Specifications will vary for commercial or private kitchen requirements but you can find suppliers and manufacturers for both arenas in this section. From the small spaces kitchen suppliers to bespoke design firms you will find everything you need here including a full range of appliance suppliers. On the commercial side, there are suppliers for catering appliances and worktops, refrigeration and general catering equipment. ...more
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Kitchens are a key area within any residential building and require careful planning to ensure their functionality. Residential kitchens also represent one of the most expensive rooms to equip within a house.
In recent decades the style of a kitchen has become as important as its functionality. An ideal kitchen design needs to combine these two elements well. A number of kitchen design companies specialise in kitchen layout design and can advise on other aspects including kitchen unit and work top selection. Many will also be able to provide advice on kitchen appliance selection. Some kitchen designers will use 3D software programmes to create a visual impression of the finished in situ kitchen complete with rendered colours and kitchen appliances installed. Traditional plan and elevation drawings will also be made available to aid the construction and installation process.
Some companies will offer a design and build package covering all elements of the installation process, from start to finish, from material sourcing through to all the plumbing and electrical work necessary for the complete installation. Before commissioning a complete kitchen design and build package confirmation should be sort detailing what elements of the installation process are actually included in the quoted price. Design and build kitchen projects can be a cost effective and efficient way of conducting the installation of fitted kitchens as the organisation of subcontractors, such as electricians, plumbers and decorators, falls with the design and build company.
Kitchen design companies are likely to cater for a range of market sectors. Some will concentrate on providing bespoke kitchens for the high end of the market, whilst many will provide mid market kitchen solutions.
Kitchens are offered in many different styles and finishes and can be obtained from a variety of kitchen manufacturers and suppliers. Kitchen suppliers and manufacturers may cater for all market sectors or may chose to specialise in high end products. Typical styles offered include traditional, contemporary and modern kitchens. Traditional kitchens are likely to be ideal for installation in to period properties and generally comprise finishes such as limed oak, pine and other natural woods. Typically produced in solid wood a cheaper alternative is a wood veneer finish to create that natural wood effect. A cheaper, yet just as effective, alternative is a laminated photographic design replicating that of natural wood grain. Laminated finishes do not noticeably darken over time when compared to solid wood and veneered finishes. Contemporary kitchens generally utilise laminated products as a large selection of cost effective designs and finishes with improved durability can be achieved. Current contemporary trends include 'shaker style' finishes and distressed pine, usually produced in solid wood. If a truly bespoke kitchen is required a carpenter could be contracted to build a solid wood kitchen to a chosen design. Modern kitchens may utilise unconventional kitchen materials such as stainless steel and polished aluminium.
The most common method of kitchen furniture construction involves the use of a 'carcase'. The carcase forms the basic structure of the kitchen unit on to which door fronts, draw fronts and side cladding can be attached. Carcases are not visible and as a result are usually manufactured from MDF (medium density fibreboard) or other composite wood products to reduce costs. Some modern kitchen unit designs have side cladding panels that are an integral part of the carcase structure. On carpenter constructed hand made kitchens the carcases are likely to be constructed from solid wood. Kitchen carcases are usually supplied in 'flat pack' format, where assembly is required and tend to represent the lower end of the market. On mid market manufactured kitchens and luxury kitchens carcases are generally supplied preassembled.
Once assembled and fitted with doors, side cladding and kitchen worktops the carcase is transformed in to a kitchen unit. Many different forms of kitchen units can be purchased including draw units, dresser units and corner cabinets along with associated bridging cabinets to create the desired kitchen layout. If good quality carcases have previously been installed they can be revitalised by purchasing new draw fronts, kitchen cup board fronts and trim in more contemporary styles. Many kitchen fittings in the form of draw knobs, door knobs and draw runners, in a number of different styles, can be purchased to provide those crucial finishing touches.
Kitchen worktops, also known as kitchen work surfaces and counter tops, represent a key area within the kitchen category. Produced in a range of different materials worktops have the ability to transform the appearance of any kitchen. Popular work surface materials comprise laminated products produced in a wide variety of designs and different colours, with many designs imitating natural stone. Laminated worktops are durable and scratch resistant with many also being heat resistant. Other work surface materials include solid wood and natural stone which represent the top end of the market and tend to be available from specialists. Solid stone worktops are available in durable materials such as granite and travertine with many colour variants on the market. A cheaper alternative to solid wood is a wood effect laminate counter top. It may also be worth while considering purchasing a splash guard or back guard to protect walls behind kitchen furniture.
A key consideration within any kitchen is the sink type and material. Selection of sinks will partly be influenced by worktop material and general kitchen theme. A traditional ceramic sink, typically produced in styles such as the Belfast sink, are likely to suit more traditional kitchens, where as stainless steel sinks tend to suit modern kitchens. More recently synthetic plastic sinks have been developed. Sinks are available in different styles including corner sinks and double drainer formats. Kitchen taps, to complement any sink, can be purchased separately in formats including double mixer and in finishes such as brass effect, chrome and stainless steel.
Kitchen appliances are a large section within the kitchens product category. The key appliances of cookers, stand alone hobs and fridges are all represented along side more luxury appliances in the form of dishwashers and fridge freezers. Specialist built in appliances, alongside catering equipment, can also be sourced from a number of manufacturers and suppliers. More heavy duty commercial catering appliances can also be found under this category for installation within cafes and restaurants.
The specialist and ever growing field of kitchen pods, sometimes referred to as a prefabricated kitchen, is an ideal component for the construction of new self catered student accommodation. The product comprises an off site assembled kitchen unit complete with appliances for direct installation within the structure.
Kitchen floors and walls need to be finished appropriately to ensure they do not deteriorate from exposure to moisture. Traditional protection methods include kitchen tiles. Moisture resistant paints should also be used. Kitchen wall tiles are either porcelain or ceramic and are protected by a glaze to render them impervious to water. They may be hand painted with a wide range of elaborate designs or produced in more natural coloured tiles to imitate the colour of natural stone. A number of tile adhesives and grouts can be used to secure tiles to the wall.
Within recent years a move towards more traditional kitchens has prompted the uptake of natural stone floor tiles with slate and granite representing popular choices. Terracotta floor tiles manufactured from fired clay can be used to create a more rustic appearance and are typically produced in orange red colours with imperfect surface finishes. Alternative floor finishes include vinyl flooring which is produced in a spectrum of colours and patterns. Some common patterns include mock timber and tiled finishes.