Monthly Archives: September 2016

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part III

Ready for the final instalment of Eleven Beautiful Kitchens? Well I say final, as soon as we’ve fitted the things that didn’t arrive on time I’ll be getting the professional photographer in and you won’t be able to stop me showing you a bunch more pics – sorry.

If you missed parts one and two you can catch up here  and here.  So, three to go and I’ve saved the stunner until last. No, don’t scroll down to the bottom, be polite and at least skim through the others.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – The Final Instalment

9. The Budget But Beautiful Kitchen

Not everyone has a big budget for a new kitchen so we have both affordable and high end kitchens in the showroom. But a low budget doesn’t mean poor quality or plain which is demonstrated in this kitchen which has simple Bardolino grey oak floor cupboards and worktop, which gives a seamless finish, with white oak effect wall cupboards. I forgot to take a pic but the lower cupboard carcasses are also Bardolino grey oak which looks really neat. The sink and all the appliances are white, including the hood which will be changed next week when the traditional style chimney extractor which was supposed to be there arrives  *frowns and takes a deep breath*. The walls are tiled with simple white metro tiles but with black grout to give it a contemporary look. The drawer handles, cupboard knobs and the tap are chrome and white ceramic. The overall look being a modern take on a traditional kitchen.

The Matfen kitchen in Bardolino Grey Oak and White Oak by Browns

The Matfen kitchen in Bardolino Grey Oak and White Oak by Browns

The traditional style white chimney hood by Hotpoint which was supposed to be fitted

The traditional style white chimney hood by Hotpoint which was supposed to be fitted

 

The black grout between the white metro tiles gives it a cool contemporary look

The black grout between the white metro tiles gives it a cool contemporary look

Next alphabet coffee mugs

Yes I did clear Next out of their ‘C’ and ‘K’ mugs

10. The Marilyn Monroe Kitchen

I’ve named this kitchen after the late screen goddess because like Marilyn it’s bold with great curves, and it’s real name is Milton which isn’t half as sexy. This is actually the same colour as my own kitchen at home and we included these colours in the showroom because its so striking and it’s been in a magazine you know *smiles and nods proudly*. The doors have been colour matched to Farrow & Ball Rectory Red and Clunch and look great with the black granite worktop between. The granite has a matt dimpled finish which I prefer to the polished sparkly granites you usually see in kitchens. Ever since we fitted this kitchen people have been doing a double take when they walk past the showroom and coming back for a proper look. We included this door style so that we could show off the great curved doors, and I picked the Moroccan style tiles to mirror those curves. There are supposed to be open oak shelves above the sink and more of those lovely tiles but we just ran out of time….

Milton shaker style kitchen by PWS in Rectory Red and Clunch with curved doors, black granite worktop and Moroccan style tiling

Milton shaker style kitchen by PWS colour matched to F&B Rectory Red and Clunch, with curved doors, black granite worktop and Moroccan style tiling

Curved doors enhance the flow of the kitchen units

Curved doors enhance the flow of the kitchen units

Moroccan style Quintessential cream tiles from Topps with pale grey grout and black Moak granite from the new Sensa range by Cosentino

Moroccan style Quintessential cream tiles from Topps with pale grey grout and black Moak granite from the new Sensa range by Cosentino

Check back in a few weeks to see the open oak shelves we're adding to this wall once its tiled

Check back in a few weeks to see the open oak shelves we’re adding to this wall once its tiled

11. The BEAUTIFUL Kitchen

OK, so this is the kitchen that got the most votes at the weekend and I won’t lie it’s not cheap. If you’ve a reasonable sized kitchen expect to pay £20-25k for one of these, but it would last you a lifetime and give all your friends serious kitchen envy. It’s from the 1909 range by PWS and it is gorgeous. When I originally planned this kitchen it was going to be charcoal and light grey, but then I visited the PWS showroom in Durham and fell in love with Moleskin which is the colour on the floor cupboards and island – if you can’t see the colour in the pics imagine a really good malbec. It makes the veining in the marble effect silestone look purple too which was a pleasant surprise. This kitchen is packed with features; a huge larder with pull out storage, a curved apron front Belfast sink, a mantelpiece with built in cupboards, bookcases flanking the island, champagne and herb troughs in the island and a cloakroom feature. I was concerned that it might look a little stark with the light grey wall cupboards, white wall tiles and marbled worktop so I had the area around the stainless steel range tiled with black batik tiles from Topps which really stand out and look fabulous when you look between the two enormous pendant lights. There were supposed to be three pendants but one arrived broken, and on reflection I actually prefer it with two now. So take a look…..

