We are about one month from our move and have finally ordered our new kitchen!
We ordered from the 5th and final kitchen design firm we visited.
This one came highly recommended as the colleague of a good friend and was the only one we visited together. This plan focused most ergonomics and how we wanted the room to “feel.” By that time we met with him, it’s likely that we were more clear on what was really important and how realistic our wishes were. Interestingly, he was the only designer who presented multiple possibilities for the lay-out of the kitchen at the second meeting. This really helped to quicken the pace.
The process reminded me a little of dating…and shopping for a wedding dress.
The initial meetings are an investment on everyone’s part. The kitchen planner spends a lot of time with you before you ever spend any money at all. So similar to dating-you don’t want to let it drag on if you know it’s not going anywhere. That means of the five firms we considered– I only had second meetings with two.
But again because the kitchen planner spends a good deal of time with you before you make any financial commitment it seems likely that the mark up (like wedding dresses) is pretty high. Also like wedding dresses (even the custom made ones) it seems you find a lot of kitchens that are almost right but not exactly. Or kitchens that you like when you’re sitting there but when you get home and look at the secret photos you took when the designer wasn’t looking, then you realize it’s not the right dress (kitchen) for you.
When it’s all said and done some of the kitchen planners give you exactly what you ask for regardless of how well it fits or functions. Others though, kind of tell you what you should want. What you need is really something in the middle. And in my estimation (like a great dress or a good partner) that is pretty tough to find.
So to start I wanted something like this:
For a short time I considered something more modern like this:
But then shifted back to the farm house style and got really excited about a two-toned kitchen. (Sadly, no one else was excited by this idea.)
Then I moved back to Landhaus style just plain gray:
Thorsten wanted something more like this:
Eventually we compromised and ended up with something like this:
Our budget started at 10,000 Euros.
I wanted the kitchen to contain the following elements:
Fridge/freezer combo with automatic ice machine (as you know almost totally unheard of in Germany)
Induction cook top, (which is pretty standard)
Self cleaning oven with microwave function
Large deep farmer’s sink or double sink
Cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling
Under the cabinet lighting
Hanging cabinets (some with glass fronts)
Soft close drawers (which apparently is also standard these days) and a bar with stools.
Thorsten’s specifications were a bit less specific. But regardless it turned out that 10,000 Euros was a little unrealistic for fulfilling all these wishes.
So we ended up at around 12,500 and had to forgo the following:
No automatic ice maker, no under the cabinet lighting, no integrated microwave, no farmer’s sink, and no glass front cabinets.
The whole experience was full of compromises– something I’m not sure either one of us are that good at. Maybe it’s that we got married a little bit older and were already set in our ways. Maybe we are both just really stubborn. Whatever it is, it means we went over budget and each of us got some of the things we wanted. Or wait … maybe that means we are excellent at compromising?
This is the first kitchen we’ve designed together so I’m sure there will be some surprises–good and bad. I’m very excited, nevertheless, to see how it looks and functions in real life.
The real before and after photos still to come at installation time.
Until then I’m shifting my attention to the other rooms while I try not to focus on what I want to plant in the garden just yet.