Andrew Nichols Interior Designs & Hand Painted Kitchens

Andrew Nichols is a specialist in bespoke hand painted kitchen design across Sussex, Surrey and London and has been in the business for over thirty years.

FINISHING TOUCHES

After weeks of planning, your new kitchen is finally installed and the cabinets are almost full again. All the old spices have been replaced, the wine is chilling in the fridge and the remains of last years Christmas cake has finally found its way to the bin.

Time now to add some accessories and make the space uniquely yours. I’m sure we all have those favourite pieces collected over many years, a loved and cherished china bowl, photographs that bring back memories of a holiday, an old spice rack found in a car boot sale or simply a collection of decorative ceramic plates and vases. The great advantage of these embellishments is that they don’t have to be permanent. Artwork can be updated and moved around, and the display of Clarice Cliff china or the beautiful Susie Cooper tea set can be rearranged every time it needs dusting.

Next on the list may be the latest design in toasters or that on trend coffee maker you’ve always wanted. One of my personal favourites is the range of designer kitchenware from Italian company Alessi or the homegrown brand JosephJoseph who have built a reputation for innovative and contemporary design.

It’s always useful to have easy access to those recipe books we’ve collected over the years, but space for the laptop is also helpful when searching for that illusive recipe you can’t find.

Kitchen displays can be unique in that they celebrate the beauty of everyday things. A bowl of fruit, a basket of eggs or bunches of freshly dried herbs can have great appeal and help make the kitchen a pleasure to work in.

 

 

THE KITCHEN ISLAND

Planning a new kitchen

A popular request, and one of our favourite design solutions, is to include the provision of an island in the design. This can be a means of dividing an open plan room to define the cooking, dining and areas for relaxation.

The Kitchen Island

An island can provide its own essential work zone, offering additional storage and, with the inclusion of a second sink, create a dedicated preparation area. In addition, further space can be provided for appliances such as under counter microwaves and wine coolers.

By overhanging the work surface on the dining side, an informal seating area can be created for breakfast, a quick snack or a place to have a glass of wine while chatting to the chef.

Other considerations that need to be addressed include electrical and plumbing provision while ensuring that enough space is left between the island and the main kitchen. We always recommend at least a one meter space, especially when two people are working in the room. One solution could be an alternative shape to the normal rectangle or square. Introducing an L shape or curved section can add further interest and help solve any congestion issue.

The above covers the basic practical aspects; now let’s move on to visual appearance. A variety of work surfaces can be used to provide a contrast to the main counter in the kitchen. For example, a solid timber surface can add warmth and create a different focal point. Using a different finish for the cabinetry can also add to this effect and the inclusion of a bookcase or wine rack is another option to consider. It is becoming increasingly popular to use separately controlled lighting to illuminate this area, such as pendant lights and this approach will also help create a relaxed atmosphere when sitting down at the end of a long day, enjoying a well deserved glass of wine.

SINKS AND TAPS | KITCHEN DESIGN

Sinks and Taps: Choosing the right ones for your kitchen design ideas.

Sink design has developed immensely over the last few years, gone are the day’s when the choice was limited to 1 or 2 bowls or perhaps a butler style sink. The options have also been enhanced as a result of the wide range of work surfaces, allowing for the use of under mounted sinks and products which can be seamlessly integrated into the work surface.

SINKS:

UNDER MOUNTED. Designed for use with solid surfaces such as stone or composites, they sit completely under the work surface and can incorporate drainer flutes and additional tap holes to provide sprays and soap dispensers.

DROP IN SINKS. This option is generally used with moisture sensitive wood or laminate surfaces and is installed from above into a pre-prepared hole in the surface and offers the widest range of shapes, styles  and sizes.

INTEGRAL SINKS. Usually the most expensive route, these sinks are fabricated as one piece within the work surface so there are no visible seams or joints.

BELFAST SINKS. Generally ceramic, although one manufacturer now offers a stainless steel version.

How many bowls ? The range of options start with a simple single bowl which can be enhanced with an additional half or three quarter bowl or a second full size bowl. All these alternatives can be applied to all three styles. The next big question, what material would you prefer. The choice includes stainless steel, available in a polished or silk finish, ceramic, Fragranite treated with Sanitized, and lastly glass. A number of sinks are available with a range of accessories such as chopping boards, drainer baskets, hand sprays and rollamats. A good starting point for research is www.Franke.co.uk

TAPS:

As with sinks, the range of taps is extensive. In addition to a comprehensive range of standard monoblock taps, systems are now available that deliver boiling water at the touch of a button, filtered water taps ( no need to but bottled water ) or the ultimate luxury, a combination of all three. The final item worth considering is a waste disposal unit. Very useful for the quick disposal of organic houshold waste.

You will use your sink and tap for almost every task you do in the kitchen so explore all the options with your designer.

