30 Jun 2017

Specifying a kitchen for a self-build? The proof is in the planning

John Nicholls has been designing and selling kitchens through its Banbury showroom for over 40 years, so the company understands that the kitchen is the heart of the home.


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The kitchen specialist has recently opened a Kitchen Solutions showroom in Bicester, close to the self-build plots at Graven Hill, where it is helping clients to overcome the challenges of specifying a kitchen for a self-build property. John Nicholls believes that it is vital to start researching and planning as early in the project as possible; from knowing the size and layout of the room through to the styles and designs available in your budget, research as thoroughly as you can to ensure you get the end result you really want.

Here, Max Falconer and Natasha Goodwin, Design Consultants at John Nicholls’ Kitchen Solutions showroom give i-build their top 10 tips for specifying a kitchen for a self-build.

Do your research

Getting an initial idea of the style of kitchen and how the space will work within the property will help in the planning stage. Researching is fun! There are so many resources out there to help you; social media sites such as Pinterest and Houzz are great to give you inspiration and see what others have done to make their dream kitchen a reality. Read up as much as you can around the subject of kitchens and check out various image galleries and testimonials both online and in dedicated magazines to see what others have done and their experiences.

Having this level of knowledge will really help you to achieve your dream kitchen setting. Visit showrooms to see what sparks your imagination and talk to designers about your ideas as they may suggest options that you haven’t considered.

Start with the basics

Ask yourself the following questions to compile an essentials list:

Style – do you prefer a classic shaker-style, contemporary slab door or modern, handless style?
Colour – do you want a single colour or two-tone kitchen units?
Appliances – are you having an induction or gas hob? Built-in oven or range cooker? Other appliances to be integrated or freestanding?
Worktop – what material appeals most? Is it best suited to your requirements and budget?
Layout – would you prefer the flexibility of space for a table, or the continuity of an island or breakfast bar? How will the space flow with the rest of the home?

Wish list

Creating a wish list is really exciting and we recommend you do this as well as identifying your essentials list. Although budget may dictate your kitchen’s final specification, you may want to consider a steaming water tap, steam oven, integrated wine cooler, built-in wireless phone charger or pop-up plug sockets.

Know your measurements

This sounds obvious, but it is commonly forgotten about and, therefore, can impact on your dream kitchen setting. Make sure you have these available when deciding on your chosen kitchen furniture and appliances. Your vision may be to have an island unit, but if space does not allow it shouldn’t be included as it’s key that the space flows. If space is an issue, it will be worthwhile considering kitchen ranges that focus on space-saving solutions.


It is really important that you agree a budget and research kitchens that are in line with it to avoid disappointment. It’s crucial to consider: appliances, worktops, accessories and installation; not just the units in your overall costs. We sell a range of kitchens to suit all price points, so give us your budget and we can help you identify one that matches.


It’s important to know what you can and can’t do with the space you have when designing a kitchen. There are safety regulations to consider as well as best practice guides such as the working triangle that will help you create a space that is easy and safe to use. Other points to consider are electrical connections and where these need to be installed to have the kitchen features where you want them.

Design service

Seeing your kitchen come to life on screen is a special moment and we thoroughly recommend you book an appointment with a Kitchen Solutions consultant to get a free 3D CAD visual of how your kitchen will look based on the furniture, appliances, worktops and accessories you have specified. This service is a really good way to help visualise your new kitchen before ordering so you will have an impression of how the finished room will look. Spending the time with a designer can also help to maximise the space you have and tailor it to your needs.

Installation service

You’ve decided on your dream kitchen, but do you have an installer to fit it? It’s important to instruct an experienced and trustworthy fitter to complete your kitchen satisfactorily. It’s also important to consider how they will tie in with other trades and the overall schedule of works.

The team at Kitchen Solutions can offer a complete installation service using trusted fitters who install our kitchens to an extremely high standard and are familiar with the installation process.


You’ve just designed the perfect kitchen and in a year or more time your situation changes – can your kitchen cope with this? Personal situations and advances in technology are likely to change so it’s important to have a kitchen design that takes these factors into consideration. It will be easier to include additional sockets when installing your kitchen rather than a year or so down the line, as more work will need to be carried out to meet your requirements.

Consult with professionals

Specifying a kitchen can be a fun process and we will be happy to help you along the way – from queries on design through to supply and fit. There are so many facets to the decision-making process that you may not have considered; we advise making an appointment at our Kitchen Solutions showroom in Oxfordshire with one of our qualified kitchen designers who can guide you through every step of the process.

Further information....

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