‘I want everyone to talk about Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven’

Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven, in Surrey, has been in business for over a decade and caters for the premium end of the market. Chris Frankland went to meet MD Ben Setterfield.

I first met the owner of Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven, Ben Setterfield, in person at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel on the evening of the kbbreview Retail and Design Awards 2024 ceremony. I had already arranged by phone to visit him for this article.

I knew one of his designers, Alex Gibbs, had won the award he was nominated for, but he of course didn’t. It took great will power not to let the cat out of the bag, but that would have spoilt the evening for him. But when I met with him again after the awards at his showroom in the affluent Greater London suburb of Long Ditton, my first question to him had to be what winning the award meant to the team.

“I was absolutely as proud as could be that one of our designers had won an award. I was so happy for him because he works really hard, takes everything on board. And I think that for him, it’ll just give him so much confidence. So, I’m just super-proud. And he had a very tough and complicated little room. I think that’s what won it. It looked brilliant. It showed that you can even make a room like that look good and still be functional.”

The award was for Bathroom Designer of the Year: Project Cost up to £10,000, and it went to one of Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven’s designers, Alex Gibbs, who joined them straight from university and has been with them now for around three years.

It was a project for a particularly challenging small bathroom with a severely sloping ceiling, but what is interesting is that this, for Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven, is by no means typical of the kinds of projects they undertake.


Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven is very clearly focused on the upper-mid to premium sector, with bathroom sales starting at around £25,000 and the typical family or master bathroom being £35,000 to £40,000. When it comes to kitchens, it is also firmly in the premium sector with its own bespoke handmade furniture, and these are typically £80,000 to £100,000.

That’s not a difficult figure to reach when one recent project, says Setterfield, included two Sub-Zero wine coolers at £14,000 each. Indeed one recent project they did though ended up at £400,000, including a utility room, boot room, underfloor heating, tiling and construction work.

He also mentions a project they were about to start in Effingham for a huge kitchen, utility room, boot room and dressing room, as well as work to remodel the porch and create an office. Setterfield expects that project to end up at around £500,000 and they had already done four bathrooms for the same client. The kitchen in that house included a custom-made dresser with pull-out dog beds.

Surrounded by affluent areas like Weybridge, Cobham, Oxshott, Esher, Richmond and Wimbledon, such special projects are bread and butter for Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven. And Setterfield set out with a clear vision of the kind of business he wanted.

“I wanted it to be a company that everyone talks about and says that we never put a foot wrong,” he says. “I worked with other bathroom businesses and saw the complaints they got from customers. I thought we could easily smash that. No one should have a reason to complain.”

Setterfield’s background was in plumbing and his first steps into the KBB world in around 1997 were as a bathroom fitter, which he did for around six or seven years, often doing work for other bathroom showrooms as well as his own projects. He had partners in the building trade who wanted him to open multiple show­­­­rooms, but he knew he had to get one right first. 

“You’ve got to have the model right first,” he tells kbbreview. “You’ve got to know what you’re aiming to do. Then you can replicate it. And you need to be profitable. During the first seven or eight years, I was making enough money, but that was it. There wasn’t any surplus. We had to make this a really profitable enterprise for me and my staff to feel safe for the future. And you’ve got to learn all about finance and accounting and all the things that you just don’t have a clue about while still running the business.

“Bit by bit we’ve learnt and now the bathroom business runs like a dream. I’ve got the right people around me and the right processes. Everyone’s on board with the Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven way.” 

He took over the reins completely in around 2000 and opened the showroom in 2010, in just one shop unit in the row where he now has two and will soon take on a third to link them all together. Why did he call it Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven? Well, it just happened to be one of his former business partners’ lucky number and he wanted to avoid a boring name. Initially, it was more focused on the middle market. It also did supply only on bathrooms. But he soon realised they could offer so much more.

The business runs like a dream. I’ve got the right people around me and the right processes in place. Everyone’s on board with the Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven way.

Ben Setterfield, MD, Bathroom and Kitchen Eleven

“To start with, it was the mid-market, because that’s where I felt it was at and particularly as we were doing supply only then as well,” recalls Setterfield. “Then, as things evolved, and as we got more comfortable with the value of what we offer, we started adding, going up and then we were definitely going into that high-end level and so we really needed to double down on what value we were offering.”

After Covid, he adopted a by-appointment-only scheme, which he believes gives his customers a far better, more personalised experience, with the undivided attention of one of his designers and the run of the showroom uninterrupted by other browsers.

He has three designers. Bathroom designer Alex Gibbs, who won the 2024 kbbreview Award for Bathroom Designer of the Year: Project Cost up to £10,000. Senior designer Adam Woollerton, who also does bathrooms and was also nominated for a kbbreview Award this year, while kitchens are the realm of Vanessa McMurray.

Installations are handled by a team of subcontractors, although Setterfield stills keeps his hand in and has a toolbox in his car in case a customer should call with an aftercare issue that he can pop out and rectify straight away. The company offers a 10-year guarantee on its installations.

The company started out doing just bathrooms, but moved into kitchens around three years ago. But when they did, Setterfield decided not to do things by half and offer handmade bespoke kitchens manufactured for them by a local joinery company. 

Setterfield says that was his plan from the beginning: “That’s our selling point – the outcome of all these designs and products is that you get a beautifully installed bathroom and it lasts forever. So we needed that same kind of quality for kitchens. Something that we could work with easily and where, if any bits that are missing or something gets scratched, we can quickly pick up a replacement.”

It was through a rep that he learned of the local joinery company he uses. “They’re small, but in some ways that suited us perfectly. The level of craftsmanship they can do is just insane. And they were already doing kitchens. They can do you any style, any size, any finish, any type of wood we want. And they’re used to working with a lot of hardwood.”


The kitchen display in the second showroom unit is an in-frame design that incorporates many bespoke solid oak elements, such as on the island and in the large banquette seating/shelving area.

In terms of appliances, Setterfield decided on Sub-Zero and Wolf, Miele, Siemens, Bora and Quooker, with handles from Armac Martin.

On the bathroom side, he chose to work with a few suppliers that match his aspirations and philosophy, such as Hansgrohe, Axor, Dansani, House of Piccadilly and Duravit. Setterfield also puts great store in what the companies are like to deal with and what their backup and aftercare is like.

In the bathroom showroom, which has recently been renovated, the displays feature a broad mix of styles, textures and products to give customers a flavour of the wide range of options open to them. 

Looking ahead, the company has acquired a third showroom next door. As well as space for more kitchen displays, Setterfield plans to devote an area to Spa products, including a steam room, sauna and sun shower. He is also thinking about taking on a German kitchen brand.

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