Kitchen update

I will be replacing sink, worktops and cupboards. I have a fitter and budget not a real issue but do not anticipate paying for a handbuilt kitchen. I would appreciate advice based on your experiences. Are there depots, bricos, structures, finishes etc. you would particularly recommend and what would you guard against? My internet research has started but any input would be appreciated. I live in Languedoc Roussillon.

Thank you, Ken. I will not having wall units but the info. regarding the base units is important.

Hello, Ann

One more plus point about Ikea kitchens. Both the base units and upper wall cabinets hang on the wall. Or to be more exact, on a special rail which is mounted on the wall. If the rail is level, the cabinet tops will be level, and with the base units you then adjust the feet of the individual cabinets to "ground" them.

Otherwise, you may need to screed the floor with self-levelling compound to ensure that you are building on a level surface. Invest in the longest spirit level you can find and go round the room on hands and knees, checking the levels in both directions. If your levels are not, screeding should solve it.

The other advantage of Ikea kitchens is the range of sizes and fittings which mean you should be able to get the kitchen you want without breaking the bank. The planners in the store are very knowledgeable – but as Shirley says, you need to measure up accurately, and carefully note positions and dimensions of pipework etc.

If you, or anyone else planning a new kitchen is worried about your French vocab for kitchen fittings (tricky enough in your native language) here's a way round it, if you are planning a UK trip in the near future. Take your info into a UK store and get them to do the plan for you. Tell them you will be buying it in France – the range is the same. You come away with the complete plan and shopping list with product numbers which you then take into your local Ikea in France.

My friendly kitchen fitter in London offers to accompany clients on their buying/collecting trip to the store, with his big van. He helps with the heavy lifting and – more importantly – checks that they have all the accessories needed.

One other point re floors: if the floor is made of quarry tiles or any sort of ceramic and is not level, take many, many, very slow, very deep breaths before you decide to "patch" it. You might think "Oh, those old tiles look lovely, we'll just replace the cracked ones – it won't matter if the colours don't match". I'm sure there are people – maybe even hereabouts – who are skilled enough to remove individual tiles without cracking the adjoining ones and/or making a big mess. As long as there's no damp, treat it as a sub-floor, fill any deep holes, screed and start over.

Thank you Shirley Morgan for all your advice.

I agree with Shirley, Ikea is excellent quality, with the best hinges available. We built units in our dining room in the UK, brought them to France a few years later to kit out our temporary kitchen and a year after that we moved them to the new kitchen. After nine years in their current position the solid birch wood doors look as good as new and nothing has moved a milimetre. In our UK flat the kitchen units are inferior and the plastic coating has come off the MDF doors in several places - definitely not Ikea! Save money on some things but don't skimp on doors, you will be looking at them for so long. Instead of internal shelves in base units I invested in pull-out baskets. One of these holds no less than four cast iron casseroles, and getting the back one out is so much easier now.

We build all the units ourselves with an electric screwdriver, but we've done so many now including moves that we can do it with our eyes shut. Pros do worktops better than we can, though.

Hope it all goes well. It's such a fag while the job progresses and you don't have full use of the kitchen!

Thank you. In the end it really depends on what you want to have for yourself. I do produce upscale kitchens in China (think Clive Christian), but could not get my head around it for this house.

Here are more pictures:

Just had a quick look at it online, not too easy to see. If door drawers fronts open by putting your fingertips in a groove - make sure your fingernails are kept short, or you’ll eventually scratch or mark the lacquer, if that is the finish. Same if you have a dog around, its claws will cling on to the groove if it jumps up on hind legs beside you working at the worktop also be careful of leaning against things if you have jeans or belts with metal buttons or fasteners on them. Marks caused like that are the users fault, not the manufacturers! One good reason for the worktop have an lverhang above the units and not being flush with them. If the doors and are just /press and they open, that’s better.

Finally beware the 20/25 year guarantee - not worth the paper it’s written on! No kitchen Wholesaler who uses goods specifically manufactured for them by other firms keeps a specific range of doors that long because styles and colours change! Manufacturers go out of business! The sheds stay tho. I know of kitchen manufacturer names that were resurrected in UK by the likes of B&Q, MFI - eg - Hygena, English Rose, Wrighton and others. Some bought by the Kingfisher Group that Owns B&Q & Castorama. all I’m saying is don’t be fooled by the Hype. You don’t want to keep buying or replacing kitchens unless you move again - somethings g expats don’t do as frequently here as they did in the UK where house prices generally rose year on year, which they are not doing here.

