If you are thinking of remodelling your kitchen find out how to get the most from your architect with these top tips from Western Building Consultants.
Will my architect design the kitchen?
Yes and no, whilst some architects may specify the kitchen in detail, right down to the bespoke joinery details this is quite unusual and potentially costly. More commonly the finished kitchen details can be designed by the kitchen supplier. Your architect should however be able to add value to the process by designing the space to suit a layout or style of kitchen and ensure it fits everything you need into your dream space. Including basic rules and principals of layout, sizing of appliances and common trends.
All designs should start with your detailed brief, at Western Building Consultants we encourage people to list in as much detail as possible your needs and desires for the kitchen space including things like type of cooker or fridge dimensions (that American fridge freezer has to fit somewhere, right?) or do you want to include an island, space for dancing or even a bar? Having a detailed list allows the architect to start to look at where these key bits of kit or space will go and whether it can all fit within your floor plan.
If you are having an extension the architect can start to tailor some of the form of the extension based on your space requirements, they can also look to utilise the existing structure by remodelling to gain additional space or better flow.
Remodelling can be designed in a cost effective way, working with the structure not against it. Your architect should inform you where a key structural alteration may cost over and above the “norm”. This allows you to make a cost benefit analysis of the proposal and decide if it really is worth hiding all the beams and taking out the corner of the house! They may also be able to cleverly hide some structural features such as pillars within cabinetry to disguise them.
The architect can also incorporate layout designs that help with your kitchen, the walk in larder is making a big come back as it can minimise the amount of wall cupboards you need, saving on cost but more importantly allowing the space to feel more open and airy.
Other issues such as noise from washing machines etc. should be considered in open plan layouts and where possible mitigated with the use of utility rooms/cupboards. A utility room might also be the perfect opportunity to consider how you deal with clothes organisation. A top tip from Western is to incorporate a sorting system pre and post washing your clothes, preferably near the laundry area. You can also use overhead drying racks in utilities with oversized heat controllable radiators to help dry delicates during the winter months. (It is important in utilities to have an extract fan preferably with a humidistat control to remove excess water from clothes drying to outside)
By pre and post sorting at point of washing you will dramatically reduce the amount of work sorting the clothes into colours etc. and later on putting the clothes away giving you more time to enjoy your lovely new kitchen.
The layout design should also consider how you want to use the space, will it be an open plan space or more cellular? Do you want your cooking facilities to be facing a particular area or space to entertain or supervise children? Do you want built in seating?
Your layout should consider where the best natural light in the property is, or as we call it the premium floor area. Commonly this means designing ancillary kitchen rooms such as utility rooms, boot rooms, bathrooms, pantry’s etc. In areas where there is the worst natural light and least connection to the outside world.
Your architect should suggest kitchen layouts that maximise the use of natural light. This will make the space bright, airy and importantly more sustainable, as a reliance on electrical lighting can increase energy consumption.
The positioning of roof lights and windows to maximise light penetration to the kitchen is always really important and should be considered by your architect. Utilising windows to give views of the garden or wider landscape can also give a better connection to the garden. Whilst clever use of cabinetry and picture windows can result in additional functions like this storage and reading area. Big gable end windows can also be great features giving a view of the sky often cut off with standard height windows and can increase connectivity with the wider environment and weather.
You may also want to consider how connected to a kitchen garden the design is. Offering easy access to herb planting or a veggie patch can increase the enjoyment of a kitchen and put fresh Ingredients at your finger tips, if you are a keen cook. Our MD James Dean’s thoughts “I love cooking and personally I have always designed my own garden to have a herb section near the kitchen. I enjoy the fact I can stroll outside cut fresh herbs that I will use in my cooking, it’s like having an outdoor spice rack. Whilst I have an allotment to grow veggies I grow all my herbs close to the kitchen for maximum freshness, it’s also great fun to include my daughter when cooking allowing her to smell the different fragrances of the herbs and helping to pick them for dinner”
At Western we always try to design our kitchens so they connect to outdoor space, building in clever options like verandas and roof overhangs to provide shade to south facing rooms in the summer to reduce over heating and to provide protection against damp weather. The design should also consider the flow and use of the garden some times it can be suitable to reduce the footprint of an extension to give more usable outdoor space such as a dining or BBQ area.
The doors that connect you to this space are also important whether it’s large bifolds that open up to bring the outside in, french doors that maintain a traditional aesthetic or sliding doors that offer maximum glass to frame ratio. The openable doors need to be designed for practical everyday use and flow around the building. Your architect may be able to technically design a level threshold between the doors by specifying the correct door frame threshold and perimeter drainage. This will improve the connection to the outside visually and give better access for people that have mobility issues. For an even stronger connection to the outside ask you architect about matching materials inside and out to get a seamless transition between spaces.