In-frame slab kitchen from the 1909 range by PWS in Moleskin and Partridge Grey, with Snowy Ibiza marble effect silestone worktops

In-frame slab kitchen from the 1909 range by PWS in Moleskin and Partridge Grey, with Snowy Ibiza marble effect silestone worktops

Black Batik tiles from Topps around the stainless steel Professional Deluxe Rangemaster

Black Batik tiles from Topps around the stainless steel Professional Deluxe Ringmaster – integrated extractor still to be added….

Bookcases and champagne and herb troughs in the island

Bookcases and champagne and herb troughs in the island

Cloakroom feature with more subliminal message for CKC customers

Cloakroom feature with more subliminal message for CKC customers

Pull out storage in the larder unit, which will be backlit

Pull out storage in the larder unit, which will be backlit

Solid brass trowel handles in a satin nickel finish

Solid brass trowel handles in a satin nickel finish

So that’s all eleven beautiful kitchens. We also built two sales areas and a new reception area, but I’ll show you those when I have the pro’s pics.

This has been my biggest commercial project and I have thoroughly enjoyed it from start to (almost) finish. There have been times when I’ve wanted to kill someone. Others have also come close to killing me with my ‘diva designer demands’. My reaction to the wrong white hood in the budget kitchen not being my finest moment….But the comments from the owners, the suppliers, the team I’ve been working with and the customers has been worth it. Here are a few of my favourites:

It doesn’t feel like a kitchen showroom, it feels like a home”

“I wasn’t planning to change my kitchen for a while yet but your showroom has inspired me to start the process now and I’d like your help”

I was going to buy a new car in 2017 but after seeing your showroom I’ve decided to buy a new kitchen instead”

Now how’s that for positive feedback. Keep checking back for pics of the things that didn’t make the grand re-opening….and if you’ve got a mo let me know which was your favourite.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part II

Ready for some more beautiful kitchens? If you missed yesterday, just pop back here to catch up and then come join us. In the meantime I’m going to apologise again for some of the pics, I’m an interior designer not a professional photographer. The pro will do it justice in a couple of weeks but I just couldn’t wait to show you these beautiful kitchens.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part II

5. The Man Kitchen

I named this one on Sunday after yet another fella in the showroom homed in and said it was the one for them because it was ‘manly’. There were female fans too but it was definitely a fave among the fellas, and not just because of the colour scheme, they also liked the pull out larders and the tambour unit with black glass door. If you’re not familiar with a tambour unit it’s basically a cupboard with internal plug sockets and a glass shutter door for people who don’t like having their kettle and toaster on display – apparently big with the fellas. Anyway my intent with the design was to show customers that you can have a natural wood kitchen without it looking old fashioned. The solid wood handleless doors look great against the black laminate worktop and wall panels. Even the sink is black. I particularly like how the grooves used to open the doors are lined to match the worktop.

I also wanted to show how you can lower the breakfast bar to dining chair level which makes it better for small children or vertically challenged people like me who don’t like to have their legs swinging. The Germans love to integrate everything and this kitchen has a very handy rail system below the wall cupboards with a range of fittings available including a knife block, utensil rack and shelves for storage pots or herbs.

The overall look feels a bit Japanese to me hence the faux bonsai trees. We also got a few enquiries about the shelf lights, which were a Homesense find so I’ll need to source something similar that we can offer customers. There should have been a square black ceiling mounted extractor but this was another late delivery….

Schuller Bari kitchen with solid wood doors and black laminate worktops and wall panels

Schuller natural wood and lava black kitchen

Pull out larder storage in kitchen design

Lots of storage in the pull out larders

Wall mounted rail system in Schuller kitchen

Rail system below the wall cupboards – shown here are the knife block and herb pots, both still to be filled (I ran out of time…)

Cinema lightbox in kitchen design

The utensil rack on the rail system, and a little subliminal messaging for Cockermouth Kitchen Co (I do love a light box)

6. The Corpse Green Kitchen

The colour of this kitchen is actually Copse Green but one of the fitters kept calling it Corpse Green, which might be accurate but doesn’t really sell it. When I was doing research for the showroom displays I came across a picture of a dark green kitchen on Houzz with a white worktop and black accessories which looked fab, and there’s nowt wrong with a little plagiarism in the pursuit of beautiful kitchens is there. This has some great pull out storage in the larder and in the corner unit. If you’re wondering why there is a pendant light hanging over dead space at the end of the counter check back in a couple of weeks and I’ll show you the raised breakfast bar that didn’t make it on time *scowls*, and the white glass splashback, also on its way…..

