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Dec. 4th, 2013 @ 05:03 pm New kitchen
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Two weeks ago, when we had a week off from work, we decided to look around at kitchens. When we bought the house eight years ago, the kitchen was already kinda long in the teeth. We decided to keep it and to prioritise renovating the bathroom, which was in a far worse shape.
The end result is that we still have the same kitchen. It's not getting any better, and so it's time to look for something new. Also, the whole ground floor of the house is switched to one group on the switching board. With three computers running, the TV and the kitchen appliances, that's a lot. And we had to come up with some 'creative' solutions to get power everywhere we wanted. That's something I wanted to get fixed as well. We'd have to do something about the electricity for a new kitchen anyway, so we could have that done all in one go!
Just before that week, we got a folder from a large kitchen seller in Kleve, just across the border with Germany. Apparently, kitchens are a lot cheaper in Germany, so we decided to check it out. We also went to the Ikea to see what they had -- friends of ours recommended their planning service to us. And we don't want a very expensive kitchen anyway: the house is not of a calibre that you could put in a 10 thousand euro kitchen because it wouldn't be in balance with the rest.

So, first to the Ikea. We saw some things that would go very well with the rest of our furniture, and it was in the price range that would be acceptable. Then to Kleve, where we wandered through three floors of exhibition kitchens. In Germany, kitchens are really big and are more of a general living space than a place to only cook in. Which is lovely, of course, but we don't have that kind of house! So cooking islands and stuff like that is right out: we have just over 5 meters of wall, and that's where it has to happen.

Also, the exhibition kitchens there did not have a price indication. That was a problem for me because of two reasons:
- I do not like asking after something and then, after hearing the sales pitch, concluding that something is out of the price range. Putting up a price indication saves everybody time;
- I really, really hate haggling, and that's certainly a thing if you buy a kitchen. I do not mind people earning some money on the purchase: we all have to eat, after all. But when I hear stories of kitchens where the salesman knocks 25% off the price right off the bat, Iget that sinking feeling...

After that, we were tired and didn't want to watch kitchens anymore. If you want, you can spend a whole week watching exhibition kitchens in various showrooms, but that's not my hobby. And we knew that the Ikea kitchens give good value for money -- and 25 years of warranty!
So we tried to make an appointment with one of their kitchen planners. This turned out to be more difficult than we thought: it's not explained on the site, and when I called the helpline, they didn't know what to do and didn't call me back. It took two(!) interventions from their webcare team on Twitter to get an appointment...
On Thursday we went back to Ikea, picked up the coupon for the appointment and then paid for it. (It's EUR 70 for two hours of support.) We also got a coupon for their lunch buffet, which was nice. After a quick lunch, we went back and met our planner. She took us through the process and gave very helpful advice. We then made a tour of the appliances, the various types of countertops and so on. Fun fact: Ikea has a piece of software up on their site which you can use to draw your kitchen and generate a shopping list. It's a bit finnicky, but it works. The kitchen planner uses that precise component, and you get the login codes afterwards, so you can always go back and maybe change something.
After two hours, we had a kitchen that both fit with our style and was practical, for just over EUR 4000 (including the 10% discount we'll get). We asked our planner to arrange for their assembly partner to contact us to make a quote for what it would cost to have the kitchen assembled.

That appointment was today. We discussed the details and some minor modifications were made to the plan. We will also get a decent compromise for the electricity wiring, which will split up the one circuit breaker group into multiple groups without having to re-wire the whole house.
I just received the quote, and it's about the same as the kitchen. That's an all-in price, including breaking out the old kitchen (and taking the mess away!) and all the other work. All it will take us is a few days cooking on electricity, which is something we do often anyway.

We need to chew on this for a bit, but I think we'll do it.
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Calcifer