NEWS | Round-up VIEWPOINT Retailers are ready

for the 4G challenge KBSA national chair Richard Hibbert on the growth in popularity of multigenerational kitchens and why KBB studios are able to satisfy that demand

Retailers choose to stay ‘appointment- only’ after restrictions are lifted

Some showrooms are building their expertise by

specialising in 4G

MULTIGENERATIONAL KITCHENS are still seen by many retailers as something for the future. We all understand that as people live longer, and more families choose to share the same home, they will become increasingly important, but at the present time the demand is small for high-street retailers. There are some showrooms that are building expertise in this area by specialising. There is also some excellent work being done at Newcastle’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing, where a fully working prototype of the 4G Kitchen, created by designer Johnny Grey and expert in ageing Professor Peter Gore, has been installed. This kitchen design is based around intensive user research and provides inspiration to all designers wanting to create aesthetically pleasing, sociable and safe environments for young children right through to adults of all ages. Designers usually begin the process by asking questions about the make-up of the family and how they want to use their new space. It is one of the major differentiators that an independent retailer has more time to focus on the needs of the customer and really take time to develop a unique solution for them and their lifestyle. Questioning the customer about how they

will use the kitchen, the family members that will be sharing it and how long they are likely to keep the kitchen for, will determine the way a designer creates the space. Designers that have up-to-date knowledge of innovations in appliances and new research can offer a wide range of options to facilitate the creation of beautiful kitchens that are functional and long lasting. Products such as those featured in the Newcastle 4G kitchen, multiple rise-and-fall countertops, smart ‘cooking anywhere’ induction surfaces, and hidden embedded appliance powering so there are no electrical leads, are all available. There are also many design decisions that can have a big impact on how easy it is to use a kitchen. Pull-out pantries, for example, with drawers and rotating organisers, make it easy find things. Counter-height microwaves will mitigate the need to bend and reach for access. Creating wider pathways allows for multiple people to use the kitchen at once and can accommodate someone in a wheelchair. Providing worktop space that near ovens and hobs will avoid people having to carry hot dishes too far. Even placing hot water taps close by the tea making area, will avoid overreaching. Independent retailers are well placed to take up this challenge as demand rises and provide family spaces that are safe, sociable, functional and fun.

• Learn more about Johnny Grey and Professor Peter Gore’s 4G kitchen on pages 32-35


EVEN WHEN restrictions are fully lifted, two high-profile retailers say they will stick to an appointment-only system as it ensures customers are serious about buying, helps designers feel valued and speeds up the process. Ritchie Hanley, a designer from Ability Kitchens in Chester, and Jo Geddes, a senior designer at Kitchens by JS Geddes in Kilmarnock, spoke on The kbbreview

Podcast. Both retailers have worked on an appointment-only basis since they were allowed to reopen after the first lockdown and will keep the system in place once restrictions are lifted. Geddes explained how this system works for JS Geddes: “Although we are totally for the appointment only system, we will not reject someone that comes to the showroom. We are very lucky that we are not a high-traffic studio. “We are encouraging appointment-only or phone ahead, which most clients are doing, but there has been a handful of people who have come unannounced, but we won’t turn them away. It is striking a balance between what we want and what is realistic for the business.” Hanley agrees and believes that appointment-only working gives customers a better level of

service as designers can focus on one project. He said: “It is key for us as a retailer that we can spend more time focusing on the clients. So we have got an appointment-only system, rather than spending two hours on someone who has wandered in that we never see again.”

Edinburgh retailer ‘heartbroken’ as floods strike for a second time

NAPIER BATHROOMS in Edinburgh has been flooded for the second time in eight months in July’s flash floods. The showroom was damaged in October last year after a similar flood, and it had only recently reopened after an extensive restoration and refurbishment. The 30-minute downpour left Napier Bathrooms and several parts of Edinburgh flooded and in need of extensive repairs. Founder Johnny Bacigalupo (pictured) said: “Just as we have completed our work on the most beautiful showroom, we are absolutely flooded again. It is heartbreaking.” Local people and friends came to help with the clean-up of the showroom. He said: “If I’m trying to find positive things in this, I just thought it was so charming that so many people offered to help and just arrived at the showroom with

mops and buckets, which made me want to cry. It made me think that the worst times bring out the best in people.”

The damage sustained in October was about the same as it was last month, however Bacigalupo and the team were able to get into the showroom much more quickly this time. He also explained how, in October, the worst damage was only visible in the weeks following the floods, as the water started to dry and flooring and walls started to break, which means that, at the time of going to press, the full extent of the current damage is, as yet, unknown.

Edinburgh council has since said up to 37mm of rain had fallen – that’s around half the average July rainfall – in one hour. The council said the downpour was beyond the capacity of the city’s drains and sewer system.

· August 2021

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