Journal

What makes a Guild Anderson Kitchen so special?

Exploring the true value of bespoke design

August. 2021
While we all have a view on how we want our kitchen to function and to look, the skills and work that go into the creation of a contemporary bespoke kitchen can be more of a mystery.  What really separates a masterpiece kitchen from an average one?  Why can some kitchens cost vastly more than others?  What is the magic that happens in the vision, creation and production process that adds this value?

While once style was everything, we now have to consider the impact that fast fashion and poor manufacturing are having on the planet.  The decisions we make now will affect future generations and impact our environment.  Many more clients are asking us how they can be more sustainable in their homes.  We believe certainly that investing in things that last is key.

At Guild Anderson we have always believed in the value of quality and a truly bespoke, hand-crafted product. While designing and building cabinetry that will wear and last produces a more expensive end product, the option of cutting corners, using cheaper materials, buying in ready assembled carcasses, etc ultimately delivers less value to our clients, compromises their pride in their home and is irresponsible in terms of sustainability.

Some furniture manufacturers may describe their cabinetry as bespoke, but often they offer carcasses and drawers that have been mass produced to a standard size of 600mm or 900mm, and then add your choice of cupboard or drawer fronts.  When you delve deeper and ask for adjustments to those standard sizes to fit your room, they then have to charge you a fee to create such “bespoke” sizes.  Often the wood they use is MDF, and the cabinets themselves are not only made in China, they arrive fully assembled, creating a huge carbon footprint.

This summer 2021 the government is to introduce a bill to ensure that white goods are now built to last longer.  New legislation aims to make them more energy efficient by tackling the short lifespans built into appliances by manufacturers, so that customers have to buy new ones sooner.

There will be a legal requirement for manufacturers to make spare parts available to consumers, potentially extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years and cut carbon emissions from the manufacture of new goods.  This is only going back to a much more mindful way of manufacturing, rather than the throw-away culture we have seen more recently.

At Miele, for example, each appliance has always been designed to conserve energy and natural resources, without compromising performance.  They stock spare parts for at least 15 years, keeping older appliances working perfectly, and recycle metal from old machines into new ones, to create a circular economy.

To ensure that Guild Anderson creates a kitchen that lasts; we cannot follow the methods adopted by the high street.  We need time, quality materials and products, and a highly skilled team of people that we invest in to ensure the end product is the best it can possibly be.  Guild Anderson recommended Miele appliances, amongst others, because their design and manufacturing ethics are in line with us as a brand. 

“We aim to be honest and straight forward with our clients”, says Nick Anderson, “we don’t want to make as much as possible for as little as possible; we want to make something that lasts, something uniquely special”. 

Often the cost of a bespoke kitchen is compared to the price of a new car.  These days there are many different price points for both a new family car and a new kitchen.  However where any modern car can take an astonishingly rapid 17-18 hours to build, a bespoke kitchen can take 400 hours or 10 weeks to make, plus no less than 120 hours to design!

Each piece Guild Anderson make is the product of years of experience, independent thought, love and care; sensitive to the materials we are using.  These pieces of furniture are crafted using the most creative techniques; they are intended to last for many years, they are an investment in quality of life, and in the future.

Behind the scenes at Guild Anderson are a group of individuals; all with varied experience and skills.  When brought together their combined experience ensures that each kitchen design is unique.  Each detail is considered many times throughout the design process.  Each element is discussed; time is given to each area to ensure that the finished result is faithful to our agreed joint vision, will efficiently support our client’s lifestyle and is built to last.

Our furniture designers are creative and practical people with excellent drawing skills, an incredible understanding of layout and plans, good communication and listening skills, as well as spatial design skills relating to dimension and structure.

Like all artists, our designers must possess a keen sense of aesthetic beauty and a good eye for detail.  These skills enable them to take a project from inception to completion, mixing style with practicality to create furniture that is both functional and beautiful, working with a variety of different materials like wood, metal, stone, and not forgetting a paper and pencil!

In the modern world of furniture design; a thorough knowledge of computer design software is now essential.  Computers have enabled the design process to develop in a positive way, making us more efficient; extremely detailed, and above all accurate.

We have always felt it important to invest in our company; great staff, machinery and premises.  We are incredibly proud to have our own workshop, powered by solar panels, designed for us, by us.  In our workshop are experienced cabinet makers; with an eye for detail, problem solvers with a passion for working with their hands and with wood, creating beautiful timeless furniture.  Most started as apprentices learning the skills passed down through generations of wood workers.  They require patience, perseverance, dedication, and pride of workmanship. There is something very special about creating a piece of furniture by hand; bespoke pieces that are unique to your home.

When these teams of individuals come together magic happens.  Across all departments we use a combination of face to face meetings and Zoom to discuss plans, layouts, finishes, materials.  We harness each individual’s expertise to ensure that what we create enhances your home for future generations. 

Your investment in our combined expertise ensures that these skills continue, so we can invest in new apprentices and keep these precious trades and skills alive.  We think of it as a “revolutionary old idea” – a belief in the value of traditional craft skills, of a very personal design vision bespoke to every client, and a commitment to longevity and sustainability. These values aren’t for everyone, but at Guild Anderson we are lucky to work with many like-minded individual clients; an experience that is more a collaboration than a contract.

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