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.


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


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

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

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.




















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.


I have very fond memories of the times I spent at home around the kitchen table when I was a child, helping Mum bake some cakes, usually creating a real mess with flour all over the floor. Dad would be helping me with my homework, although his spelling was almost as bad as mine. And of course, Sunday lunch with all the family around the table was always a focus for the week, no interruptions from mobile phones in those days !kitchen design

So you could argue that with the pressures everyone is working under today, all running around in different directions, the focus of the kitchen as a hub for family life has become even more important.

Major developments in cabinet design, new wirework storage solutions, a vast range of stunning work surfaces, and the integration of technology are just a few of the elements that have enabled kitchen designers to go beyond designing a room just to prepare meals in. The kitchen today has to provide a number of different functions which may often include a computer work station, space to relax, watch TV and entertain friends over a coffee or glass of wine.

A problem often encountered is simply the space is too small, but a solution can always be found by opening up the kitchen into an adjacent room, or better still, adding an extension thereby creating a large family room. You would be amazed by just how much additional space can be created by adding a side extension to a rear kitchen, a layout often found in some of our late Victorian oKitchen Designer - hand painted kitchensr early Edwardian houses.

The development of sophisticated computer aided design software can be a great help in visualizing just how the room will look when an internal wall is removed, and we can also create detailed images of your new kitchen when installed in the new extension.

We are happy to advise and suggest ways to achieve your goals. Our initial design service is free of charge, but we never say no to a cup of coffee or glass of wine.


Hand Made Kitchen Design in Oak Hand Made Kitchen Design OakSituated on a large country estate in East Sussex, the design brief for this new build presented a number of interesting opportunities.
Initially working from the architects drawings, the first meeting focused on choosing a style and trying to decide if we should move towards a contemporary or more traditional approach.


When working with a client who has lived in their property for some time the styling is often dictated by the age or period of the building, but in the case of a new build you can start with a blank sheet of paper or of course, a blank screen on our CAD system.
The external elevations of this beautiful property consisted of a traditional Sussex flint finish together with a spacious and mainly open plan interior, creating a wonderful light and airy feel with stunning views over the Sussex countryside.
As the very large room where the kitchen was going to be located needed to also serve as a dining room, the owner asked if we could incorporate some old Oak door panels and a large Oak work top which had been rescued from an old school nearby. This would enable us to create a divide between the kitchen and the dining room, and introduce a contrast to the painted framed cabinets.
The drawer units under the Oak surface were configured to provide a small overhang, allowing the use of some stools on the dining room side. A great place for guests to sit and chat with the cook.
For the main work surface, the client chose a Kashmir White granite and we included to separate sinks, one of which was under mounted.
The use of a slightly darker paint for the base units added an interesting contrast to the light grey wall units.
The design and the use of different materials certainly added to the individuality of this kitchen and to quote the client “It’s an absolute pleasure to work in”

Kitchen Design Top Tips

As a Brighton kitchen designer, I work with many different clients, and one of the things I have learnt over the years is that many people do not know how to choose the best designer for their kitchens I fix a lot of poorly done jobs. If you are in London, Sussex or Surrey and are looking for someone to give your kitchen a new look, here are tips that will help you choose the best.

design blueprints

Top Tips For Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design Top 5 Tips

  • Look for someone who deals specifically with kitchens. You don’t want a general fitter because they have no defined expertise when it comes to kitchens. On the other hand, someone who does only kitchens will have spent enough time building their expertise on how to install different designs and what looks best for different kinds of kitchens.
  • Look for a designer who comes highly recommended. You can start by asking them where they did their last job and if its okay for you to call and get a referral.
  • Get a service that you can communicate with. You want someone who is willing to listen to you and offer an opinion without being imposing. We do a lot of painted kitchens in Sussex, for example, and we always make sure to discuss what they want.
  • Get a professional service that can be trusted. You want to have someone who is a professional without being distant as well as someone who you can trust around the house.
  • Talk to them about safety. Most of the activity in most homes happens in the kitchen so it should be a very safe area for all who live in the house. Your kitchen designer and fitter should be able to tell you how you can make your kitchen safe. Tiling, for example, should be rough to avoid slippage when wet, and a good designer will tell you this right away.

Finally, always make sure that your kitchen designer completely understands what you want.

The Kitchen Design Challenge

kitchen design Sussex

The Kitchen Design Challenge

If you’ve recently looked at buying a new car, you’re spoilt for choice. For any given budget, the range of options is endless, and keeping up with the technology available is quite a challenge.

The same can also be said about kitchen design. In the past, the work triangle was said to be revolutionary, simplifying the design approach by placing the fridge, sink and cooker within easy reach, and to some degree these elements still dictate the layout of many designs, but of course, the kitchen now has to fulfill so many other functions; a place for the computer, somewhere for that collection of cookery books and perhaps a television to keep up with the results from Wimbledon. We recently completed a kitchen which included two dishwashers and a second kitchen sink. A wine cooler was also an essential part of the plan together with a combination microwave, a product that has become increasingly popular.

One addition that has become very popular is the island. Access from all sides opens up a number of possibilities for additional storage, an overhang on one side can provide seating for a chat over a coffee, and the extra work surface is always welcome, especially when the children need help with homework. Careful consideration needs to be taken regarding the space between the main body of the kitchen and the island, but this can usually be addressed by paying attention to the width of the doors on the units where the main work is carried out. For smaller spaces or maximum flexibility, the island can be put on wheels which lock when in use, and can be moved out of the way when the guests arrive.

The ultimate solution to many design challenges is a bespoke product. Imagine what can be achieved if you can have any size, height or depth of cabinetry. Add in a mix of materials for work surfaces, the vast array of kitchen paint colours available, dozens of options for handles and you can achieve your dream, a kitchen that is totally you and reflects your personality and lifestyle.

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