Planning a new kitchen is an exciting project, but there are many decisions and choices to be made. When faced with these, you may encounter a number of technical terms that you might be unfamiliar with. To help, we have produced a short glossary with explanations of some of the key terms used in the design, production and installation of handmade kitchens.
Bespoke is a word used to describe how a kitchen is designed and made. It is a word which is used more often than it should be, as lots of kitchen companies describe their work as bespoke. Bespoke means, made to a specific style and size and from specific materials. The majority of kitchens, probability in excess of 90% of them, are usually made in large factories and are not bespoke. These kitchens are manufactured in large quantities into specific units, whereby each unit can comprise of a door, a drawer and a carcass unit. These units would come in various widths, such as 300mm, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm and so on usually up to 1200mm. This way a company can produce hundreds of units at the different sizes at very competitive prices. These various units are then assembled together to form a full kitchen. This type of kitchen is great in an ideal world, but can have a lot of limitations. The main limitation being that the sizes available will not suit all houses and as such filler pieces need to be used. On the other hand a bespoke kitchen is a kitchen specifically designed and manufactured to suit the style the client likes. It can be made to any size to suit perfectly, the room where it is to be installed. This kitchen will always look far better than a standard kitchen, and if the design and workmanship are first class, the kitchen will resemble furniture of the finest quality and will last a lifetime. At John Bosco we only manufacture bespoke kitchens.
An ‘in-frame’ kitchen is where the design and style of the kitchen resembles the classical and traditional styles of furniture. It is where the doors and drawers of the kitchen are fitted flush within a frame, mostly if not all higher end bespoke kitchens would always be made in the in-frame style. The frame allows for a lot more detail to be displayed on the kitchen. An example of this would be the frieze element below the cornice, showing the low relief detail, as seen on our Victorian styled kitchens. The frames are generally beaded or bevelled around their edges, which gives a lot of extra detail to a kitchen. A standard styled kitchen doesn’t have a frame and as a result the doors and drawers are fitted directly on to the carcass. An in-frame kitchen requires the doors and drawers to be fitted flush with the frame which takes far greater cabinet making skills than for a standard styled kitchen. An in-frame kitchen once fitted resembles more traditional and classical styled furniture, it is also stronger in structure and should last a lifetime. At John Bosco we only manufacture bespoke in-frame kitchens.
CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design. This is where the design and drawings of a kitchen are produced using computer software.
Dovetailed drawers are drawers which are made usually using a hardwood timber such as Oak. The sides, front and back of the drawers are jointed together with dovetails. This is where the timber joint is cut in the shape of a ‘dove’s tail’, which allows the joint to interlock together. This type of joint has been used for hundreds of years and is the strongest type of joint that can be used in drawer making. We manufacture all our drawers using dovetailed joints at John Bosco.
Kitchen pilasters are decorative turned columns that add character to a kitchen. They are typically used in traditional and classical styled kitchens. They are often used to create a focal point in a kitchen such as around a hob, sink or island unit. They are also used to ‘break up’ a flow of long units and give greater character to a kitchen. We manufacture our own pilasters at John Bosco so we have the flexibility to manufacture them in any style.
There are various types of counters used in kitchens. Bespoke in-frame kitchens would normally use stone counters of some type or other. This is because various style details such as curved units and the use of kitchen pilasters necessitate counters to shape around the units below them. A standard kitchen countertop would not suffice here as these counters are only good for units that are in a straight line. Stone counters can be cut and profiled to suit any curve or kitchen pilaster detail. They also look far better and can incorporate various other details such as recessed drainers around under mounted sinks, which adds a touch of class to a kitchen. Stone counters are usually available in two formats, these are natural and quartz. Natural stone includes two main types which are granite and marble, as these are natural products from mother nature, they can have very distinctive grain patterns in them, and no two pieces are ever exactly the same in colour or grain structure. Granite generally comes in darker colours, it is generally porous and certain types are susceptible to staining. Regular sealing of the kitchen countertop can prevent any staining problems. Marble on the other hand is a lot softer than granite and it generally comes in lighter colours. It is also porous and will stain easily, and would need to be sealed regularly. It is normally not used as a kitchen countertop but is used regularly on bathroom vanity units and as shower backs. Quartz is a manmade reconstituted stone, it looks similar to natural stone counters but doesn’t have a grain structure. It can come in a vast range of colours from light to dark, it is not porous – so it will not stain, and it is generally stronger than granite. One of its other main attributes is that it is homogenous in structure. This means one piece is generally the same as the next, so when two pieces are joined together, the joint if properly installed is practically invisible. Quartz has become more popular in recent years due to the vast range of colours available, so counters can be chosen to compliment any colour scheme. Solid Surface is another type of kitchen countertop which can be used. Its use is quite common in the USA. It is a manmade product, which is usually made from bauxite, marble dust, various pigments and either an acrylic or polyester resins. It is known for its use in kitchen counters and bathrooms where seamless joints are required. This allows the counters in a kitchen to follow any shape and have no joints shown, including the joint between the counter and the up-stand. It is non-porous, won’t stain, can be profiled and shaped to any style, polished to a matt or gloss finish. However, it will scratch more easily than any of the stone counters, and it can deform under hot pots or pans, but can easily be re-polished and repaired back to new at any stage.
Soft-close Doors and drawers:
Generally all drawers used in kitchens today are now fitted with special runners that allow the drawer to glide open and close easily. A soft-close version of this will allow the drawer to close slowly and without banging. Dovetailed drawers made from solid timber can also be fitted with soft-close runners. These are fitted underneath the drawer and remain concealed from view.
There are two various types of hinges used on kitchen presses. The most common type used for many years and especially on in-frame kitchens are the butt hinge. These hinges can be seen from the outside when the doors are closed, and they can come in various styles and finishes. These hinges are traditional in nature and do not have soft-close features. Concealed hinges on the other hand, cannot be seen when the doors are closed in a kitchen. These hinges are available for use on both standard and in-frame kitchens. These have been developed over the years and are now available with soft-close functions, which works similar to the soft-close drawers, in that the doors will close softly and without banging. They also have in-built adjustments available on the hinges to allow a door quickly and easily to be adjusted without removing it. At John Bosco we give our customers a choice of either butt hinges or concealed soft-close types, and we always use soft-close drawer runners with our dovetailed drawers.