Why Bespoke Kitchen Companies Rarely Deliver What They Promise

Monday, May 27, 2019

You might expect that Jamie Blake’s background in interior design would be seen as a virtue in kitchen design companies, but instead his detail and design sensibilities clashed with their commercial priorities.

Jamie believed a client-focused, design-led joinery service was possible by leaving behind the overheads of high street shops and showrooms. He founded Blakes London on an industrial estate in 2013 and his gamble has since paid off many times over.

In 2015, Jeremy Bott joined as Managing Director, and his business and service knowledge combined with Jamie’s creative talent has led to the creation of some of the most beautiful kitchens in London.

In this blog, Jamie and Jeremy share the shortcomings of the so-called bespoke kitchen designers on the high street, and how Blakes London is different.

Jeremy and Jamie from bespoke joinery and kitchen company Blakes London

How the word “bespoke” has been ruined

Almost every kitchen company describes themselves as “bespoke”. It’s a word so misused in marketing that it’s lost all meaning, and customers are starting to become suspicious of its promise.

Of course, there is a place for off-the-shelf kitchens for the sake of affordability and convenience, but that isn’t what luxury kitchen companies are selling themselves as. People put their life savings into their kitchens, but the service they receive often isn’t worth the expense.

People visit custom kitchen companies with the expectation that they will receive a truly bespoke service. But while certain aspects of their kitchens can be customised and fitted, others are set ranges of products that cannot be modified or, if they can, are done so at a frankly embarrassing premium.

Customers may be told that the drawers need to be at a set width, or that their dishwasher or fridge isn’t compatible and they’ll have to buy a new one. Those cupboards could be increased from 600mm deep to 700mm, but it will cost significantly more.

Unless you are lucky enough to have a kitchen with standard dimensions and your tastes align perfectly with what products are available from the supplier, compromise is inevitable.

The benefits of truly bespoke joinery

A true bespoke service doesn’t start with a catalogue, it starts with a blank page.

When our clients first talk to us, it’s a breath of fresh air. We don’t begin our meetings by showing a range of cupboards and worktops and asking what they want, we start with conversations about how they use their kitchen, what styles they are drawn to, what their storage needs might be and how they like to cook.

These meetings take hours. The client shares inspiration from magazines and social media, we brainstorm sketches, show photos from prior projects and share material samples. We visit their home to get a sense for how to best work with the dimensions, character and light of the space.

If the kitchen redesign is part of a larger project, we will collaborate with the architects, contractors and engineers to make sure our joinery integrates seamlessly with the rest of the works, from the structure to the mechanical and electrical services.

This kitchen plan for DGA’s Maida Terrace demonstrates the fine tuning which goes into our kitchen designs, where every single component is made to measure.

There is no extra charge for customisation because every kitchen we design is tailored specifically to the client. Changing a cupboard from 600mm deep to 700mm isn’t a premium service with an extra charge, it simply involves moving a line on a drawing.

Because we aren’t working with a set range of products, the only limitation to our designs is what is practical and physically possible. Whether you want flush floor-to-ceiling shelves, the base of a bay window filled or to square off an angular room with cupboards, you’ll never hear us say no.

Truly bespoke joinery is especially valuable in period homes which often have wonky walls and odd nooks and crannies which can’t be utilised with off the shelf parts. Our detailed design and visualisation process allows you to make the most of every corner of your home.

Only once the design is finalised – which may take weeks or months – do we order parts from our suppliers and our workshops, where everything is cut to the millimetre.

Contact Blakes London to learn more

We’re a creative team who enjoys the creative freedom provided by a blank sheet of paper. We don’t try and push certain products or shape the client’s objectives to our designs, our only sales objectives are to provide a truly bespoke service and to guide our clients through what can be a daunting process with hundreds of little decisions.

To learn more about our services or book a consultation, call us now on 020 3409 0661 or email [email protected].

Jamie Blake and Jeremy Bott