If you’re building a new home or a kitchen extension, you may (quite understandably) be trying to work out when you need to pin down the kitchen design. It’s always a tricky one. Many kitchen companies won’t dedicate design expertise and valuable time to a job that seems a little too far down the line. On the other hand, some of the best kitchens are designed while the building plans are still in a state of flux. For example, a small tweak to a window position could possibly unlock the optimum design. Maybe a brick return (supporting a steel) can be made deeper (and cheaper) to punctuate and ‘screen’ the kitchen zone. Likewise, decisions on the precise position of doors and openings can be better informed when the kitchen design is known.
Beyond the physical parameters of the room, the kitchen design will also be required for locations for mechanical services. Positions for drains, lighting, power supplies for appliances and sockets will all be required in advance of the build, or a couple of weeks before first fix stage at the very latest!
In some cases (often when the architect is project managing) the kitchen is decided very early, even before the tendering process begins. In other cases, the kitchen budget may not be known until the build costs have been calculated. A classic a chicken and egg situation!
Usually I would suggest that the Planning Permission should be granted or very likely to be granted before getting into the kitchen details. However, I have even been consulted at pre-planning stage a few times. Sometimes, the size of an extension is determined by the space required for a good-sized kitchen and dining area. Having said that, in town the extensions are usually as big as the space and planning constraints allow!
So, having raised more questions than answers, I now feel duty bound to readers to offer some guidance! Each kitchen company will have its own policy, so I can only explain our position at Tomas Kitchen Living. For me, I’d say it’s never too early to be thinking about the kitchen. It is the centre piece of most projects and as such should not be unnecessarily compromised in its design. Each enquiry is different, but once approximate kitchen budgets are known we would be willing to start the design process - at virtually any stage. On some occasions a design fee/deposit may be required. Assuming the plans have been drawn electronically, we would ask for the DWG file to be sent from the architect. This will be imported into our system and an ‘empty space’ drawing is prepared for a liveDESIGN session. Well that another topic, so watch this space to read about my collaborative method of designing kitchens ‘live’ with my clients on hand to quiz and bounce ideas around.
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