Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Who stole the kitchen?

You would have thought that not having a kitchen would be a perfect excuse to eat out every night in members of that exclusive club, the Rod K Restaurant Network, but that's a lesson in bankruptcy that I wanted to avoid. When the only choices for family sustenance were to find decent take-aways (now there's a non-sequitor), or to eat in local pubs, I had hoped that we would have struck lucky more often than not.

The old kitchen, despite being a mere ten years old, was beginning to show its age and the fact that it was probably the last thing on the builder's budget when he put the house together in the first place. We trawled many of the kitchen outfits, and our plans were scaled back as the costs of our chosen lavish designs approached those of the Bank of England bullion reserves.

It was interesting that these places used wildly different techniques to squeeze all of their shiny cupboards, worktops and appliances in to our slightly strange shaped kitchen space. B and Q, who have had some quite awful press reports about the state of their installation service which ultimately put us off, went for the 3D graphics and multiple viewpoints afforded by their software based approach. This was all suitably whizzy and changes could be filtered through the thought, design, acceptance and printed parts list cycle in the time it takes Bill Gates to ship a few hundred more copies of Windows.

The other point which sank it from their point of view, was that they wanted all of the money up front, which doesn't exactly motivate them to make good job of installing it, not to mention tying up all those funds for several weeks.

Optiplan however, used the rather more last century pencil and paper design process, but Marcia, the designer, ultimately understood our needs more fully and persevered through our many changes of mind, layout and general lack of firm decision making. So technology not quite as cracked up as it makes out eh?

We finally went ahead with them and after a classy piece of work by Paul, one of their recommended installers, we are now the proud owners of a sophisticated grown-up looking space with 'A' rated appliances in which to prepare 'five star' rated food, or so we would hope.

Don't come round just yet though, it isn't finished. The only downside of going for granite as a worktop material is that there is a ten day turnaround for manufacture from the production of hardboard templates. This hampers (no pun intended) our cooking efforts as we have no desire for yesterday's bolgnese sauce to end up forever entombed in granite behind those sleek cupboards. Just imagine the whiff! On second thoughts don't, just don't.

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