Q: What factors are causing or effecting that change? What are the biggest issues that will determine the sector’s future?
Today’s better-educated client has a host of information at their fingertips. I think it is a mixture of TV programme on home improvement, social media increasing the awareness of what is available, newspaper and magazine articles, competition between architects and information put forward by our own industry.
Our clients realise that coordinating a number of trades is not for them and is better done by one company with a depth of experience and a wealth of tried and tested sub-contractors and in-house personnel.
We have heard of some awful experiences and have seen some completed houses which are, firstly, dull and, secondly, poorly finished. Two examples come to mind; one where a stone floor was laid without thought to any future movement and the cracks were so bad it had to be relaid impacting on the furniture that had been fitted and another where the lighting seemed to have nothing to do with the kitchen. Traditional lights had been used in a contemporary space, placed in a manner that defied logic without thought to what light would be needed and when.
Q. If you extrapolate this change, what do you think the possible outcomes may be?
The kitchen designer needs to be pro-active, better informed and supported. Sometimes the lighting, for example, is pretty straightforward and budget can be a determining factor. In this instance a competent project manager should be able to determine a design for the lighting and how they need to be controlled.
A better approach would be to add a lighting specialist to the mix – someone who can work with an interior designer and a kitchen designer to find exactly the right wall lights, pendants down lights, concealed lights et al for the project along with the ability to create different mood settings for different uses.
That aspect is so important in today’s kitchen where dining, homework and cooking all have to be taken into account. The 21st century kitchen is a multi-purpose space for all the family – not simply an area in which to cook.
The results can be amazing and this growing desire and awareness seen in our client base means every detail is more carefully thought through prior to the work being started. This is not to say there are not changes as each project advances but they are relatively minor – a change in a wall colour or in a worktop material for example. These small tweaks can then be accommodated without cost because there is time to make the changes without any pressure.