29 September 2018
No matter what size of kitchen you are planning the storage aspect is of paramount importance. What you want or need is likely to form the basis of the whole design, so it’s worth thinking about it right at the start. There are lots of aspects to consider; accessibility, cost, organization – and of course, the aesthetics – to display or not to display? Some people want everything hidden away and every surface clutter-free. Others like a more homely feel with crockery and cook books on show. But, probably the most important thing to consider is how much storage you need or can afford and this is likely to come down to life-style considerations and how many people are in your home.
So, let’s start with accessibility as this is probably the most discussed and requested aspect of our bespoke kitchens.
We’re finding that there’s a growing demand for drawers instead of shelved-based cupboards as they provide easy access to those hard to reach corners. They look streamlined and, if they replace wall cupboards, entirely, they can make a kitchen feel far more spacious. Deep drawers with dividers can keep pans and plates nicely organised and easily accessible. Quality runners, though, are essential.
Corner solutions are becoming more user-friendly and sophisticated with different options on how to make the most of the darkest, deepest corner. Cabinets and corner drawers featuring special pull-out pivoting mechanisms can be the answer for smaller kitchens and compact spaces.
The most recent design development for accessibility is a drop down mechanism into high wall cupboards – saving you the trouble of pulling out a stool and maximising what used to be ‘dead space’.
So, there’s plenty to consider when you’re thinking about storage requirements but above all we believe easy accessibility should be integral to the overall design.
ORGANISATION & PLANNING – WHAT GOES WHERE?
With regard to organisation, we start with the basics; cutlery, crockery and saucepans and naturally recycling bins have become an essential part of the planning. But then we consider the individual’s lifestyle and preferences. For example are you a cook with lots of electrical pieces and a myriad of bakeware?
We also need to consider the trickier items that can be large (Ironing board), awkward (think bread makers and the like!) or even the vacuum cleaner.
Tall cabinets are perfect in a high-ceilinged kitchens, particularly for large items – a ladder to access the high points creates a feature as well as being functional. In contemporary kitchens a bank of handleless cabinets give a sleek finish hiding everything away – this paired with open shelving, to add individuality, can stop this type of space becoming too sterile.
Inevitably most people want to conquer the clutter but this doesn’t have to mean everything is tidied away. An island with open shelving can combine function and style, ticking the box for easy accessibility as well looking stylish – you just need to be disciplined at all times!
As kitchens become larger and morph into multi-use spaces we’ve noticed a growing trend for a walk in pantry – a kind of one-stop-shop for all food storage. Where budgets or space don’t allow for this, the ‘Pantry Dresser’ can fit the bill. We’re often asked to design a storage piece that will serve as a cook’s pantry or even a breakfast station – housing the toaster and coffee machine as well as the food items. With an integral work top and shelving everything can be hidden from sight once the doors are closed.
There are many extras that can be considered from spice racks (to keep those small jars on display but at the same time out-of-sight), tray racks and chopping boards to massive pull-out larder systems. The inclusion and quality of these elements will be determined by budget – for example bespoke cutlery drawers and knife inserts or carved lettering making your storage really individual.
Ultimately, working with a good designer and building a good relationship with them, will help determine how best to bring all the storage solutions together to suit your lifestyle and your budget. You are certainly not limited by options!
13 August 2018
We are really proud, at Planet Furniture, that all of our Handmade in Hitchin furniture is completely bespoke and made to order right here in our Hitchin workshop by highly skilled craftsmen. A big shout-out, here, for our Director, Neil Dunn whose mission it is, to produce beautiful and functional furniture.
We only ever use the highest grade materials and finest timbers that are particularly suitable for kitchens where high usage and high humidity is always going to be ‘a thing’.
Because we want our kitchens to stand the test of time, all of our drawer boxes are either solid oak or solid walnut dovetail. And, keeping it up to the minute all of our drawers are on soft close runners – no sticking, no banging.
Then comes the fun bit – we can, and do, colour match to absolutely any colour required. All of the hand painted finishes are primed and receive the first coat of your chosen colour in our spray booths (think tanning salon for furniture!) and then we ask the lovely Ellie to hand paint the top coat, in situ, taking enormous care of her surroundings and requiring only the odd cuppa in return!
24 July 2018
We were very excited to design this kitchen with its brand new Orangery extension. Our clients wanted the kitchen area to flow seamlessly into the sunny Orangery where easy living and entertaining were the order of the day and with a utility area (nicely doubling up as well organised wine store!) out of view but accessible.
Go to the Handmade In Hitchin gallery for more inspirational pictures!
