#JanuaryJoy: Plan a room

Right now my life is consumed by decor plans but they are in the main completely abstract, because one room keeps getting in the way – the kitchen. After our extension issues (around the monster sewer pipe,) we have now decided to stick to the original foot print of the house and make the space from within, i.e. by removing the chimney breast and nib that sticks out from the small kitchen at the back in to the room. Although the living room and hall are driving me NUTS looking at them, we have to do this first and financially, it’s a huge drain on our expendable cash that keeps growing. We need to pay for the kitchen itself, the appliances, worktops, flooring, lighting and then the building work which involves installing a lot of glass, more £££. So the room I’ve been planning is, not surprisingly the kitchen.

We decided to skip to the fun bit and figure out the kitchen itself first. It might seem shortsighted, but that was the most important bit to me, and therefore we decided to let it influence the design. I was really unsure as to whether we would extend the kitchen as our architect put forward an idea to cantilever out over the sewer pipe, but clearly that wasn’t going to be cheap and I wanted to know if the right kitchen could make better use of the existing space.

I knew what I wanted, grey cupboards, light worktops (preferably marble) and an island unit. So off we went.


Image via

The first place we looked was Ikea. The new Lidingo grey kitchen is a dark grey traditional looking door style and most importantly we knew it would be Cheap with a capital C. I actually really like it and I know people with Ikea kitchens that look great, I was just worried about longevity and if the quality would hold out. We actually costed it up using the online planner and it came to less than £3000 for the cupboards, then we would have added in appliances, taps, sink, and the marble tops ontop of that.

Next we happened to see a grey kitchen in B&Q (Carisbrooke Taupe, part of their Cooke and Lewis range) that was an ‘in-frame’ kitchen – a style I had fallen in love with but you don’t see that often and tends to be more expensive than average. We thought we would book a design consultation and see what they could come up with and the cost (again excluding appliances etc) was about £5,500, although we were told at the time that the sale was coming and we would get 20% upwards off it then. We didn’t warm to the kitchen designer at all – he didn’t offer any design input other than asking us what we wanted, which is what we were there for, to see if he had any ideas about our awkward space.

Next on the list for investigation was a tip off from a reader when I wrote about kitchens, British Standard. An off shoot of Plain English Kitchens, which are handmade and retail at 45-50K, British Standard are supposed to offer handmade, British joinery for a budget price – you have to design it yourself and work out all your sizes etc and fit it, not to mention the small matter of picking it up and finishing it in whatever paint you want too. I love these, but it seemed like quite a daunting task and although they don’t come up anywhere near their sister company’s prices, they still are not cheap – the website states ‘£7000 for a modest sized kitchen including worktops’.

I should also give special mention to John Lewis who I am still completely disgusted with. They also do an in-frame, grey kitchen as part of their classic collection and each display has a kitchen design leaflet of what a small kitchen with the units corresponding to the drawing will cost. It wasn’t dissimilar to what we needed in terms of space and units so I asked the sales person to help us and was basically told that it would cost twice that, everybody gets carried away and completely patronised. I got the distinct impression that he felt we couldn’t afford it and he seemed to be doing his best to put us off. Needless to say, I left.

Lastly, Michelle convinced me to contact a colleague of hers at TruKitchen and get some serious design advice. I really hesitated because I didn’t think they would have what we wanted and if they did that it wouldn’t be at a price we could afford. But then I found out they do sell some in-frame handmade kitchens, and it turned out the designers advice was what made us realise we didn’t need to extend at all – completely invaluable. In a final twist of fate, Tracey thought that they might actually have something that would fit our space perfectly and that was already on display instore. One of their brands Hamilton Drake produces bespoke handmade kitchens and I fell in love.


Our kitchen, in the showroom at TruKitchen

So we decided to bite the bullet. It’s more than we planned to pay, but it will hopefully last and instead of that being daunting (I was always put off by people who said ‘this kitchen will last you 25 years’, because I thought, I might not like it in 25 years!) I know that I can have it repainted if I go off grey and that it is beautifully made.

