Saturday 15 December 2018

Vale expert insight: How to create your perfect kitchen

Looking for some interior inspiration? You're in the right place, as SoGlos talks to Vale's kitchen designer, Anthea Garley, about current trends, the importance of substance over style, and her kitchen must-haves.

Established in 1969, Vale is a family-run business that offers an excellent design and installation service, boasting an expert team including its longest-serving and most experienced kitchen designer, Anthea Garley.

Discussing Vale’s outstanding service, the hottest new trends, and what’s most important when planning a kitchen overhaul, enjoy some kitchen inspiration in SoGlos’s expert interview.

Can you tell us about your background in the industry?

After completion of a Foundation Art Course in Cheltenham during the 1980s, I looked for a position which would combine artistic flair with business and people.

I wrote a number of letters to local businesses and was offered a position with a leading Kitchen Specialist in Cheltenham, where I spent a year and a half working at the drawing board and ‘learning the ropes’ of the Fitted Kitchen Industry.

I was hooked from the first moment, fascinated by how a room could be transformed by the use of both colour and space during the fit of a new kitchen.

How did you get involved with Vale?

After a great first year introduction into the industry, I was offered a role at a new studio being opened up by Vale Kitchens. That was 29 years ago… I’m still here!

What does your role as a Kitchen Designer involve?

Pretty much everything from first conversations in the showroom, through the design process, ordering of all goods and project management of the fitting, right up to the final adjustments and finishing touches, ready for the customer to move back in!

What is the first step customers should take when starting the process with Vale?

We recommend visiting one, or both, of our showrooms to see the different ranges and styles of kitchen on offer and to make an appointment to meet with one of our designers.

At this meeting, we can chat about the customer’s requirements and individual project, to give an indication of what will be involved and the likely cost of the new kitchen. Following this the designer will call out to take measurements and draw up plans and a quotation.

What current kitchen trends are you seeing?

In the last few years we have seen continuing popularity of both painted, shaker-style and handle-less kitchens. We are now beginning to see a fusion of the two with various handle-less, shaker-style furniture being introduced. We will shortly be fitting one of these in the upstairs showroom of our Cheltenham branch and I feel sure that this is going to be very popular.

Is there any trend that you think is outdated or style over substance?

Currently, shaker kitchens are almost all painted with the natural wood finishes having almost completely disappeared from popularity. There is also a trend towards the warmer-coloured metal finishes in taps and kitchen appliances which is being seen across all areas of interior design.

I think this is a back-lash against years of stainless steel in the kitchen and, whilst brass and copper can look great, I’m not entirely convinced that these finishes will be easy to keep looking nice in the longer term.

What do you think the most important aspect is, when planning for a kitchen overhaul?

For me, it is that the new kitchen space will be practical. As much as we would all want a new kitchen to look good, if it isn’t ergonomically designed it will lead to years of frustration. A well-planned kitchen will make all culinary and kitchen chores a joy to perform! This is where it is essential to take advice from a kitchen specialist.

What makes Vale stand out against the competition?

We are a local, family-run business established nearly 50 years ago. A number of our staff, like me, have been with the company for over 20 or 30 years and that is a wealth of experience which we can bring to our customers.

Unlike a lot of the other kitchen suppliers in the area, we can provide total project management for our kitchen fits, taking a lot of the stress away from the process.

What’s your advice for someone who’s unsure what they want for their kitchen?

Have a look at our website and/or social media feeds for inspiration, news and ideas. There are also various kitchen related magazines on the market and some people keep a file with pictures/ notes on the different styles/ colour schemes that they like, then sooner or later their preferences start to become evident.

What emphasis do you place on ensuring the best quality kitchens?

Fitting of quality furniture is of paramount importance. Around a third of the cost of a kitchen tends to go on the installation and this figure remains pretty much the same regardless of how much or how little you spend on the cabinetry.

Skimping on quality feels short-sighted to me as the necessity for early replacement of the cabinets will involve further spend on labour costs, negating the initial cost saving made from purchasing a cheaper kitchen.

Would you recommend different kitchen styles for different lifestyles?

Not particularly – I think the actual style comes down to individual preference. I think that the design/ layout of a kitchen is more important in reflecting a family’s lifestyle and that is why we go to great lengths to find out our customers’ individual requirements before embarking on a design.

And finally, what couldn’t you live without in your own kitchen?

Lots of well-placed storage and my steam oven!

For more information about Vale, call (01242) 224404 or (01386) 765959, or visit directly.

© SoGlos
Monday 23 July 2018

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