Consider this, you enter a kitchen showroom, marvel at the design and functions now available to you and are blown away sufficiently to whip out your purse or wallet to place down your deposit and secure the kitchen of your dreams.
‘Kitchen of your dreams’, how often has that phrase been overused in the promotional blurb that’s branded into the mindset of those looking for a kitchen?
As manufacturers compete with one another to create that differentiating factor that will best define the ‘kitchen of your dreams’, what’s been lost on many is that our world and our priorities have changed.
In today’s world, it’s not the radical designs that are top of the list, as eye catching as many may be, it’s the material composition that’s coming more into question and the answers will become an essential factor on future buying decisions.
A changing world is evident all around us and who would have assumed it would become so high on the agenda so quickly. Climate change, flood risk areas, recycling initiatives, sustainable architecture for buildings, wind power, greater energy efficiency, environmental waste management, water saving initiatives – all feature in daily news feeds more prevalently than ever before.
Reacting to the changes was essential and industry sectors right across the spectrum have answered the call to action. Car manufacturers had to adapt and increase their model options, councils had to adopt stricter environmental policies, waste companies became more responsible, clothing and fashion companies sourced more sustainable materials, dog walkers carry a poop scoop, bathroom manufacturers sought ways of reducing water usage and a worldwide standard of building regulations, linked intrinsically to the greater good of our planet, was formed.
And the kitchen industry?? Well, aside from more energy efficient appliances and low energy lighting there appears little reaction to the need to adapt or evolve and still what populates the pages of magazines, websites and blogs is concentrated, in the main, on the appearance of a kitchen. Little matter that the materials being used may not be up to the task, may not be earth friendly or sustainable or recyclable, if they look good – “That’ll do, thank you very much, here’s the deposit, when can you deliver”?
It’s all driven by a sales force of media: social, print, blogs, television, advertising – they all form an influential army, branding the mindsets of buyers with case studies that study little other than the aesthetic worth of a kitchen.
Now, where am I going with this you might ask? Well, I’m hoping to take you into the future but first I’ll take you on a journey into the past, my past to be more precise.
Some 36 years ago, I fitted my first kitchen. It was at Southport Zoo and is particularly memorable for me in that I received my first deposit whilst fitting a Moben kitchen in the owner’s annexe.
It wasn’t a financial deposit but another type expertly aimed by a monkey to land directly on my sandwich as I sauntered around the zoo during a lunch break. I digress a little here only to offer some insight into the lifespan of my career in kitchens to date and to allow you a chuckle at my expense.
Since that time I’ve fitted kitchens of all shapes, sizes, styles and budgets across the length and breadth of the UK. In that period, colour trends have come and gone, door styles have altered yet there’s been one constant – the materials used.
Let’s take chipboard for instance. The majority of cabinets are still constructed using a material, (Chipboard), that’s neither use nor ornament should water or moisture come into contact with it.
It’s irreparable and that’s particularly bad news given the more prevalent threat of flooding we’ve experienced in the UK of late.
And so it became clear to me in the early stages of my career in kitchens that a room that generates more moisture and is prone to more leaks than any other room in the house, bar the bathroom, must have furniture that’s able to withstand that possibility.
I even created a prototype of a protective sink liner that prevented water ingress in the event of a leak. That’s another story though and I refer to it only because it was an avenue I was exploring at the time of my “light bulb” moment.
When I did discover a kitchen capable of offering greater protection against the inevitable leaks that a kitchen is subjected to over it’s lifespan, it was’t this factor that opened my eyes but the fact that it had been developed wholly on environmental grounds. Like many, the growing movement to press home our responsibility to future generations by leaving a healthy planet in our wake, became a greater priority. But it’s important to stress here that an eco label alone wasn’t enough to swing my mindset 360 degrees; there is, and have been, many who jump on the Eco bandwagon and after a long career in kitchens, I’m savvy enough to know what cuts the mustard
Mine had become a journey where I had to forget everything before it after discovering a kitchen range I now promote. This post though, isn’t about my promoting a kitchen range and I won’t make mention of it here.
It’s about an absolute belief that across all product sectors we will have no alternative but to identify the materials that will help prevent a premature doomsday. I had a responsibility because my past made me one of the culprits that contributed to it. One day purchasing without considering the environmental impact of your decision, will be looked upon with the same disdain as leaving a tap running or buying a fur coat,
So, to put things bluntly to anyone who reads this, if you’re buying a house, a car or a kitchen, don’t allow others to influence that decision and yes, that includes me and this post, but do research and allow your decision to be an educated one.
I’m not sitting on my high horse here preaching to the unconverted and I’m no eco warrior, I’m still learning how to change my wasteful past and the first place and best area I can get that message across is in the sector I know most about. Others who have the same responsibility to do that are the influencers who provide content to mass audiences but in my sector, there’s no sign of it….yet.