Our magazine of moving
ideas for changing times


Tips on looking after yourself at home - page 3

TechTalk answers the big question - page 4

Designer insights on kitchen lighting  - page 10

Highlighting talent and innovation

Lockdown 2.0 is now in full swing and let’s be honest, we are surrounded by doom and gloom whether it relates to COVID or BREXIT every day. Sometimes the need to crawl under the duvet in the morning and not get up, seems like a great option.

Yet I am feeling very positive at the moment. On a daily basis I am surrounded by people and customers who are demonstrating incredible resilience and fortitude in surviving the current crisis. On top of that, we are delivering new and innovative ideas daily on how we can turn this current situation into a positive both for our industry and our individual companies.

There is no doubt that the high level of talent that is held within our industry is being positively highlighted inside these present circumstances.

This month I wrote an article about the importance of education within the KBB sector and although it is tough to take a long-term view at the moment, the need to continue to encourage young innovative minds into our sector, has never been more important than it is now.

All of our future success will be firmly rooted in the positive forward-thinking decisions we make today during this turbulent period. Once again thank you for all your support. Stay safe.

Cover image: courtesy of Jones Britain - see their article page 6

Positive thinking from the home front

As the second big lockdown continues, many of us will be back at home for work and must be forgiven for feeling really down about it. Covid fatigue, without the physical virus, seems to have afflicted the nation. View is here to lift those dark clouds by searching out handy hints, and we came across these 10 steps (recently increased from their original set of 7).

The helpful list includes some aspects we have previously covered in our ‘Wellbeing’ section; looking after your body, staying connected to others and reaching out to people around you because helping is great therapy!

On other subjects, we are urged to focus on the present as a smart mental health strategy. Also, to keep learning as a means of boosting confidence and broadening one’s horizons. We are reminded

that looking after our sleep is easily forgotten. It’s not just getting enough rest that matters, but also achieving a consistent quality.

The article moves on to tackle sensitive and deep-rooted issues around anxiety. Step number 7 advocates that “it’s okay not to be okay” and that we should discuss our worries. If we choose to stick to the facts when news bulletins bombard us it can keep a sense of being overwhelmed at bay. It ends by giving a few points on how to feel prepared and ready to solve problems as they arise. Staying on top of difficult feelings and maintaining control is definitely something positive to take away from this.

Click here to read all 10 steps

Written by Peter Sharrat

The big question... which hinge

Are hinges something you take for granted? Or just simply something too confusing? Looking in the BLUM catalogue you can see how many hinges we currently produce. There are around 127 pages devoted to hinges because we try to offer solutions to everyone’s individual needs. I am hopefully going to try and de-mystify some of this and give you the chance to find the perfect hinge. So, there are two main types of hinges based of the installation method, the MODUL and the CLIP top ranges. Our CLIP top range is broken down between CLIP top and CLIP top BLUMOTION.

The simple difference between the two is that CLIP top ranges clip on and off tool-free, whereas MODUL is a screw-on hinge. I want to concentrate on the CLIP hinges here, they are the newest and most comprehensive range.

The first question to ask yourself is “how much do you or your customers want the door to open by?” This is usually the best way to narrow down the exact hinge, but not always, as we will see.

The next question would then be “how is my door sitting on the carcass” and this falls into three different variants, overlay/lay-on, inset or sometimes half overlay.

By answering those two questions you should be able to select your hinge if it is a simple application. The only choices then would be soft close or not, and ways of fixing the hinges to the door.

For Pete’s full thoughts on which hinge may be right for you, the full blog can be found on our website here

Onside with our Sales Administration Manager

Hi there, my name is Priti Briscoe and I am the Sales Administration Manager here at Blum UK.

At present, there are 6 of us in the department covering the areas of Orders, Internal Sales and Operations. With such a broad remit we are currently extremely busy trying to manage and cope with the unprecedented levels of global demand that Covid has created within our industry. As Raj said in the last issue, nearly 20,000 pallets have gone through the warehouse since January. That equates to over 83,000 lines processed by the team.

In this high-workload period, I consider myself lucky to have a team that is passionate about what we do and the service we provide. We have pulled together to provide support to each other and our customers whenever possible on both a business and personal level. Our present situation only reinforces the mantra that every day is a school day here at Blum. Even six years in I still get presented with new challenges.

However, as a team we have yet to come across a situation we can’t overcome together. During these unprecedented times, the only certainty that I have is that my team and I won’t stop trying to make things better. For us, giving up is not an option.

I’m not sure what else can be said about the overall current climate and what we are currently experiencing. The impact of the Pandemic is so far and wide both on a business and personal level and, unfortunately, there is no handbook on how to best handle these challenges. We are all learning as we go through the process and can only hope for a return to ‘normal’ in the near future.

For everyone who has fallen ill to this virus or faced other challenges such as the strain on mental health, we wish you the best. The current climate can’t last forever and together we can persevere through the storm. I find focusing on what is precious to me helps. My son, Ayden, has been a beacon of positivity for me this year.