THE DESIGN CHALLENGE: SOME BASIC GUIDELINES

The Design Challenge

The initial step in designing your new kitchen is to try and visualize the potential of the space, and avoid replicating the existing layout.

Not always easy, but with the help of computer aided design software your designer may be able to explore a number of alternative ideas that you had not previously considered.

Some Basic Guidelines

The tried and tested approach using the work triangle remains a good starting point, this enables you to focus on three major zones in the kitchen which generally consist of the refrigerator, sink unit and the cooking zone.

This basic approach should be enhanced to include storage, preparation and finally serving, the ultimate aim being to create a logical and seamless process.

Looking at each area in turn, the fridge would ideally have some adjacent work surface allowing you to easily unload the shopping with adequate general storage in the same area.

Careful consideration should be given to the size and type of sink, will that large roasting tin fit? An additional half bowl or even a second sink can be very useful and could include a waste disposal unit.

The dishwasher would normally be sited adjacent to the sink and this area can also include an integrated bin system, very helpful if you need to re-cycle.

The main consideration for your cooking zone is creating plenty of work surface on both sides as this area will often include space for preparation and generally be the area used for serving.

Should the space allow, including an island can provide additional storage and more importantly another work surface. An overhang on one side could be used as a casual eating area, great to sit at whilst sharing a glass of wine with the chef.

These are some basic guidelines for your design challenge, but should provide a good starting point for a conversation with your designer.

 

 

DEVELOPING YOUR BUDGET

Developing Your Budget

Just how much should you spend on your new kitchen?

The answer will depend on a number of factors, is it a new extension, are you remodelling an existing space

or making structural changes, do you need to keep to the existing footprint, and can you utilize some of the existing appliances.

With the help of an experienced designer to guide you, consider breaking down all the major elements into the following areas.

Cabinetry. A major cost difference can be seen between standard “On carcass” cabinets and the fully framed version.

Appliances. Always choose products with a reputation for quality, they will generally outlast those at the cheaper end of the market.

Work surfaces. This area can offer the greatest choice in terms of budget ranging from Laminates through to Granite and composites.

Sinks. Vary widely in price, based on both quality and features.

Taps. Another area that offers a large choice, particularly with new innovations such as hot taps providing constant boiling water.

Flooring. An area not often budgeted for when planning a new kitchen, but should always be considered.

New Lighting. A really important area that can be overlooked, but should always be seen as an integral part of the design.

Internal wirework systems. Another area that has developed significantly over the last few years allowing better use of dead space in corner cabinets

ease of access with pull out silo systems, and we would always suggest the inclusion of a suitable waste management system.

Labour. In addition to the fitting costs, always allow for updates and changes to the electrical and plumbing installation.

Frequently overlooked items often include removal and disposing of the existing kitchen, and the cost of all those take aways whilst

you are without a kitchen.

It is important to remember that your new kitchen is an investment and will reflect in the future value of your home.

Kitchen Design Sussex

 

 

 

A Long Career

Corner KitchenA recent post on our LinkedIn network congratulating us on 35 years in business prompted me to think about all the changes that have occurred since we formed the company back in 1980.

Our first product, a framed kitchen constructed in 100 year old Pitch Pine, was a popular and successful range which we continued to produce in our Sussex workshop until 1985.

The difficulty in obtaining the raw material for this product led us to look at new areas, and this coincided with an increased interest in Painted Kitchens being promoted in a number of home interest magazines. The result was the launch of a range of Hand Painted Kitchens that we have now been producing for nearly 30 years.

Moving to an entirely new product will always present challenges, but this new direction gave us the opportunity to take an innovative approach with new designs incorporating features not generally found in similar products at the time.

1999 saw another milestone with the introduction of computer aided design. This rechnology has been developed and refined, and now provides us with the ability to create photo realistic images as well as detailed plans and elevations. A significant advance from the days of hand drawn plans.

Our current range continues to combine traditional craftsmanship with the latest technology and we are constantly looking for new areas to improve and innovate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHOOSING A KITCHEN PAINT COLOUR

paint colours for kitchen

How To Choose The Best Colour For Your Kitchen

Over the last few years, a popular choice for a number of clients has been the range of paints offered by Farrow & Ball. Famous for their quirky names such as Dead salmon and Elephant’s breath, this range does possess qualities of opacity and density which have made them a popular choice.

An alternative range worth considering are the latest colours from Fired Earth. This company also produce a stunning range of tiles which can be coordinated with the colour scheme.

The main elements which will have a direct influence on the choice of colour will be the work surface, the floor and, most importantly, the natural light in the room which changes through the day. A further aspect to consider is the effect of artificial light on the colour which in itself can vary depending on the type of lighting used.

