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Everthing, including the kitchen sink

We have now been in our new premises for just over a year (so should probably stop calling them new!) and we’re getting round to the improvements that we knew from the start that we would need to make.

Of course, we were never going to dive in and spend money willy-nilly, but now we have the funding in place and we have the person with the skills to do the jobs it’s all systems go.

First things first: The Kitchen

Just like at home, the kitchen is such an important room, but such a big job in terms of financial outlay, hands-on work and a mind-numbing number of decisions to be made. The kitchen here is a big room that we use for meetings, preparing food for workshops and events and, of course, making our teas and coffees so it’s well used, but it was not at all inviting.

While we were lucky enough to get the money to buy new (albeit inexpensive) kitchen cupboards and fittings here, we have, in the past, bought a second hand kitchen for home. A decision we have not regretted.

Ours came from Gumtree, always worth a look, but we are interested in other options. We’d heard of the Used Kitchen Exchange, an extensive online market place for used second hand and ex-display kitchens, but were very excited when we looked them up for this blog and found that they are expanding!

You can now buy ‘new’ bedroom and bathroom fittings there too, but let’s not be distracted right now. Back to kitchens and how to get a top quality, second hand bargain.

Ex-display is a great way to get a kitchen that can no longer be sold as new. Even if there is damage, it will almost always be in a place you can’t see so you’ll never feel you are getting second best.

Factory Outlets are another happy hunting ground. You’ll find products that are new and will be a mixture of ends of lines, cancelled orders or graded stock. If you’re seriously looking for a kitchen it’s well worth a look, and, again, unless you tell people no-one will ever know it’s not brand-new.

Industry experts seem to agree that a good quality kitchen should last well over 20 years, though some suggest that on average kitchens need to be renovated every 10 – 15 years (are they the same companies that are trying to sell us a new one, we wonder? Oops, did we actually write that down!). So how come the average UK kitchen only stays in place for 7 years, and many are far younger than that when they are ripped out to be replaced?

It may be down to wear and tear, but it’s far more likely to be that the style seems dated, or it’s just the wrong colour. We all know, don’t we, that if it’s the old-fashioned doors you don’t like, or doors that you inherited that are not to your taste, they can be replaced. If it’s just the appearance that is bothering you, you do not need to rip out the whole thing and start again. Components like broken hinges or drawers that no longer open or close properly can easily be replaced, so the units can continue to give good service.

You can probably guess what we’re going to say next.

All together now – “You’ll not only be saving money, you’ll be helping to save the planet too.”

Here come the stats:

· You can save up to an almost unbelievable 92% on the price of a new kitchen. A showroom liquidation clearance offers the best savings as the stuff has to go NOW

· Buying a pre-owned or ex-display kitchen can save around 5 tonnes of carbon (depending on its size) which would make a family of four carbon neutral for at least twelve months

Remember, second hand can also be a great way to get upgraded appliances. If you can pick up an ex-display A or B graded cooker or freezer at a fraction of the cost of a new one, as soon as you start using it you start saving money on your energy bills. How good is that?

Of course, you can use these sites to sell as well as to buy. Getting a new kitchen? Get the old one online, make a bit of money and have the satisfaction of knowing that it has gone to a good home and will be used, and loved, again.

On that note, you would expect us to recycle and re-use whatever we could, so let’s put your mind at rest and tell you we have done just that. The old sink, along with the counter top is about to become a mud kitchen. Pictures to follow when we have it finished!

A worktop will become a pull-down table in our events room, giving us a super space-saving table top and the polystyrene packaging is waiting for inspiration to strike. We’re sure to find a use for it sooner rather than later.


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