Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Kitchen

I have a love-hate relationship with my new kitchen.

I love that it's new
I love all the space
I love the white benchtop and white splashback, the workmanship and placement of the benchtop joins and that the splashback is one long single piece of glass along the back
I love my new appliances (which we installed after handover)
I love the butlers pantry and all the storage it affords me!

I'm ok with the laminate colour I chose, but I would have preferred glossy white below and natural looking timber with a horizontal grain for the overheads and back of the island bench.  Unfortunately the budget wouldn't allow it and I couldn't choose a Laminex colour of the natural timber colours without seeing it against the expanse of the spotted gum floor.

I'm ok with it, but would have preferred an integrated rangehood, but M wouldn't allow it if supplying our own rangehood (for reasons I understand - cabinetry customisation and all that).  Overhead cupboards weren't standard in our house design, but were included as part of the promotion when we purchased the house.  In hindsight I should have ask for these to be credited and installed our own overhead cupboards with an integrated rangehood after handover.

I'm ok with the island bench depth, but would have preferred a deeper benchtop to the island (so you could actually sit under it rather than forced to drink your coffee leaning over it), but M's drafting department refused to allow it, even though they did it in the display home.  As it turns out, the bench overhang is only 18cm and there is another 13.5cm to the edge of the wall without the benchtop protruding into the hallway, so I don't understand why they said they couldn't make it wider.

13.5cm of space where we should have been allowed to extend the bench overhang

I hate the 'soft close' drawers. We spent $1245 for this privilege and I've had them before in my previous kitchen and loved them.  However, in my current kitchen these are the worst effort at soft close drawers I've ever experienced.  They click and don't close without a proper shove and the drawers are wobbly so all the contents rattle around when you open and close them.  If I'd known the mechanisms weren't going to be a recognised brand (e.g Blum, Haefele, etc.) I wouldn't have paid for the upgrade.

I hate the overhead cupboard doors that are different sizes and knock together when you close them.
The misaligned cupboards and drawers aren't that obvious to look at - it's not so much the aesthetics of this that's an issue - it's the fact that the misalignment causes them to knock together and not run smoothly.

Our Construction Manager wasn't happy with the kitchen either and the SS had to get them back 3 times to adjust the cupboards and drawers (alas to no avail).  They said it's the best they could do and what to expect when we they weren't the top of the range mechanisms.  Really would have been nice to know there were different options!  But hate to see what they would have cost if $1200+ gets you what we got!

Example of drawer front that isn't straight

I hate that I spent an additional $880 for 4 sets of pot drawers to replace standard cupboards and they're only 430mm deep (when they have 580mm of cavity to work with - and even the one drawer to the right of the oven where the gas pipe is could have at least been made to 450mm, as per the contract specification).  Why one drawer bank has to force all the others to be short, I can't fathom the justification other than cost to the manufacturer or builder.  They don't fit any standard drawer inserts (like cutlery trays and spice racks, bins, etc.)  I checked and all the M display homes are this short, so there was no point raising it as an issue.

I hate that the pot drawers don't fully extend.  Almost 10cm of the already short 43cm drawer is inaccessible to pull pots and dishes out of without first moving items from the 'front row'.

I hate that the kitchen supplier installed the handles centred in the middle of the drawers.  They are hard to pull open from the middle rather than the top and the bin drawer in particular looks odd not being aligned to the cupboard handles either side.  I've mentioned this in previous posts that I requested them centred and top aligned in the Selections appointment, but missed the fact that in the final spec the consultant had only stated 'centred' and didn't specify horizontal or vertical positioning.  My bad for not noticing the oversight!  Although I think the paperwork should have tick boxes rather than just a free field of 'Alignment' so I could have noticed the omission and the installer didn't have to make up his own mind on the placement.  I checked the display homes and most are top aligned drawers, but a couple were centred.

Lack of handle alignment

And lastly, a bit of dodgy workmanship that we missed during PCI, which I'll report for the 3 month warranty inspection: one of the powerpoints on the splashback isn't screwed into the backplate on one side and is wobbly (and showing a gap).  Shouldn't be too hard to fix I hope!

Well, nothing's ever perfect is it?  And it's probably also the fact that I had a custom made kitchen in my last place that I loved and have as a point of comparison.  So perhaps I can feel justified to splurge on a kitchen remodel in 5 or so years time...hmmmm, maybe...


  1. Bugger...such a shame that you're not 100% happy. I think it looks lovely, but I agree that the builders need much better practices in place so things are much easier to check at contract time.

  2. Sorry to hear about all the disappointments in your kitchen, Nat. My biggest concern is the breakfast bar overhang - very weird that they wouldn't extend it to actually be a breakfast bar?!

    Nonetheless, it does look good, and hopefully you get used to all the little idiosyncrasies!