By their very definition, Naked Kitchens start each project by going back to the basics, designing and building each kitchen from raw materials in their own unique manufacturing facility. Producing some of the most exciting kitchen projects, they are frequently breaking new ground in kitchen design. We had the privilege to speak with Lottie McCrostie about the unique approach Naked takes to create a truly one of a kind kitchen.
Thank you Lottie for taking the time to tell us more about Naked Kitchens. Take us through the process of creating a Naked Kitchen.
Naked Kitchens’ journey began back in 2011, when our parent company Norfolk Oak (who still create all our solid wood worktops) noticed a gap in the market for truly bespoke, great-quality kitchens at a reasonable price. All our kitchens are designed, sold and built by our team here in North Norfolk, meaning we can ensure all our products are amazing quality without charging the earth to cover massive overheads such as high street showrooms.
Our workshop and showroom are based in two old WWII Aircraft Hangars, giving us the space we need for the very latest innovation in kitchen manufacturing. We can design an entire bespoke kitchen in a matter of hours, but that’s not even the real magic. It’s the process where the same design software drives our machining centres. Literally from screen to machine. We now run three CNC machines throughout the day which ensure all our products are cut with the bespoke precision required to make our kitchens perfect. We map all our carcass panels onto large sheets of hardwood meaning our wastage is less than 5%. A bit like mapping cookie cutters onto rolled out cookie dough!
Any small pieces of wood that are leftover are used in our biomass boiler to heat our hangars. The sawdust produced by our machines is removed by our state-of-the-art extraction systems and carried across our workshops to be compacted on-site and turned into briquettes that can be used in our customers’ wood burners. Even less waste!
However, our woodwork machines are not where our innovation ends. We have invested in two paint lines that are some of the largest in the country. Robotic spray arms are programmed to ensure paint is coated evenly and waste levels are at a minimum. We spend hours testing the consistency of the paint to make sure it is hard enough to withstand scratches and dents but soft enough that it won’t chip or flake off and we believe that we have found the perfect mix. Once sprayed our products are cured under water heaters and UV lighting to ensure they are harder wearing than any other painted kitchens on the market.
Each item leaving our production line and workshop is hand finished and inspected to ensure the best quality product is reaching our customers. It is this level of detail that ensures our customers are 100% in love with their new kitchen.
That’s amazing to hear that such old world craftsmanship still exists. Take us through the different options from Naked kitchens. From projects, to cabinets, and doors, how are they different?
The great thing about Naked Kitchens is that we have something to offer for everyone no matter what their budget is. Naked Kitchens is where our business began. We wanted to offer completely bespoke kitchens without the astronomical designer price tag that we often see from other bespoke brands, and we think we have achieved this perfectly. Our Naked Kitchen carcasses are designed from Oak or Walnut Veneered Plywood which makes them amazingly strong and hard-wearing – we even balanced a Land Rover Defender 110 on top of them to prove this! Average quotes for a Naked Kitchen cost between £15,000-£30,000 and we can also offer a design service at a small offset table fee if you are starting from a blank canvas or need our expert designers’ advice! At the top end of our Naked Kitchens service we also offer ‘Naked Projects’ which are unique, one-off kitchen designs that have been built especially for you. The prices for our Projects start at £30,000. Naked Projects are the ultimate expression of individuality; a level of bespoke rarely found. Every element is examined and questioned to produce simply the most exquisite kitchens on the planet.
Next in our range we have Naked Cabinets, which cost between £6,000-£15,000 for all your kitchen cabinetry. Customers can design and order all their cabinets online to save time and money. Whilst the carcasses are made from a slightly different material (Egger) to our higher end products from Naked Kitchens and Projects, they are built to last and still incredibly strong.
At the base of our range, we have Naked Doors. This range costs around £1,000-£6,000 on average to purchase doors for an entire kitchen. We can create amazing quality Shaker and Slab doors that customers can design in bespoke sizes and colors and order online. These can be used to update their existing kitchen or to fit cabinets purchased from another supplier such as Howdens or IKEA. We feel that no matter how much our customers are spending on our products they will receive some of the best quality kitchens available on the market. The bespoke nature of our services also means that we can turn our clients’ dream kitchens into reality.
Wow! I think it’s amazing that you have all these different options. It’s really a perfect opportunity for anyone to have a great designed kitchen, no matter their budget. When it comes to helping clients design a kitchen, what is your approach?
