Tuesday, 17 March 2015

My Kitchen rules (in my opinion) - part one

As I discussed in an earlier post, kitchen installation took longer than I would have ever expected!  I had thought you went to a showroom, picked some colours, drew up a plan, and maybe had the kitchen installed in a week or two.  Clearly I was wrong!

The house had a sort of functioning kitchen when we bought it, but it was definitely our plan to put in a new and updated kitchen.  I decided that this should be done before we moved in.  I had visions of moving in, and then it all being too much to unpack the cupboards again and the kitchen never being fixed up.  Many people said we were better to move in and live with the kitchen for a while, so that we got something really practical and that suited us, but with the previous owners keeping their fridge in the laundry (who knows why?) and the cupboards and cooker being grimy and disgusting I did not want to even think about that option.

This is the kitchen which was originally installed - pictures taken prior to us settling

Original kitchen which I didn't fancy keeping

So we started our visits to showrooms about six weeks before our settlement.  I thought this would be plenty of time.  The first showroom we walked into was gorgeous.  Everything was top of the line - 40mm stone tops, automated cupboards that opened with a press of a button (so you don't have to lift your arms above your shoulder!) and all other mod cons you can think of.  Then of course the big question - how much?  As I didn't really know how much kitchens cost I was a bit wary of the "what is your budget?" question - however when we were told the starting price for their kitchens was $35,000 we realised the high end was off the list for us!

Second place was still lovely, but slightly less expensive.  However, they imported all their cupboards from France (or perhaps Germany) and so the earliest they could hope to get cupboards was 8 weeks - with a probably delivery time of 8-10 weeks.  So off to the next showroom.

Finally, we found Kitchennet in Drummoyne.  We were really happy with them.  The initial visit we were looked after by a really helpful woman (whose name I have forgotten, which is bad as she was really very good at customer service!), who didn't mind us asking about the less expensive options.  Although she couldn't give us an actual price, as we were talking about the use of laminate and given our kitchen is only one row of cupboards and an island bench, they were confident we could get a lovely kitchen with relatively lower expense.

The next visit was to meet with the designer.  John was very helpful, and had actually accessed the house plan through the real estate site when we bought it - so had already drawn up some suggestions.  We were happy immediately with this plan, so could go ahead and have it drawn up fully.  Again the question of budget - I was still a bit wary and so I said we were looking at $10,000 but that we would buy our own appliances.

So the final plans were drawn up - and amazingly (or perhaps I am being cynical, but it did seem a bit of a coincidence) the quote was just under our budget - $9700.  I really do wonder if I had have said less money the quote would have fallen under that amount!

For this we got two 900mm drawer systems, 3 other underbench cupboards, plus an above fridge cupboard, pantry cupboard, and 5 other high cupboards, plus the cupboards above the rangehood. There is also an island bench with space to sit at.  All hinges are Hettich, and the drawers are soft close. Overall I was quite happy with the price and the plans.

This shows the kitchen with sink cabinets, drawers, oven (which we supplied) and one of the underneath cupboards, also on the other side you can see our island bench, which consists of drawers and a sitting area

The drawer organiser which also came with the package has been very helpful

We went for laminate cupboards, and initially we were going to have laminate bench tops. We chose white for the lower cupboards (I think the colour is Ash White) and for the top cupboards John suggested that we use a contrasting colour.  We chose a woodgrain finish, and the colour is Alaskan. We were going to use a dark grey colour for the bench tops.  When we were deciding however, we were offered a deal to use 20mm stone for the bench tops and it was only $600 more than the original quote.  We decided on Smart Stone in Marengo, however in the end this was out of stock and so we ended up with Caesarstone Raven.

You can't really tell but the upper and lower cupboards are different colours

Stone benchtops in the dark stone colour

In addition to the increase for the bench tops, we also had to pay more as I wanted a double under mount sink, and there was a slight variation for extra cupboards.  So the final amount for the kitchen was around $11,000 - including all trades and installation, and removal and disposal of the old kitchen, but not including the appliances or the sink and tapware, all of which I sourced myself.  I will write another post regarding buying of appliances and tiles, and approximate costs involved.


  1. Looks like your kitchen renovation turned out to be beautiful! You really took all the great ideas from the showrooms that you visited. I love the stone benchtop! It makes the kitchen's ambiance look elegant, and I'm sure it feels great to prepare meals over it. Haha! I hope to see more photos of your kitchen soon! Thanks for sharing! :-)

    Agustin Holiday @ Cutting Edge Stone

    1. Thank you very much! The stone really did make a difference. And it was surprisingly affordable - anyone can have stone benchtops to finish off their new kitchen!

  2. Hi there,

    Thank you for your post and subsequent kitchen buying guide. We are currently looking to get our kitchen renovated, and also stumbled upon Kitchennet. Out only issue is, I can't seem to find any reviews about then or find anyone that has used them! This just has me worried about the quality and reliability. How was your experience with them and how is the kitchen holding together?

    1. Hi
      I would definitely recommend Kitchennet. We are still really very happy with our kitchen. As I did mention, I sourced all our taps, sinks and appliances myself, so I can't really comment on what they may provide for that, or the costs, but they were perfectly happy to use the appliances I provided. Cupboards and drawers are still opening and closing fine, no issues with that. The only possible thing I would complain about (and really this is pretty small) is that a few bits of grout have come loose out of the tiling - but this has mostly occurred in a corner where I have a bad habit of boiling the kettle and the steam goes into the corner, so may have something to do with it. We've had the kitchen in now for coming up for 2 years and it's holding up well. I was also really pleased with the tradesmen, they co-ordinated most of it themselves and so there were fairly minimal delays. They were also pretty flexible and fitted in with us, to the point where John the kitchen designer dropped around a few times when he needed to measure things (like the sink) and it all seemed too hard for me to get to their showroom. Mind you, we are only 2km away, not sure they would "drop by" somewhere much further away!

      I guess since I've never dealt with any other kitchen companies I can't 100% compare but I would definitely say that I would be happy to go back to them. And I think that for the price we got a good deal.

      Good luck with your kitchen renos! (I hope you don't have to live in the house with the renovation, that may have been our other saving grace in that we had the kitchen put in before we moved in!)

    2. That you very much! Very glad to hear your experience and that the result has upheld for years now. We are in a similar situation buying all the appliances and not wanting to pay premium prices.

      So far we've had a similar experience with the professionalism of the staff - now to just take the plunge and commit to the expense :-)