Keeping in touch with you all...
Welcome to the 6th edition of the View
It seems crazy to think that we are now on the 6th edition. It’s been such a short time since the team sat together at Blum HQ, brainstorming ideas of how we could communicate to our friends and partners during these strange times. With every edition we are learning what you, the reader would like to have included inside the View. We are grateful for all the feedback that you are giving us, it’s really amazing how many people are now regularly reading our thoughts and as always we are very thankful.
We are now back to mainly working at home for 75% of our colleagues and of course this comes with its own challenges. So once again, I would ask you to be patient with them as they settle in to a home working cycle.
Thank you for your continued support.
All the best
Cover photograph: Duncan Andison/Shutterstock.com
Working out at work...
In previous issues of View we've reported on the fact that most of us spend 13 hours a day sitting down and looked at ways to 'deskercise'. In recognising that the healthy workforce is a productive and happy one, we now share six suggestions we've found for optimal working bodies.
DON'T BE A 'COACH' POTATO
Consider walking, cycling or jogging for at least part of your commute. On public transport, get off one stop early and continue on foot!
LOOK THE OTHER WAY
Aim to escape your desk for a few minutes every hour. Chat instead of emailing and focus your eyes on something in the distance, away from your screen.
STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Avoid the lift and use the stairs whenever you can. It will raise your heart rate and can increase muscle strength.
STAND UP FOR GOOD
Organise standing or walking meetings. These are guaranteed to get you (and your agenda) moving!
LET'S DO LUNCH
Always try to leave your workstation for lunch, even if only for a brief jaunt across the road and back. It's great for circulation and clears your head.
When it comes to food, go for nutritious and delicious – get the diet right then, combined with exercise, you'll work well and stay well.
Introducing our UK warehouse...
Raj Tanna is the Warehouse Manager and has been with the company since February 2020. Raj welcomes new challenges, asking how it can be done instead of if. His fun fact is when he’s not working, Raj loves nothing more than cooking for his family and friends, with the ingredients taken straight from his garden!
Changing times and changing minds
View was delighted to talk to Elizabeth Pantling-Jones, Managing Director of Lima Kitchens. The company not only shares its home town with Blum but also much of its ethos. In recent months Lima Kitchens have found their adaptable mindset has paid dividends.
Elizabeth started out in the industry working for Hygena at Currys. After being made redundant and not settling into a new role, including a direct sales position, she, and a former colleague Matt, decided to go it alone. “After all, if they can make a living why can’t we?”
Fast forward to this year when every business has been tested, Lima knew they had to adapt in order to ride the storm and are pleased to be reporting a healthy order book right up to Christmas (and into the New Year). By adapting their approach quickly and introducing a virtual service, it enabled their services to continue throughout the pandemic. By April they had seen nearly double the number of leads over the same period in previous years. Elizabeth attributes this to reacting quickly and creatively with Lima’s offering, and being responsive to enquiries where other kitchen retailers were scaling back. Lima have always had a strong
social media presence, but they implemented and embraced newer strategies to maximise engagement and reach to potential clients. Many of these practices are likely to remain as permanent features of their service and marketing strategies.
Since the lockdown Lima have seen a steady increase in demand for kitchens, home offices and generally more flexible working spaces. Other areas
that have grown in popularity are boot and laundry rooms, as customers seek to declutter and create functional zones in their homes. Increased working from home has also created the need for fuss-free Zoom backdrops! Elizabeth is excited by styling trends leaning toward bolder, braver colour palettes and clients choosing for themselves rather than being governed by future resale value.
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Shutting up at the start of the pandemic was never an option, we just had to figure out how we could deliver our service virtually without compromising our integrity!
MD Elizabeth Pantling-Jones
Elizabeth comments that the most challenging aspect of this crisis has been the communication from suppliers on stock delays, factory openings and logistics. Although all of these inconveniences still continue, she is pleased to have seen an improvement over the past month. Lima prides themselves in having a clear signposted service; guiding clients through decisions and managing expectations. Therefore, struggling to find accurate and timely information from suppliers makes that hard to deliver. “It becomes difficult to instil confidence and a stress-free experience with an ever-evolving timetable” and, as she passionately puts it, “This removes the joy”.
On the broader subject of industry collaboration, Elizabeth recently signed up to the kbbreview100. She feels strongly that instead of being cynical of the competition, that we should view each other as peers – engaging and respecting our individual places within the market
Written by Matthew Glanfield
Talking about Cabinet configurator...
