Premium kitchens is not a well-explained, and as a result, not a well-appreciated subject. When you are in the market for premium kitchens, what should be the activity flow that helps you get what you are looking for? And get it for the ‘right’ cost. In this article, I address exactly this subject.
Like any product category, kitchens are available in a very big price range. For kitchen of identical size, the variations between entry level kitchens and luxury kitchens could be in double digit multiples. Premium kitchens customer is spending a fair amount of his hard earned money. Therefore, it is important for him/her to first understand the cost structures of various components and the appropriate functionalities/aesthetics. It is important to arrive at a budget.
Premium kitchens buyer also wants to know the cost of a fully loaded or equipped kitchen, to avoid any last minute surprises. In the present times, a large number of kitchen appliances are available. A dozen odd companies and brands entice you with advertisements each hour on TV and print media besides the well-appointed kitchen showrooms. Friends who have just done new homes also show their new prized possessions. So, a kitchen can cost you just about any figure, many a time a staggeringly high – to a kitchen seller’s delight! But what could be your parameters to judge the cost of a premium kitchen? Let’s de-clutter.
For ease of understanding, I am using the prices available in Mumbai. This city is a good reference as the costs here are more than anywhere else in the country. The market has very high rentals, fitters are from other states and all related costs are high. For your city/region, the costs would be towards the lower side but the steps wouldn’t be any different.
You need to sit with a consultant and understand premium kitchens
Appliances are a big cost in premium kitchens
Firstly, get hold of the kitchen floor plan, as given by the developer or the existing size. Decide on all the appliances you actually require, the ones you will use daily. Research this on the net or brand shops, make your decision final on what you CAN’T do without. This will throw up a cost and range with upgrades. In luxury kitchens, appliances (typically built-in) are a substantial part of the cost.
Depending on what all you actually need, FREEZE the requirement. All built-in appliances or free standing take-up space. And that too permanently and at a fair amount of cost (of the appliances). So, be prudent as you might end-up sacrificing valuable storage space.
The kitchen consultant will need it for incorporating the same in the given architecture and space with all other requirements. He/she will guide you to select the appropriate brand keeping in mind the service support associated with the brand. Let me assist you here. Cabinetry will only RARELY give you trouble – if the fabricator is reliable. But, if the brand of appliances doesn’t offer a robust service support, it will be a persistent problem and spoil the taste of using the kitchen. Reading the reviews for the appliance brands on net before making the purchase decision could also be a useful exercise.
Decide on the component brands
Secondly, there is a lot that can be done in terms of the brands of hardware, accessories, pullouts, organizers, drawer systems, roll-ups, kitchen sinks, crushers, kitchen faucets. You will be surprised what all is available and its corresponding price points. In my practice, I focus on the best European brands.
The longevity of the kitchen directly depends on the quality of the components used. And European brands offer the best quality in terms of functionality. Keep in mind that a kitchen is used by multiple members in a home – and the maids. Most of the kitchen components have mechanical movement and the quality of the components makes all the difference.
The good part is that these brands have display centers in major cities and you should invest some time to visit them. Here, you will also get the cost indicators. Understanding the components will give you a vantage point to get what you ‘desire’ in your premium kitchen.
Here, you need the expert to start noting your requirements after sharing the options available. Now, get down to deciding the configuration of the various cabinetries being used to fix the structure along with all that you need in terms of ease, ergonomics and functionality. Should you want to integrate your cabinetry on touch controls, even this can be done. Of course, it has cost implications but if you are in for luxury, features like the touch control surely add to it. So, a lot can be done – take time to understand the possibilities.
The look makes a big difference in premium kitchens – explore various options
Thirdly, the external finishes for shutters/doors, visible sides, wall unit base with LED kitchen lighting should be looked at. Again, once decided, FREEZE it. One starts with basic laminates for the kitchen (matt or gloss), improved laminate options, super matt finishes from Italy (leaves no oil stains, cleans well, anti-scratch, and so on), acrylic-in-gloss, acry-glass, matt acrylic, back-painted glass on aluminum profile with gloss or matt, wood veneer, ceramic from Spain and even stone for your shutters. Depending on what is chosen will scale the price up and down. An indicative price range on finishing material is Rs.500 to 2500 per sq.ft, so to say. This is purely the external finish and what goes behind, as narrated above, has no correlation to the final kitchen cost.
