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Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:58

The launch of Mereway

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The launch of Mereway’s English Revival collection

On Thursday the 3rd of October, I climbed aboard a vintage double decker bus and was whisked away to the launch of the newest Mereway kitchen collection.

Why the bus? The theme was English Revival, and the launch celebrated all that is great about Britain - from the decorations to the catering we all enjoyed the best of British. How this would work as a kitchen concept, nobody but the Mereway team knew, but we were all in a state of high anticipation as we made our way over to the showroom.

My initial impression on seeing the English Revival collection was ‘wow!’ The kitchens incorporated traditional English features, with contemporary style and practical design. A major feature was functionality paired with simplicity. For example, the kitchens often incorporated flush handles, but retained draw depth resulting in a design with clean lines, but plenty of space.

Each kitchen was tailored to the spec of the client, for example a kitchen to fit in a refurbished Georgian house which blended the historical nature of the house with a stylish modern twist. Needless to say, I and my fellow guests were blown away by the collection. We were also given a tour around the factory where the kitchens are produced; it was great to see traditional English craftsmanship at work when so many products are now manufactured overseas.

All told it was a great day, the collection is fantastic! Look out for the new English Revival collection in the showroom and press!

Thursday, 04 July 2013 11:02

Traditions or Modern

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Traditions or modern - How to select the right kitchen for your home

It’s the great dilemma – you’re splashing out on a new kitchen and are torn between a traditional or contemporary kitchen. With so many choices on the market, how do you make that final decision?

Firstly – remember you’re going to have to live with this for many years to come. Avoid impulse decisions like garish fashionable colours that will be here today and gone tomorrow. In this case – they won’t!

It pays to get it right first time. Planning and research are the key words – here’s our advice on how to get reach a decision that’s right for you and the family:

Consider your house as a whole – if you want your house to look as if all the rooms belong under the one room, install something in-keeping with the feel that you currently have. For example, in a character cottage you don’t have to stick to completely traditional, but something like a shiny post-modern German kitchen would look simply out of place. This wouldn’t attract buyers when it comes time to move on.

Doing the ground work - You also have to consider more carefully if you want something completely exclusive, or if you live in a listed building. Check with planning authorities beforehand as to what you can and can’t do.

Look around – visit showrooms and look online. Consider all budget ideas (it’s amazing what you can uncover at both ends of the market). Ask to see peoples’ kitchens, read magazines. Keep a scrapbook of the ideas and little touches that you like. The ideas are endless and you’ll eventually get to form a picture of what you’re leaning towards most strongly. Also look at different manufacturers in detail. They constantly update ranges and even finishes to existing ranges. Shaker is a great example of a traditional style that has modernised over time and now sit very comfortably between the two.

Know how you live in your kitchen – will this be the heart of the home? Do you want to live and eat there? Will you need social space too? Do you entertain much? Will the children play in the kitchen? How much storage will you need? All these things dictate the ultimate look and feel.

So hopefully you’ve now a clearer idea of how you’ll use your kitchen. Now down to the overall look. The question here is how long is a piece of string? There are just so many choices out on the market.

Look at the list below and see what words appeal most to you – this may give you some help:

Ultra-modern – epitomised by German manufacturing – think sleek surfaces, reflective materials. Bold colours or stark white. Clean lines, minimalistic and maybe even touches of industrial.

Contemporary – Functional, practical but still inviting. Clean but not cold. Colourful perhaps. Sophisticated, chunky, glass, stainless steel. Practical accessories, knife blocks, modern art.

Traditional – think hand-painted, warm, cosy, wood (painted or plain), rustic, old-world, safe, inviting. Colours like pale blue, green, cream and yellow. Accessories like wicker baskets, china and wooden chests.

Feel any emotions stirring? It may give you a clue as to the style you will like best and how you see yourself living in your kitchen. If you find it hard to make a decision, you could always opt for a combination of the two. It does not usually work to add traditional touches into an ultra-modern kitchen, but a traditional style kitchen could certainly be accessorised with modern handles, work surfaces, flooring and cooker, in order to create an exclusive custom made kitchen for your home.

Thursday, 04 July 2013 10:24

Case Studies - Russell & Gaynor

Russell & Gaynor

Details of what the job entailed...

We were contracted to design supply and install a new kitchen for Russell and Gaynor earlier this year.


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As part of the project we also provided a builder to create a new alcove from the kitchen into the utility room to house an existing fridge freezer this included needing an rsj for support and organising all suitable building control regulations and visits for this.

We were also installing new ceramic flooring with underfloor heating to kitchen- family room- utilty room - hallway and downstairs cloakroom.

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The existing electric supplies and fuse board all needed upgrading to suit the new layout and additional appliances and sockets.

the following pictures show a small amount of the work that goes into the finished project.


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Monday, 22 April 2013 09:12

Choosing Colour In Your Home

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Choosing Colour In Your Home

Obviously, when it comes to selecting a colour scheme for your home, there are no strict rules, but there are reasons why some people always seem to get it right, and others miss the mark.

