Top tips for buying a kitchen from the Exeter In-Toto team
PUBLISHED: 10:10 02 April 2015 | UPDATED: 10:10 02 April 2015
Emma Parfitt finds what's making a splash at Exeter's
new upper-floor In-toto kitchen showpiece
At home you may love, or hate your own Devon kitchen. A tricky Marmite moment in mine spurred me to head off to Exeter’s In-toto kitchen showrooms, at the Venture Centre, Yeoford Way, Marsh Barton, outside Exeter. Here I am to see what is making waves in worktops and plinth lighting. I first hear In-toto Paul Nebbett’s latest news, off the hob, over freshly brewed coffee from the Siemens espresso machine.
Owner Gordon Bates, (or Mr In-toto, Exeter), eagerly relates what the family-run business team, with wife Angela and son Luke Bates, are rolling out. Gordon Bates has an impressive 30 years of kitchen designer expertise, and the business and commercial backing of his wife Angela and son, Luke. Latin scholars might be forgiven, for not remembering that the phrase in toto means in all, “completely, or in total” and as Gordon points out, that is what the business is about - a complete approach to kitchen design. Business is certainly bubbling along, having celebrated its 21-year anniversary last year, and currently notching up an order book of around 40 West Country kitchens a year, the franchise is cutting-edge. The client has the satisfaction knowing that there is a five-year guarantee with each fitted kitchen. Some clients have been known to make a stopover here at the Exeter showroom on their way to their home in Cornwall, to see German brand values in person. Choices are extensive. Deliberations over which worktop fits the bill, or what package of an intelligent sound and lighting solutions entertains, definitely provides food for thought. The initial consultation process can take a few weeks.
The newly fitted upper-level showroom should focus minds. Customers will now see a set-piece gleaming white high-gloss masterpiece in German engineering, doors swinging slowly shut in shimmering high gloss, masking new dark grey deep drawer boxes with glass sides. Trends in eating also determine style-setting decisions: now we like to dine and cook in one space with the family in tow. Here there is little chance to drop your popcorn unnoticed, or even a splash of gravy from your Sunday roast on the sparklingly swish white porcelain In-toto floor. The Bianca polished finish is pristine and perfect. The whole design works well - everything on tap - spelling out a sense of merging, assimilating, blending, meshing, and homogenising, and a good deal of integration – luxury design in form and function. Sleek lines mean clutter is binned (messy cooks take heed- I mention no names!). Everything is hidden away, but within reach. Love it or loathe it (and we are all lapping it up) - we want our kitchens to blend seamlessly and work as one.
The new design had everyone in the team chipping in: Paul, and Lee, as Gordon conspiratorily whispers: “having their say,” and you can see excitement building as they unwrap the swish new cupboards. Drawer units are so sleekly turned that they do not boast a handle - just a groove. Doors can even be tipped closed by a hidden motor - no need to stretch heavenward, and lights and sound altered faultlessly, flicked to suit your mood. To top it all, the new designer easy-clean and hardwearing Neolith Iron Grey (12mm thin) porcelain worksurface (other shades are available) withstands the roughest of heat treatments and can be coloured and contoured in thickness to suit. Worktops now have accents of colour and grade lines, plus can have antibacterials embedded. Gadgets are no longer put on display - but modestly placed in deep drawers for a minimal feel. Kettles taking an age to boil are an In-toto no no. We are now plumb to meet the new Australian-born Zip tap (G4 Hydro-Tap from one faucet), unveiled as a new way to get to boiling point down-under, if stock pots call for a top-up.This tap can be located away from a sink - on an island, or corner of a room and has its own font to drain into. It effortlessly dispenses boiling, chilled filtered, and even sparkling water- on tap, and a Hydro Tap certainly hits the trend radar hotspot. Impressive Siemens appliances include the induction hob - in metal look glass (model EH879SP17E (IQ700 range) two single ovens, and a swish steam oven.
Steam ovens offer moisture-rich roasts and fluffily risen scones. Gordon relates that we often want what chefs have - the shiny island unit showcase, a place to perform a recipe to friends and table to prep the kid’s homework. A chef’s trio of ovens is not uncommon. Other clients seek more solace in lighting zones, or audio enhancers. The team calls in Exeter’s Intelligent abodes company to help in offering a table of audio entertainent options with touch-sensitive controls. Taking a hands-on approach, do go and visit the new In-toto Exeter showcase. It speaks volumes in what can be achieved in entertainment at the wave of a wooden spoon, when a luxury feel is what many desire, at heart, fully integrated and decently configured, top-drawer In-toto.
Robin’s top tips for success
1: It is very important to be able to communicate well with your kitchen designer and ensure that you could be able to work well together.
2: Do your research. Think about what you want,- but be open to new suggestions from your designer.
3: Be able to inspect the goods prior to purchase. Go to a local showroom and see what you would be getting to avoid any surprises and see the quality you are being sold.
4: There are certain precautions to be taken to safeguard and guarantee monie. Ensure your kitchen deposit is safeguarded and ask what stage in the design and fitting process monies would have to be transferred. In-toto ask for a deposit of 25% when ordering, a lot of companies ask for a 50% deposit.
5: Get involved- after all, you make an order for a new kitchen only once or twice in a lifetime. Enjoy the experience. Relax and have a bit of fun – it is exciting after all!
See more at in-toto.co.uk Meet the team at 3 The Venture Centre, Yeoford Way, Matford Park, Marsh Barton, Exeter, EX2 8LB (01392 824888). (Sunday: closed).