fitting a new kitchen

Hi,
Our kitchen is looking old and tired. I've visited "the sheds" to look at their displays but it is hard to get a price without the hassle of booking an appointment to sit down with one of their designers and after doing that, they have only reproduced the layout we already have!
Is there anywhere else I can try? With something like this, I think it is best to see one in real life before buying, rather than just mail ordering over the internet.
The cheaper kitchens seem to be wrapped mdf, whereas the more expensive doors are solid wood. Am I right to think that real wood would be best? I'm thinking that the solid doors are more likely to stand up to knocks and scratches from the children. Some of the mdf display models seemed to have scuffs and bits of the veneer missing where customers had hit them with shopping trolleys.
I also wonder whether the mdf will swell if steam somehow gets in? OTOH will the varnish on the solid wood be attacked by steam; this is what seems to have happened to our existing kitchen. I guess the answer is to keep kettles away and always use the extractor etc. to prevent steam in the first place.
I was told by the designers that there has to be a 300mm space between the hob and any cupboard to reduce the risk of fire. I was told for electric hobs, this can be reduced to 150mm. I have tried to research this using google but I haven't found anything definite anywhere. Can anyone tell me what the regs say and where I can find them? Why is a smaller gap necessary for electric and does it apply to all types: solid plate, ceramic, etc? What about induction hobs?
I did wonder about buying an induction hob but I think it would be better to buy that separately rather than as past of some package they throw together. I note that some induction hobs require fan cooling. Why is it that ceramic hobs that get hot do not require fans but induction hobs that are not supposed to get hot do?
Some of the designers said that dishwasher should go next to the sink. I can see that would simplify plumbing but they say it is so you can rinse the plates before putting them into the dishwasher. Have I been doing this wrong all these years? I thought a dishwasher washed plates so that you didn't have to? Surely you should not need to rinse them first?
Is it best to have the hob over a 60cm cupboard? My worry is that this 300mm rule will mean it has to fit halfway over two adjacent cupboards. Is this a bad thing?
And finally, the corners are causing me problems. Are the L shaped cupboards the best thing to use? One thing I am not so keen on is they have two doors but only one has a handle and the second door has a fillet bolted on its edge, which I don't think is very pretty. I did find one web site that said only use one L shape cupboard in case the walls are not square but wouldn't that ruin the symmetry of the layout? No-one else has said that to me.
TIA
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Induction hobs have electronics in them, ceramic hobs don't.
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On Jan 28, 2:24 pm, Fred wrote:

Ceramic hobs are basically a light bulb under glass.
Induction hobs have lots of electronics in - think of trying to cook something on top of a computer.
Owain
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That's a halogen hob. Ceramic hobs are a glass panel with a resistive element bonded to it.

But your point stands nonetheless.
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Fred wrote:

We had one, years ago, who produced the perfect design. But it was a con. He'd fiddled the measurements to get more in. Apparently they do that to get you to sign up, then the fitter has to pretend to be surprised.

You can go to a proper kitchen specialist, but they're expensive. Why not do your own design? I did and it's all worked out very well. I used a local carpenter to make the units. She used carcasses from magnet and made the doors herself from hardwood.

Solid wood is much better. As for knocks from the kids, the solution is to knock the kids.

Make sure the worktop edges are well sealed or water will get in cause swelling.

Use the correct sort of coating. Not varnish.
Bill
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IKEA
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That's where I chose to put mine.

Yes, that's why I did that with mine.

Nope.
Yep, I only bother with the worst of the messes like when having done KGs of tinned tomatoes in the food processor when making a batch of relish etc. Stuff like that can go mouldy quite quickly if you only run the dishwasher when its full.
I do sometimes soak stuff like burnt stock pots to soften the burnt on stuff when that happens.
And I do get the worst of the baked on dregs out of the roast pan by pouring off the melted fat into some container, then boiling up some water in the pan on the stove and tipping the mess out onto the compost heap before putting it into the dishwasher, because if you don't, you can end up with an obscene mess on the back of the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher when the emulsified fat ends up there.
I only wash the roast pan after about 10 roasts.

Normally not, but its certainly convenient to have the dishwasher next to the sink for the occasional ones that you do rinse first and you minimise the plumbing needed that way too.

I do, because there isnt enough depth under it for the other stuff like small bar fridge sized freezers and dishwasher etc. I have a very long bench counterleavered off the wall that I can put all that stuff under, those freezers, the dishwasher etc and cupboards so I have a lot of flexibility over time.

Nope.
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Vertical clearance I would have thought.

