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Bespoke kitchens, the ultimate choice

Bespoke Kitchen Designers and Manufacturers - Crabtree KitchensIntroduction

When you commission a contemporary bespoke kitchen, the crisp lines of modern designs will be arranged exactly as you want them.

Consider bespoke kitchens and the first image that comes to mind is the traditional solid-wood, country-style affair with twirling pilasters and intricate mouldings. But increasingly, bespoke is branching out into the modern arena and designers are embracing the clean lines of contemporary minimalism.

The desired look is simple but not stark. Bright laminates, wood veneers, solid hardwoods, mellow aluminium and streamlined runs of extra-wide pan drawers are all trademarks of the modern tailor-made kitchen. Absolutely the best thing about bespoke, though, is that the options are limitless.

Individuality and Flexibility

Put quite simply, buying bespoke means that you will have the pleasure of furniture designed specifically for you. But the term is much abused in the kitchen industry. Some companies attach it to ranges that consist of an impressive variety of shapes, sizes and colours, but are nonetheless far from one-off designs. You do, however, get a high degree of individuality and flexibility with these systems.

Most bespoke designers specialise in a particular style, so it makes sense to avoid a company renowned for its rustic ranges if you are seeking a sleek, contemporary design. But a genuine bespoke designer will be able to create a unique kitchen. A good way to check whether you are getting something absolutely bespoke - rather than an existing range that has merely been tailored to fit your home - is to ask for something that's not in the brochure. If they can't accommodate, then they don't do bespoke.

Bespoke: pros and cons

The bespoke kitchen is the haute couture of the kitchen world and, as such, you should expect to pay more for the privilege. But that's not to say that there aren't reasonably priced options out there. The key is to make sure you work out a budget before you start and find a designer that truly understands your needs.

The advantages of bespoke far outweigh any price premium. The problems of awkward corners, curved walls and unusual window positions can all be eliminated with the help of a good bespoke designer.

One downside to bespoke is the time involved. So ask for a realistic 'guesstimate' from your designer, but don't be surprised if the work takes a little longer - you're paying for quality craftsmanship and it shouldn't be rushed.

Crabtree Kitchens, Bespoke Kitchen Designers and ManufacturersModern materials

In minimalist kitchens the choice of colour is crucial because, unlike traditional kitchens where accessories and fabrics enhance the palette, the contemporary kitchen acts alone. The big news in interiors is transparency. White is back, and the illusion of furniture floating in space is achieved using block colours for walls, furniture, floors and worktops. Some more adventurous designs use primary colours that make a bold statement. But if you yearn for a completely professional look, brushed stainless steel or aluminium is a good choice and is also easy to clean.

In terms of materials, veneers, laminates, bookmatched panels and vinyl-wrapped MDF are increasingly popular, and technological advances within adhesion and materials mean that past concerns about durability are no longer valid. Factory-applied lacquers are also recognised for their hard-wearing advantages and have a shiny finish that is both easy to clean and light-reflective.

Though often equated with traditional styles, solid wood is also effective in the modern bespoke kitchen. The lighter species such as maple and birch work very well but so, conversely, do dark wenges, walnut and deep cherry.

Glass is becoming more prevalent in the modern kitchen. Work surfaces and opaque glass doors with integrated lighting brighten the whole area and add to the contemporary feel - particularly useful in smaller rooms.

Craftsmanship

People often think that modern kitchens are technically inferior to their traditional predecessors, but this is simply not the case. Modern materials such as veneers and composites are rigorously tested to very high standards and are now accepted by the most well-regarded designers.

The good news for those who harbour nostalgia for traditional craftsmanship but who want a modern design, is that bespoke is probably the best option. Many companies still use traditional methods such as mortice and tenon and dovetail joints, and they mainly work with solid wood. The clean, unhampered lines that make a contemporary kitchen serve to highlight both craftsmanship and materials used. Consequently, the highest quality of design and furniture is paramount, which is where bespoke really comes into its own.

Based on an original article by Kitchens Bedrooms and Bathrooms magazine in conjunction with Crabtree Kitchens, Bespoke Kitchen Designers and Manufacturers - http://www.crabtreekitchens.co.uk

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