Naked Kitchens takes Best-of-British design to the next level, applying inspiration from British heritage and the beauty of the Norfolk countryside in a lot of our designs. The real magic of our bespoke kitchens however, is the way we can integrate traditional compositions with a unique contemporary twist. Our brand is always looking to push design boundaries, be it through color, composition or layout. We always recommend that our customers come and visit our base here in Norfolk as the showroom and workshop are amazing for design inspiration, however if this is not possible or you are too far away, we can organize a virtual tour with our designers over Skype.
Depending on the level of assistance our customers require, we offer design or render services. Both are chargeable, however if the client chooses to move ahead with an order from us, most of the service cost can be offset against the order total. If we have a customer who has an exact design in mind that they may have seen on Instagram, Pinterest or even in their friend’s kitchen; and does not need our design services; we can fully accommodate this and our specially trained designers can integrate their ideas into a CAD design to fit the specification of their room. No matter which kitchen service our clients are ordering from, we are available to speak to at every step of the way. No question is ever a silly question to us, so we are always happy to help with any queries you may have during the design, ordering, production, delivery or assembling stage.
I think the amount of customization that Naked Kitchens can offer by being an end to end solution is truly unique. It’s interesting that no matter how far we advance, we still desire well crafted, quality projects and I think Naked offers a solution for this void in the mass market. Kitchens also play a vital role in making a house feel more like a home. What is your approach for making a house feel more like a home?
We are often asked by our clients at the design stage, how to make their kitchen work both for spending time as a family and for entertaining friends. A lot of customers want their kitchens to feel inviting, but not overreach into the other entertaining and family rooms of the house. We can build large units to hide away appliances, such as your television, to keep your kitchen looking clutter free when they are not in use or when guests visit.
A great way to make your kitchen more homely, is to incorporate an island within your design. Whether you are keeping a watchful eye on your children doing their homework as you cook, sharing a delicious meal with your loved ones or even having a good old gossip over a glass of wine, an island can be the perfect solution! They also provide a wonderful centrepiece and storage haven for your kitchen. If the space does not allow for an entire island it is always worth considering adding a smaller breakfast bar to your cabinetry as an equally practical alternative.
Creating an inviting, bright space by maximising natural light and emphasizing colour is always one of our high priorities to make a kitchen feel like home. Colours and textures throughout a kitchen can work together to create a space that is unique to you and your family. If you want the space to feel truly homely it is important to pick a style that will feel ‘lived-in’ and most of all, practical for your lifestyle.
I do believe a kitchen island is truly a way to make your house a home. It’s creating that gathering place, a communal table that can be shared among friends and family. The centerpiece of the space that helps transition food to table perfectly. What are your “Golden Rules” for the perfect kitchen design?
When working on a kitchen design for a client we tend to give them three basic rules. Firstly, think about your work triangle – this is the route you will use the most when cooking; between your refrigerator, cooker and sink. If you ensure these appliances are quick to move between it will make your life so much easier in the long run.
Secondly, pick a design that will actually fit in the space you have. We like to make sure there is at least a metre between pinch points in the kitchen, so you don’t end up crashing into each other if more than one person is using the kitchen at a time. For example, if the room feels too small for an island, don’t try to squash one in because in the long run it will get on your nerves! Sometimes less is more and by reducing the number of cabinets you are squeezing into the kitchen, it will make the room feel much bigger.
Lastly, and probably our most important rule of all, is sometimes it is good to break the rules! We love working with our customers to push design boundaries. Be it through mixing and matching colours, textures, appliances or even straying from the traditional kitchen layout, sometimes the most impressive and eye-catching kitchen designs are born when rules are broken, so think outside the box…or kitchen!
Those are really great rules to follow and something that I think is unique for Naked to focus on, because of your involvement in design and manufacturing. It allows you to consider every detail without being constrained to a pre-built structure. What trends are you seeing in kitchen design that you are loving?
We’d say that the biggest trend we are seeing and loving in kitchen design is colour, colour and more colour! Whilst we will always love to design the classic cream painted Shaker kitchens, more customers than ever are exploring the use of bright colours for their cabinets or even using several different colours within their kitchen. Pink, yellow and green are colours that are being requested more and more in our kitchen designs. The beauty of Naked Kitchens is that a customer can have their cabinets colour matched to any paint colour they have seen so the possibilities really are endless.
We are also seeing metallic splashbacks increasing in popularity and almost every week we get an enquiry about them! We produce these ourselves in Brass or Copper and they can be hand-aged, patinated and lacquered here in our workshop. We love them as they make a kitchen look very eye-catching and the real beauty of them is that as they are hand-finished, every one we produce is truly unique.