Beautiful, unique kitchens that induce envy on Instagram? Or robust, carefully engineered kitchens that are designed and built to last? These days customers are demanding both. And if their kitchen can be designed and built in Britain using local talented craftspeople, well, so much the better.
We talked to Scott Slater, co-founder of sought-after luxury kitchens brand Kesseler, as well as Kesseler’s head of marketing and brand development, Nic Shacklock, about why customers are choosing to buy British, how no two Kesseler kitchens are the same and why the most important part of a kitchen is the food that comes out of it.
The most striking thing about a Kesseler kitchen? They’re all different. “The clients we work with don’t want a kitchen that looks like everybody else’s,” says Slater. “We appeal to people who are imaginative, brave and bold, and care about the little details. They want a kitchen that’s unique to them and doesn’t look like it’s come off the shelf or out of a catalogue.”
For most of the range, clients can choose any paint colour from any colour chart. And the design element is carried on behind the cabinet doors too. Instead of ubiquitous, unfinished white, clients can choose a colour or wood finish. So it’s possible to have cabinets with dark indigo blue painted on the outside and a blush pink interior? “Absolutely, if that’s what the client wants,” adds Slater, “we positively encourage it. Clients love the fact that they can go paint shopping and bring us something from, say, Farrow and Ball, and we can match it.”
Of course, what also sets Kesseler apart from other luxury kitchen designers is the patented Fortis system which uses an ancient method of wood joinery for all the cabinetry, although Kesseler has taken it one step further. “The family background is in engineering,” says Slater, “so we found a way to machine engineer this traditional interlocking system on a large scale in order to build an entire kitchen. Because this is patented, we can genuinely say that nobody builds a kitchen like we do.”
The result, according to Kesseler, is the most robust kitchen chassis on the UK market, which is incredibly strong and rigid, and built with more precision too. It means the cabinets are squarer, the doors hang perfectly, and the overall look is sharper. “We say all our kitchens are ‘machine-precision hand-built kitchens’” says Slater. And because they’re built to last, Kesseler gives clients a lifetime guarantee.
Made in Britain
All Kesseler kitchens are built in a small Nottinghamshire town on the edge of the historic Sherwood Forest. And this is a major selling point. “Clients like the fact that we’re a British company,” says Shacklock. “After the difficult year the UK has faced, people are more inclined to spend money on British products in order to support the economy.” And because everything is made in Britain, lead times are considerably faster than Kesseler’s European competitors.
“The beauty is that we’re quicker all round,” adds Shacklock, “and our supply chain is shorter. We’re not going to suffer at any time in the near future from potential increases in shipping costs, or have containers with essential components getting delayed in ports. For our clients, that makes us a really attractive option.”
So what’s the process for buying a luxury Kesseler kitchen? Kesseler currently has eight branded showrooms across the UK with plans to have 20 in place by the end of 2021. Clients can book a one-to-one design consultation with a Kesseler in-house designer, take along their measurements or architectural drawings and talk through their options. And it’s that designer who manages the entire project too, from the first conversation all the way through to installation.
Projects are usually within the £15,000 to £35,000 range although larger properties can come in at around £60,000. “There’re a Kesseler kitchen for every type of UK property,” says Slater. “In the UK we have a number of distinctive architectural styles from Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian to new builds and New York style loft apartments. Our kitchens are designed around the eclectic styles of British homes.”
But it’s not just exceptional cabinetry that Kesseler take seriously. The company has chosen to partner with some of the industry’s most innovative designers and manufacturers including iconic Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg, granite worktop brand Konigstone and Derbyshire-based Blok kitchen knives. “Occasionally our customers will keep their old Aga range cooker and put it in the new kitchen,” says Slater. “But most opt for new appliances, and as a brand we strongly recommend Smeg.”
“We chose Smeg because their brand very much aligns with ours,” adds Shacklock. “Like Kesseler, they value function as much as beautiful form. It’s not just about designing an oven that looks beautiful; it’s about the food that comes out of it too, and the amazing memories those special meals create.”
Preparing food, cooking food and eating food are really what a Kesseler kitchen is all about. “Yes, our kitchens are beautiful to look at, but they’re also practical to use and well thought-out,” adds Shacklock. It’s why the company has chosen to work with Laurence Henry, 2018’s MasterChef: The Professionals winner, as a brand ambassador.
The Nottingham-based chef is a regular visitor to the company’s factory floor and is a vocal supporter. “[Their kitchens] are just so beautifully designed and built. They have amazing appliances that make it easier to produce amazing quality food, plus really clever storage so you can keep things organised and tidy, and a great worktop too.” says Henry. “For me, as a professional chef, it’s clear that Kesseler really put thought into every element of their kitchens which is why it was the perfect brand for me to work with.”
What’s next for this brand that’s been delighting customers since 2010? “We started out using independent showrooms to sell our kitchens. But as clients began to engage with our story and the enquiries grew, it became important for us to open our first branded showroom a couple of years ago,” says Shacklock. “The long-term goal is to have one showroom per county. We’re a national company serving all of the UK. We want to make it easy for people to see and feel the product, and get excited by the journey they’re about to embark on.”
And the secret of Kesseler’s ongoing success? “There’s been a resurgence in people wanting to buy better built stuff,” says Slater. “So our clients come to us because of the incredible quality of the build and the beauty of the finished product. People are looking for something that’s unique. Something with a bit of soul.”
Contact Kesseler today to book a kitchen design consultation.