KBB 2018 was a good year for Blum’s Technical team, this was our first opportunity to play with the early versions of cabinet configurator and since that time we have been able to see it grow. We revisited it at W18 exhibition and previewed the current version at KBB 2020. At those times there was one single question, “when will it be released?”. Here we are October 2020 and it has arrived, but what do we think about it.
Up until now we have had DYNAPLAN supporting our customers for a long time and we have got used this software, but by switching to cabinet configurator the change felt evolutionary. 3D design, drag and drop elements, minimal screens, no software download. All these changes made me feel like we were in the future.
The first thing that came to me when using it recently was Speed. I was compiling some example templates to use in training and for the sales team. These templates range from 3 drawer packs, SPACETOWERS, SPACE TWIN, to oven enclosures. I had put aside a couple of days to make these templates. It took me less than 1 hour, at the end of this exercise I have 10 cabinets with PDF planning drawings, CAD files, Bill of material lists and the ability to share all of this.
In completing this exercise what I also noticed was the power of free design within it, drag and drop shelves, fronts, and the ability to plan in empty space it really made it easy to create complicated cabinets. Also, I do mean it when I say create the cabinets because it now includes construction information of the carcass, such as dowel and screw positions.
I could go on about cabinet configurator a lot, but I will not, it is something you all should try and see for yourselves. Oh, and its free so just log into E-Services so there is no reason not to give Cabinet Configurator a go.
With so many mixed (and at times contradictory) messages out there it’s not surprising that the installation community finds itself baffled by ‘the science’ and reeling from the ever-changing regulations.
Damian Walters of The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation attempts to cut through the sea of rules pertaining to working in customers homes in his really helpful Podcast with Andrew Davies on 13 October (recorded 8 October). He acknowledges that they are seeing widespread uncertainty among members and, with so many projects in the pipeline, guidance is sorely needed. Governments are vague says Damian, but he admits that he can’t really blame them!
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Making common sense of Covid
Making common sense of Covid continued...
You can listen to the full interview and read the latest detailed notes on the BiKBBI site but here’s a View overview of the salient points:
- It is not and has never been illegal to work in other people's homes
- In all areas of the country homes in effect become redefined as a 'workplace' so the rule of six doesn’t apply
- Local lockdowns will restrict movements so it's important to check all current rules in force
- Complacency could cost lives so watching for symptoms is key and then strictly adhere to isolation protocols
- Produce a simple risk assessment even if not formally required to do so
- The professional should always take the lead rather than relying on customers!
Overall the BiKBBI suggest to members that all guidance requires the application of common sense. Before crossing any threshold it's important to establish that there are no risks and always check with the homeowner on a regular basis if anything has changed.
Advice from BiKBBI is very clear and will
help to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spread and the risk of future litigation during these unprecedented times.
Go to their website for the
complete guidance notes here
by Linda Parker
In The Dark The trend for black kitchens
Black kitchens are definitely enjoying a moment in the limelight, and it seems that it’s a trend that will keep on growing. Can black be considered a neutral? Well, why not – it’s a colour that acts as an absolute statement, that doesn’t actually clash with anything (well it doesn’t look brilliant with dark blue, but that’s about the only colour we can think of!). Black cabinetry has the power to enhance even the smallest shots of colour in the rest of the kitchen, such as handles, upstands, splash backs and even pendant shades or the painted interior of a glazed cabinet. Black works particularly well with brass, copper and chrome cabinetry fittings.
Practical Style Notes
• Team black, graphite, grey and nearly-black cabinetry with contrasting work surfaces, such as white acrylics with a hint of sparkle, or marbles with highly defined colour markings, think greens and blues.
• Suggest black taps, sinks and appliances to your clients... Taps and sinks will stand out dramatically against pale work surfaces, and black appliances will visually blend with dark cabinetry for a harmonious look.
