Showroom of the Month: The Kitchen Depot, Hemel Hempstead

Homely, welcoming and family-friendly were the key objectives behind the recent refurbishment of this Hertfordshire franchise

Taking three months to complete, from December 2022 to March this year, this showroom renovation was a tricky one – being completed in three phases so that the showroom could remain operational. 

The design was carried out by managing director Wesley Read and showroom manager Talisa James, and the renovation was driven by a desire to bring it up to the same standard as the nearby Letchworth Garden City branch.

However, by Read’s own admission, it was a big job, as not much had been done to update the Hemel Hempstead site in the six years since it opened, “so it’s pretty much a brand-new showroom”, Read says.

In terms of the design of the showroom, Read notes that it took a lot of tweaking to make sure they got the balance right. “Sometimes you can nail designs, but then it doesn’t work with the overall flow of the showroom or the colours might clash with something else. We probably spent around four to six weeks researching our orders and trends, as well as our clients’ feedback and the layout for the showroom.”

The approach has clearly worked as the showroom is now an ideal balance between contemporary and classic. The two hero displays – one contemporary and one classic – are the displays customers are most drawn to. 

“One has light grey gloss cabinets and a dark matt island, which dominates the centre of the showroom, and the other is a more classic design in a calming mussel colour. It’s all well-considered and thought-through.

“It was important to us that we had proper, full-size kitchen displays, sto give people a real sense of scale.

“We have a clear path around the showroom and we’ve designed it so the customer will only see two or three displays at once giving them chance to really take in each design, rather than having walls of doors or 30 displays being the first things they see.”

Each display is fully dressed using products from a nearby interior design store, Map Stores, and tiles are by Just Tiles – both are in Harpenden, while the lighting is from Essex-based Leyton Lighting. 

In addition, the showroom has fully working appliances, including a working coffee machine so clients can have a hot drink when they come in, and a working dishwasher, as well as a Quooker tap and oven, sink and taps, so the team can demonstrate a fully operational kitchen.

Finally, in terms of the vibe they were looking to create, Read says it was important that it be as warm and welcoming as possible, with a family-friendly atmosphere.

The Kitchen Depot is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Founded by the McCay family, husband and wife Jim and Grace opened their first showroom in Telford in 2003. From the beginning, family kitchens were at the forefront of their vision, and today the company is still creating kitchens for the whole family. The Kitchen Depot now has 19 franchise showrooms across the UK.

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