Independent Kitchen Suppliers offer more than just a bespoke design. Katie Green from Heart of Your Home explains.
Hi, I’m Katie Green, owner and designer of Heart of Your Home Kitchens, a family owned and run business which is located in Bashall Eaves just outside the beautiful town of Clitheroe in Lancashire. I am 33 years old and I recently married Jonny (he is an engineer and really helps in the family business, he manufactures my little bespoke breakfast bar legs I design for my clients – he’s a star) However…. when I say recently married, it’s been two years – I can’t actually believe where the time has gone!
I have two little dogs, Bella and Daisy and they are the loves of my life – I must say I am a real sucker for dogs. I just love it when I visit my client’s homes and there is one of our little furry friends trotting about! I have even designed and installed a bespoke bed area in one of my client’s new kitchens for her dog Mitzi – she loved it and we can’t get her out of there!
I’ve been in the kitchen design and installation industry since leaving university with a design degree back in 2006 and I have always had a passion for making my clients dreams come alive. Whilst working and managing in some of the big corporate “Kitchen Sheds” we are all familiar with in the UK, I spotted a gap in the market for a unique opportunity and that’s when I grabbed it with both hands. I set up my own studio in a tranquil location on a farm complex, with similar quirky businesses around me that carry the same family values.
At Heart of Your Home Kitchens you can enjoy complete exclusivity in the studio where you can take time selecting colours and styles and enjoy a coffee or two while we discuss your ideas and achieve your dream kitchen layout together.
There is no high pressure selling and no rush to make a decision – I can make as many amendments to your design as you wish and I can make as many appointments as you like! My clients only ever deal with me directly throughout their project, so no passing from pillar to post and I make regular site visits to ensure your installation runs smoothly from start to finish.
I build up close, personal and working relationships with my clients and I feel that really helps when achieving their dream layout. I really get to know my clients and find out exactly what their lifestyle is like ensuring that together we incorporate all their hopes and dreams in their new kitchen.
Kirsty at Greenbank Interiors contacted me after seeing some of my designs and installations on Instagram and asked me if I’d like to write a guest blog for her website, so here I am!
We chatted about what I should write about and decided on hints and tips that I could offer on why it’s best to choose an independent kitchen supplier and some ideas of how to achieve your dream layout in your kitchen.
Some tips and reasons why you should think about choosing an Independent Kitchen Supplier over a “Big Shed”
- Always visit your local independent kitchen retailers before making your final decision as often they are invested in the business and therefore have a real passion for designing and installing a beautiful kitchen. The designer in us wants to create a beautiful living space for our clients and that’s what’s most important to us… second to money!
- Local independent retailers tend not to be high sales driven businesses with unrealistic targets and can offer more “one on one” time – ensuring that you achieve the perfect layout before installation starts.
- We can get our hands on anything! And by this, I mean we are not strictly held to what is available in the brochures, if you see something on Pinterest or Instagram for example – we can pretty much usually re-create it for you! We have the freedom to create a kitchen that is really tailored to you and totally unique at a price you will be surprised at.
- We are designers, not sales people and really have an eye for detail and a real flair for what looks good in a kitchen.
- We are always researching and evolving to ever changing trends and fashions and are always at the forefront of the design industry, we have ideas on things you may not even have thought of!
- We listen to your needs and wants and always make sure to incorporate them in a logical way into your design.
- Independent retailers take a real pride in their work as repeat business and recommendations are crucial to our success – you can be assured that your new kitchen will be fully project managed from start to finish, taking the stress away for you!
- We can take care of everything from electrical work to plumbing, plastering to decorating, so no need to organise this yourself, its already taken care of!
- We source the very best in quality which is why you may pay a little more than a “Big Shed” Whilst they may be ever so slightly cheaper than us, they might not necessarily supply the same quality and its worth fully doing your research on things like the paint finish on the door or the specification on the hinges or drawer boxes for example.
- When comparing like for like – we make sure everything is included and take time running through your quotation with you making sure everything on your wish list has been included, there are no hidden costs and everything is transparent and upfront.
- Always come back to us! Before you make your final decision, or if our initial quotation is a little out of budget, talk to us! We have usually invested a large amount of time on your plans and built up a good relationship with you and we want to work with you! It really hurts us when a client decides to go somewhere else like a “big shed” for example before coming back to talk to us, more often than not we can help! As I mentioned before, we can get our hands on anything so we can usually make minor adjustments to your plan and bring your quote more in line with your budget if necessary.
- Think ahead and always put function first and then design. There is no perfect kitchen layout, they come in all shapes and sizes but try where possible to keep “the working triangle” between your hob, sink and fridge as these are the most frequently used appliances. Where possible, try not to keep more than 6 or 7 steps between them.
- Always think about storage and where you are most likely to keep things before you finalise your design. There is nothing worse than moving into your new kitchen and finding out there is not enough storage for you.
- Make use of awkward corners by including corner storage pull outs. Corners are my bug bear and I always use a storage solution as they can make such a difference in your kitchen.
- Lighting – often forgotten about – it can make a real impact on the finished design and you want to include as much as possible. Under wall unit lighting wired into the switch on the wall is great, as not only is it practical, it also creates a beautiful ambient atmosphere too. You may even want to think about pendant lighting over an island as this can create a real focal point.
- There is no such thing as too much worktop space! It can be a real design feature in a kitchen, try mixing it up with textures and choose a surface that is easy to work on and care for, like a Corian or Quartz for example.
- Handles! It may seem a silly one, but often forgotten about are handles… they can really make or break a design and can totally change a look. They are usually last to be thought of and it’s here where mistakes can be made. Asking what kind of handles my clients would like is now one of my initial questions. Think about the style of kitchen you are going for and ask your designer for advice on different handle styles and where to position them on your cupboard doors.
- Use light colours in a small kitchen. Dark colour schemes can shrink an already small space and make it less inviting. Use soft shades on your kitchen cabinets and use natural light where possible to visually expand a small room.
- Try using a mix of colours, maybe try your island or wall units in a different colour, keep them on the same colour pallet like greys for example and don’t be afraid to add a pop of colour somewhere.
- Bins – always included a recycling bin. You won’t know what you ever did with out one! There are many styles available which will suit everybody’s needs. This is the same for a dishwasher – always incorporate a dishwasher, even if it’s a small one. They aren’t as expensive as you might think!
- Flooring – again this can make or break your design, think about what you want to achieve. Do you want to create a warm atmosphere with wood for example or do you want a tiled floor? This can sometimes be cold, so you may want to consider underfloor heating.
- Create a focal point – something you want your eyes to be drawn to when you walk in to the room. This could be a feature mantle around your hob area, or a super modern breakfast bar with split level seating. You want one thing to “pop” in your kitchen to make your kitchen stand out from the rest and give your friends a talking point!
- Know when to stop… don’t over design, knowing when to stop is the key. Something we independents are good at – ask us for advice and don’t overcrowd your kitchen with units as this can often make a room look small.
Some tips on achieving your dream layout
I really hope this guest blog post has helped you a little when trying to decide on a kitchen retailer or even given you some advice on planning your dream kitchen. Feel free to follow me over on my Instagram @heart_of_your_home_kitchens or have a look at my website www.heartofyourhomekitchens.co.uk for more information or ideas. All of the kitchens featured in this blog have been designed and created by me, I hope you enjoy looking through them.