Get the lowdown from our chief designer
Priscilla Wrigley talks to the Creamery’s own chief designer, Dave White, about the continuing success of their kitchen furniture.
Q1. Well Dave, how long have you been designing kitchens @ the Old Creamery?
A1. Oh. I guess it’s about 10 years. It’s a great job, meeting a fascinating mixture of folk.
Q2. How is the furniture made?
A2. We use small local joinery workshops we’ve known for donkey’s years.
They hand build using traditional skills like mortice & tenon jointing and dovetailing, working in solid wood, then finishing with Farrow & Ball paints.
Q3. Does this make the furniture stronger?
A3. For most customers its not really a question of strength, although, of course, each piece has its own integrity, its more that the furniture is handbuilt by local craftsman specifically for them. If you look at a piece like the Apothecary’s cupboard (p17 of our brochure), there’s no way that can be constructed from flat pack, its been put together, from a scratch design, by cabinet makers, then given a specialist paint finish.
Q4. Dave, that sounds expensive?
A4. Not really Cilla, we use local workshops that work efficiently and as price is a sensitive issue, we fight hard to be as cost effective as possible, given the bespoke nature of the product. I’d say that the ‘ball park’ quote for an average kitchen, excluding appliances, is about £5k, then there are huge savings to be made on fitting. Whereas flat pack has to be built from scratch, our furniture ‘walks straight in’ and usually takes a skilled fitter a couple of days to install.
It’s so refreshing to have the furniture made locally, rather than shipped from the other side of the World.
Q5. Are people worried by the word freestanding and think it’s all about individual pieces?
A5. Sometimes, but we can quickly demonstrate that individual pieces can be bound together with common worktops to form ‘runs’, appliances can be concealed (or exposed), corners can be turned, with clever little devices inside, called carousels, that stop you having to crawl in on your hands and knees. Wall furniture can be linked with interesting details like breakfronts or plate racks to match bases. In fact, if required, we can offer a 95% fitted kitchen.
Q6. What does bespoke actually mean?
A6. Quite simply, tailor made to your exact requirements. Customers can bring their own ideas to the table and after an agreed quote, we’ll turn it into a piece of furniture.
Q7. That sounds a bit daunting… do customers have to plan their own kitchen?
A7. Only if they want to…usually we ask for a few simple dimensions, plus positions for appliances, to be sent (as this keeps costs down) and we do the rest. We have literally hundreds of solutions and will design the whole layout, then ask for feedback. Obviously a visit to the showroom, if possible, is the best option.
Q8. What do you say to people that think all painted kitchens look the same?
A8. Well Cilla, any design that follows a specific brief will have similarities, take the car, for instance, they all have four wheels etc. but what we offer is a host of design options, sizes, accessories, hardware and paint finishes that enable the customer to be instrumental in forming their kitchen’s personality – if that is your sort of thing, then we’re definitely worth a look.
Q9. I’ve heard wooden worktops can be hard work?
A9. Quite the contrary, with a little basic love they can be very forgiving and throw a lovely pale light into the room, especially when coupled with a sparkling Belfast.
Q10. Say the customer has a sweet old cottage with a tiny kitchen and rickety floors, can you help?
A10. Yes, our kitchen furniture is the perfect solution, it’s amazing what we can squeeze in (see Living p29 of our brochure) and still looks really attractive.
Q11. Do you have sales or promotional events?
A11. No, that’s never been our way, the aim is to create a relaxed atmosphere, free from pressure selling and hassle, where we can offer genuine advice at realistic prices, on our handmade, bespoke furniture.
Q12. Ok, so I’m interested how do I get the ball rolling?
A12. Usually we do our best to encourage the customer to visit and walk them through their options. If that’s a nonstarter, then very often everything is done at arms length, plots and plans are exchanged and sifted through, cost effective solutions are found and designs sent for approval and fine tuning, the whole process is relatively painless yet still very involving.
Q13. Dave, one last thing, what’s the deal with the guy and the cigar?
A13. Dave looks into Priscilla’s light blue eyes, shakes his head gently, and says, ‘who knows’…