Choosing a Kitchen Supplier

This may sound easy, however the choice can be quite overwhelming! We knew what we were trying to achieve and approached a number of kitchen suppliers (high street and independent). The quotes we received varied considerably and we couldn't achieve the bespoke design we wanted, at our price point. We decided to consider alternatives and approached a company called Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch, who offered bespoke carpentry at affordable prices.


  • Family run business outside London (in Dorset) - lower overhead costs

  • Units can be made to bespoke sizes, enabling you to achieve your dream design

  • Carcasses are made using real oak veneer, which can be varnished, oiled or painted

  • Cabinets can be cut out (for example to fit around a pillar/accommodate pipes)

  • Doors are made in the traditional way with 5 separate pieces (2 x stiles, 2 x rails, 1 x panel), which are put together with morticed and tenoned joints

  • Wide range of door, cornice and plinth styles

  • Hinges are solid brass butt hinges in a choice of 3 finishes (chrome, brass, antique brass), which are rebated into the door - will not drop over time

  • Drawers are made in the traditional way, in solid oak with dove tail joints

  • Drawer runners are soft close and hidden underneath the drawer, with a quick release mechanism making them easy to remove for cleaning

  • You can buy cabinet hardware (knobs, cups) from the company or source your own (holes are not pre-drilled)

  • The units arrive assembled (not flat packed!)

  • Great photo gallery sharing customers ideas and designs


  • Cabinets are not painted - need to add in paint and labour costs

  • The company will not install the kitchen - need to add in labour costs

  • The company will not design the kitchen for you, however they do have planning kit and an excellent designer, who can be engaged for a fee (highly recommended)

We visited the showroom and were incredibly impressed by the quality of the product and the ability to bespoke the units. To make the most of your visit, think through the points below, together with those in STEP 2: DESIGNING THE KITCHEN - PART 2.

Designing the Kitchen

1). What do you need to store and how often will you need to access it?

  • Dry ingredients, canned food, cereal, herbs and spices, crisps, fruit and vegetables, bread | A pantry / cupboards either side of fridge/freezer can be great storage for these items

  • Food processor, coffee machine, toaster, kettle | Consider an appliance warehouse / pantry

  • Pans, trays and tins | wide 'pan' drawers are great for storing these items

  • Cutlery and utensils | remember you will probably need more than one cutlery drawer

  • Crockery - day to day | again 'pan' drawers are fantastic for accessing day to day plates and bowls

  • Everyday cups and glasses | storing these in higher cabinets/shelves can make access easier

  • Entertaining crockery i.e. serving plates and dishes | items you use less frequently can be stored further away/in higher cabinets

  • Tea Towels, cling film, foil, placemats, table cloths/napkins, chopping boards, cookery books | don't forget a home for all these items | smaller drawers/shelving are helpful

  • Alcohol, champagne/wine/martini glasses, barware (cocktail shaker, bottle opener, ice crusher) | Cocktail cabinet

  • List the items you plan to buy for the new kitchen i.e. KitchenAid artisan stand mixer and consider where you will store these

2). Use Pinterest / Houzz / Kitchen company websites for inspiration, re layouts/combinations of cabinets

For a 'contemporary shaker kitchen look', consider the following:

Range cooker and chimney - The design of the 'chimney' can vary quite considerably:

1). A chimney housing an extractor with no mantle, gives a very 'clean' contemporary look

Image courtesy of deVOL

2). A chimney housing an extractor with the base sitting on top of the worktop - with storage either side and at the back of the range - more traditional

Image courtesy of Tom Howley

3). A chimney housing an extractor with no base - great in smaller spaces where worktop space is at a premium

Image courtesy of deVOL

4). A chimney housing an extractor with a base sitting on the worktop, with a simple shelf

Image courtesy of deVOL

Pantry / appliance warehouse - great for storing small appliances, dry foods, cooking paraphernalia. These sit on top of the worktop.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Islands - There are 4 main types of island - which one will suit your space?

1). The classic island with storage and seating

Image courtesy of deVOL

2). The island housing a sink, dishwasher and bin units

Image courtesy of deVOL

3). Multi-purpose island - cooking/sink and seating - the seating area is slightly raised in the example below, which helps to define the zones

Image courtesy of Houzz

4). A prep table/island enhances the illusion of space and light. Storage can be limited, however they can also double as a seating area.

Image courtesy of deVOL

Image courtesy of deVOL

American style fridge/freezer and built in housing - Single door and double door examples. Side cupboards are great for storing food (i.e. pasta), tins, cereal etc. The cupboards above can be allocated to items you use less frequently. We put our Sonos control box in here!

Image courtesy of Anthony Edwards

Tongue and groove - a classic shaker kitchen feature - use on sides of cabinets/islands/on walls (behind sinks and ovens) - inspiration gallery below

Images courtesy of deVOL

Door styles - two of the most popular contemporary shaker designs (with/without glass) are

1). Flat panel with beading on cabinet around door frame

Image courtesy of Tom Howley

2). Flat panel - no beading

Plinths - classic shaker designs from left to right i). continuous plinth ii) framed plinth iii) recessed plinth with posts either end

Cornicing - there are a number of options, these are my favourites

1). Curved cornice

Image courtesy of Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch

2). Traditional cornice

Image courtesy of Handmade Kitchens of Christchurch

Open shelving - its one of those marmite things! Looks fantastic, but is a high maintenance item (to keep clean!)

Images courtesy of deVOL

Join me for the next installation of my blog STEP 2: DESIGNING THE KITCHEN - PART 2 (there's lots to cover!)

Discover more on:

#handmadekitchensofchristchurch #islands #chimneys #doorstyles #cornicestyles #plinthstyles

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