Colours have deep subliminal meanings that affect our thinking and rationale and we’re faced with colour choices on a daily basis – from deciding what to wear through to our décor. It therefore makes sense to do a bit of research and planning before splashing out on new paint or wallpaper.

Think about the colours that appeal to you; look at your clothes, car, furniture and the fabrics that you surround yourself with. This should help you decide on a palette that feels right.

Nature is also a great inspirer - colours that appear naturally in nature will always blend well together and this follows for your house interior. Earthy tones of greens, browns and creams would be ideal to create a relaxing, peaceful environment, but remember that whatever the colour, the darker the shade you use, the more obvious and dramatic it becomes.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Red- vibrant, warm and energetic. A great colour for kitchens - red has been shown to increase appetite in most people. This is often the reason that many restaurants choose some form of red for their dining rooms!

Yellow - inspires optimism and feelings of wellbeing. A great colour for a sunroom or even the hallway or porch. As you leave or enter the house, you get a burst of optimism and positivity.

Purple - although purple signifies wealth and romanticism it’s a colour not often found in the natural world, and can look very artificial. It works best if blended with more natural colours like yellow and green.

White - symbolises fertility and cleanliness which makes it a perfect base colour for bathrooms. It’s easy to clean and knowing your bathroom is clean and fresh can put your mind at rest and aid relaxation.

Green - inspires concentration so very apt for a home office environment where the faster you get your work done the sooner you can spend time with your family (or go out!).

Blue - is a calming colour that shows creativity and intelligence. It is a colour that looks good in almost any shade and can also be a very popular colour with males. It is a good colour for relaxing in escape rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms.

If you’re painting a room – try sample patches of colour on every wall, as they can look different in different lights. You need to make sure you like the colour all around the room.

Feature walls are great as focal points, but if it’s a very deep or bright colour use it sparingly. Remember, whatever your choice, you have to look at it on a daily basis!


Thursday, 21 March 2013 00:00

Keeping a Bathroom Beautiful

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Keeping a Bathroom Beautiful

Did you know that on average, a family uses a bathroom 26,000 times over 10 years? Bearing such heavy usage in mind, we’d suggest the key to getting the project right is choosing the right products to ensure the bathroom looks good for many years – not just the immediate future!

However, with ever-changing habits, it’s also vital to think about how we use, and will be likely to use the bathroom in the future. Will a wetroom become more useful? With no moving parts, they’re so easy to keep clean and multi-function shower heads that can alter the spray areas are practical and fun and suitable for all members of the family whatever their height!

Alternatively, maybe his and her sinks would be more practical for the next makeover? Or if life is getting more and more frantic, maybe a whirlpool bath would be the perfect answer for de-stressing. Or if space is limited, a deep-soaking tub.

Think also about the lighting – how it can instantly create ambience in a room. Something as simple as a dimmer to the main lights can create the right environment for relaxing, along with good strong lighting over a mirror for those times when you need to see what you are doing.

Updating the heating will also inject a sense of glamour, designer radiators or towel warmers are far more than just a basic necessity but act as a statement and focal point within the room. Or why not consider under-floor heating – there are many alternatives on the market now that are easy to install.

With the bathroom now required to be far more versatile than in days gone by it is time to experiment with the space available so that it can be utilised in the best possible way.

Sapphire Kitchen Competition - Entry Form

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Sapphire Kitchen Competition

You can download and print out this form if you prefer, and drop it into the showroom.



Your Nomination - (Optional)

Approx size of kitchen:
Please attach a photograph of the current kitchen
The reasons why you/ your nomination is a worthy winner: (no more than 250 words)

Sapphire Kitchen Competition - Terms & Conditions

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Terms and Conditions

The prize is a fully fitted Kitchen from the Trend Interiors range to the value of £10,000. It will consist of a standard L shape or galley kitchen of up to 12 units and include an oven, hob and extractor from Bosch.

The design will be subject to a technical survey and final selection of products and fittings will be at the discretion of Modern Homes.

The winner will be chosen after the competition closes at 5.00pm on Friday May 24th and will be contacted by Modern Homes after the competition closes.

Employees of Modern Homes, Trend Interiors and Bosch as well as their families or households are not eligible to enter.

The prize is as stated and there is no alternative, cash or otherwise. The judging panel’s decision is final. Standard competition rules apply


Standard competition rules

  • Competition details form part of these terms and conditions.
  • The entrant(s) must be aged 18 or over.
  • Proof of identity and age may be required.
  • Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, delayed or corrupted, or due to computer error in transit.
  • The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered.
  • Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers' terms and conditions.
  • Modern Homes reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition.
  • In the event of a prize being unavailable, Modern Homes reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.
  • The winner(s) agree(s) to the use of their name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Modern Homes relating to any post-winning publicity.
  • Unless stated otherwise all entries must be made on the relevant entry form available on the website or from the showroom.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner(s). If the winner(s) cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, Modern Homes reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant as selected by the judges.
  • Confirmation of the prize will also be made in writing to the winner(s).
  • Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize.
  • Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision.
  • Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time.