Think long and hard about your budget for the kitchen, you can save a lot of time by sharing this with the architect. They will likely be able to point you in the direction of local suppliers that match your budget. So that you don’t wast time with companies that don’t match your cost expectations if they can’t this should always be your first question to a kitchen supplier “what is the typical total price for one of your kitchens?”
Simple kitchen design standards such as the working triangle and minimum clearance between units should be a consideration when your architect presents to you a potential kitchen layout. They should also challenge your brief if part of it contradicts these standards (for example islands are commonly used in tight spaces and can make them feel cramped)
Ask your architect about flexibility, perhaps you want to design in partitions that can be used to make an open plan layout more cellular or turn a functional kitchen dining space into an open plan entertaining space with the ability to temporarily add larger tables, (Slade ask a good question in their merry Xmas everybody hit “are you sure you’ve got the room to spare inside?”) Joking aside pets are also a big part of our lives and how does that open plan kitchen interact with that new puppy? Do you design in spaces for beds, feeding, access to the garden or litter trays? Do you want the ability to flexibly contain your pets to certain areas of the house. These are all important things to consider when thinking about the practical use of the kitchen.
If you are extending your home your architect should challenge you to consider how you want the space to feel. At Western we often design vaulted ceilings into our kitchen spaces or raise the ceilings heights of the extension to give a more impressive feeling of space. This can also allow us to introduce additional architectural features that make the space interesting. From exposed or timber oak beams, feature hanging lighting to beautifully crafted timber trusses a good architect will design in features that enhance the character and feel of the space.
Kitchen design is a fashion industry, with new products and designs being introduced to the market regularly. It is important that your designer keeps abreast with the latest trends, fashions, layouts and kitchen gadgets. At Western Building Consultants our designers often meet with kitchen suppliers and attend CPD around kitchens to keep well informed. In some instances you may want your kitchen to follow the design narrative of the existing building from an industrial feel to heritage bespoke hand painted kitchens that suit a rural aesthetic and most likely to be used in listed buildings. Although designing a highly modern kitchen into a heritage environment can also create an interesting juxtaposition.
You should also consider your long term plans for the building and let your architect know. Is it a forever home or a five ten year plan? This will help you consider whether to make the space really individual being as bold with your aesthetic as you are or to opt for a more generic design suitable for resale. If you’re not sure classic designs such as inset shaker kitchens can easily be remodelled with fashion changes, handles colours etc. and are relatively timeless.
Your architect during the technical stage of design should be able to consider the electrical lighting of your kitchen. We believe that well considered lighting can make a kitchen space and is often the thing most talked about by visitors. Using LED technology we now have a bigger array of lighting products available than ever before, from smart concealed LED lighting to wash walls, worktops and floors with light or feature hanging lights getting the design of the lighting right is important.
If you are having an architect provide contract administration services through your kitchen build they will be able to advise you about procuring the kitchen from the supplier. Are you going to get the kitchen yourself or is your main contractor going to supply and fit? This is a really good question by procuring it yourself you may save some money on the contractors mark up (although this may often be offset by the contractor being able to negotiate a trade discount with the supplier) but if any part of the kitchen build is held up by supply issues you as the client are liable to the contractor for the time delay and potential cost under most contracts. In contrast if the contractor is supplying the issues will fall under their jurisdiction and the hassle of chasing the supplier to deliver is left to them.
At Western Building Consultants we have a three step approach to all our residential projects, 1 feasibility and concept, 2 technical design and 3 construction. When designing a great project the architect has to consider the kitchen throughout each of these key stages and can help at each step to deliver you that perfect kitchen with the least amount of hassle. Why not book a free initial consultation today?
Western were really professional, quick and went above and beyond to give us the designs we wanted as well as keeping us on track with our building plans. Thanks to James and all the team for the excellent work and affordable price.
Top notch service here from Paul Keegan who was super patient with us and when we finally got access for a building condition survey on our new premises, he went above and beyond the call of duty to get our report back to us over a weekend. Thanks WBC you came up trumps for us.
We want to say big thank you to western building consultants. We couldn’t be happier with everything they’ve done for us.
We are a small local building company that were looking for a similar sized company to work with us on many various projects from loft conversions and extensions to structural works of all sizes.