• Lighting is going to be of great significance ... consult with experienced lighting designers to include interior lighting, especially for bigger cabinets such as breakfast or larder cupboards
• Blum Blumotion in Onyx would be a very good choice for dark cabinets, ensuring the dark theme continues inside and out
Futures Photo 1 Black-painted Artisan kitchen with oak breakfast cupboard interior, John Lewis of Hungerford
Futures Photo 2 Classic bespoke kitchen with flat matt grey-black finish by Brayer Design
Futures Photo 3 Tinkisso contemporary kitchen tap, by Dowsing & Reynolds
Futures Photo 4 Accessorise with a Matt Black Oval cast iron casserole, from ProCook
Futures Photo 5 Segue into the dining room with Big Boucle Noir sisal, from Kersaint Cobb
Futures Photo 6 A boiling water tap is a must-have, this is the Signature Boiling Filter tap, from Qettle
Gary Griffin, Sales Manager, Rational UK, says ‘Dark surfaces within a kitchen work well -whether as an accent colour or as part of a two tone combination. Black was once considered to be a ‘daring’ option that many wouldn’t consider as a decorative feature within their homes, but it is now seen as a more sophisticated choice that can add depth and formality within a design. Matt finishes in particular are a key feature of the move towards black, we are seeing these paired with a gloss or metallic surface elsewhere in the kitchen to help create a balanced look’
Futures Photo 7 Carattere kitchen in Slate Black matt lacquer, with Soft Steel island and legs, by Scavolini
Futures Photo 8 Drinks station with pocket doors, bottle rack and bar surface, from the Cucina Colore range by Mereway
Futures Photo 9 Levante suspended extractor in Graphite tempered glass, by Falmec
Futures Photo 10 Geotech granite one and a half bowl sink, other formats available, by Caple
Futures Photo 11 Strato range with matt laminate doors with textured metallic finish and pocket sliding door system concealing storage in Anthracite lacquer finish, by Rational
Futures Photo 12 Atlas Professional single lever tap in matt black with pull down spray, by Abode
from Amanda at Blum Experience Centre
Out of the Fire and into the Fryer
Wow, we’ve come a long way from cooking on an open flame to Blum’s Electric assisted motion technologies, if the last few decades have taught us anything, it’s that kitchens are continually re-inventing themselves. As designers we find ourselves at the cusp of a kitchen revolution as the demands of the modern home now require a more technological and sustainable approach to living spaces. But let’s not forget where we’ve come from, because the human body is still worth considering in your design. Looking backwards to go forwards is key to understanding and including an ergonomic approach. Let the kitchen take the strain. Allow the kitchen to lean into you, so you don’t have to lean into the kitchen! Don’t worry though, all the hard work has been done for you... In 1922 Christine Frederick created the now famous string study. In 1926 Margaret Schutte Lihotzky designed “The Frankfurt Kitchen” and in 1927 Adolf Schmeck was already considering zones in kitchens.
Still incredibly valuable research and recommended reading for anyone designing a kitchen.
Get in the zone
We all want a kitchen that looks amazing and the way it looks can take precedence when decision making, but beauty is more than skin deep and living with your choices for 15 to 20 years means you need something that will last the test of time as well as look good. If you follow this simple guide, you’ll still be in love with the space for years to come, it will be a feast for the eyes and fulfil your desire for functionality.
We all crave order, ease of use and keeping it simple, your kitchen doesn’t have to be a challenge. Think about the tasks you and your family perform on a regular basis and in which order you do these. An optimal workflow makes for a more harmonious space. Everything where you need it, and within easy reach, who wouldn’t love that? Consider the following five zones and the order in which you perform tasks. This way you can personalise the space and make it work for you.
Where do I start you may ask? Start by
dividing your kitchens into the zones; Consumables, Non-consumables, Cleaning, Preparation and Cooking.
|Consumables Zone – The ‘Consumables zone’ should focus on food you need easy and quick access to.|
|Non-consumables Zone – The ‘non-consumables’ zone is designed for crockery, cutlery and glasses.|
|Cleaning Zone – The ‘Cleaning zone’ features the dishwasher and sink, with space for your cleaning utensils and agents.|
|Preparation Zone – The ‘Preparation zone’ is where you’ll store utensils needed for preparing food, all within easy reach, ready to go.|
|Cooking Zone – The ‘cooking zone’ should have enough space for all your pots and pans, situated right next to the hob.|
Now I've planned my zones, how do I use them you ask? The layout of your zones will be influenced by the shape of your kitchen. here’s an example of the most common layouts using effective zones:
|U-shaped kitchen||Island kitchen||G-shaped kitchen||L-shaped kitchen||Galley kitchen||One-counter kitchen|
If you follow these simple rules for planning your kitchen, the result will be a space which works for you and the way you run your kitchen, so it not only looks great, but also performs ergonomically.
Blum UK, Mandeville Drive,
Kingston, Milton Keynes, MK10 0AW
Tel +44 1908 285700