Case Study: Open Plan Kitchen Design

Door Style: Milbourne Charcoal

Why Exeter Kitchen Store?

Jayne initially found out about the Exeter Kitchen Store (EKS) from seeing the showroom when she drove past it coming into Exeter and subsequently recognised the brand when searching for kitchen suppliers.

When Jayne visited the showroom and saw the quality of EKS kitchens she knew she liked the look of the product. In addition to the quality and design of the kitchens, another aspect that influenced her to choose Exeter Kitchen Store was the concise range. It was very evident to her the type of kitchen that could be selected, as only one door of each basic style was available. Jayne found it easier to choose, as she found when there was too much choice she was overwhelmed with options and found it hard to decide, whereas EKS offered fewer, clearer options.


The Design

The kitchen was designed around Jayne’s home extension, which resulted in a large, open plan kitchen. Prior to the extension the kitchen was much smaller, with the new Milbourne design making the most of the increased space.

Jayne went into the Exeter Kitchen Store without a clear idea of a design, however she did know specific elements she wished to have. The only style idea that Jayne was set on, was a kitchen that wasn’t too modern.

Jayne knew she wanted a working island with a hob before she got her design. She also visited the EKS showroom with the view to include a built-in, eye-height oven, an American style fridge and a wine fridge.

When Jayne and her partner visited the showroom and saw the Milbourne display, they knew that was the style of kitchen they wanted. The Milbourne door was within their budget, which was important considering the size of their kitchen. The Milbourne door also offered a wider selection of colours than some of the other ranges. As charcoal wasn’t available in the other doors, this was another factor that drew them to Milbourne. The dark colour worked well in their large space, due to the windows in the living area letting in lots of natural light that extended to the open plan kitchen.

Jayne and her partner found their designer Anna very helpful when choosing appliances. This was due to her extensive knowledge that allowed them to understand the differences in models. They additionally appreciated how effective Anna was in making maximum use of the large space and how she was able to work around the beam that ran through the room. Anna managed to work the kitchen layout around the beam without having to compromise the design.

Jayne’s favourite parts of kitchen included the wine fridge and larder. Jayne liked the larder because of its pull-out drawers, so the entire contents could be clearly displayed. Jayne also found the narrow spice drawers in the island useful because they made all the spices visible.

The layout of the kitchen was partly functional as it made the space perfect for large gatherings and busy times such as Christmas.

The copper rail used to hang utensils was included from the internals of the original kitchen. They took the thin, copper pole and upcycled and polished it, which added character to the kitchen and hinted towards industrial design.


The Process

Jayne only needed to go into the Exeter Kitchen Store showroom twice. These visits were followed by emails, with the entire process being very efficient. If Jayne forgot something or wanted to run an idea or query by Anna, all it took was a quick email or phone call which was always responded to rapidly.

By the time Anna and Jayne had settled on a final design, 3 or 4 versions had been made. These were all quite similar because Jayne and Anna had established each of the elements that was to be included in the kitchen. The changes were minor, with modifications in the layout. One of the alterations to the kitchen design was made because there were changes in the positioning of appliances due to electrical and plumbing work.

Jayne found the turnaround of three weeks very efficient. The kitchen was made available so quickly that Jayne had to postpone it to provide time for the builders, who were extending the home and fitting the kitchen, to catch up.

There were only a few minor problems experienced throughout the process of receiving this kitchen. There was a shortage of panels, which was due to the island being fitted differently than expected, however the Exeter Kitchen Store sorted out new ones quickly and the EKS manager offered to drive out and drop them off himself. Jayne also found her tap to be faulty, which EKS proceeded to replace promptly.

Jayne’s opinion of the quality of EKS doors, carcases and appliances was that of excellence. Even the builders who were working on their extension and installed the kitchen were very impressed with the quality.

Reactions from Jayne’s friends and family who saw the kitchen for the first time thought it fantastic. They loved the design and openness of the space.

Jayne was extremely happy with her experience with the Exeter Kitchen Store, saying ‘From what we saw in the showroom right through to the design, service and the quality of the kitchen we’ve got as the final product, we couldn’t be more pleased with what they’ve supplied, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anybody.’

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