Now we’re just narrowing down the appliances and we have decide on a range cooker as it fits the space better and I love the look of them. What I can’t decide on and need advice on is what kind of top to get- gas or induction? I was 100% for gas, for the function and aesthetic, but having cleaned my own gas top twice on New Years Day I had a sudden change of heart and thought life is too short, lets get induction. I’ve since seen a couple of induction tops that I like (this, this and this,) but I can’t decide if it will look right. I’ll talk more about the design of the kitchen itself next time, but one of the things that put me off was the contrast of the black induction top against the white marble, but we’re now having black granite along that back panel so it will blend in… So I need your advice readers, induction or gas?!

Have you got a room planned to tackle this year? Do tell! I’d love to hear about something other than my kitchen!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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38 thoughts on “#JanuaryJoy: Plan a room

  1. LOVE IT.

    My parents have an induction hob and I actually find it really annoying. It switches itself off if even a splash of water goes over. Also, my parents needed to buy a whole new set of saucepans. Not much in the grand scheme of things but still….

    Boo hiss John Lewis. I expected better.

  2. We think our induction is great. I thought initially gas might be better but we’re getting on really well with the induction one year on. It still looks super clean and not scratched, plus because it’s flat if you’re not using it is becomes extra worktop space. Just check pan compatibility first though – we luckily have le creuset from our wedding list and they’re fine, but compatible pans are available in all price ranges.

  3. Go for gas. Much nicer to cook with and you can use any pots and pans you like. Induction hobs can supposedly be problematic for people with heart conditions/pacemakers.

  4. Morning Rebecca. I am following your house posts with great interest, as we’ll be following in your footsteps this year. Our first house goes on the market next week- eek.

    We have an induction hob which my husband (the main cook of the house) hated at first. We’re used to it now, and there’s no doubt it looks good and is SO easy to clean, but in our next house we would like to go back to gas. The main reason is that cooking with gas is just so much more precise- you can adjust the heat to exactly what you need. As induction is electrical the power comes in surges (particularly at a lower level), so when something should be simmering, it doesn’t do so steadily. Also you can’t take a roasting tray out of the oven and place it on the hob to make gravy as they’re the wrong type of blimmin’ metal! Gas has just so much more flexibility if you enjoy cooking. Xx

  5. Thanks for sharing your home decor ideas. I moved house in the summer and have also got to build a kitchen extension. No sewer pipe issues thankfully but I still find the scale of the project pretty daunting. For that reason (and because we recently had to turn all but one of the plugs off because the wiring was too dangerous), we’ve been putting it off and planned other easier rooms instead. It’s important we get it done though because the plan includes a downstairs toilet and my disabled mum can’t visit until it’s complete. Thank you for reminding me it can be fun and that I need to get my backside in gear.

    All my friends with induction day that they wish they had gas for the reasons already given – lack of control and the annoying need for special pans.

  6. This is really interesting already girls… thanks for the advice and keep it coming!

    Everyone says induction is just like gas and easy to control, instant etc – but when we had a showroom demo my first thought was that it looked a bit fierce, and that it looked like it would be a nightmare to cook something sensitive like caramel on! (Because I do that all the time, obviously!)

    Induction is also £400-1000 more expensive in the same models I have chosen above than gas. Definitely food for thought.

  7. Hi Rebecca, I can’t wait to see your kitchen when it’s finished – those units are gorgeous! I have a gas hob but have cooked on induction in the past, and I have to say I really prefer gas. It’s true that induction hobs are much easier to clean and are probably a safer option if you’re planning kids, but gas gives you much more control over cooking temperatures and is more versatile. Plus, when I make burritos I like to ‘toast’ my tortilla over the flame, and you can’t do that on an induction hob! On a more shallow note, I also think range cookers look much nicer with a gas hob – it’s a traditional style and I just think induction looks wrong, even if you’re going for a more modern look. I know it’ll look amazing when it’s done though – good luck!

  8. Hi Rebecca, I would go for gas every time. I have an electric hob and it’s either warm or stupidly hot making it really hard when something needs to simmer. I can’t seem to regulate it at all and find it really annoying.

    Good luck with the kitchen, I’ve re-pinned some of your ideas because I love them so much!!

