Last year I decided to update my kitchen and and utility to unify the two areas into one. I assigned what I thought was a reasonable budget, my old kitchen had two very useful features compatible with my wheelchair and so I was looking for these to be incorporated. The features were not available within the budget so I thought I could compromise and after looking got quotes from B&Q and Wickes. Both quotes were just outside my budget and required full payment upfront, which made me hesitant as the onus to get a good job became my problem, I decided to shelve the plan as they were a compromise.
I received compensation for bad pension advice from my financial advisor and so decided to revisit the plan with double the budget to look at higher end kitchens. After getting a quote from Homebase for an Odina kitchen which had all the features I wanted, was just over my budget but within my credit card limit, I decided to have the kitchen so I paid a deposit. When approved I paid the full amount on my card to ensure section 75 cover and was assured of trouble free installation taking a week. I expressed concerns regarding delivery and storage of the new kitchen before the old kitchen was removed as I need a lot of clear space for manoeuvring my wheelchair, but was informed my Premium products case manager would organise it for me.
I received notification of delivery and installation dates and emailed my Premium products case manager explaining I would have to move into a hotel for several days with the delivery dates as there would be no room for me in my wheelchair. they said they would rearrange the deliveries for me, the appliances were moved from Thursday to Saturday and the kitchen would fit in the kitchen. I arranged time off for delivery and installation but was still concerned and so purchased a gazebo in case there was not enough room.
On the Wednesday I received 24 hours notice the Smeg appliances were being delivered on Thursday and was told Thursday was the only delivery day for my area. I had to cancel my volunteering plans at the credit union for Thursday at short notice and stay in for the delivery. My brother came Thursday evening and moved the fridge and freezer to clear more space in the kitchen. Friday was the kitchen delivery day and I received notice by email how to find the delivery window after 6pm on Thursday which failed to give a time. I got up at 6.30 on Friday morning in case of an early delivery and tried again to get an online delivery window but failed. At 10am I telephoned and asked for my window and was told they would check with the driver and call me back. At 11am I was called back and told my window was 11am-3pm, at 5.45 the delivery driver arrived and said traffic was bad. The new kitchen fitted into the old kitchen with the exception of the corner units which would not fit through the front or back door and so were placed in the gazebo I bought just in case, with a waterproof cover. I was pleasantly surprised we still had access to the washing machine. I received a telephone call to say my appliances would be delivered on Saturday and I said they had been delivered on Thursday but was told this was the sink and tap so I stayed in for the delivery.
Week one of installation
Monday came, I got up at 6.30 as I did not know when the installer would arrive, at 9am they arrived and began work, telling me the tiler was on holiday and so would not be available until Monday week assuring me I would be looked after, he left at 3pm having stripped out most of the kitchen. Tuesday and Wednesday were similar with the addition of an electrician, Thursday one man came at 10am and left at 4pm and Friday the electrician came at 8am and said he was sorting out car trouble on Thursday, at 10am the other installer arrived and an hour later said he had to go to another job at 12 as they had a bereavement and needed the kitchen for a wake on Monday and he would finished mine on Monday. I told him I work 11-3 on Monday and he said he could work around this. On Saturday the electrician came and finished his jobs.
Week two of 1 week installation
On Monday installer arrived at 9am and asked for the back door key as he had something to finish off on another job. I arrived home at 3.30 and he was working in the kitchen, at 7.30 he finished and said there were a few things to finish off and he would be back Tuesday or Wednesday to finish off.
Day 10 of 1 week installation.
Waited in all day Tuesday and no one turned up. They don't turn up or leave early for another job. Tiling delayed for 2 weeks because of holiday. Complained to my Premium products case manager with photos of the kitchen and old appliances left on the front garden. Kitchen looks nice and new Smeg oven, hob and extractor look good. I like soft close drawers.
The installer turned up at 5pm on Wednesday and finished up at about 7.30, so we spent the rest of the evening clearing up the sawdust and making the kitchen as functional as possible until the tiles are fitted.
Day 16 of 1 week installation
After putting off decorating and new flooring, the tiler is back off her holiday and came yesterday to start tiling. Homebase have only supplied 4 of the 6 packs of tiles and were getting the rest. She has finished all she can today, making a nice job, but the rest of the tiles are not available so she will have to come back when they are available. I checked on line and found 5 packs are in stock at the local Homebase. I contacted my Premium products case manager to find out what was going on, who was unavailable and an associate took the details and said he would find out what was going on, I then emailed him with a picture of the screen grab as proof. On Wednesday my car was in for a service so I spent the day on town and my sister called me to tell me Premium products had called, she had complained about the time being taken and rearrangements being needed, she was aghast to be told to make a claim for it and he would deal with the installation on Thursday. We received no communication from Homebase and the tiler turned up on Friday with the tiles to finish the job after I had gone to work. When I arrived home from work the tiler had finished making a good job of her work, with the attention to detail I was expecting throughout.
