Wickes kitchen would not work

Tina Riley of Modern Homes

Tina Riley of Modern Homes

In response to Russell Buckley’s blog re incorrect measures and designs I felt obliged to tell my recent story, writes Tina Riley of Modern Homes.

I had some lovely clients come into the showroom clutching their plans from Wickes that they were about to place an order with, but on a recommendation from someone they called into see us. After a quick pricing exercise it became apparent that even allowing for the substantial ‘discount’ available from Wickes we would save them some money.

We then started to discuss the plan, I mentioned that possibly with a family of 5 a single built under oven would not be sufficient for their needs but was told that the Wickes ‘designer’ had told them that that they did not have room for anything else. I commented that I also thought only having one 500mm drawer within the design was a problem, and we also discussed an island arrangement shown on the plan.

I was then invited to do a site visit. I was keen to do this as experience has shown me that often other people’s measurements can vary considerably and anyway I always prefer to get a feel for the room and décor etc..

Imagine my surprise then when the first thing I saw on entering the kitchen was a double oven in a tall housing!  A quick count up revealed 5 working drawers in the existing layout but then confusion – I couldn’t see where the island would be.

“Are you re using this space or having an extension,” I asked? No, this space, was the reply. “So where is the island going? Oh here… So you are losing your table and chairs?” No we are having a larger one !!

At this stage I resorted to the masking tape and having measured out and marked on the floor where the potential island would be we discovered it would leave them 400mm space between their sink run and the island and no room for the table and chairs.

It is at this point that I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or bang my head against the wall. These are intelligent people but seem to have just been influenced by the substantial ‘discount’ structure rather than concentrate on the design.

The story does end happily. We supplied and fitted the new kitchen with double oven, plenty of drawers and, having asked the correct questions as to any problems with the existing layout, the addition of a pull-out table in the top of a unit to add more worktop space, better access into the corners and additional units in the dining area to integrate the two rooms.This was all achieved at a lower price than the existing 50% off price.

I suppose my question is how do we, as independent retailers, get the message over to clients that the final price is not the be all and end all and if the design doesn’t work then it is a very expensive mistake to make.

Tina Riley took over the family business from her father and will be celebrating 45 successful years of Modern Homes in 2013. The family ethos remains as Tina’s son Daniel, an award winning young designer, has now joined the business.  Tina became a board member of the KBSA this year.

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