    Rach x

  9. Hi Rebecca,

    I do love reading about your house projects. Your kitchen will be amazing, by the sounds of it. I would definitely go with gas. I was tempted by induction when we bought our cooker but my husband (aka the chef) stuck by his guns and got his gas hob and oven. I think that they look much better and the heat levels are easier to control. Cleaning is one of those things, I guess. In all honesty, when you get your new kitchen installed you will probably look after it as though it were a child. So no matter what hob you get you will clean it religiously anyway!
    Thanks for sharing. X

  10. Another vote for gas here. There’s something about the hiss click click vwooom…. it’s a tactile and primal way of cooking! I tried to get on board with induction because it’s more energy-efficient, but couldn’t for this reason. I’m also really attached to a lot of my pots and pans.

    Good luck Rebecca!

  11. I appear to be the lone voice in support of induction hobs. But then I’m used to electric hobs -my parents had an electric one when I was growing up and I only briefly lived in a house with a gas hob as a student. I hated it as the automatic lighter thingy never worked and holding a match over gas just felt awful…
    The flat I’ve lived in for the past 2yrs has an induction hob. I don’t cook anything massively complex and it suits me fine (and I use the microwave for caramel anyway!). Mine doesn’t switch off if water/liquid splashes on to it… The only thing you have to be careful of is that it stays hot for such a long time after you turn it off! As for pans, I never knew it was such an issue, I have these http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-classic-ii-cookware/p63867 which are fairly cheap and cheerful and do the job fine… And yes, it’s lovely being able to give it a quick clean!

    ‘Your’ kitchen looks gorgeous Rebecca!

    • Hey, I never actually saw your comment before I posted mine but glad I could help with the le creuset info. We have a griddle pan and a round dish with a lid and cook with them so often and they still look like new, worth the investment.

      One thing I would add to your comment is that our induction hob doesn’t stay hot after we’ve cooked with it, yes it is hot to touch immediately after cooking / switching it off, but the fact that it needs the magnetic contact to transfer the heat is one of the big safety features and another reason I am happy with it as our choice for our new kitchen xx

  12. Gas every time! We have an induction hob in our military house in Germany and a year on I still hate it! Gas is so much easier to control the temperature, especially when you need to bring something to the boil and then lower the temp to simmer. Our induction hob stays hot for so long after switching it off I’m always worried about the cat jumping up and burning his feet, this would also concern me if I had children around. I don’t know if there are induction hobs available that cool down quicker but I would rather clean a gas hob everyday than cook on our induction hob.

    PS Love the kitchen you have chosen! Look forward to seeing it all in place 🙂

    • The cat jumping up is exactly what I was going to say too! Ours isn’t allowed in the kitchen but managed to sneak in as a kitten & burnt his paws.

      Can’t wait to see the completed project – hoping to buy our first place this year & until then I’m living the dream through other people! x

  13. LOVE your kitchen choice! I’m very jealous as I would love something similar.
    On the gas vs induction debate, I am definitely on the side of Gas. I have a separate oven (electric) and gas hob. I have used induction before and I have to admit it was horrible. I just felt like I could never control the heat. I do prefer the look of gas hobs.

  14. I think a lot of the above posts are from people who don’t understand the difference between Induction, Halogen & Ceramic Hob technology.
    Induction is so precise, can be both powerful yet gentle. Even heat distribution, and easy to clean.
    An induction hob DOES NOT use HEAT. The hob DOES NOT glow red!!! Very safe & little residual heat. These are likely to be HALOGEN hobs which are truly awful!!!
    Many commercial kitchens are moving towards induction technology. Their efficiency is also a major influencing factor. 90% efficiency opposed to gas which is 45% efficient.
    Yes, a pan needs to be magnetic, but in the scheme of replacing a kitchen a set of pans is neither here nor there.
    Personally I would chose Induction every time.
    Though saying all of this, in the style of kitchen you are choosing with a range cooker. Aesthetics are so important. Personally I feel an Induction topped range just looks weird.
    Go for the gas range and enjoy the cleaning 😉
    Good luck with your project

    • I actually thought I was going to be the only one recommending an induction hob!

