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Sharps aren't the Sharp-est tool in the box
Member Name: bear73
Date: 17/04/02, updated on 23/10/04 (18845 review reads)
Advantages: Good use of space, Nice quality
Disadvantages: Long design process, Look into ventilation
After moving in to our very first home 2 and a half years ago we were amazed at the amount of work we had to do. The list was endless and so we decided to tackle it room by room. After a year in the house it was the turn of our bedroom, which was old fashioned to say the least and needed a complete overhaul.
I am a very tidy person and absolutely hate clutter so the thought of a fully fitted bedroom really appealed to me. Living in a small end of terrace cottage space is at a minimum so we agreed that the extra storage space would be useful.
Now, I am trying to remember exactly why we chose Sharps Bedrooms and am having trouble recalling why. Was it their enticing adverts on the television with the bedrooms looking all cream and designer? Was it the fact that no other large bedroom fitting companies sprang to mind? Was it the fact that they always seem to have some kind of offer, usually a 50% off sale?
In fact I think it was because there was a showroom 2 minutes down the road in our local Homebase.
We went to the showroom one Saturday and had a look round at the units on display. The showroom was actually quite small so we didn’t get a great idea of every style that was on offer. The sales assistant seemed engrossed with a couple at her desk and after 15 minutes of hanging around we decided to take a brochure home and have a look at the full range.
The brochure was lovely and showed their whole range of bedrooms with full colour pictures. Obviously all the bedrooms in the brochure looked like they were done by a top class interior designer and were there size of the whole top floor of my house, but nevertheless I was impressed with the new Oslo range which is a nice light maple wood with some very lovely matt chrome handles.
We phoned the store and arranged a no obligation visit from one of their designers. The appointment was easy to make and the designer arrived the following week as expected.
He even came in the evening which was good as we both worked full time then.
Be warned that the design process can take some time; ours was here for over 2 hours!
Firstly, we showed him the room and gave him a rough idea what we would like. We had a boiler and water tank in an alcove covered by some nasty brown louvered doors and we were hoping that they could rip out the doors and build around the tank and boiler. He told us straight away that they wouldn’t do that as it would not give the boiler sufficient ventilation and if we wanted to go ahead with the fitted units we would have to move the boiler and tank.
We were obviously very disappointed but decided that it was so noisy having the boiler in the main bedroom that we could rip it all out and have a new combination boiler put in another room. This would also give us an extra wardrobe, so we went ahead with the design.
Overall I would say the designer was very good, he knew what he was talking about and helped us out when it came to where was the best place to have the cabinets, and what kind of hanging space/shelving we wanted inside. After spending quite a while in the room we came downstairs where he parked himself at the dining room table, got out his pencil case and started to draw freehand what out bedroom would look like.
Now, this took sometime and we hadn’t even discussed price yet, so all this drawing could be a complete waste of time. I got the feeling that after all this time and effort he wasn’t going to leave easily without a sale.
After the drawings were complete we finally got around to discussing price. This process reminded me of double glazing salesmen starting at an obscene price and working their way down until you get a price you are both happy with. This man certainly struck me as more of a salesman than a designer.
He worked out the first price, which was huge (a good job we had the handy 50% off
voucher then!!). After our discount was taken off it looked more reasonable, but still a lot of money, then he even said we qualified for an extra 10% off, as it was a new promotion. Lucky us as this was finishing in couple of days, so if we wanted to go ahead we really should do it now. You get the picture.
Thankfully we loved the bedroom design and was happy with the price so we didn’t get to see how long he would have stayed if we’d told him we wanted to think about it. I get the feeling he would have been there for some time though.
After agreeing the price we gave him an initial deposit on a credit card and he went on his way telling us we would get a call from the customer service people to arrange a suitable time for fitting as we wanted to get the boiler moved first.
As it turned out moving the boiler and water tank was a very big and very expensive job but it was worth doing. We also arranged for a radiator to be moved and some electric sockets to be put in before the bedroom was fitted. Sharps do not provide any service for electrical or plumbing work so if any work needs to be done you’ll have to arrange this yourself.