It’s been a relationship that’s worked great from day one. It’s been over a year now of working with western on at least a weekly basis. Whether its the office staff, architects or structural engineers they’ve been second to none. Always helpful and accommodating even throughout this pandemic which must of been a struggle.
I love that we can offer westerns services along side our own and the feed back we get from all of our customers when they’ve had contact with western is great.
In the 20 years I’ve been a builder this company is the best I’ve used and we will continue to use them for the next 20 years.
Tweedy Brothers Total Building Services
Exceptional service provided by Maria Simone; she incorporated as many of our requests as possible when designing a beautiful extension for us despite many limits and delays from the planning office. Her professional, thorough and friendly approach made us feel confident that we were in safe hands and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the team.
Have received a great service from Jo at Western Building Consultants so far. She is always very responsive, works extra hard for our tight timeline and kept me updated through out the process and was really quick to understand our project objective.
This is the third time I have worked with Western Building Consultants and as usual they have been a pleasure to work with. I dealt directly with Sam and Jo who did the Structural Calculations and the Drawings respectively for my residential to HMO conversion project. They were accommodating, engaging and professional.
I look forward to the next project!
I had a very positive experience with Western Building Consultants right from the start with requesting a quote from Ebony through to the delivery from Jo. Jo delivered exactly what i needed to a very good standard so much so that i’ve already booked in for another job. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend WBC to others.
Our journey with Western Building consultancy so far has been fantastic! Jo’s patience and ability to understand my scribbles and ridiculous ideas made designing our venture fun instead of daunting. Communication is always prompt, professional and most importantly sincere. I’m really looking forward to how the rest of our project progresses!
I have enjoyed working with Western Building Consultants on a complicated project for about 4 years now. During that time they have without fail given me a high level of customer service, being welcoming, responsive and competent.
As a customer I particularly appreciate that WBC are value for money. They also stick to their quotes and don’t add a lot of extras. Help and advice is always forthcoming generally at no extra charge.
Thank you so much for all your advice today. That was so very helpful, not only with the structure of the property but especially with your comments about the whole set up. I can see that we were within a gnat’s whisker of entering a complete can of worms… Thank you so much for saving us from making a stupid mistake.
Thanks to you both your help in this matter – you were both extremely efficient and accommodating (more than I can say about other companies I contacted).
Your professionalism has been invaluable, thank you.
Thank you for your extremely comprehensive report. It will be of immense help when deciding on the works we would like to carry out on the property. We have decided to take your advice and move into the property and live in it for a while to assess our requirements.
Thank you for your prompt service, could not have asked or expected more. I note your comments and in an ideal world everything would have been 1.
Will not hesitate to recommend you, and will make a point of letting the estate agent know this too.
I just wanted to say thank you very much for your thorough and clear report. It is written in an informative and jargon free way which has made a pretty hefty document ultimately digestible and easy to understand.
Hello Kerry, Many thanks for the report and invoice receipt.
Please pass on my thanks to Paul for the survey. In my working life, I read many stock survey reports – I work with social housing providers to set up their asset management strategies – and this was one of the clearest and most comprehensive I’ve seen.
Dear Paul, Thank you so much for your fast response and the detail in your report is very very good and greatly appreciated. Thank you for your efforts.
Many thanks for your swift and thorough return of this report, we so appreciate you getting this back to us on such a tight turn around this week, and on the first read it seems extremely clear and comprehensive.
Hi Kerry / Paul, Thanks for sending the survey across.
I’d also like to thank you for your excellent service and professionalism. I considered many surveyors before choosing to proceed with you and it’s clear that I made the right choice. I won’t hesitate to recommend you to family, friends and colleagues in the future.
“We have commissioned three building surveys from WBC until we found the house that was right for us and all thanks to you”
I never expected so much detail, the report was really great and there were things I never even considered, even being in the construction trade
The report was brilliant and went into so much detail, having had reports from other surveyors in the past this report was far superior
“Highly recommended. Good customer service over the phone and by email. Very quick: from the initial phone call booking a site visit to me receiving the calculations took only 8 days.”
“We used James Dean …Western Building Consultants as an architect. Very good”
“Good surveyors & structural engineers that we used were www.westernbuildingconsultants.com
We were really happy with them, they came highly recommended by several people”
“Excellent service and help from the initial design/planning stage through to the end of all works”
“I can recommend Western Building Consultants. They are great on structural calculations, advice and technical drawings to whatever extent you want. We used them for advice and calcs for taking out our main load bearing wall downstairs. They were recommended several times over when we started looking.”
“Superb, professional, efficient, friendly, positive”