Kitchen Help

Hi, We’ve arranged for our downstairs loo and family bathroom to be refurbished, which will include widening the door to the downstairs loo to make it wheelchair accessible. The work is being done February. I’m now turning my attention to the kitchen and really don’t know where to start. I keep having thoughts about knocking walls down but I could really do with some professional advice. Can anyone recommend a company? We’re having to fund all this work ourselves, so don’t want to get ripped off having to do more than we need. At the same time, my husband doesn’t want to feel like he’s living in a hospital and will reject any plans that he’s not happy with. Thanks in advance, Heather

I’d say steer well clear of national well known firms.Does your town/village have a forum?usually a good starting point, when looking for a builder,plumber,electrician etc. or the parish mag (if you get one) Just had 2 ridiculous quotes for a tiny extension one 15,000 the other 12,500 even if we applied for grants I’d be embarassed to send those! so we are just going to rip out our year old bath and replace with a shower, awkward shape but found the perfect one now and worked out that the ‘old’ bath can go in a yet to be constructed, room which was just going to be a utility, with seperate loo. There is just so much potential in this bungalow…I love knocking stuff down!(well telling them what to knck down I thought the pond would be simple, how wrong was I?..frog central out there,they will have to hop off to next door.Got just, a civil engineer (for garden),plasterer and electrician coming next week. knocked down 6 walls and two big arches so far here. walls at the back replaced with 3 sets of doors,looks amazing! also w/c friendly, Good luck with it, he needs to be able to visualise, my hubby can’t but I just get the builders to agree with me…which they do, or its no tea for them and deffo no biscuits! lol, was a running theme here,eventually used to BRING biscuits.

My mum got a list of reputable builders from her local Age Concern which is now called Ageuk since the merger with Help the Aged. Mum just phoned them so they had no idea whether or not she was a pensioner. She got the work done quickly efficiently and at a very good cost. Before letting any builder start, get references and if possible visit or get someone to visit for you, work done by them. Don’t part with money “up front” and make sure you get a contract particularly if payment is staged for various parts of work. If you have had plans done any architect will have a list of reliable builders and for a fee will project manage if you do not feel able to do this yourself. I wish I had followed my own advice - I let a friend of a friend (qualified builder) do work for me and it was a disaster. Previously I had used an architect to do an extension and the team he recommended were fantastic everything done on time, they were clean, tidy and always here when they said they would be.

Good luck and I hope it turns into everything you hope it will be.

As a wheelchair user – the kitchen is a bit of hard work for me. I have a very small space and not nearly enough cupboards that I can get into easily. Drawers are so much better because you can see what’s what without bending forward (and nearly topping out of the chair) or wall units that I can only get into when stood up. So my advice would be to have as many pull out type units as you can. I have lowered work tops with an electric hob but I would suggest an induction hob for safety.
Although it seems like a waste of space its essential to have a work top that you can get your legs under – like a table or you are always too far away or sideways. I have two sockets that are set into the work top because they are much easier to reach than the wall ones. I wish I could leave the cupboard under the sink empty so I could open the door and get my legs in – I’m far too far away for comfort. Think about the height of the oven so that you can reach the top shelf from a chair.
I can’t reach the top two shelves of my fridge but it’s even so it’s easier to get into a fridge freezer with the fridge on top rather than the bottom.

My kitchen looks perfectly “normal” so you need not worry about a hospital appearance