A fitted kitchen isn’t your only option: Here’s why freestanding units are a good idea
A freestanding kitchen gives you so much more flexibility than a standard fitted kitchen, allowing you to add as you go, move units around and make sure the space is always working for you.
We have recently bought a new house and I’m counting my lucky stars because it’s everything I ever wanted. But when I say it’s new, it’s only new to me. In fact, it’s quite an old house, no one has lived in it for some time and it feels like every layer we peel away, more work is being revealed.
As a result, we’ve had to rework at the budget and because we’re renting, we really need to get into the house ASAP. That means that structural work, water-tightness and insulation take first priority – and probably most of the budget with it.
I’ve been thinking that a freestanding kitchen will give us a little bit of room to grow and change as the budget allows. For now, we only really need a hob and a sink and opting for a classic cooker means we can move units in and around it, unlike a built-in oven.
A freestanding kitchen has plenty of benefits, not least that it doesn’t require the large, immediate investment that a fitted kitchen does. I have no real idea of what I want for the house yet so it’s great to keep flexibility. Choosing a freestanding option means we can add different units in stages and we’re not contending with the uneven walls of the old house. They’re also great for smaller homes, where your kitchen might also double as a dining and living space. You can pull units out to encourage communal cooking and then tuck them away when you’re not using them.
When thinking about freestanding kitchens, traditional styles, vintage furniture and flea market finds come to mind. And while curating these kitchens can be very cost-effective, but it can be time-consuming with the DIY that are usually necessary to get them into shape. If you don’t have the time or patience to trawl through auction houses, markets and second-hand shops, there are lots of companies that you can turn to and some might surprise you with really modern freestanding kitchen units too.
1 This has to be my dream kitchen. The super slick Vipp kitchen is a modular concept consisting of four types of units: an island unit, an island with seating, wall units and tall units in a choice of black, grey or white. The stainless steel countertop of the Vipp kitchen features an integrated sink and Vipp tap. Choose between three or five gas hobs to match the size of your kitchen. Prices starting from £12,500 for a kitchen, Vipp
2 Definitely not a budget buy, but oh so dreamy is a deVol kitchen. The timeless handcrafted units are made to order and shipped worldwide. Freestanding Kitchen, price starting from £25,000, deVol
3 Whether your kitchen is fitted or freestanding, a moveable kitchen island is a really handy addition. A brilliant way to zone social and cooking spaces, they can be repositioned when extra space is needed and create more workspace. The Vadholma Kitchen island in black with an oak worktop is modern with a rustic charm that complements traditional kitchen styles. Vadholma kitchen island with rack, €425, Ikea
4 Chawton is Neptune’s “make it yourself” freestanding kitchen. The carefully crafted units in tulipwood and oak come in various combinations of bottom units and dresser tops, in a range of sizes and styles to choose from. Single height cabinets start from €490, with base cabinets from €1,175. See Neptune for Irish stockists.
Photo: Alice Clancy
5 Back in October of 2017, GKMP won Interior Designer of The Year at our Image Interiors & Living Design Awards. This kitchen design is located in a listed Georgian building so the shelving units in solid oak are freestanding pieces of furniture, respecting the heritage of the building by sitting clear of the walls, dado rails and skirtings. The kitchen adds a modern twist to the otherwise traditional Georgian interior. GKMP Architects
6 When it comes to more traditional kitchens, this one is the winner for me. Another beautifully crafted glass cabinet by deVol from the Haberdasher’s Kitchen range with unpainted oak cupboards inspired by mid-century haberdasheries. The display unit offers lots of storage options for your most-loved glassware, ceramics and linens with the glazed doors that has such nostalgia. deVol
7 The Victorian Kitchen Company is based in Dublin and are specialists in freestanding kitchens. All the bespoke kitchens are handmade and hand-painted in a choice of colour from Farrow and Ball paints. They only use sustainably sourced solid wood which will always outlast units made with MDF. Drawer units with oak countertops as above starts from €950 each, the Victorian Kitchen Company
Featured image: Vipp. This article was originally published in February, 2020.