Wherever is convenient for power, water and drainage. Ours is on the opposite side.

If you just have one or two heavily soiled items then rinse them and run the DW on an economy cycle.

Depends on the size of the hob! In practive yu can put it anywhere but may have to modify the cupboards.

I use normal cupboards. Any decent range will have the corner fillet as an accessory which you attach to one of the cupboards. It's not quite as convenient getting into the corner but we just store little use stuff there. It's not difficult to get everything square if you or the designer/fitter have half a brain.
MBQ
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You can just buy new doors and drawer fronts, much cheaper. They are standard sizes these days.
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On 28/01/2013 17:16, harry wrote:

Indeed - just got 24 solid oak doors/fronts for £50 on ebay.
Rob
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Gawd what a headache. I reckon if somebody made a little room that you could just dump outside with a bit of clever awning etc, you could extend the house and end up with an extra room! I know they call them caravans don't they? Sorry, being daft today.
Brian
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On Mon, 28 Jan 2013 14:24:59 +0000, Fred wrote:

<snip>
Hmmm....we got our kitchen units from Howdens, and the kitchen was fitted by our builders. The claim to be trade only - but this generally means you sort out a kitchen fitter and order through him. The big thing about using Howdens (or similar kitchen unit supplier) is that they usually have all the units in stock at the warehouse.
So if you find a unit damaged, a bit missing, or you find you need an extra or different unit then they can sort this out next day.
The units generally come already made up as well, so you don't have to pay for flat pack assembly time for your fitter.
If you order from the sheds then it takes 6 weeks to arrive and if anything isn't right then it takes another six weeks for the bits to come.
We had problems designing in the corners - this really depends how wide your kitchen is but corner units usually waste a lot of space.
Our kitchen area is only 2200mm across so we have two runs of 600mm base units and no units across the end. This allows us to have cupboards right up to the walls and no wasted corner space.
Oh, and I think with fitting kitchen units into corners you allow a bit of leeway in your measurements and fit all the units square to each other. If this leaves small irregular gaps behind the units then the work surface when fitted into the corners will conceal this.
We have a run of tall pull out larder units and find this very good storage.
HTH
Dave R
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Howden's built-in appliances are absolute rubbish.
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On Tue, 29 Jan 2013 11:32:43 +0000, Geoff Pearson wrote:
<snip>

Some are, some less so.
You don't have to take the appliances with the kitchen.
The main problem is identifying the manufacturer.
We provided the sink, hob, fridge/freezer.
Bosch built in microwave from Howdens.
Dish washer, fan oven and washing machine all Lafuma (Howdens own brand). We shall see how they perform.
Cheers
Dave R
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[snip]

<choke>
They have the brass balls to call their appliances "The Smoking"? Is that an indication of their likely fate?
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You got there ahead of me!
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Sorry, after you.
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wrote:

I thought the same thing about the Quantum Fireball line of hard drives.
We once had a widely advertising computer retailer revelling in the name of Computer Shark too. Didn’t appear to do his prospects any harm, they were around for years.
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Magnets, using their Trade side, rather than the showroom. Howdens too. Ikea stuff isnt too bad. Their units can be slightly quirky, and not too solid, also many of their units have no space at the back for pipes (or even cables clipped to the wall). They have an online planner which is pretty simple to use, and gives a full breakdown of costs. Loads of other places online.
I would be wary of buying a kitchen from one of the DIY stores. They generally dont keep the stuff in, and delivery can be problematic. I've found B+Q deliveries to be the worst - parts missing / broken, then takes an age to get through to someone on the phone.
My current favourite is Magnet. havent had a fault with their deliveries, and they are keenly priced - be aware that although the showrooms are still Magnet, they do a more expensive range in there, so for cheaper stuff you need to go to the trade side, where instead of a kitchen made up complete, you'll see a door and worktop screwed to the wall. I used to use Howdens regularly, but am pissed off with them now. They are lying bastards when it comes to deliveries, and even lie about what they have in stock, and when it will be with me. This is their Wigston branch, so others may be different.
Some local suppliers have opened up here, and make doors to whatever size you require. They are roughly the same price as Magnet/Howdens, but with the benefit of more choice in colours and designs.
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wrote:

--snip--
My kitchen has a mixture of wrapped MDF and solid wood doors and they all still look fine after nearly 20 years :-) However this was really good quality stuff not from the sheds. Sadly the company is no longer trading otherwise I'd use them again.
The carcasses under the sink are looking quite tatty though.
--snip--

I find L shaped corner cupboards awkward to use but, cosmetically, they are fine.
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