It’s that time of the year when many people are looking at giving their kitchen a makeover in time for Christmas.
The process can be daunting, though, so we asked Phil Nott - who has been designing kitchens for over 25 years and now has his own Altrincham showroom at PGN Kitchens - to give us a step-by-step guide.
1 Do your due diligence
The first thing is to do due diligence on any company you’re contacting. A new kitchen is not an insignificant spend, so you need to make sure you’re going with a reputable kitchen specialist. Check Google Reviews and Trustpilot, dig as deep as you can.
My advice would also be to stay away from national companies - they don’t purposely do a bad job, but they’re so big they can’t possibly retain the quality across all the fitting teams they have. I can tell you it’s hard enough managing my three fitting teams!
2 Have an honest conversation
Once you’ve chosen a company, you should be guided through as to what will and what won’t work. We’ll have open and frank conversations about what you can and can’t achieve. Taking time at this stage will make the process much smoother later on.
3 Get ready
Be as prepared as you can. A new kitchen is not going to be turned around in two or three weeks. You need to leave up to 12 months, especially if the kitchen is part of an extension project.
Incorporate the kitchen part from the start, and think about type and style of units, worktops, appliances and any specialist features like a Quooker tap.
4 Have a wishlist
One of the most infuriating things is when a new customer comes in and has absolutely no idea what they want. At this stage you should at least have a wishlist, with ideas about the colours and styles you want in relation to the cabinets, worktop and appliances, and this all impacts how we will plan a design.
5 Have a home visit
If you book a consultation with us, we’ll do a home visit and come and measure the space. If it’s an extension we would want to see the architect’s plans. Then it’s time to get to work on the full design proposal.
6 Work up the designs
If you work with us, I’ll get a design proposal back to you inside around three days. I’ll always email the full visuals, elevations and plans, then after a client feedback, tweak a second version.
Once we have a fairly finalised plan we’ll have a one-hour showroom consultation where we add the finishing touches and accessories, such as door handles. At the end of that consultation we’ll be in a position to give you a detailed and itemised quote for the kitchen and installation.
7 Place your deposit
If the design is agreed, it’s time to place a deposit to secure the order. We’ll then book the client in for a technical survey with myself and an installer, and give them a firm installation date. We can normally install within six weeks so long as they're ready.
Lead times have improved hugely since Covid times - it’s about three weeks for standard cabinet units, or six weeks for more bespoke units. The installation schedule does fill up towards the back end of the year, so that’s something to bear in mind.
8 Installation time
How long does an installation take? It depends on what you’re installing exactly. If there’s a quartz worktop, for instance, it can take up to two weeks. I only have three fitting teams, all 5-star rated professionals who are kitchen fitters by trade, not just joiners. They uphold the morals and standards of the company where customer satisfaction is paramount.
9 Nip any issues in the bud
During the installation phase I will do numerous site visits to make sure the customer is happy and fire-fight any potential issues. We’ll also install temporary cooking facilities for the client while their usual kitchen is out of action.
10 Job done
Once the job is done, I will do a completion visit within a week to make sure the customer is happy. We’ll then ask permission to take photos, and ask the customer to give us a review.