05 July 2018
WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU’VE ACHIEVED WITH PLANET FURNITURE
Growing and developing the business so that it’s a sustainable family business.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
Winning the Hertfordshire Business Awards for 3 consecutive years and in the third year winning Best Business Person of the Year Award.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP AND DID YOU EVER GET CLOSE TO THAT DREAM?
I always wanted to make things. I was fascinated with how things worked, how things were put together. When I started my working life as a self-employed kitchen fitter I became fascinated with craftsmanship and building things people loved. As I progressed I became determined to build my own company and create my own range of bespoke furniture. So, yes you could say I’m living that dream!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE
“All good things come to those who wait”
08 February 2018
So we know that splashbacks and tiles are there predominantly to protect walls and appliances from the hazards of cooking and cleaning but – and, it’s a big ‘but’ – nowadays the choice is so great that they are just as likely to become the statement piece of the kitchen or, at the very least, a significant part of the overall décor.
With so many different options available designers and home-owners are experimenting with a range of different materials – including eye-catching metallics, distressed mirrors and even bespoke artwork installations.
To help you decide what will work for your kitchen let us share some of the trends we’ve noticed in the last few months;
Stainless steel is both practical (heat resistant and hard wearing) but also taps into the industrial look that shows no sign of abating.
Brightly coloured toughened glass remains a popular choice for contemporary kitchens as it can be cut to size and offers up a vast choice of colours – just be sure it’s a colour that you can live with for a long time!
At Planet we’ve noticed a trend towards mirrored splashbacks – an antique, distressed mirror can look fabulous when paired with traditional style ranges or an AGA. Also, the reflective surface of a mirrored splashback will bounce light around the room, enlarging a smaller space.
We’re seeing more and more metallic finishes especially copper which has reflective properties and can add a dramatic ‘wow factor’ to any kitchen. All live metals will naturally patina with age adding to the rustic charm.
For a simple, pared back look natural stone finishes are an elegant choice and very effective when matched with neutral paint colours and chalky finishes.
For individuality Granite is still a favourite as it works so well in contemporary or traditional schemes. Polished granite is often chosen for more traditional kitchens whereas honed granite has a matt finish and can be textured so tend to suit a contemporary kitchen more. This kitchen has a beautiful splashback that is Dekton, which is a compact Quartz.
Tiles are experiencing something of a ‘come-back’ due to the vast array of designs and finishes available – from the quirky and vibrant (used either to contrast or compliment) to the sophisticated dark tones or muted colours which will enhance almost any worktop and cabinet style.
Finally the last word goes (as usual!) to lighting; because whatever splashback you choose, if the finish is a key factor in your choice, it will only be enhanced by clever down and back lighting.
22 December 2021
We are very proud to introduce our latest project – a large open kitchen with utility and boot rooms that do everything they should, and more! The super-smart, Shaker kitchen includes all sorts of classic Planet features; deep, accessible dove tail drawers, beautiful yet functional kitchen island, cocktail cabinet with bespoke wine racks and hand-built cabinetry that’s built to last.
The classic pairing of dark navy and bright white is a winning combination which will stand the test of time whilst looking fresh and contemporary.
And, who would object to all the Xmas prep if you had this utility room to work in? The large, spacious farmhouse sink with Quooker Flex tap are just what you need for messy pans (and dogs!) and the hanging rail above the worktop is genius for hanging freshly ironed shirts. We give the design of our utility rooms as much thought as we do the kitchen as it’s such a functional space – known by some as the engine room of a family home!
15 November 2021
We love the pairing of the modern marble worktops and splashback with the rich and atmospheric ‘Minster Green’. The contrasts in colour and texture look stunning and the Aga range cooker looks properly at home in this classic setting.
All the details have been carefully considered; the Armac Martin handles in Burnished Brass, the taps in Satin Brass and the Perrin & Rowe Belfast Sink all tap into the Victorian era yet the modern touches provide all the convenience without looking out of place.
The bespoke dresser combines classic styling with modern touches to create a stand-alone piece of furniture that is perfect for displaying favourites pieces and family photos. Using the same paint colour and work top unifies the whole look.
Moving into the spacious utility room, the bespoke cabinets (again, in a Layon Shaker style) but this time hand painted in Treron – another traditional colour but softer and accented with the pretty pink tiling. The run of tall cabinets and open shelving unit are designed to be functional in a room that needs different considerations than a kitchen. Together with the shelving and hanging hooks there’s a place for everything and everything has its place.
08 October 2021
The large cabinets designed in the Inframe Cockbead Shaker style (in the kitchen) are the real feature of this project. Hand built and painted in Off Black, the detailed beading is classic and traditional yet with the beautiful Armac Martin handles and colour choice, the overall look is timeless and contemporary in equal measure. Complementing the entire look are the Perrin & Rowe taps in English Bronze and the Range Cooker in Matt Graphite with Bronze Trim.