I wish you well with your new kitchen as and when finished :slight_smile:

If that question was addressed to me Ann, no it isn’t my ex.

Brico Depot is done, Marbrerie approached for granute or quartz tops. Ikea and Lapeyre to come. The walls and floor are not changing and, happiky, it is a big room so can take anything I might eventually want …although I veer towards white and handleless.

It isn’t him!

A brilliant piece of work! I am thinking of white worktops on white units so seeing your attached photos has been really useful. I looked in Brico Depot today and quite liked their Mezzo range; handleless.

Cognac region

If you are in the LR perhaps it’s my ex you found! He did a few designs and installations before and after I left - but as usual the customers were delighted!

We looked at a lot of places and in the end just ordered most of the cabinets from Brico Depot. A storage cabinet (PAX) from Ikea and the stone counter tops from a local Mason (think headstones....)
We found an incredible installer locally (he is a British gent), it came together in 60 days and turned out quite well we think.

The kitchen became our main room in the house, functional and comfortable. The total cost was reasonable. It did help that we bought all appliances during a "soldes" and nobody wanted that American style Miele fridge they offered.

here are some pictures:

Hi Ann, OH and I bought our french flat pack Kitchen from IKEA In Montpellier, you Can see all their current styles, colours ranges in there and get some ideas looking at their website there. also its essential you know what you want to use the cupboard interiors for I.e. Just shelved, or with pull outs. We had a couple of pullout deep drawers, one under the other.which I used for saucepans, oven bits and pieces etc. You could have a tall larder unit with a wire shelved pullout for tinned and packet storage. It does depends on what you need or want storage for.
also a couple of small top drawers for cutlery etc which went on top of base units.

2 things, make sure you have accurate to the cm dimensions of all walls - At IKEA they have kitchen planners sitting there at desks with their computers who will to do a perspective printout for you. Have details of appliances makes and sizes for them also. Their planner will work out how much worktop you need to cover units and/ or go between tall units and walls.
if the room is small and darker, keep to lighter colours for the units And perhaps a different or slightly darker colour for worktop and flooring. If having wall tiling anywhere then again your choice! Door handles and accessories can also be chosen in the same kitchen display area of IKEA - I can’t comment on how other stores operate.

I presume your fitter knows it would be a flat pack kitchen, which he will have to assemble before or after doing all/any plumbing electric works and unit installation. A lot depends how much storage room you have for all the packages or if putting in same room they are being assembled in, some not all Are quite heavy. You have to collect them yourself from the shelves and aisles in IKEA. Are you doing all this on your own or can I assume you are half of a couple? It’s useful to have 2 of you at IKEA. We hired a van the day we bought ours. If you want Ikea to deliver, there will be a charge. Be prepared for the occasional bit or piece to possibly be out of stock by time you get to the aisle/shelf no you need, sometimes (it happened to us with a couple of smaller less important things that could wait).

I’m sure others will answer your post also with their own suggestions.

We are no longer professionally involved with the Kitchen industrŷ, haven’t been for several years, my OH was the professional expert I ran the administrTive side of things hence my knowledge. I wouldn’t presume therefore to suggest styles or finishes to you - they Re most definitely a personal choice for the person whose finished kitchen it will be! It a good quality sink and taps though, Franke if you can, if you are having a built-under dishwasher you only need a single bowl sink - if you are not, a bowl and half sink is most useful, I’d recommend a ceramic one - stainless steel may not stain but it does scratch, especially if you keep a plastic washing up bowl in it! For your electrics make sure that where you have the point for your kettle will not sit directly under a wall unit - steM is the greatest de-laminator of all! Worktop if made by Duropal or Resopal are good quality laminate ones. If you want a stone/marble worktop, they look lovely and usually cost more. Whatever worktop you have installed, make sure your fitter will be comfortable working on that type for the sink/hob cutouts,if the marble is not precut for you. Also make sure you always use a worktop saver or heatproof removable item to place things that Re hot from oven-hob. It will save your worktop from gradually developing heat marks or absorbing spill ages. Lemon used to be wicked on stone tops because it was absorbed. Laminate is not a material that absorbs worktop spillages.

I don’t know how French or other English kitchen/DIY fitters here go about doing things, if they are not kitchen fitting professionals. I was lucky my experience came through us running our own specialist business in UK years before.

Other stores to look at I don’t know in the LR now., Some French people up here recommend BUT, I found Alinea in LE Mans just after I arrived, good for some lounge bedroom units which I had a local put together for me. Hope above helps.