CHOOSING A KITCHEN PAINT COLOUR

paint colours for kitchen

Before embarking on selecting the final finishes for the kitchen it may be worth creating a mood board. This can be viewed in different areas of the room, and be seen at different times of the day. Most manufacturers offer small sample pots which can help prevent costly mistakes.

A good starting point when choosing your kitchen paint colour is to think about the overall feel for the room; are you looking for a clean and fresh approach which would involve the use of neutral tones, or would you like to add some drama to the scheme and make a statement using stronger tones? This approach might include using two different colours, a light finish on the wall units, with something darker and more dramatic on the base cabinets.

The major advantage of a painted kitchen is the opportunity to have a complete change after a couple of years. Add in a change of handles, and a major transformation can be achieved at very little cost compared to a completely new kitchen.

KITCHEN STORAGE SOLUTIONS

Kitchen Storage Solutions

We have certainly moved on from the days when storage in the kitchen consisted of nothing more than rows of uninspiring cabinets, with the contents often difficult to see or access.

The approach to storage solutions generally falls into two areas.Making the maximum use of the available space, and optimizing the access to that space, but they don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Take, for example, a standard 1000mm corner cabinet complete with internal shelf. The maximum use of the space would be achieved by just using the cabinet as delivered. However, trying to retrieve a pot or pan right from the back may mean removing half the contents-very frustrating.

 Kitchen Storage Solution Examples:

A common solution would be to install a Magic Corner mechanism. This enables easy and clear access to all those pots and pans, and helps keep order in a difficult corner. The downside is you won’t achieve the same volume of storage.

Another example is the use of internal drawers, or choosing from the wide range of pull out wire work systems which now include tall Silo systems that can be fitted to any cabinet size from 300mm to 600mm.
Wire work systems, in particular, are a useful tool for storing small pots and pans, tinned goods and other small items that can easily get lost in a larger cabinet, and again, help maintain order in the kitchen.

 Recommended Storage Solutions

One of our favourite options is to include some form of larder unit in the design. These units can range in size from 500mm to 1200mm with the added advantage that if we keep the cabinet depth shallow, everything is easy to see and gain access to. Add some small door racks, and you have the benefit of quick and easy access when you need it.

Whilst tackling about internal cabinet features, we should not overlook the inclusion of a re-cycling facility. The last thing you want to see in your new kitchen is the rubbish bin, and with the pressure on all of us to re-cycle as much as possible including a waste management system is an important consideration.

In order to produce a successful design that will provide many years of pleasure, these considerations should certainly be a major part of the design brief

CREATIVE KITCHEN SOLUTIONS

kitchen solutionsI have often used the phrase “passionate about good design” but what does that actually mean, and what are the ingredients. I think a good starting point is listening. Most clients will have already carried out some fairly in depth research, and will have a reasonable idea of what they want to achieve. This is often based on what they didn’t like about their previous kitchen, or perhaps being inspired by a friend or colleague who has recently completed a project. The use of a mood board together with a scrapbook of magazine articles is also helpful.

The next stage in the kitchen design process must be based around interpreting those needs and finding creative solutions which will inspire the confidence to take the project forward.

Creative Kitchen Solutions:

With the aid of an extensive portfolio of earlier projects, we can illustrate how we addressed what may have been difficult challenges in the past, and how we found the answers. This portfolio can also act as a reminder of what may have been overlooked when putting the original wish list together.

This all may sound a little academic, but in fact, that’s what has been the core driver of the business for the last 33 years, being creative, finding solutions, and establishing a long term relationship with our clients, some of whom have become good friends

Hand Built Kitchen? Dispelling The Myth

Painted Kitchen Design

Bespoke Hand Built Kitchen

Reading through a number of kitchen and interior design magazines recently, I was very surprised by the costs detailed in some of the case studies. A customer seeking a bespoke and hand built product may be misled into thinking that unless you have a budget in excess of £20.000 a new kitchen is beyond your reach.

Of course, for any given design, you can spend significant amounts of money, but our aim has always been to offer guidance and advice that will enable the client to achieve there goals without having to break the bank. This can be achieved in a number of ways.

Dispelling The Myth:

The first consideration is the type of cabinetry. Although very desirable, fully framed cabinets can be substituted by a less expensive “on-carcase” version with a saving of around 30%. Both options can also include a number of different door styles to help personalise the design. If the basic layout includes a number of drawer systems, this will also have an impact on the final price. Looking at the last few projects we have completed, the average cabinetry costs were around £6000.00

The next area to consider will be the work surfaces. The popular choice today is usually granite or a composite from companies such as Caesarstone, but less expensive alternatives are available which will perform equally well.

Which ever area of the painted kitchen design we are looking at, the range of products on the market today will generally offer a solution to suit most pockets, and although we would not advocate the concept of letting the budget drive the job, with some careful planning and sensible advice we can usually provide a bespoke kitchen that will enhance your cooking pleasure for many years to come.

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