When we purchased our house in July 2020 we knew one of our first, and biggest projects was going to be completely replacing the kitchen. We budgeted for this in our purchase price and thankfully we did stay within budget! We used Wren Kitchens Blackpole.
When we moved in we realised just how dated the kitchen really was, the cupboards were falling apart and the doors were on their last legs, the floor was just wood print vinyl and wasn’t flat and it was just all a bit tired.
Before we looked at kitchen suppliers I sketched a rough idea of what I wanted. And by sketched I mean I measured the whole kitchen, marked where sockets and pipes were and planned the whole kitchen because I wanted to give them a good idea of what we were after, although as you will see we did make several amendments to the actual plan.
We contacted several different companies and due to Covid it was difficult even getting an appointment both Magnet and B&Q couldn’t fit us in for several weeks but Wren managed to get us in within a few days.
Wren Design Visit
On our initial visit on 17th August we were introduced to Jennifer who is one of the interior designers within the Wren team in Worcester, and from our sketches she was able to create a 3D plan of our kitchen using Wrens kitchen design tools, she helped us choose the appliances that we would have fitted and also recommended some freestanding ones that would be suitable for the spaces we had.
We were able to browse all the latest styles kitchen displays in store and get a feel for the sort of design we wanted.
We chose to have all Bosch appliances and opted for an integrated Dishwasher, Double oven, Microwave, 5 hob burner and a glass cooker hood. Our reviews on all of these are further down.
You can also try out a virtual reality walk round of your new kitchen, you are able to open the cupboards, walk round and see how you feel about all the placements, which ways the doors open etc
This was a really unique experience and it gave us a really good idea of what our finished kitchen would look like!
Along with getting all your plans in writing you will also get a panoramic viewer in the virtual reality studios which again gives you a chance to really see what your kitchen will look like through the vr goggles
We decided on Aspen Ice Xena Quartz worktops – later on you will see we slightly regretted this during the fit stage but they are beautiful – white with just light flecks of sparkle in.
These are fitted by Xena Quartz even though we chose to arrange our own kitchen fitter as Wren didn’t have any availability until mid January.
Wren Surveyor Visit
Once you have your draft order in place, Wren will arrange a surveyor visit for them to check all the measurements, placements of sockets and water pipes etc to ensure your new kitchen will fit.
Ours was passed as all ok – but we did have problems when it came to fitting, more about that shortly!
We discussed a few changes with her on the day as she suggested a couple of amendments – we did decide to go back in and see Jennifer to do these as it did mean some cost changes.
We also scheduled in a delivery date (W/C 19th October – this date is subject to all final amendments being made and the balance being paid 28 days before)
And this was pretty much where our positive experience ended.
Xena Quartz Worktops
Xena Quartz worktops have to be fitted by Xena Quartz arranged via Wren. This was a bit of a nightmare as we had to arrange the appointment with customer services prior to the kitchen being delivered as they would need to template the worktops, prepare them which takes up to 14 days and then return to fit them.
However they couldn’t template the worktops until the kitchen is in and we didn’t have an exact date for the kitchen being delivered, let alone fitted so it was a bit of a guessing game.
Our delivery was finally confirmed for 22nd October, however on 20th October Gaz and I tested positive for Covid!
Our current kitchen had already been ripped out by the builders and they had started work on our garage conversion, the work had to stop while we isolated but thankfully they had completely cleared the garage and kitchen (which could be accessed via the garage) so they were able to deliver the kitchen straight into the garage without any contact with us.
It did however mean it couldn’t be fitted until our isolation ended, which also pushed back the worktop appointment, causing absolute chaos as they were suggesting they couldn’t fit us in until January at the earliest, we eventually were able to rebook for 21st November.
Out of stock items
Disappointingly we weren’t told prior to delivery that the fitted microwave we had ordered was out of stock and it was 2 weeks before this was delivered.
We had a missing door for the integrated dishwasher and they also exchanged our double oven for a different model. It was a more expensive model we were given but it would have been nice to have been notified beforehand.
Fitting of the Kitchen
We found a kitchen fitter locally who could fit us in for when our kitchen was due to be delivered, however it became clear very quickly that he wasn’t experienced enough to take on the project and actually caused us a major headache.
The tolerances for the Xena Quartz to be fitted were only 3mm and we had differences of up to 6mm so the templating was refused twice due to this. We were at the point of cancelling the worktops with Wren and sourcing them from elsewhere as another company were happy to fit them with the kitchen as it was.
However on the 3rd visit on 1st December with both the builder and the surveyor present we finally managed to get a template done and the worktops ordered.
On the 11th December we finally had our worktops fitted after almost 2 months of having no kitchen and to add to our frustration when we showed the fitter the notes from Wren regarding the tolerances they said they absolutely would have been able to fit the worktops from the first template.
The wine cooler is the perfect size for us, we don’t actually drink wine it was more to keep the drinks all in one place and keep the main fridge for food. This one fits over 24 bottles of Budweiser and 24 cans of coke so it works great for us.
This is one of the best dishwashers we have ever had, Gaz said he is impressed that it has a little light that shines on the floor to show you it is on, as you can’t see any buttons as it is integrated. It’s really quiet too we often have to check it is on.
Beko WER860541G 8Kg Washing Machine with 1600 rpm – Graphite
We need a big washing machine so this 8kg one is perfect for us. The only thing we do find is with these bigger machines is the wash takes so much longer. The standard was on this is around 2.5 hours but there are alternative quicker ones if you need them.
Beko DCY9316G Condenser Tumble Dryer in Graphite
This drier is magical. It has several different dryness settings and it can sense when the items are dry so it automatically stops when it reaches that level of dryness!
We weren’t sent a different model to the one we ordered but we are happy with this one. It has a built in meat probe which can detect the internal temperature of meat as it cooks and once it reaches the desired temperature it will switch the oven off to avoid overcooking.
It also has a setting for proving bread which has been great for baking our BakedIn bread club boxes
5 Burner Hob
Bosch Gas on Glass 5 Burner Hob PPQ7A6B90
We love how this hob looks and functions but it is a nightmare to keep clean. The slightest spill and it looks filthy. Fortunately it is easy to clean, but it does mean it has to be wiped down after every use.
Our Wren Kitchens experience
Our experience within the showroom and through our design visits, we couldn’t fault at all. Jennifer was so knowledgable around everything from placements to products as were the other retail staff we spoke too. The use of 3d to create customers dream kitchens is just such a great idea.
However we wouldn’t recommend having Xena Quartz worktops from Wren Kitchens unless you are using their in house fitters as they will have experience of how picky the templaters are.
About Wren Kitchens
Wren Kitchens is a privately owned British designer, manufacturer, and retailer of kitchens Based in Howdens, East Yorkshire. They claim to be the number 1 kitchen retailer, with 105 showrooms across the United Kingdom. It was previously known as Hygena before rebranding to Wren in 2009.
They offer up to 5 years interest free credit and installation. They also have show rooms in the United States opening up the Wren brand to American homeowners. You can find the US site here
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