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Kitchen Studio is part of the Harvey's Group, and has branches within Harvey's furniture stores, and Roseby's linnen stores.
Kitchen Studio itself is a designer, supplier & fitter of kitchen units, work surfaces & appliances.
Having recently moved into a house with a kitchen which was barely fit to prepare food in, a new kitchen was high on our list of priorities to sort out.
We had a look around the various offerings, and made a shortlist of a number of suppliers - Moben, B&Q, Kitchen Studio, and Magnet.
All of the various vendors will point out how much better their stuff is over and above anyone else's, but the long and short of it seems to be that there is actually very little in it quality wise - they pretty much all offer similar finishes, with basically vaneered chipboard doors and cabinets. The differences between the suppliers are mainly how much they can get away with charging, and subtle differences in accessories, and cabinet dimensions.
We ruled out B&Q as they weren't able to offer the design of cabinet we wanted, nor could they come up with a decent plan of our small kitchen, which would offer us any additional space over what we already had. Moben - well that was a story in itself, and I will get round to putting our experiences with them in a completely seperate opinion! Suffice to say, that they basically were hugely overpriced, and hard-sell. Magnet were also in the very expensive category, so in the end we plumped for Kitchen Studio - and it was clearly the right result!
When the guy from Kitchen Studio arrived, he (unlike those that had been before him) refused to do the spiel of bad-mouthing the competition, and telling you how great their stuff was in comparison, but instead got on with firstly putting together a plan which would work in our kitchen.
He was the only one to actually think about how we could better utilise the space that we had, rather than simply replace what we already had. He also was extremely creative in working out how we could gain additional workspace by mounting at an angle, gain much more cupboard space by fitting larder cupboards rather than traditional upper & lower combinations, and also making use of a small space by installing a vegetable rack.
So the design was excellent - and we were well pleased with the thought and care he put into this element. Only when we were sure about the design did we move onto the actual colours and finish. We settled for a beech shaker style kitchen, with a built-in fridge for a total of £2100 excluding fitting.
The price included the fridge, and there was no silly mass discounting, or pressure to sign up there and then for extra discount. Instead he simply left us with a hand-written quote & plan, and invited us to visit their store the following weekend to see some computer generated views of our kitchen, and to finialise our choices, and confirm the costs.
However, above all of this, was his eye for basically trying to hold us back on our choices. We wanted a built-under oven, with an inset halagen hob. This would have meant that he could have sold us one of their Candy cookers. But no, he would not recommend this - and upon a visit to their shop, actually dragged us next door to Currys to show us how a freestanding cooker offered much bigger ovens than a built-under. Kitchen Studio don't sell freestanding cookers, they only offer the built-in variety and as such he did himself out of a potential sale here. But he was insistant that we would regret buying one of their units! He also advised us against buying a cooker hood, saying that we can always open a window, and instead fit a much more useful cupboard!
We also wanted a more expensive worktop, and some higher-priced glass finished doors, but again he convinced us not to buy these, on the basis that they'd be harder to keep clean, the gloss worktop woudl damage mu ch more easily, and kept telling us that a kitchen is supposed to be a working envionment, not an object of beauty!
Furthermore, when we enquired about fitting, he was again equally reluctant to sell in their own fitters. He said we would get better value and quality by appointing our own fitters, and he even gave us a list of fitters for us to contact. After pressure he did quote us for their own fitters - a cost of £1800, and that would not include any tiling.
Well, we followed all of his advice in the end - and I have to say, that although we were dubious at many points, he was spot on throughout.
The kitchen was all fitted by private fitters (as recommended by the designer) at a cost of £1500, and that included tiling of the floor and walls! So we saved there. Not only that, but they did over and above what was needed, and their attention to detail, and general cleanliness throughout the fitting was 2nd to none!
We ended up buying a 2nd hand freestanding double-oven with halogen hob - and it is great - 2 good sized ovens! The kitchen design itself works brilliantly - the offset worktop makes a great tea & coffee making facility, and the larder cupboard is invaluable, as is the vegetable rack. The only thing we did differently was to install a cooker hood after all. Not at the cost of a cupboard though - he was spot on about needing that - instead we found a slimline model at B&Q which we fit under the cupboard.
The cupboards are very easy to clean, and we are impressed with the two subtle differences which set Kitchen Studio units apart from most of the competition - the wood-finish interiors look much nicer than the standard white shelves, and the 10% deeper wall cupboards cater for our large plates comfortably, where other wouldn't have done.
Looking back, we paid about the same as if we'd gone with B&Q, except we have about 20% extra cupboard space, and a brand new fridge/freezer which B&Q wouldn 39;t have given us. And it came in at just over half the price of Moben (even after their massive discount) or Magnet.
So I can't say that your local kitchen studio will be as thorough as the guy we had, but I can say for sure that they don't overprice their kitchens so they can offer you massiave discounts, they offer slightly better units, they don't do the hard sell like many others (especially Moben!), and if you're lucky to get a designer like ours, he will be honest, and provide you with a fully funcitonal kitchen - which after all is what we wanted in the first place, isn't it?