Before the bedroom was fitted a surveyor came round to check the plans and measurements as these will be used to make the bedroom before it arrives flat packed at our house. The surveyor tells us that if there is a problem and it doesn’t fit it will come out of his pocket.
The surveyor proceeds to check the designer’s work and starts tutting a lot and making changes to the plans. I can only presume this is because our designer was in fact a double glazing salesman in disguise and actually couldn’t design for toffee.
We then proceeded to have a dispute over whether tops, backs and sides for the wardrobes were included in the price quoted by the designer. We said they were the surveyor disagreed. Now, I have no doubt the designer said they we
re included and we had to take this up with Sharps directly. They tried to get us to pay an extra £136 for tops, sides and backs to the wardrobes but after a couple of phone calls and us threatening to cancel the whole deal we agreed to pay a little bit extra but the majority would be paid by them.
We arranged a day for the wardrobes to be fitted and 2 days prior to the fitting day all the wardrobes and drawers turn up flat packed. Be prepared for A LOT of packages so make sure you have somewhere to store them all.
The fitting of the wardrobes itself was absolutely fine. A nice man on his own spent 3 days with his nose to the grind diligently working away. I have to say he did a fantastic job and we are very very happy with our wardrobes.
We spend £3200 on our bedroom but we did have a lot of wardrobes built. One wall was floor to ceiling wardrobes (3 sets of double doors with small double door cupboards above) and then all across the adjacent wall we had low level drawers built with a gap for a dressing table in front of the window. We also bought a stool and a 3-way mirror. All in all we have 12 drawers, a dressing table with drawer, a stool, a 3 way mirror, a double wardrobe with full length hanging, a double wardrobe with double hanging, a double door wardrobe containing 10 shelves built on the chimney breast and 3 small double door cupboards above the wardrobes.
They do seem of very good quality and we have had them a year and a half now and we haven’t had a problem with them. Well, not with the structure of them, but something else did come to light so please take note of what I am about to tell you all.
If you have fully fitted wardrobes along a wall, especially if it is an external wall, then be prepared for condensation in your wardrobes. Yes, condensation.
After having the wardrobes for a year I opened my wardrobe one Saturday to find a bag completely covered in white fluffy mould. On
further inspection most of the shoes at the bottom of the wardrobe were either damp or mouldy and also a lot of the clothes that were pressed up against the sides and back of the wardrobe. We also found traces of mould in my husband’s wardrobe at the other end of the room as well.
It took a lot of cleaning up and on taking everything out of my wardrobe small droplets of water could be seen on the side and back panels.
I have since done some research on this and have discovered that it is in fact very common for fully fitted wardrobes to experience condensation and more so if they are built along an external wall. The problem being that with our wardrobes there is absolutely no airflow into or out of the wardrobes. When you open the doors you are hit with freezing cold air as no heat can get into the wardrobes as they are built floor to ceiling.
I called Sharps about this as I was told that ventilation should have been thought of when designing the wardrobes and in our case they had even covered over a vent in the chimney breast. I was basically fobbed off by them and was told that condensation is a lifestyle issue and it’s down to us to sort out ventilation of the wardrobes. I wasn’t prepared to fight so basically told them that they should at least tell prospective buyers of the ventilation issues that could occur but I doubt she listened. I did get her to admit that they have had similar complaints in the past though.
So to conclude, I am very happy with the bedroom itself and I think it is of good quality and worth the £3200 we paid for it. I also think the fitter did a fantastic job.
What I am not happy with was the performance we had with the wardrobes backs and sides as I felt the designer made us think they were included knowing all along we would end up paying extra for them. I also think the whole design process is to long winded, surely with all the technology nowadays they could get a co
mputer program like the kitchen design people have and design it that way, rather than sitting at my dining room table for an hour drawing by hand.
I would recommend Sharps bedrooms to a friend but only after I had told them my experiences and told them to look into the ventilation issues.
I hope this hasn’t put you off using them but has instead given you some things to be armed with if you do get the designer (double glazing salesman) round. Sharps also offer a 5-year guarantee on all their fitted bedrooms.
You can visit Sharps at their showrooms which they have many of around the country. Go to www.sharps.co.uk where you can see their range on-line and check where you nearest showroom is. You can also request a brochure, or arrange a free no-obligation designer visit online.
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