~Updating a kitchen with the help of Homebase~
When deciding to alter the layout of an existing kitchen, which had been installed previously, I visited Homebase in order to see how I could make best use of parts of the existing cupboards and trims etc, whilst updating and altering the bits of the kitchen that I felt didn't work well. Whilst I didn't require a whole new kitchen I did seek the help of a Homebase trained kitchen designer who helped me pick out various items that completed the updated design. I would say that I found the person who dealt with my order in store to be knowledgeable about the Homebase product range as well as being able to offer general help and advice relating to my purchases.
Amongst the items I bought from Homebase were a corner base cupboard, a single wine rack, an eye level corner cupboard, a standard eye level cupboard, a new open effect tea/ coffee/ cup/ mug storage unit, a new drawer liner complete with runners, various matching unit/ trim panels and boards, new door handles, a new kitchen sink and wastes, a new door hinge set, unit leg supports and other sundry items and trims. I was pleased to have been able to find most, if not all of the items on my wanted list in store, which I was pleased about. I was informed that a number of the items on my list would have to be ordered in and couldn't be taken away that same day. These items were eventually delivered after a short waiting period of around 2 weeks.
As the solid maple doors that were fitted to the existing kitchen were quite new and came from a quality kitchen company, I decided that whilst they may not have been my own first choice, they were smart, well made and of a very good quality that meant it would be very wasteful to get rid of them. With the additional items I purchased from Homebase Kitchens and some new floor and splash back tiles I was able to update and improve the existing kitchen to the point of it being transformed into a much more user friendly and attractive design. I would recommend this way of updating an unloved or badly designed existing kitchen, as it means that costs are kept far lower than when installing everything from scratch.
~Ordering from Homebase~
After I placed my order in store I had to wait for some of the items to arrive as they weren't all stock items. I made sure to place my order 2 weeks before I was ready to receive everything so that the person installing the items would have everything to hand. A number of the things I wanted such as base and eye level unit trim panels and end panels were on sale in store and were ready to be taken away at the time of purchase. I found this to be very convenient as I was able to have the panels cut to size and adjusted ready for when the rest of the items were fitted. I was also able to see the exact colour and appearance of the panels and trims prior to purchase which allowed me to be 100% certain that they would be a good colour match for the solid maple cupboard doors. The ordering process was dealt with efficiently by the in store consultant who filled out any paperwork and calculated any discounts and costs involved. I felt happy with the level of service I received during the order process.
~Unit trims and panels~
I feel that the quality of the end panels and trim pieces I bought were of a fair standard, as they looked well finished and were thicker than some similar looking trims and panels I had seen in other stores. The light maple coloured panels and trims that I picked turned out to be a good colour match for the almost new solid maple doors that I was re-using and I was pleased that simply buying the new panels and trims would enable me to change things to my requirements. Some of the end trim panels were actually used to sit as colour co-ordinated base panels between white goods in the kitchen, such as a washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher (although not all placed next to each other). This turned out to be a really good idea as the panels gave additional support to the new kitchen work tops and added a much more professional and attractive finish to the look of the kitchen, which I felt was previously rather lacking. The cost of each panel was reasonable in my opinion and I feel that they were worth the small amount of money paid. Since the new panels and trims have been fitted they have proven to be strong and durable, with the maple veneers on them being easy to keep clean, whilst remaining attractive and smart looking in my opinion.
~Homebase kitchen units~
The corner base unit and eye level units I bought from Homebase came into stock on time as promised and were of a good quality considering their reasonable cost. I ordered units that were slightly thicker than standard units, as having had thicker, stronger base/ eye level units in a previous kitchen made me appreciate how much more durable and longer lasting such units can be. The corner base unit was of a good size, with a solid base and sides once it had been put together. The rear panel was made of a lighter material than the main body of the base unit and the shelf that was included with the unit was a good fit once set in place. The corner unit had to be seated on support legs that were not included with the unit and had to be purchased separately, which did incur an additional cost ( this was a slight downside in my opinion).
The eye level units I bought were sturdy and well sized once put together and came with all the fittings needed in order to build them. At the time of purchase I had the option of picking slightly taller than normal units which matched up with those already installed in the kitchen. These units came complete with wall fixing plates which fitted the units well and allowed for safe and secure placement of the them. Each wall unit came with 2 shelves which could be adjusted for height as required, using the fixings provided, which I thought was useful. I was able to hang my existing sold maple kitchen doors onto these units and only required one new set of door hinges/ fixings in order to have them match up with the existing finish which I was pleased about. My over all opinion of the kitchen units I bought is that they are of a fair quality, as they have proven to be functional and durable over time.