      Rebecca we have an induction hob in our flat and I love it. When we found out that there was no gas supply in our kitchen (having already bought the flat off plan) I was really upset at the thought of giving up a gas hob, so I was expecting to hate it! We cook dinners from scratch most nights and I find the hob so much better than gas. There are 18 heat settings and the heat is not inconsistent as Rob stated. It heats up instantly and I love cooking on it.

      You do need to buy pans with a metal base yes but most of ours were metal already and all the le creuset dishes etc all work on it. It’s great to keep clean and I like the safety features for when my newphews are about.

      Basically I couldn’t recommend an induction hob highly enough and the husband agrees, for our new kitchen he has already insisted on an induction hob, it was not even up for debate!

      Do let us know what you decide xx

      • Roz thank you for answering my question, I was actually wondering about the Le Creuset pans on an induction hob -I am not lucky enough to own a Le Creuset yet but hope to one day!! As I’ve already posted above I am a huge fan of my induction hob -looks beautiful, works great, what more could you ask for?!!

  15. I would love to have gas hobs, but our flat is entirely electric, so we’ve just (quite literally just… I’m hoping the builders have finished tonight when I get home from work) got induction hobs. Both are better options than the electric hobs I used to have!

  16. I have been told that inductions hobs do get hot but only because the pan heat transfers down onto the glass, therefore it doesn’t stay hot (for long I assume) after the pan comes off – although I guess it’s inevitable that it will be hot initially. The demo one we saw was hot (hand burning hot) immediately after cooking on it and now I’m regretting I didn’t keep putting my hand on to see how long it took to cool.

    Fortunately my cats don’t jump up so that’s not an issue and given how hot it was immediately after I’d keep kids away from it anyway just in case.

    • The residual heat will be no hotter than the item being cooked inside the pan.
      i.e. boiling water 100 deg, obviously a frying pan would be hotter if oil is being used. If just keeping food warm a lot less.
      But would you go holding a gas trivet straight after a pan has been cooking on it???
      The glass looses it’s heat pretty rapidly, and most induction hobs will also flash a warning for residual heat. Certainly it would be hot, but not enough to remove your skin (Halogen would).
      The pans are also more stable on the flat glass surface, than most gas trivets.
      If you want performance and ease of cleaning go for induction.
      If you want the ‘look’, gas is the choice.
      A chef friend of mine, was very hesitant about moving to induction, now he wouldn’t want to return to gas.

  17. By far the most beautiful choice. Funnily enough we also looked at some of the same ones and have also gone for bespoke handmade framed cabinets in grey.

    I am disgusted with John Lewis on your behalf. If they talk down to you and your husband when you’re their target market then what hope is there for the rest of us?

    Also, step away from the induction hobs. My parents have one and it drives me mad. A simple task like boiling an egg requires supervision, it’ll take ages to come to the boil on max and then it’ll spew out hot water for the same time again whilst it adjusts to its lower setting. I think gas tops have spoilt me, I now couldn’t go back. We’ve gone for a stoves 900mm range, with gas top and electric oven. It has the best side oven size in its class, no need for smaller oven trays, unlike a lot of designs which seem to waste a lot of space.

    As I type there is plaster being drilled off the kitchen walls to make way for the new electrics. I am quite literally breathing kitchens right now. I look forward to seeing your progress!

    • The secret of cooking with induction is knowing your appliance.
      If you set it to max power, it will over boil very quickly as they normally have twice the power of a gas ring. Taking half the time of gas to boil the same amount of water on an induction hob. But if you set it at say level 7, it will bring it quickly to a steady boil.
      The key is not to use the higher levels unless you are using a wok or a frying pan. Then you can truly ‘stir fry’, not ‘stir stew’. Also great to use a cast iron griddle plate on an induction hob for steaks and chargrilling veg.
      I repeat, I think there is genuine confusion about what an induction hob is.

  18. Oooh lovely choice for the kitchen! I’m another lone voice in support of induction hobs, as we have one in the house. My husband insisted on it when we put in the new kitchen – it was like his new toy! And as he does most of the cooking, I couldn’t really complain 😉 But I love it, it’s got all the functionality and control of a gas cooker but minimal cleaning. We had to change some of our pans as some didn’t work, but most were old and needed updating anyway.