Sapphire Kitchen Competition

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Our Sapphire kitchen competition is no ordinary competition, it is our way of giving something back and saying thank you to all those that have supported our business for the last 45 years.

We are offering one lucky family the opportunity to win the dream kitchen they have always wanted, a fantastic new kitchen designed and fitted worth £10,000.

It is easy to enter all you have to do is complete the on line entry form, on behalf of yourself or someone you know, explaining in no more than 250 words why they are worthy of winning the kitchen.

You can email it back or print it out and complete if you prefer and drop it into the showroom.

Closing date for entries is 5.00 pm on Friday 24th May and a winner will be announced on 1st July. Our panel of judges (Tina Riley from Modern Homes, Chris Lillington, editor of the Leamington Courier and Graham Jones from Trend Interiors) will select a winner.

The kitchen will be selected from the Trend Interiors collection, an exciting new range of kitchens that includes all styles, from contemporary high gloss to classically stylish hand painted shaker designs. The prize also includes an oven, hob and extractor fan.


Click Here to Enter

Click Here for Terms and Conditions

Friday, 08 February 2013 15:40

Kitchen Planning...

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Kitchen Planning - How to get it right

I had some lovely clients come into the showroom clutching their plans from Wickes that they were about to place an order with, but on a recommendation from someone they called into see us. After a quick pricing exercise it became apparent that even allowing for the substantial ‘discount’ available from Wickes we would save them some money.

We then started to discuss the plan, I mentioned that possibly with a family of 5 a single built under oven would not be sufficient for their needs but was told that the Wickes ‘designer’ had told them that that they did not have room for anything else. I commented that I also thought only having one 500mm drawer within the design was a problem, and we also discussed the ’island‘arrangement shown on the plan.

I was then invited to do a site visit, I was keen to do this as experience has shown me that often other people’s measurements can vary considerably and anyway I always prefer to get a feel for the room and décor etc. Imagine my surprise then when the first thing I saw on entering the kitchen was a double oven in a tall housing! A quick count up revealed 5 working drawers in the existing layout but then confusion - I couldn’t see where this ’island’ would be.

Are you re using this space or having an extension, I asked … no this space was the reply .. so where is the island going ? Oh here… so you are losing your table and chairs… no we are having a larger one !!!

At this stage I resorted to the masking tape and having measured out and marked on the floor where the potential island would be we discovered it would leave them 400mm space between their sink run and the island and no room for the table and chairs !!!

It is at this point that I never know whether to laugh, cry or bang my head against the wall! These are intelligent people but seem to have just been influenced by the substantial ‘discount’ structure rather than concentrate on the design.

The story does end happily, (even though my head hurt from banging it!). We supplied and fitted the new kitchen with double oven, plenty of drawers and, having asked the correct questions as to any problems with the existing layout, the addition of a pull-out table in the top of a unit to add more worktop space, better access into the corners and additional units in the dining area to integrate the two rooms.

This was all achieved at a lower price than the existing 50% off price.

Tuesday, 08 January 2013 00:00

Kitchen Compare

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Kitchen Compare...

There is no doubt that the pricing structure within the fitted kitchen industry is complex and that some sectors of the market seek to complicate it and use ‘smoke and mirrors’ in what seems like an effort to confuse and sometimes mislead the consumer.

In an ideal world all pricing would be transparent and honest and customers would be able to make fair comparisons. It is with this thought in mind that I say maybe ‘kitchen-compare .com’ is not all bad as it does highlight how ludicrous the so called promotions are at some of the big sheds.

As an independent retailer I find that the perception from consumers is that the 'sheds' are always cheaper, which is not necessarily the case. We are often eager to compare quotes as in our experience we can offer a more comprehensive service with a better quality of kitchen at an equal if not better price.

The biggest hurdle we find as a small independent is getting the message across that the price isn't always everything and that using a 'specialist' doesn't always involve a higher price. Our expertise in planning and project management means the consumer gets a better service and finished project and when our kitchens seems to be lasting an average of 25 years before our clients are changing them again - why would you buy on price alone.

The pricing structure of the units alone don't take into account the whole picture...a client this week was tempted by the 50% off offer but the installation price of the kitchen from this company was three times the amount that we would charge. She also had to fight to be given the installation price as she was told she would not be given this until she had paid her deposit on the units to hold the 'special' price.

This was on top of being telephoned/emailed 17 times by the salesperson asking when she would be paying her deposit!

Some consumers are researching their purchases in more detail and trying to make a more informed choice before parting with their hard earned money and it is this type of client that we want to help and if by using the comparison website and realising all is not as it seems then maybe that helps them come our way.

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