~Homebase door handles~
In order to update the look of the expensive solid wooden doors I picked out new door handles from the range on sale in Homebase. I wouldn't say that the range on offer was all that vast, although but I did find a design that I felt would work with the updated look I wanted to create. With each new door/ cupboard handle having a cost of around £5/ £6 replacing these did end up being a little more costly than I hoped for, as I had to buy a large number of them in order to complete the look. The replacement handles I bought were of a good quality in my opinion and they have proven to be durable and well finished, as they still look and perform exactly as they did when they were newly installed. The handles were easy to fit in place and have remained in good working order, with almost no maintenance required other than a light clean with a soft cloth.
~Everything but the Kitchen sink!~
My lovely new kitchen sink was a really good buy, as I had seen the same design on sale elsewhere for more money, so I did save a little when buying it from Homebase. I wanted a Franke sink to match up with my new Franke Moselle taps and was more than happy when I saw that there was a lovely brushed steel effect double sink unit amongst the product range that Homebase had on sale. I had a similar Franke sink installed in a previous kitchen and found it to be of a good quality, so really wanted to install a similar one this time around. The sink fits on top of the kitchen work tops really nicely as it is almost flush with the work top height giving a lovely neat and smart appearance. The sink came with all the right bits to install it including the wastes, which meant that there were no unexpected or extra costs. In use the sink has been every bit as good as I hoped it would be, which is no less than I expected from a Franke product, as in my experience this brand provide good customer care and manufacture items of a reliable quality.
~Something to whine about!~
The single wine rack I bought from Homebase was the only item that I had serious issues with, which was rather a shame as it was something that wasn't kept in stock and had to be ordered well in advance. When the wine rack was unpacked it turned out to be faulty as parts of the maple veneer had come away and in some areas where there were screw fixings, the holes drilled were too big or in the wrong place. This did cause some problems as the kitchen fitter had to work around the fact that the wine rack was not ready to be fitted in place when it should have been. The only way around this in the end was to buy some maple veneer panels and have them cut to size in store, so that the kitchen fitter could make a new wine rack that matched the design of the faulty one. This did take a little thought and some extra fitting time, but was effective in the end. Homebase kindly cut the panels I bought to the sizes required for free with their in store wood cutting machine and then offered a further discount on all the items that were needed in order to make up the wine rack, which I thought showed good customer service. The cost of the original wine rack was refunded and I ended up paying slightly less for the replacement that was eventually made to sit in its place.
~Updating a faulty drawer unit~
The new drawer and liner I bought, came complete with new runners had a nice smooth soft close effect which was much easier to work with than the existing drawer it replaced. The new drawer liner did have silver toned plastic sides which were lighter than the old drawer sides and whilst I was unsure as to whether they would prove to be as strong, in use they have stood the test of time well and have proven to be quite durable. The new drawer has been fitted with an existing solid maple drawer front to match the rest of the doors and trims and then placed into the existing unit, with it functioning just as well as I hoped it would. The look of the new drawer appears exactly the same as the rest of the existing units as the drawer front was a perfect fit and there has been no compromise in terms of either looks or functionality in my opinion. The cost here was once again quite reasonable in my opinion, as I didn't have to buy an entire new unit and could simply replace the single drawer that had stopped working correctly.
~Nice worktops as long as they aren't over 4 metres long!~
The only thing that Homebase were not able to help with at all were the new kitchen work tops I wanted, as at the time of purchase they didn't offer any work top in their product range in a length longer than 4 metres. There was a choice of either 3m or 4m work tops in any of the finishes available, which wasn't suitable at all as I needed to buy 5m long work top lengths. I was surprised by the fact that a longer 5 m work top wasn't an option, as I am certain that there must be many kitchens which have long runs of kitchen work surfaces as part of their layouts. As one of the new work tops had to have a complete 5m run, which would then be joined at the corner to another length of work top, a shorter 4m work top was not an option. This did cause some issues which Homebase were unable to resolve, as I was told that the store didn't stock these longer work tops because they were too expensive to buy in (almost double the cost of shorter work tops) and were not a common order request. In the end I was lucky enough to be able to source my 5m work tops from a local manufacturer, who was able to deliver them within good time and once installed they looked very nice indeed.
With regards to the items I purchased from Homebase in order to update the kitchen design I feel that they made a real difference to the kitchen, as the previous layout and design didn't really work for me at all. Once my new updated Homebase enhanced kitchen was complete it looked so much better and functioned in a more useable way which I was pleased about. I liked the fact that I was ale to pick and choose from the range of products on sale in store and didn't have to place a minimum order with Homebase. I feel that the quality of the items I bought was generally good, as everything is still working well and has proven to be durable even with regular usage. My rating for the service I received from Homebase is 4 stars. I feel that a similar 4 star rating would be fair for the items I purchased based upon the price, functionality and durability of those items. I found that the Homebase staff I came into contact with in store were helpful and didn't try to persuade me into buying anything that wasn't on my wanted list. I was informed of any offers and discounts available to me and feel that the prices I paid were reasonable enough.