27 August 2021
As always, our bespoke kitchens are designed and built to suit lifestyle and family needs and this one is no exception. Plenty of island seating and really importantly, lots of room to move around it. Large cabinets and deep drawers for convenient storage plus accessible shelving for cook books and a wine fridge perfectly positioned for the cook! Look closely and you’ll see that the larder is shallow in depth. This was deliberately (and cleverly!) designed to accommodate a large beam behind the back of the cabinet, yet still allows this run of cabinets to look balanced.
We’re loving the distinctive brass handles by Armac Martin against the Hardwicke White paint colour on the cabinetry – along with the Hand Silvered Antiqued mirror splashback there’s plenty of up-to-the-minute design details which ensure this classic shaker is contemporary yes classic in equal measure.
24 May 2021
It was a lovely end-of-the-week treat to receive a visit from Quooker who teamed up with Smart Bar, to bring us some delicious Quooker goodies. At Planet we love their taps so were delighted to be part of this promo to mark their much anticipated re-opening.
26 February 2021
Spring is in the air and hope is on the horizon as we reflect on the last 12 months of doing business in such challenging times.
As so many small (and large!) companies have floundered through this pandemic, here at Planet, we are eternally grateful to still be in business and to be doing well. Thanks, in part to us operating in an industry that has always put the home centre stage, which for the best part of a year has become our sanctuary as well as our workplace, school and playground! But, also thanks to our brilliant suppliers, who have gone all out to help us deliver on our promise time and time again despite the, sometimes, slimmed down workforce, and supply limitations further down the supplier chain.
Obviously, like all businesses no matter what sector, we’ve had to adapt to doing things differently and the biggest shift has been the use of tech. Whilst we might be getting a bit Zoom weary, it has been vital at enabling us to present and share designs and to carry on consulting with clients. And, although it’s not quite the same as face-to-face, which is obviously a more natural way of building a relationship with our clients, we actually think video technology will have a permanent role in our business post-Covid, as it’s proved so beneficial for clients who live a bit further away from our showroom.
The adaptions have continued onto our site visits (which we undertake at the onset of a project and then again later on for the technical survey) where our employees wear the necessary protection, as per the Government guidelines and we have to, kindly, request that clients and other trades vacate the room, if possible, whilst we complete the surveying. Again, everyone we work with (clients and suppliers) have been amazingly supportive and understanding. We’re looking forward to ‘normal’ times when we can all gather on the site, cuppa in hand and discuss the progress of the project.
We’ve been extremely lucky that the only delays our clients have had to experience is sometimes with appliances – some of the lead times on certain items are extremely long so we have to manage this and always make our clients aware of any potential delays in the soonest time possible. Happily, everything else has been fairly normal in terms of supply and lead times. Even our workshop has been able to operate as normal, producing even more bespoke furniture and cabinets than in pre-Covid times. We are fortunate to have enough space for our team of craftsmen to be spaced apart, along with all the current safety guidelines which are in place to ensure the health and safety of all our employees.
Which is all just as well as we have, very happily, noticed a spike in enquiries for home improvements, especially home office areas, studies and media units. And whilst the trend for large open family kitchens has been growing, steadily, for a number of years now, this trend continues at a pace as the hope of entertaining is finally creeping back on to the agenda for most of us.
So yes, we know we’re one of the lucky small, local businesses to be here some 12 month after this pandemic landed, and as long as people want their homes improving and/or extending we plan on being around a lot longer!
19 December 2020
The large, open plan space lends itself, perfectly , to the rich colour of the bespoke Shaker cabinets, creating a kitchen zone where the vibrancy of the blue/green pops in the otherwise neutral colour scheme of the wider space. We’re excited to see how much green is taking off in kitchen trends and this particular shade is bang on trend!
Providing ample space for sitting as well as prepping and storage, the large kitchen island with its CRL Quartz Calacatta worktop is as functional as it is beautiful. The sharp white marble finish is durable enough for family living and pairs beautifully with the integrated Neff hob and downdraft extractor.
The shelving above the sink run looks fab with the integrated lighting and adds the touch of personality that comes with a totally bespoke design, whilst the Quooker Flex Tap in Stainless Steel looks elegant against the Quartz worktop. Finally, check out the tall cupboard with its spice rack (or bottle holder) built into the door. All of our cabinetry is built to your specification so that no space, no matter how small is wasted. Genius!
29 September 2020
We’re delighted to see one of our recent projects featured in November’s issue of House & Garden. This project is from our Handmade in Hitchin range and can be seen, in full, here https://www.planetfurniture.co.uk/gallery/album.php?s=shaker-kitchen-living-room