    I love it – esp after years of living in flats with rubbish electric/halogen hobs, it’s so little effort and really quick to heat up/cool down. Ours came from IKEA (where our kitchen came from) and it’s been a revelation.

  19. Oh god, gas all day long, I can’t stand electric! We stay in a very hi-tech, super swish villa in Spain (father in laws gaff) that has a top of the range induction hob and it’s the bane of my life when I’m there, I just can’t control the temp and it’s impossible to gauge the heat. At least with gas you can see the flame and know low/medium/ high heat just by looking. I guess eventually you’d get used to electric and know which temps to use but this one in Spain has put me off for life!
    Xx

  20. Hi, I don’t usually comment on things but as I have just/am still going through the last stages of a three year home renovation and most importantly the kitchen, I felt I may have some useful input here.

    First of all, having had a total NIGHTMARE with John Lewis of Hungerford, I am glad to hear you haven’t plumped for them….

    But I really would like to sing the praises of an induction hob range (I have an ESSE electric range cooker in beautiful cream and it’s the best cooker I’ve ever had! No, I don’t work for them!). It is very controllable and ‘instant’, super easy to clean, and safe – no danger of accidentally leaving the gas on which has always worries me with gas (and our propensity for getting distracted!). My favourite features are five well spaced cooking zones, the boost function to boil water/liquid in literally seconds, and my very FAVE feature, the keep warm function! I really couldn’t live without this when keeping lots of dishes on the go or to come together at the same time. Especially useful for cooking perfect rice to keep it steaming to perfection on keep warm with the lid on until ready to serve, also soup etc, or for those stragglers coming to the table late. The ovens too cook very evenly and are deceptively spacious. I highly recommend it, although I realise it is probably going to be as expensive as the kitchen itself. Yes, I had to buy new pans to suit induction, but worth it and my old faithful Le Creuset cast iron pots and enamel roasting trays (for making gravy on top after the joint comes out) were already compatible, thankfully (you do get big tins and trays with the cooker which is a bonus). Downside (apart from price) worth considering, especially if you have young children, is as it is a cast iron body just like an Aga the oven doors will get hot on the outside too if the ovens are on high for a prolonged period of time. Keeps the room nice and warm though!

    I have had an induction hob previous to this cooker and am a total convert!

  21. Oooh liking the grey. We’re in the midsts of renovations and getting near to putting a kitchen in, we’ve plumped for an induction hob having done a tonne of research and so I was a bit apprehensive about reading the comments as it was quite a big decision! But, having done so I think induction (rather than electric) will be the right choice for us and so excited to finally have a kitchen again! Look forward to seeing how yours develops. X

  22. Gas gas gas gas gas gas all the way!! We’ve just moved into our new home and had a 900m black rangemaster installed (gas top, electric ovens). I’ve been so excited to get back to gas after 6years with an induction hob in our old apartment (new build so all electric, even heating). I think the range was one of the things I was getting most excited about with our new home! I’d chosen it before any other furniture that we needed 🙂 The hubby & I cook alot and the control with gas is far superior and having gas allows the hob->oven->hob type recipes a bizzillion times easier.

    I love your new kitchen, so classic and looks lovely! I’m very jealous that you get to start afresh too, our place has a brand new one so we cant justify changing it though thankfully we do love it (but I wouldn’t have chosen it, go figure!) Look forward to see the finished room.

  23. What an interesting debate, and right up there at the top of my need to know list as we wait for our kitchen extension planning application to be decided.

    Currently cooking on a black Rangemaster with gas top which I’m sorry to say Fiona, is driving me nuts. I like the cooker itself but the black shows every speck and splash and the trivets are so heavy and a pain to clean. If I chose a gas top again I would definitely get stainless steel and investigate the weight/ number of trivets.

