessarily being an avid cook is a very good point.
    Chris Davies likes this.
  24. I'm a bit shocked at how quickly some of your kitchens have deteriorated. I'm still using the bones of my 1990 Bulthaup kitchen (an original integrated workbench on one wall and storage cupboards on the other). All the appliances have been replaced (except the above-mentioned Gaggenau gas hob), as have the taps, but everything else works perfectly and looks extraordinarily good for its age. At the time, it was cutting edge, but the sheer quality of the build is astounding. I can't imagine how many times the draws have been opened and closed and how many meals have been prepared on the workbench. There are few points where the workbench shows its age admittedly, but you have to look closely. It is still an outstanding piece of functional design. Long may it continue to work.

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