Mornington shaker style kitchen in Copse Green by PWS with white Maple Blanco silestone worktop

Mornington shaker style kitchen in Copse Green by PWS with white Maple Blanco silestone worktop

Mornington shaker style kitchen by PWS in Copse Green

Discreet telescopic extractor, chrome and black leather handles and some more subliminal messaging for Cockermouth Kitchen Co customers

7. The Modern Cumbrian Kitchen

Steve is the CKC tiler and the split face tiles on this kitchen nearly ended our friendship. They aren’t practical in a kitchen, particularly not as a splashback, they’re not easy to fit and they’re not cheap. But god don’t they look lovely? This kitchen design is all about lines. The straight lines in the run of cupboards with high gloss handleless doors and the long in-line hob, the sharp lines of the wide rectangular extractor, and the horizontal lines in the impractical but beautiful split face tiles. The in-line hob is basically 4 cooking zones in a straight line. If you fit it at the back of your counter instead of centrally it gives you extra prep area in front of your hob and also means you don’t have pan handles hanging over your counter – a rather nice safety feature.

Cumbria is a very rural county with a lot of period properties and homeowners here often feel they need to have a traditional kitchen. So I also wanted to show that you can combine an uber modern glossy kitchen with more traditional elements like natural stone or stone effect features, in this case the wall tiles and the slate effect silestone worktop.

Remo high gloss white handleless kitchen by PWS with slate effect worktop and split face slate tiles.

Remo high gloss white handleless kitchen by PWS with Marengo Suede slate effect silestone worktop and split face slate tiles.

Gas lift stools I actually like with curved smoked grey acrylic seats

Gas lift stools I actually like with curved smoked grey acrylic seats

Neff in-line hob and matching chimney hood

Neff in-line hob and matching chimney hood

Beautiful kitchens like this don't need much dressing, just a few high gloss and slate accessories

Beautiful kitchens like this don’t need much dressing, just a few high gloss and slate accessories

8. The Loft Apartment Kitchen

Now this is my favourite kitchen. I love rooms which feature raw materials in their decor, particularly loft or warehouse apartments with exposed brickwork, wood floors and steel girders. So in this kitchen I included wood, brick, metal and leather and it was hugely popular at the weekend because despite the steel features it looks so warm and inviting. People kept asking me if the walls were clad in actual bricks because the tiles which are from Topps look so realistic. The leather door handles were a little like marmite – you either loved them or hated them, but the point was to show people something they might not have seen before. Personally I love them, but then I also love marmite. We also wanted to show people that if you have a narrow galley kitchen you don’t need to have full depth floor cupboards on both sides, you can use wall cupboards on the floor one one side so that you can have storage and floor space.

Gainsborough shaker style kitchen in Portobello Stone by PWS

Gainsborough shaker style kitchen in Portobello Stone by PWS

Apron front stainless steel belfast sink with stainless steel rise and fall pendant light. The wall colour is Mince Tarts by Valspar

Apron front stainless steel belfast sink with stainless steel rise and fall pendant light. The wall colour is Mince Tarts by Valspar

Angled black glass extractor and black and stainless steel appliances

Angled black glass extractor and black and stainless steel appliances

Integrated microwave in the narrow side of the galley kitchen, lit from below by spots in the plinth

Integrated microwave in the narrow side of the galley kitchen, lit from below by spots in the plinth

Tan leather strap handles - I think they'll look better with age, but not everyones cup of tea

Tan leather strap handles – I think they’ll look better with age, but not everyones cup of tea

So what do you think of these? Found a favourite yet? Three more to come and I’ve saved the best one until last…..

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part I

If you’re not already sat down then I suggest you take a seat PDQ because I’m about to show you some seriously beautiful kitchens. It’s been nine months since Cockermouth Kitchen Co was flooded (for the second time sadly…) but their new showroom is finally open and I couldn’t be prouder of what the team has achieved. As the designer I’ve been visualising this for months but it has still exceeded my expectations, and the owners. It flows, there’s space, light, colour, detail and personal touches…..but enough gushing, lets show you lovely people some beautiful kitchens, not all at once mind, it’s way too much to take in at one sitting.