It was wonderful to see how at just 8 years old he adapted so well to the new way of living. My husband Andrew and I are blessed to have an amazing network of family and friends to depend and rely on. With their continued support, I see hope for a better tomorrow.

Please everyone, stay safe.

Priti Briscoe is the Sales Administration Manager and has been with Blum for six years. Priti has created a long list of accomplishments whilst being at Blum, becoming an integral part of the business. Her fun fact is that every Saturday she is out cheering on her boy Ayden at his Football matches come rain or shine and yet she has no clue what the offside rule is!!!

Contact her: info.uk@blum.com
Blum UK Main Office: 01908 285700

Staying ahead of the curve

Award winning designer (and owner of Jones Britain) Dan Stronge is inspired by the world around him. He spoke to View about an ‘interesting’ year and shared his thoughts on what makes this kitchen specialist so different.

From a young age, and during his early school days, Dan was winning art prizes. These formative years meant that he was destined to pursue an artistic career. Talking to Dan it’s also clear that creative flare and an entrepreneurial spirit runs through his blood – his family were toy solider manufacturers and his great grandfather was the inventor of hollow die cast moulding.

Dan's background in retail began (after 3 A-levels in Art and a University degree in 3D design) as an admin assistant at a kitchen studio, where he went on to become showroom manager and designer. Following a brief spell in France, and a skiing holiday with a client as the catalyst, Jones Britain was born in 2009. Today their showroom is well established as the home of top-quality design for high-end projects.

Dan is a very keen cook and believes this allows him to approach the functional aspects of kitchen planning with consummate ease. When it comes to aesthetics, there is definitely a stamp of personality on all the work in his portfolio. One can trace the stunning free-flowing curves, evident in many of the case studies, back to Dan’s love of nature. He reflects on the fact that his own landscape photography has directly informed lots of the designs. A circular banquette and an amazing asymmetric slanted door for instance are aspects of a world he’s explored that feature in the homes of Jones Britain customers. Dan enthusiastically admits that the more taxing process of finding innovative solutions and taming challenging shapes excites him.

Continued on next page...

This business could function by appointment only forever.

MD Dan Stronge

As a self-professed perfectionist, Dan doesn’t use standard software packages, but prefers to draw his room design schemes from scratch. “It’s all about design” and for Dan the CAD approach can “stifle creativity”. This principle has been successful, earning Jones Britain a reputation among local clients for creating something unique. Dan wants the buying experience to be special for clients, telling View that by virtue of the company’s compact size, clients enjoy access to him at every stage.

The process has been affected by pandemic restrictions and Dan tells us that his watchword for 2020 has become ‘Expect the unexpected’. His best guess is that the involvement of technology in their business has doubled and its influence is probably here to stay. Dan thinks that it’s now the more serious buyers that Jones Britain is seeing as those people are prepared to make extra effort to engage. He is realistically optimistic as a result and ends by making the point that “One kitchen sale can turn a bad year into a good one!”

See the Jones Britain website for more about them and their approach

The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (Kbsa) is a trade membership organisation of independent specialist home retailers and start-ups. We welcomed Richard Hibbert to View for a review of what’s on offer and discussion on how Kbsa can help our readers.

Richard explained that the association has around 200 showrooms who are current members and is talking to nearly 3,000 more in the UK. Alongside promoting the fundamental principle that independent businesses have a great deal to offer customers, Kbsa can also play a greater part in a retailer’s business. There’s access to low-cost consumer finance and a payment protection scheme (to provide security for deposits). Help with capital expenditure on cars or vans is also offered, as well as EPOS systems. There’s a great legal support line and Kbsa has close links with Funding Circle for growth and expansion plans.

It’s about upholding standards too and prospective customers will often look for the Kbsa mark as a guarantee of excellence – so being part of this leading network delivers real commercial gains. Not forgetting the annual awards which are a huge vote of confidence for those recognised.

In partnership with Quooker, Kbsa is currently involved in an extraordinary initiative. Quooker funding has secured a £250,000 support package for independent kitchen retailers across the UK. With the aim of encouraging consumers back to the high street and driving footfall into independent showrooms nationwide, the campaign is running until the end of this month. See next page for more details...

If you are considering membership, want to learn more about the many benefits and the process of joining Click Here

Being independent without going it alone

KBSA being independent continued...

Quooker kick-starts the campaign

The Kbsa and Quooker media spend is expected to reach in excess of 1.2 million readers across national newspapers and magazines.

Kbsa national chair Richard Hibbert said, “This national coverage is proving to be a huge boost for our members, some are already reporting increased enquiries and footfall resulting from the national promotion”.

For more information

Download the membership brochure

How to get kitchen lighting right...

This issue we share an expert blog by one of John Cullen Lighting’s Senior Designers, Estefania Marquez. It features design tips and ideas on how to plan kitchen lighting and what should be considered – from lighting warmth to layering and positioning.

