So we bought a house, our first house actually and it’s a new build so we got to pick the kitchen!  The developers use Howdens Joinery to supply their kitchens so we had an invite to go and visit one of their design consultants and pick our kitchen.

We’d been given a Howdens catalogue to have a look through and we marked a few colours/designs we liked, we also knew what we were supplying in terms of white goods so it helped to plan it out.

So off we went down for our appointment, now this being our first house meant we’d saved every penny for the deposit and fees so there wasn’t a huge amount of extra money to spend as we knew we still had flooring & carpets etc to buy so we wanted to limit our extra spend as much as possible and in all fairness we did pretty well on this and only paid extra for an extractor fan and larger splashback behind the cooker.

The biggest thing for us was having a range cooker (or if you’ve been keeping up with my review here, 3 range cookers to be exact!) so the kitchen design was planned around this feature.

We already had a fridge freezer in storage and a washing machine so for our free appliance we opted for a slimline dishwasher.

Now the choice of standard items (doors, handles, worktops, sinks, taps) is pretty limited, but of course you can upgrade with everything and more – if money was no object then we could have spent an absolute fortune!

Luckily our first choice of colour was part of the standard option, we have a very subtle Dove Grey, it’s hard to see in the photos but it’s grey!

Handles were next and whilst the selection was vast we liked 2 types, one in the standard range (that we picked) or another at a cost option.

And then worktops, this is where we ended up picking something non standard, but can you blame us, look how nice that dark grey marble effect counter top looks, especially against the Dove Grey units.

Finally taps, there were 3 standard ones to pick from – 2 which we didn’t like and the one we chose which we liked the odd design with the wing style handles.  Again there were other options we could have picked (several matte black taps looked good) but cost was always at the front of our minds.

So what did we end up with once we completed?

Looks kinda empty! But it does have my Star War thermal cup and notebook.

Now from the picture it does look plain and boring, but there was no floor, no white goods, nothing, until I spent the following couple of days laying flooring ready for the range cooker and moving our other items out of storage.

Once this was done and we spent a couple of weeks figuring out what should go in which cupboard.

We then decided that we had some wasted space in the corner of the kitchen, we had originally planed to have a small table there but we just didn’t like it so moved that into another room.  This was the space….

A radiator and a single plug socket.

So with a few measurements I emailed Tyrone at Howdens (He’d been our point of contact when picking the kitchen initially) and asked him the cost options to supply a unit to match – of course I was planning on fitting this myself just to save some money.

He came back with the price for all the bits we needed to install a unit and give us access to the socket.  We ordered all the bits and before we knew it they were sat in the kitchen waiting for me to install them.  At this point we spent a while looking for a plumber to remove the radiator and cap it (several weeks in fact, people don’t want to do little jobs it appears – we have the same problem now wanting an electrician to install 2 extra double sockets in the garage!)  But as luck would have it and through a conversation my wife found a plumber!  He came around, sorted us out and I was ready to install.

And then I started to measure things and look online and decided with a little bit of effort I could add an additional 300mm cabinet to the supplied 900mm cabinet.  Of course I was trying not to spend extra on this and found a cabinet at B&Q for £22.

There is of course a massive price and quality difference between the standard unit from Howdens and that from B&Q – Yes there are both white in colour and are a unit and have pre-drilled holes, but the finish is far better on the Howdens unit, the feet are thicker and stronger, the shelf is thicker, the shelf supports are stronger, the fixings are also stronger and for all the holes you don’t use they supply white blanking plugs.

Anyway, the 2 units became one, the worktop was fitted and I sourced a pop-up power socket to enable access to the power.  End pieces fitted then the doors and handles were fitted and finally the plinth but it still needed something to finish it off – a splashback!

I found a company online who would do me a gloss black acrylic splashback cut to size with cutouts for the light switch – but they never responded to my contact form, so Plan B came into effect – a tiled splash back.  Off to B&Q to look at tiles.

Tiles picked, all the tools bought and time to tile……

So what did we end up with in this corner?

The shelf is actually the part of the end piece, I cut the end piece to join to the wall and with the leftover part, and some iron on light grey laminate trim I made a handy shelf.

I’m not a kitchen fitter, it’s not perfect in my eye but I’m impressed with what I’ve done from laying the laminate flooring, to installing this unit and then tiled splashbacks.  It’s certainly been an experience.

And what about the rest of the kitchen?

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