Eleven Beautiful Kitchens – Part I

1. The Great British Kitchen

This kitchen was actually made in Germany by Schuller but the red, white and blue feels very patriotic hence the name. We had chefs cooking in here over the weekend as part of the Taste Cumbria food festival in Cockermouth and as the display is in the window it was all a bit Saturday Kitchen. It has a high gloss handleless design with a single run of dark blue cabinets behind a huge white island. Most of the appliances are wall mounted so they are easily accessed and cleaned and the ovens have slide and hide doors which I love.  We did order a white ceramic hob for the island but we needed to fit a temporary black 13 amp one for the weekend cooking demo’s… *tuts like a diva*. The worktop is white silestone and includes a moulded silestone sink and a very fancy (i.e. expensive) white mixer tap with pull aerator and light which changes colour depending on the temperature of the water. Completely frivolous but very cool. Although I love the contrast between the indigo blue and white I thought the red accents would perk it up a bit. Please try and ignore the fact that our neighbours across the street are having a sale. At least their sign matches…

High gloss handleless Next 125 kitchen by Schuller in Indigo Blue and White. One of eleven beautiful kitchens designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd for Cockermouth Kitchen Co

High gloss handleless Next 125 kitchen by Schuller in Indigo Blue and White

KWC Eve tap in glacier white

KWC Eve tap in glacier white – RRP £899 (gulp)

Not lots of pics I’m afraid as its really really hard to photograph such a glossy kitchen, so you’ll need to wait till the pro does his magic next month.

2. The Retro Kitchen

The owners were really not happy very sceptical when I told them I was putting a brown and yellow kitchen in their new showroom. To be honest this colour combo usually reminds me of the nylon and knitwear outfits me and my poor sister used to wear in the 70’s so I surprised myself with this design. This is also a Schuller kitchen and the two things I wanted to show in this display were the slab door with unusual moulded edges and the integrated door handles. I picked a brown worktop and sink to match the doors to keep the look simple – there’s enough going on with those yellow doors right? The worktop has a matt marbled finish and is from the Dekton silestone range by Cosentino, and the Cristadur top mounted sink is by Schock. I think its the Ochre Catania tiles from Topps that really finish it off though, oh and my faux lemons of course. Please ignore the chimney extractor, this was a last minute addition when we realised the proper one hadn’t been ordered….

One of eleven beautiful kitchens designed by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd for Cockermouth Kitchen Co

Schuller kitchen with dark wood effect and yellow slab doors

CDA glass shelf extractor

The CDA glass shelf extractor that should be in the display….

Catania Ochre wall tiles from Topps tiles

Catania Ochre wall tiles from Topps tiles

Matching accessories including a bronze plug socket

Its all in the detail – matching accessories including a bronze plug socket

3. The Shaker Meets Industrial Kitchen

This is the third out of five Schuller kitchens we are displaying and I wanted to show that shaker style doesn’t have to mean traditional so I added a polished steel effect silestone worktop, industrial tiling, reclaimed wood lights and vintage swivel stools. I love the huge wrap around breakfast bar and round cupboard at the end. It also features my two favourite appliances, a dual temperature wine fridge for lovers of red and white wine (is there anyone that doesn’t love both?), and a 90cm wide two drawer fridge which I have at home. I can’t show you a pic of the fridge in action as it didn’t arrive on time so the doors are just hiding a hole right now…

Schuller Casa shaker style kitchen in blue-grey with polished steel effect silestone worktop, and industrial and vintage tiling and accessories

Schuller Casa shaker style kitchen in blue-grey

Polished steel effect silestone worktop

Polished steel effect silestone worktop

A mixture of vintage and industrial tiles, lighting, seating and accessories

A mixture of vintage and industrial tiles, lighting, seating and accessories

4. The Late Bloomer Kitchen

I call it this because nobody in the team was loving this plain mid-grey slab door kitchen when it got fitted. And they didn’t love the polished copper handles when they arrived, “cheap looking” being the phrase most used (how very dare they). But when we fitted those handles they started to take notice. Then we added the polished copper tap, geometric tiles and copper accessories and bam! suddenly they got it. This is now a kitchen with impact. It also has a sleek Corian worktop with moulded Corian sink which is rather lovely.

The Nova kitchen by Schuller in grey with dove grey Corian worktop and polished copper accessories

The Nova kitchen by Schuller in grey

Polished copper kitchen cupboard and drawer handles

The controversial polished copper handles

Dove grey Corian worktop with Designer White moulded sink and Avia polished copper tap

Dove grey Corian worktop with Designer White moulded sink and Avia polished copper tap

Polished copper plug socket

Its all in the details – copper accessories and polished copper plug socket

Polished copper kitchen utensils and a polished copper plug socket

That utensil pot is actually a toilet brush holder – if you don’t tell I won’t….

So that’s all you’re getting for now, more to follow this week. I’d love to know if you have a favourite so far?