    Aside from an Aga, i always thought a gas hob would be my first choice but I’ve been consdering an induction if the planning app gets approved as I’m envisioning a modern kitchen this time round and I love the idea of sweeping straight over it to clean it. My Mum has an induction (which does glow red Rob….but it’s definitely induction) which I hated to begin with but as many people have said, it’s just getting used to something new as it’s growing on me and I hardly ever get to use it. When I asked, she told me she definitely prefers induction and wouldn’t go back to gas.

    On the pan front…..I’d see it as a great excuse to purchase a new set….brilliant!

    The only other thing i’d say is that gas will win hands down in a power cut….. Something we’ve luckily not suffered lots of but who knows what the future brings. I suppose we could then start a debate on the sustainability of gas though couldn’t we?!

    I think overall, as everyone else says, the most important thing is aesthetics and in that gorgeous grey number Rebecca, the gas range would win for me xx

    • I promise you that when an electric hob glows red it is HALOGEN and NOT induction.
      Induction does not produce any heat. The heat is generated by the iron within the pan.
      Because of this the transfer of energy is so efficient making it twice the power of an equivalent gas hob.

  24. Hi Rebecca. I gave a little chuckle when I read this post because me and my husband have been looking at kitchens this week – in particular Lidingo by Ikea. Despite the great price, we shared your concerns about the quality and even though I think it’s a great colour now, I’m not so sure that I’ll like it in a few years time. The door fronts are quite thin and I’m not sure they’ll be up to being repainted when I eventually change my mind on the colour.

    Despite that, I’d not been that enamoured with the styles I’d seen in other kitchen showrooms. I finally clicked on the Magnet website almost despairing, until I finally saw another kitchen style that I liked. Hurrah!! Like your last option, we will probably end up paying more than we originally anticipated, but I think it’ll be worth it for quality. Plus, I definitely think the cupboards will stand up to a lick of paint or two!

    Anyway, I wish you all the best for your kitchen renovation. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I’m sure it’ll look really beautiful. Keep us posted!

    Michelle x

  25. Hi Rebecca,

    I adore your kitchen purchase, you’re 100% right if its quality build it will last and can be redecorated to your hearts content. I think its a gorgeous style that won’t date and fits very nicely with the rest of the other parts of your house that have featured on Florence Finds.

    Personally I would 100% go with a gas hob, we have had an induction hob since we moved in May last year, after 5 years of a gorgeous gas range, and I despise it! It always looks grubby with watermarks and has ring marks on it from pots and pans. Its effectively black glass and shows everything little mark. It also can’t maintain a constant temperature heating up to high and then turning off. Gas you can maintain a temperature but with induction its hot cold, hot cold… which incidentally does not work when making marshmallows (a niche point I accept)

    Looking forward to seeing your new kitchen in place. Good luck in all your decisions.

    Laura x

  26. It’s funny you say that as we had the same problem with John Lewis, we popped into our local showroom and were virtually had to beg the saleswoman to even acknowledge us! We ended up going with a Simon Benjamin Kitchen, which we love so their loss really!

    Definitely Gas I’d say, it’s so much more pleasant to cook with and you don’t have the issue of throwing out half your pans!

    Good Luck with the new kitchen 🙂

  27. hi
    just discovered your website-it’s great.. I had a kitchen extension 2 years ago. had exactly same dilemmas as you so:
    went for induction hob as I went for black granite on my back wall asa thought it would blend in ( again I wanted white marble but it looked a bit cold when I tested it in situ). it is easy to clean and that is a blessing with a toddler and I feel safer for her too as it doesn’t heat up much although I do like look of gas too(my previous cooker was a smeg range which I liked)
    my husband and I also had heated discussions over amtico or real wood flooring- he won and we got a wide plank wood effect amtico floor mainly because our floor was a bit uneven so that was easier to put down. it does look good, is practical to clean with a steam cleaner and many think it’s real but it was over £2000. however, I still hanker after a real wooden floor like my friends but I found it impossible to track down one exactly the same and hers now needs a bit of tlc as it’s not looking as good.
    we eventually went for an inframe kitchen from wickes in grey/green. I do like it and I think it is more timeless than other modern kitchens and I can paint it a different colour to update- we got chrome cup handles but I like the brass you mentioned.
    good luck it is stressful making so many decisions at once!

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