Sunday, 15 January 2017

DIY Kitchens Review

Our kitchen now, excuse the yet-to-be-finished lights

First of all, I wholeheartedly planned to blog throughout the renovation progress on our house. However when you're at work 8-5 and working at the house till super late at night, the last thing you can be bothered to do is write a lengthy blog post about how little progress you've made - rubbing more salt into my wounds is not something I enjoy. That being said, the one thing I did want to blog about was our experience with DIY Kitchens. When ordering our kitchen, I found myself stumped at the strangest of questions, which didn't really warrant a phone call to them, but there was no online help either. 

The cost

We decided to use DIY Kitchens against the advice of pretty much everyone. Skeptics said the prices (particularly for the quartz worktops) were too good to be true and we'd be better off going to Howdens. Well, we went to Howdens and got a quote for about £7000 excluding worktops *ouch*. To put that in perspective, our DIY Kitchens order was £5362 including worktops, hob and sink (we purchased the other appliances separately.) We went for the Malton in Graphite with Lagoon quartz tops.

The planning

One of the things that is likely to put you off ordering from DIY kitchens is the fact you have to plan and measure the kitchen yourself -something that terrified me. (I can't even measure the length of a room properly, but more on that another time...) Me and the OH decided to take a trip to the showroom as I'd read on Instagram that they were really helpful. Although it was great to see the quality at the showroom, they didn't really offer much more advice than they would over the phone, so don't let the location of the showroom put you off. The one thing that really helped us was the kitchen planner, although simple in design, it was the easiest thing to help us measure and plan our kitchen layout. The fact you can cut out the units with voids included really helps, as that is something that we forgot to factor in at first.

The worktops

My main question when ordering our kitchen was 'how does the worktop order work?' I searched and searched online but couldn't find anything. Basically, when ordering the worktops you've got to put the width and length of the worktops as well as the type of hob cut out and sink into an online generator, which gives you your quote. I was worried I hadn't measured properly, and that they wouldn't know where to put the hob cut out etc in. Perhaps it was me being silly, but there was nothing to say that it was only a guide for the price and the company would come and template the worktops properly after you'd ordered. *It probably is me being silly, but if this helps one person then at least I'm not alone.* The quartz tops are subcontracted to an outside company, about a week before our kitchen was delivered, I received a text with an order number and the instructions to call their office to book our templating in. According to our kitchen fitter, their technology was quite high-tech and the guy who came to template the kitchen was really knowledgable. It took about a week from the templating for our worktops to be delivered, they even managed to fit them 2 days before Christmas!

The units

Our kitchen fitter was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cabinets, they're 18mm thick on the inside, whereas other companies are only approx. 16mm. They interiors also come in a huge range of colours to match your kitchen which means you're not forced to have white interiors with dark grey units. We had a slight issue with the depth of the built-in appliance housing units - DIY Kitchens units are 560 deep and other units are about 570, so when our fridge went in, the doors wouldn't shut. This meant we had to rip the void out the back of the unit to fit the fridge in, not ideal but at least it was easily sorted. 

One thing to note is the height of the Belfast sink cabinet, there are two options on the website - one for sinks 250-260mm and the other for sinks 200-225mm. The only issue with that, is that if your sink is at the lower end of the height scale, being 10-15mm below your worktops is quite a difference. We had to prop our sink up with MDF to get it the right height, which is a bit annoying seeing as they have a section on their website advising people which height sink unit to buy. 

Some of our units differed in size, for example our 1000 wide drawer line unit was 560mm deep one side and 555mm deep on the other side - I'm not sure why, or whether this is because its hand made but it's a bit annoying (and makes the fitters job harder). One thing I would definitely recommend is asking if they can change the size of something for you - we wanted a worktop dresser unit in the corner but wanted it 560 deep to match the depth of the oven and fridge, I put it on the extra requests section when we ordered and it only cost an extra £32 - definitely worth giving it a try if you have an obscure request!

The verdict

Overall I'm so happy with our kitchen, its absolutely beautiful and everyone loves it when they walk in. The price was amazing for what we got and the overall quality is amazing (bar a few niggles). If you're wanting to do a kitchen renovation on a tight budget, I'd definitely recommend DIY Kitchens, although keep in mind some of their guides are quite broad when it comes to size recommendations.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to comment, send me an email or a message on Instagram @darcinderdiary, for now, I'll leave you with a few top-tips and the floorpan for our kitchen - it was ever so technical! 

Top tips 

1. Order extra filler panels, they're always useful
2. Measure, measure, measure - triple check your measurements
3. Check the space allowed for built-in appliances, even 5mm out is a huge amount
4. Drawers are always useful in a kitchen, you can never have too many
5. Plan your layout around how you function, where do you want to keep plates, glasses etc? Where do you want to keep cooking utensils? This ensures your kitchen will work around you.