The Budget Bathroom Challenge

I’m not ashamed to say I’m a teeny bit competitive……Ok so there might have been an incident at an office Christmas party many years ago when I just might have physically injured one or two colleagues in my enthusiasm to win a game of musical chairs. But what’s the point of playing a game other than to win? Which is why I’m particularly loving one of my current projects. My customer has a budget that most people would use to upgrade their kitchen, but we’re going to redecorate his whole house, including a new kitchen and bathroom. Now how’s that for a challenge?

All interior designers love the big budget jobs, I mean who wouldn’t enjoy spending mega bucks. But (maybe perversely) I actually prefer the challenge of creating something beautiful on a budget. I think it’s because the customer really appreciates the value you’ve added by stretching their budget. And trust me it’s a hell of a lot harder to work with a small budget, which plays to my (highly) competitive nature.

The budget bathroom challenge

My customer has known for a while that his house has needed attention, but a combination of time, budget, overwhelming choices and the work involved has caused him to procrastinate. Then a few weeks ago he slipped in the shower and grabbed the shower curtain, which brought the rail crashing down. So he grabbed the wall, which brought a handful of tiles off. And it was at that point he decided enough was enough. And just to prove I’m not exaggerating for dramatic effect here’s a picture of the crime scene.

Before image in the budget bathroom project by Amelia Wilson Interiors Ltd

Before image in the budget bathroom project

Most of my customers have no idea what it will cost to update their home, so one of the first things I do is give them an estimate of what I think they’ll need spend to achieve what they want. If that exceeds the figure they had in mind we tweak or scale back their plans. If it doesn’t, job’s a good ‘un and we crack on. I went through this process with my customer, we agreed a budget and how we would allocate this between rooms so we were good to go.

If you have a small bathroom and you’re not able to do any of the work yourself you can expect to spend at least £2-3k, and it can easily exceed that, especially if you want a walk in shower. The biggest element of this will be the labour cost, so the best way to manage this is to find a fitter that can do everything. which can be (to use one of Mr W’s delightful phrases) ‘as rare as rocking horse shit’. But once you start adding up quotes from a plumber, an electrician, a tiler and maybe a joiner or plasterer it starts getting pricey. Thankfully I work with a multi-skilled fitter – the fabulous Ben Butler.

There are a number of other ways you can manage costs:

1. Try and keep the existing bathroom layout

Or limit the distance you move fittings so your fitter doesn’t have to spend lots of time fitting new pipework and electrics.

2. Consider vinyl flooring instead of tiles

Particularly sheet vinyl as opposed to vinyl planks or tiles as it’s quicker to lay. It’s not all nasty sparkly sticky looking plastic these days either, there are some great wood or stone effects, and it’s hard wearing, anti-slip, hygienic, anti-allergenic, easy to clean and quiet underfoot. Check out the Tarkett Homestyle range, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Tarkett Homestyle Basaltina Carbon vinyl flooring

Tarkett Homestyle Basaltina Carbon vinyl flooring

3. Limit tiling to where you need it or use waterproof wall panels

Was there a law passed in the 80’s that decreed that all bathrooms must be tiled floor to ceiling in pastel marble effect tiles with an ornate border tile, or is it just all the ones I’m now updating? If you want to save money just tile in the shower, and round the bath and sink. Or use waterproof wall panels like these brick effect sheets by MultiPanel which are just over £80 for a 2.4m x 1.2m sheet.

TilePanel waterproof wall panels by MultiPanel

TilePanel waterproof wall panels by MultiPanel

4. Keep your central ceiling light

If your bathroom is a few years old there’s a good chance it’s just got a flush or semi-flush light in the centre of the room, and maybe a light over your sink. Now when I’ve got more to spend I usually recommend ceiling spots, lighting over the sink and in some cases other feature lighting maybe in the shower, or around the bath, all on different circuits so they can be used separately. But if you’re on a tight budget just upgrade the ceiling light to something with multiple LED bulb’s so it’s bright enough and save the cost of additional fittings and your fitters time.

Benton Triple GU10 Spotlight Fitting

Benton Triple GU10 Spotlight Fitting

5. Shop around for bathroom fittings

Many suppliers offer bathroom packs which are cheaper than buying individual items, or packs of matching bath and sink taps. Or look on eBay as you can often find second hand fittings that are in perfectly good condition, or lovely vintage items that people don’t care for anymore. I’ve even sold my customers old bathroom fittings to other customers. One mans trash is another mans treasure and all that.

So I have done all of the above for my customer and we’ve agreed on a plan that comes in under £4k for a bathroom thats approx. 3m by 4m, needs plastering and will include a bath and walk in shower. Challenge accepted – challenge met. Work hopefully starts in October so watch this space for what I can confidently predict will be some spectacularly good before and afters.

Oh and back to that game of musical chairs, for the record, I did win.