Our kitchen needs replacing. I mean it REALLY needs replacing. There’s no choice! The four ring hob is now down to two rings, the wooden floor is crumbling in places and the surface area where the sink is seems to be – well – sinking into the floor. Worst of all, the units are hanging off the walls at various angles.
We need a new kitchen.
We lookedÂ in all the usual places. Homebase, B&Q, Magnet (we liked their ads. Suckers!), MFI (Gawd ‘elp us!) and at all the major players in the appliance market. Electrolux, Hotpoint, Smeg, Zanussi, Baumatic, CDA, Candy, Philips and on and on. If you’re bored just reading this list, imagine how we felt going through the process!
We spent about eight month trying to find a kitchen that was different. So far it didn’t matter who we visited, high end or low end, they all sold kitchens that appeared to be from one of three manufacturers. Every catalogue literally contained the same picture, with a more or less expensive loaf of bread photoshopped into the background to justify the difference in price.
One we nearly went with to the point of being about to give them a cheque for the deposit was Cara Kitchens. The lovely John Dixon was recommended to us by a mutual friend and we would definitely have gone with them of it wasn’t for the following …
Back in February this year we were driving back from South London (scary!) where we had been to pick up some oil for an unrelated project in the bedroom, when we passed John Lewis of Hungerford. I didn’t see it because I was at the wheel, but Ray let out a little yelp. She shouted out that she had just spotted the kitchen of her dreams and that it was pink (of course it was)! She made me promise to go back there the next week.
When we went back the next week I saw why Ray had been so excited. We had discovered the English Rose Kitchen.
More accurately we had discovered John Lewis of Hungerford’s reproduction of the English Rose Kitchen, which they sell under the name Creme de la Creme. JL of H are an excellent company that sell wonderful kitchens and fantastic service if you can afford them. Unfortunately we quickly realised that at approximately £1,200 a unit, an entire kitchen including applilances and fitting would cost us around £35,000. We were hoping to come in at more like £15,000 and even that would be a stretch.
Fast forward to April. Our resident researcher, Ray, was looking around on the web and realised that we could buy the real thing. Original English Rose units from the 50’s at a fraction of the price, if we were prepared to look around and to do a bit of work on them. And so the adventure begins …