Fourth, select the material desired on the countertop, dado area, breakfast counter. There is a range of options here also. You can select start from the basic granite (Indian), Italian granite, an array of engineered stones, solid surfaces, marble (light load kitchens). Wood isn’t a popular option in India but nevertheless, used. The price point per sq.ft for natural stone to engineered could well start at Rs.200 going to Rs.3500 for the material alone. The installer would charge another Rs.200 or above per sq.ft. Also, note that the engineered stone comes in slab size and wastage must be factored-in while making selections.
The kitchen seller will never include this cost in his quote unless he is giving you an end-to-end solution. He will also not include plumbing, electrical points as a cost. The assumption being the site has all these agencies working and to avoid conflict, plus the ambient light controls are all a part of the interior designer working on the project.
All four aspects have cost implications individually and collectively and therefore need to be understood. It will help in taking the decision required at every step or else you’ll be at sea.
Don’t get misguided
While you research, some carpenters, fitters, and local buddies will indicate a square feet cost to lure you. That’s one thing that doesn’t work in the kitchen and if you’ve followed what has narrated above, you’ll appreciate my submission.
Every unit/cabinet can be made functional using different options of hardware, its brand and price point. Similarly, the use of accessories inside and pullouts, lift ups will dramatically change the cost in the given layout. Should an over-smart shopkeeper does that then you’ll not know what all is included. His/ her motive is to sell a price and a profit and not what you need and eventually miss it. Don’t forget you don’t do your kitchen often and you want value and the best functionality with longevity.
If you’ve decided to use modern-day hardware then its best to get a factory-fitted kitchen over a carpenter. A carpenter would neither have the requisite tools nor the know-how. Remember – the hardware in a kitchen is not conventional brass hardware but technologically advanced soft closing hinges and drawers. The accuracy and proficiency required are best achieved in the factory, that’s what you experienced in the stores and on TV ads, etc.
Premium kitchens – How much would these cost?
Kitchen costing can run out of one’s hand like any other area in your house. This is valid for a kitchen made in India or the one imported from Europe. Once your requirements ere FIXED/FROZEN you’ll get closer to your desired costing. I will break it down as we move ahead. A well-balanced kitchen in the above-mid segment having an area of 120sq.ft (+)carpet with loft units will be as under for a PARALLEL KITCHEN;
- Cabinetry in the range of Rs.8/10 lacs with a combination finish.
- Indian quartz (engineered stone) for countertop/dadowill cost Rs.70,000/-aprox.
- Appliances such as free-standing 600 ltrs fridge (built-in ones will cost much more), Hob, Chimney, Microwave Oven, Oven, dishwasher could well be totaling to Rs.3.5/0.80 lacs.
- So, your budget looks like Rs.12 lacs to 14. (8+0.7+3.5)
- Same design and features in a European mid-segment range will be Rs.15/18 lacs plus for the kitchen cabinetry alone and the rest is the same. Above mid towards premium European could well cost you Rs.25 lacs upwards.
- You can scale up the appliances to well-known brands and go to Rs.5/6 lacs.
- Looking at Built-in fridge add Rs.3/4 lacs easily for regular ones and not premium brands
- Remember – All European brands too have entry, mid, premium and luxury range in their portfolio.
I have deliberately kept many different options of baking, cooking out of the above and which will take the cost very steep.
Most importantly, all Indian makes will make kitchen cabinetry/shutters in PLYWOOD and all Europeans in PARTICLE/CHIPBOARD and shutters in MDF.
Our local preferred material as suggested by worthy Architects/Designers is Plywood only for longevity.
After learning of all possibilities stated above you will come to a conclusion, if not, ask me again and I will be happy to help. You need to undertake this exercise with great care and diligence. In my opinion, the best in functionality, layout and longevity is the goal. Add to it the aesthetics and arrive at a price suitable to ones need. The market has various options, what works best for you is what matters.
The author – Mr Balbir Singh (www.balbirsingh.in) has over 20 years of experience in designing and commissioning high-end curated kitchens for multiple international brands in India. He is based out of Mumbai and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org