Episode 32: Kitchen Design Essentials – The Builder’s Insight

This Kitchen Design Essentials episode has special guest, Jeremy Gates from Gaia Construction chat with Frances about some of the key mistakes people make when embarking on creating a new kitchen – and not really understanding the impact of these decisions. Jeremy shares his vast experience as a carpenter and builder on how to avoid mistakes when designing your kitchen, and how a builder can really assist you to meet expectations if engaged early on in the process. A very insightful discussion for getting your kitchen right.



Jeremy Gates Managing Director of Gaia Construction joined Frances in this episode to discuss kitchen design and mistakes, from a builder’s perspective.

The biggest oversight that creates problems for builders from a kitchen design perspective;

  • When somebody has a concrete floor and it’s difficult to get the plumbing in, or there will be damage to the current floor.
  • If you put it in a induction cooktop, and depending on what your fuse board, you may need to upgrade it.
  • Communicating you have a water point for the  fridge

Anything can be done but the implication is the cost. Being informed allows you to make the right decisions that matter to you.

When designing kitchens, builders look at it from the practicality point of view and how it can be constructed.

The best way to approach designing your kitchen

Decide on a budget as it often decides which direction the kitchen is going to be.

  • What are the finishes?
  • Have you got a young family?
  • How are you going to use the kitchen?
  • Is it the hub of the home?
  • Do you do lots of cooking?
  • What are the appliances you want in there?

Have a look  friends kitchens and what may also work for you.

Work out on the appliances you need

  • Do you need a wine fridge?
  • Coffee machine
  • Steam oven
  • Double oven
  • Cooktop size

Think about storage and make sure everything is in the right place Engage with an expert

  • Get people on your job that are going to share the journey with you, that put your priorities first. If you want something that they don’t really think works properly, that’s fine. Understand their reasoning, so you can make the right decisions.
  • They need to listen and really understand what you’re trying to achieve because it is your kitchen, not theirs.

The best time to engage a builder

Engage with a builder early on so you can start seeing realistic costs compared to your budget. It’s good to have an idea about what’s realistic in terms of what your expectations are.

Avoid building a kitchen without joinery design

The cabinet maker’s job is to build what is drawn. To do their job properly it has to be drawn properly as joinery drawings, so it’s easy to review, quote accurately, and adjust if needed. The drawings are essential to provide details such as drawer handles, depth of our drawers, exact measurements, and materials.

Best way to work with a builder

For Jeremy, the first meeting is at no charge. Once you engage the builder it will be for a fixed fee treat your builder as a professional. Ensure they are qualified, and consider their vested interest when giving advice.

Things that clients can do at the detriment to themselves and the end result

  • They design the kitchen themselves and end up paying \
  • They under-capitalise in their kitchen, which is just as bad as over capitalising! Eg. Not making the best use of space in your kitchen. Not being aware of products that are available, that can improve the design, functionality, durability, and aesthetics of the kitchen.

Number one tip for those who want to renovate or build a new kitchen

Find a designer and a builder that have the same priorities as you. Somebody who is on the same journey with you and your kitchen. You have to be comfortable with the people you’re working with. You’ve got to keep focused on the fact that it’s your journey and that you are able to relate to the people on your team. If you don’t actually get along with them or relate to them, you’re never going to get the proper outcome anyway.

Learn more about Gaia Construction and Jeremy’s Services here

Available Services

Overwhelmed by the amount of decisions that need to be made when creating stylish, functional and durable Kitchen? What materials to select, what colours go with each other? We offer several different kitchen design packages to assist with your kitchen design – be it a makeover, renovation or new kitchen. Click the link here to find more.

Book a Chat 

Ready to renovate or build a new home and need help to create beautiful and functional Forever Home?   

Book a Chat with me so we can discuss your project in more detail and see how we can assist. Book a Chat here 

Your Forever Home Book – FREE Access 

Access the first three chapters of the ‘Your Forever Home’ book, a practical and helpful guide to gain insights on how to create a home that will suit your needs for the long term. Get FREE instant access here 


Related Resources:

A Beginner’s Guide to Reading Building

Episode 14: Forever Home LIVE- Joinery Drawings and Why Do Them Early On

Episode 30: Kitchen Design Essentials -Kitchen Design Layouts and Location

Episode 31: Forever Home LIVE- Styles – and how a brief determines the outcome

The five building stages

What you need to know before you build

The building stages and what to expect

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