So, the possession of our house was in sight and we were super excited- finally we were going to go to our own home. As we are both working, we decided to get the interior done before moving to the new house.
I love beautiful and functional houses. Somehow, my own rented house never looked pretty or sorted. We had to rush at the last hour before the guests would arrive to hide the clutter in the cupboards and drawers. So, the first thing I wanted in my new house was a place for everything. Secondly, as my husband rightly suggested was to avoid flat surfaces as far as possible as they are the places where the clutter and dust would accumulate eventually. Ofcourse, it is not possible to have interior without flat surfaces, but we tried to have only as few open flat surfaces as we needed, and covered the rest of them till the ceiling.
With our original budget which was about 2.5 lac (stretched), getting kitchen done and wardrobes in 1 or both bedrooms of our 2BHK apartment was top priority. For kitchen, we visited many kitchen specialists and showrooms in our area. Below were our constraints and requirements
- We had L shaped kitchen platform with kadappa (This is standard in most Indian kitchens- it is a concrete slab on which the granite sits).
- Builder had given 1 single-sink, there was no service balcony
- We wanted separate places/sinks for washing utensils and for drinking water filtering/storage outlet to make it feel clean when we go for drinking water
- We wanted a hob (the one that comes at same level as the kitchen platform) rather than a cooktop which sits on the kitchen platform and a chimney
- I like baking and love the neat looks of built-in-oven
- We wanted the platform to not have stuff lying (e.g. appliances, sugar, salt, masala box, ghee, oil etc) on it as far as possible, so that it can be easily cleaned after each cooking
- We wanted drawers under platforms, wall cabinets with loft above it- so that a) chimney outlet can be covered b) dust does not sit on top of the wall cabinets
There are many options for getting kitchen done in the market. In our opinion, there are 2 major categories:
- The specialists get the carcasses/boxes and baskets ready at their premises/factory –which takes around 15-30 days and fit everything (channels, hinges, handles) at your home in 3-5 days. This would be more convenient if you already moved in the house. Usually, they use MDF shutters and commercial ply (IS-303) boxes. The MDF shutter usually comes with membrane on it which gives a more finished edge than a ply-laminate shutter. MDF is probably okay as drawer shutter as it only has to carry its own weight and has no moving part. However, we were not in favour of this option for hinged shutters needed for wall cabinets.
Each store has its own method and formula for charging you. We got estimates ranging from 2 lacs to 3.5 lacs for our basic kitchen without any appliances. The charges were quite more than what our budget allowed, we were ready to compromise a little, however NONE of them could solve all our kitchen needs
- The other option is to get a carpenter and get the kitchen done by him. They usually are a team of 2-3 people who work on a project. They charge 30-35% of total materials used. It is not very logical as if you use superior material, the labour cost also goes up. They also come with so called interior designers who charge 10% on total cost including carpentry.
A note about interior designers (applies to both a and b options): I am not sure if this is industry wide or we were just unfortunate, but these designers in kitchen stores or the one attached to the carpenters were not receptive to our needs and put limited thought process – none of them took full ownership of the project. I doubt if they were qualified. A good designer would have been a big value-add, but neither did we find a good one, nor did our budget and time allow us to find a more qualified one.
We went with option b without the designer part. That we played on our own J. It gave us more flexibility in terms of design and material as well. We hired a carpenter who agreed to charge us 33%. He also showed us some of his previous work.
This is our kitchen plan
This is how the final kitchen looks. The first two photos are from living/dining room and the last photo is from the main platform towards the second sink built in empty space in the plan above:
We will publish more details on the design, material and process in the next post. Happy reading!