Planning my dream kitchen

imageWith cupboard doors almost swinging from the hinges, it’s time for a kitchen refit. The first since our house was built more than 20 years ago.

In fact eight years ago, the cupboard doors were painted by my husband to smarten them up and give them a facelift and they featured in a local newspaper article on stylish homes! But they are now chipped and way past their sell by date.

The thing is, how can one tell the cowboys from the genuine, customer orientated, talented kitchen designer who will provide a quality product and deliver what is promised on time, someone who will not stitch you up? Is this the exception rather than the rule when it comes to buying a new kitchen?

Having read Rachel’s horror story about her kitchen re-fit, I am anxious to avoid a similar experience. I was glad to read the comment on her post warning against Moben after their designer called round last week and gave my husband his spiel. However, he didn’t bring a brochure which I had requested and refused to leave his phone number because he didn’t want to be troubled (his words, true!). I found myself wondering what Sir Alan Sugar would say if this "don’t call me, I’ll call you" salesman had been on an Apprentice assignment. Selling kitchens is a task I would love to see him set his budding entrepreneurs because it is so fraught with horror stories.

The Moben guy did have some good ideas which we plan to use – only not with him. He stood in the kitchen rubbishing everything about it. Most of his comments were justified. But we are still waiting to see his design – six days later.

We’ve passed his tips on to a local family run company whose image designer was, er, a bit drippy. But we feel more comfortable dealing with them and their after sales service. And they did install our present kitchen. After putting three or four heads together, we hope to come up with a terrific design for my dream kitchen, complete with a waste disposal unit which I am languishing after.

I’m also glad that I cancelled the designer from Magnet I had booked for a visit after reading a string of poor customer reviews on the internet about their work.

What’s your advice about buying a new kitchen? Have you got a horror story to tell? Is it ever a smooth running experience? Is there a company that you recommend?