This thought piece shows us how lighting can make or break a kitchen. Functional lighting is crucial to make sure the areas for cooking, working and eating are all well-lit. Decorative lighting, architectural lighting, accent lighting and a simple operating system are equally important.

We all know the central role kitchens play as a hub through which all life passes, from the first coffee of the morning to the last snack of the evening. Estefania shares lots of valuable insights for both large and small spaces, bringing us a wealth of knowledge from John Cullen Lighting (the home of world-class luminaires and award-winning lighting designs) .

Read the full article by following this link

Silestone Loft by Cosentino Linda Parker

Linda Parker was invited to the virtual launch of the new Silestone® Loft with HybriQ+ technology by Cosentino. Here she guides us through the background concepts and developments that led up to creation of this stunning collection.

Cosentino produces and distributes innovative surfaces for architecture and design, and has just launched the new range of Silestone ® Loft colours, inspired by industrial looks, textures and style dating back to the mid-20th century. It’s a look that has been seeping into our psyche, influenced by the filmic style of spaces such as industrial workshops and warehouses, abandoned factories and the resulting loft apartments after renovation and reclamation. This look uses materials such as concrete and cement surfaces, old, distressed beams, exposed pipe work, and remnants of rusting industrial equipment – the style leaves spaces looking unfurnished and unfinished. Cosentino has pulled all these thoughts and ideas together and the resulting Loft series of five designs (Camden, Poblenou, Seaport, Nolita and Corktown) provides surfaces that will provide long-lasting, innovative and highly desirable looks.

Silestone® Seaport is reminiscent of the small seaside district in south-eastern Manhattan. Exposed brick, worn concrete and characteristic wood from the docks form a chromatic range that has inspired this Silestone® colour, very similar to dark, worn cement with its striking white highlights.

Background: Seaport from the Silestone Loft series
Centre inset: Watch the Seaport Designs Tips video
Left inset: Seaport moodboard and inspirations

Silestone Loft by Cosentino continued...

Silestone® Camden is inspired by one of London’s most influential, alternative areas. Posters and ephemeral works of art are part of Camden’s history. Camden is a soft, delicate and consistent grey, with a fine grain and a very subtle white veining – versatile and adaptable.

Silestone® Poblenou takes its inspiration from the industrial revolution in Barcelona . Poblenou has a Mediterranean influence; it’s a warm shade of grey with very subtle veining on its surface. It has a sandy background that brings brightness and offers a comforting texture and familiar feel.

Silestone® Nolita is another New York inspired creation. Nolita means North of Little Italy, and is the palest shade of the Silestone® Loft collection. Nolita can be considered cold and industrial, yet when blended with shades of whites and light greys, it creates an elegant fine line, free of strong contrasts.

Silestone® Corktown has been created to honour Detroit. A walk through its streets or a glimpse of the iconic Michigan Central Station is enough to recognise its historic industrial splendour. Corktown, the dark background blends beautifully brown touches and an extra matte finish.

Silestone® HybriQ+ One of the significant new features of Silestone® Loft is the use, for the first time, of the innovative and exclusive HybriQ+ technology. This new production process adheres to the company's commitment to the environment, the circular economy and sustainable management. Thanks to this innovative process, reused raw materials, such as recycled glass debut in the manufacture of Silestone® Loft. In addition to this, Cosentino’s production process is carried out by employing 98% recycled water and 100% renewable energy.

Watch the
Loft series
launch video

Managing Decision Fatigue

from Amanda at Blum Experience Centre

In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. Decision fatigue may also lead to consumers making poor choices with their purchases.

Looking closely at the journey of a new kitchen purchaser, on average they find themselves having to make up to 200 separate decisions, flooring, lighting, plumbing, colours, layout, budget, building regulations, etc. Based on those decisions it’s no wonder they get to the point where they feel paralyzed and find it difficult to move forward with a clear perspective.

As designers, managing this overwhelming prospect and setting out expectations for clients is key. Having information ahead of time, knowing the order in which decisions will be needed and not creating panic with last minute deadlines will certainly help keep them positive and engaged.

The order in which the decisions are made, in my opinion, also needs careful consideration, all the fun and exciting decisions made on finishes and visuals first, leaves little to no enthusiasm left to discuss all the other options. Clients get fatigued by it all and then are not open to further discussion about additional or add on products.

One example of this I often hear is Internal Dividing systems. Designers and retailers tell me they find it difficult to raise this topic and clients are not open to discussing this element. Unsurprising as after 200 decisions, the thought of this fills them with dread.

My formula for success is to design from the inside out, and from floor to ceiling. This way the client is engaged when energy levels are high and then have a renewed lease of enthusiasm for decision making as the finishing touches come into the spotlight.

We’ve created a mind map to help you and your client visualize the decision-making process when designing a kitchen. We all know no two kitchens will be alike, nor will the client’s desires for what they want, but I truly believe going through and understanding the range of decisions will help drive that enthusiasm to keep going to the end.

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Tel +44 1908 285700