Aug 19, 2020
In this episode of the Kitchen Design Essentials Season, Frances
outlines some core differences to be aware of between flatpack (off
the shelf) and custom-designed kitchens.
She walks through some of the core differences and what
compromises may need to be made with a flat pack kitchen with its
She also discusses material and hardware differences that may
impact your decisions. As always, the focus is on Forever Homes,
and she chats through compromises that may impact you later on, and
cost a lot to rectify.
When it comes to kitchen renovation or building a new kitchen,
it can be difficult to decide what route to go down in terms of
flatpack or custom kitchens. You may wonder about the difference
between a custom and flatpack design, and so in today’s episode,
Frances chats about the key difference between off the shelf / flat
pack kitchens and custom kitchens.
A customized kitchen allows you to create a
kitchen that is exactly what you what and needs as it is designed
from the outset specifically for you, space and your
requirements. You will generally get a better finish and a
wider selection of options to choose from in terms of materials,
finish, and hardware.
If you’re creating a kitchen for your Forever Home, having the
design that you want is important. Compromising on design elements
due to flatpack constraints can be a frustration if you’re going to
live there for 10+ years.
Frances has had flatpack kitchens in two
apartments she owned in London and Amsterdam. She had a
top-end Ikea kitchen in Amsterdam and put her own stamp on it by
adding handmade splashback tiles. However, she too at to compromise
on the design outcome as cabinetry components did not go wall to
wall and so she ended up with a gap at one end, which wasn’t
- Limitations on the height of cabinetry – Flatpack has a
standard cabinetry height so it won’t go as high as you would like
- Not all cabinetry sizes will suit the exact measurements of the
kitchen which may compromise the aesthetic or functional aspect of
- Often don’t have solid backs – Flatpack kitchens frequently
have a flimsy backing board, it goes straight to wall – just like
on a Billy Bookcase. Customised normally provides for a
minimum 16mm backing compared to abput4mm for a
- Can be limited in choice of materials, colors, and
- Hinges and hardware are not as normally as good quality –
They won’t have a lifetime guarantee
- It’s can be time-consuming to install a flat pack kitchen.
- With the additional labour cost, a flat pack kitchen may not be
a cheaper option.
- If ordering online – there is no room for error. You are
responsible for the precise measurements to get the right size
materials, so you bare the risk if it’s incorrect. Also, if
ordering online, ensure to get samples of the materials as colours
can be different online.
- Sometimes a flatpack kitchen can be like trying to fit a square
peg into a round hole to make it all work.
- Built by a cabinet maker, so everything can be cut it to size
and be precise. A designer and a Cabinet Maker – A
designer is designing the kitchen cabinetry with a lot of
consideration for functionality, flow, and owner requirements. A
cabinet maker is the maker of the design, so is not necessarily
considering other factors and may only be looking at cabinetry to
fit the space.
- Design is not just about the material and how many cupboards or
drawers you can fit into space. Kitchen design is about how it
works and flows and how and where you access what you need in terms
of food prep, storage, cleaning and so forth, which all needs to be
considered in-depth for a custom design
- Fully custom
- Give you more options in terms of Colour, Material, Finish and
- Able to consider additional hardware features- i.e retractable
pantry or bi-fold doors or other hardware features from kitchen
- No ‘make do’ when sizes don’t fit – can be made to fit so it
- Material sheet size dependent on material type. Std sizes:
2440/2700 x 1200mm. Having a customised kitchen allows you to work
with different thickness of materials- i.e 16, 18, 25 & 33mm,
which can be used for different aspects of your kitchen.
- Add little details important to you and accessories
- Specific drawer sizes, custom bin systems.
- More flexibility on where you store what you need and how it’s
stored to suit you.
- Have the things as you want as you are involved in the design
- Add in design features not always available with flat-pack Eg –
retractable doors, BLUM pantry drawer system, customized drawer
- Can choose to have it made from materials higher durability,
which may not be the case with flatpack materials.
Your kitchen is a space that needs to work super hard for you.
It is the hub of the home where we entertain, do homework, and
catch up with friends. A customised kitchen is designed to fit your
needs and lifestyle which is an important element when building
your Forever Home. Therefore, Frances always advises her clients to
plan their kitchen carefully and get it designed as it's well worth
the investment for your Forever Home.
If you’re thinking about renovating or building your own
“Forever Home”, get in touch with Frances directly, by booking a chat
Kitchen Design Sanity Check
Kitchens are such an important part of any home and they need to
work super hard for you. Getting the design right is critical to
the functionality, flow and useability of the space ultimately
affecting your lifestyle.
Want a second opinion on your kitchen plan? Book a
kitchen design sanity check today.
Kitchen Bliss Package
Overwhelmed by the amount of decisions that need to be made when
creating a stylish, functional and durable kitchen? What materials
to select, what colours will co-ordinate together, what design is
going to best suit the space, and your requirements.
kitchen design packages that include joinery design and
material selections for a complete kitchen design. Click the link
here to find more.
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Episode 41: Kitchen Design Essentials – Cabinetry Materials
Episode 39: Kitchen Design Essentials – Splashbacks
Episode 38: Kitchen Design Essentials-Benchtop Criteria and
Materials – Part 2
Episode 36: Kitchen Design Essentials – Benchtops part
Episode 14: Forever Home LIVE- Joinery Drawings and Why Do Them
Episode 30: Kitchen Design Essentials -Kitchen Design Layouts and
Episode 32: Kitchen Design Essentials – The Builder’s
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