NEWS | Round-up VIEWPOINT ‘I’ve got my mojo back!’

Continuing her monthly series, Natalie Peters of Kitchens Etc in Norfolk, describes her experiences during the second year of her Foundation Degree in kitchen design at Bucks New University

Topps Tiles bags rival for £3.3m

So far all of my columns have covered what I am learning on the course, but this month I wanted to talk about the support that we students receive that helps us along. This is because I recently hit a brick wall with my studying and didn’t know what to do. It’s not that I’m a novice at distance learning. I left school at 16 to work in our family business full-time and have done a fair amount of post-educational training, which has included NVQs, an A Level and two interior design courses. But I’ve struggled recently with our main module assignment that completes year two. I started off in one direction, thought I was getting somewhere, then hit a brick wall and realised my heart was not in where I was going with it. I stagnated and became quite overwhelmed and daunted. The pressure was building and, with the ever-looming deadline getting closer, I started to get quite concerned and worried. With working full-time, having two children, as well as doing this degree, having structure and knowing what I am doing is the only way I can function to keep on the ball with everything. This brick wall left me feeling a bit out of my depth.

With deadlines looming the pressure was building and I hit a brick wall

The assignment in question is the RSA Design Awards brief to design an inclusive, accessible kitchen space or kitchen component that works for all ages and disabled and non-disabled family members. I am basing my brief on my disabled niece. I started off on a solely product-based idea

for a component rather than a kitchen. I was struggling with how to progress with this idea any further. Enter the cavalry. Every two weeks we have a

comprehensive personal tutorial with our tutors by Skype, FaceTime or phone that usually lasts around 30 minutes. They have obviously got to know us all very well now and their intuition is amazing.

One tutor especially has been a consistent and wonderful mentor from the start and never fails to lift my spirits. I shared with them my trouble and woes and the support, advice and encouragement was insightful, practical and achievable. Everything that I needed, considering the clock was ticking. I went back to the drawing board and am now focusing

more on a kitchen, incorporating product design, and have since been adding in some quirky and out-there ideas. I’m happy to report that I’ve got my mojo back. When I embarked on the FDA kitchen design course,

I didn’t realise how much support and guidance we would receive in between our residential weekends. The course is planned and resourced to help all

us remote students stay connected, supported and motivated through the distance-learning process and it far exceeds any of my past learning experiences.


TOPPS TILES has bought a controlling stake in Guildford tile supply firm Strata for £3.3 million plus a £400,000 closing adjustment in cash as it aims to push further into the commercial market. The deal allows Topps Tiles to buy 80% of the issued share capital of Strata Tiles, with the option of buying the remaining 20% by 2021. Up to a further £2m will be paid to Strata should Topps Tiles decide to buy the remaining shares. It said this decision would be based on performance targets over the two-year period. Matthew Williams, Topps Tiles chief exec- utive, said: “Our commercial business is already expanding at pace. The acquisition of Strata will accelerate this expansion and demonstrates our commitment to building a commercial business of quality and scale. “Strata

is a well-regarded and well-run

business with a strong brand and we look forward to welcoming the Strata team into the Topps Group.”

Strata has an office in Guildford and a

showroom in Bermondsey. Topps said Strata is “located close to its customer base within the architecture and design community and is a leading supplier of

and manufacturer DeVol Kitchens has opened its first showroom in the USA. The

firm’s first venture

DeVol opens showroom in New York

LOUGHBOROUGH-BASED bespoke kitchen retailer

GROHE’S VAST mobile showroom will return this year and next, with a number of outings planned at key consumer and trade events across the UK. The Grohe XXL truck, which will feature a

number of the firm’s flagship products using a recycled water system, will be travelling up and down Ireland in a week-long visit in June (4-7), with visits scheduled to the Homebuilding and Renovating show in London in October 2019 and Birmingham early next year. The Grohe truck will also make its first visit to UK Construction Week, an exhibition held at Birmingham’s NEC dedicated to the built environment. Grohe said 34,000 visitors are expected at the three-day event to be held from October 8-10. “We have found the XXL Truck Tour to be a

unique and immersive experience in which we can engage with customers, from installers to architects, designers and consumers, on

shaping the future of water,” said Raj Mistry, Grohe UK marketing director. “This year, we have an even more varied calendar of events where we hope to not only build new relationships with key customers but also educate consumers on the latest sustainable, design-focused innovations they can invest in for their homes.” Grohe will also visit the Bournemouth Air Festival (August 29 to September 1), where it will showcase innovations such as its Blue Home Watersystem.

New additions to the truck include colour finishes from the Allure and Essence lines, basin mixers from its new Plus bathroom range and the Sense Guard water security system.

kbbreview · June 2019

outside of the UK is located in New York city’s trendy NoHo neighbourhood. “We wanted to make our New York showroom feel more like a home, with inspiration from the east London houses we have fallen in love with,” said creative director Helen Parker. “We have always had such

great support from the people of New York and across the US, so we felt this building on

Bond Street was the perfect spot to introduce ourselves. The reaction to our beautiful new showroom has already been incredible,” she added. The firm said every DeVol kitchen would still be made in Leicestershire, England. “We have come to realise that a simple, beautiful hand- made English cupboard is a rare find.” DeVol kitchens have proved popular with the US market. Three years ago the firm signed a partnership with US interiors retailer Rejuvenation to reduce delivery costs for customers.

Grohe mobile showroom revs up for new UK tour

quality porcelain, polished concrete, mosaics, natural stone and technical stone tiles for commercial design projects”.

“Key market segments include transport,

retail, building cladding projects, university buildings and residential apartment blocks.” Topps said Strata will be integrated into the

group’s commercial business unit, established following the acquisition of Parkside Tiles in August 2017. The Strata brand will be retained. In the financial year ended March 2018, reported

Strata turnover of £4.8m and

profit before tax of £700,000 unadjusted for exceptional items. Topps said it expects the acquisition of Strata to be “accretive” to earnings in the current year and beyond.

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