Guide to get a great Modular Kitchen Finish in India - Part 1
Note: This post if meant for Indian home buyers who buy houses in the price range of 30L to 1.5C. It may not be useful to you if are buying a house in the luxury segment. Up to you now...
If you are buying a house or an apartment in India, 90% chance is that the kitchen is semi-modular. This means -
- The counter and the granite are already laid
- The electrical points are fixed
- The chimney exhaust position/hole is provided.
- The sink is fixed
These are the few things that the builder has taken it for granted (with some inputs from his Designer and Vastu consultant) and completed it for you. Since they are doing a lot of flats, they tend to follow a specific framework or a specific design to finish up the kitchen.
Ironically above-mention editioned things are the ones that decide the final finish of the kitchen. Though these might not seem very important when you buy the apartment, these are the most critical things and only a carpenter/modular-furniture-guy would know. This is one of the reasons why the big brands like Godrej, Veneta Cuisine would ask you to clear all the counters and give them an empty kitchen. They know the challenges and the difficulty in providing a great finish to a semi-modular kitchen provided by the builder.
This (series of) post is meant to explain the various factors that seem irrelevant but very critical to get a great finish in the kitchen.
There are more than 10 things that I'd like to explain. Considering that people get easily bored with long posts, I am going to break this into two.
- Kitchen counter relates issues
- Issues related to Chimney, Sink, Electrical Points etc..
In this, let's discuss only #1 - Kitchen Counter Issues. I'm planning to write another post to explain #2.
Let's start..Some of the issues with the Kitchen counter are -
1. Counter Height
It is the most important thing that'd decide how comfortable cooking in your kitchen is. The standard height of the counter is
The standard height of the counter is 830mm to 850mm (height from the platform that you stand to the top surface of the counter).
Make this shorter, you will get neck pain and back pain. Make it taller, you are not able to reach the wall cabinets or you cannot cut the veggies comfortably.
Talk to the builder as soon as possible to make sure that the counter delivered is of the correct height. If you are too tall/short, factor that into the equation, and come up with the correct height. Insist that the counter should be of the correct height to the mm. An increase of 20mm (2cm would affect the usability so much and you have to live with for almost all your life)
Nice to have:
Ask the builder not to create the counter. Get the kitchen completely empty, and you can lay the granite once the modular kitchen floor units are assembled. This would give an awesome finish.
2. Counter Depth
The standard depth of the counter is 24" or 2' or 610mm.
This is the right depth which would allow you to keep all the things and do all the work comfortably. Nonetheless, most of us have a smaller kitchen than we'd actually wish. There is a quick hack that can help you to increase the kitchen walking space. You can apply this even if the kitchen is of enough size, and the kitchen would look elegant.
If there is a side of the counter which does not have the sink or hob, reduce the depth of the counter. Instead of making it 2 ft we can have it as 1.5 ft. This may not seem like a lot of space, but, it increases the moving space by so much that your kitchen will look a little bigger.
Kitchen with 2ft counter on all sides
Kitchen with 1.5ft counter on left side
Note that there is a clear increase in the walking space in the second one.
We've suggested this to a lot of customers, and they sure can appreciate the difference once the kitchen is done. Moreover, if you are short, reduction in the depth of the counter would help you reach the wall cabinets comfortably. More about this can be found in the following sections.
3. Granite nose depth in the counter
This is the first and foremost thing that should be taken care of. Very important. Granite nose depth is the distance between the front edge of the granite top and the front surface of the concrete on top of which the granite is laid. Refer the following diagram. The distance should be
Granite nose depth is the distance between the front edge of the granite top and the front surface of the concrete on top of which the granite is laid. Refer the following diagram.
The distance should be at least 30mm, and 50mm is ideal.
Why? - Floor cabinets for a semi-modular kitchen are fitted in such a way that the carcass (internal structure) aligns with the front surface of the concrete (below the granite). Refer the diagram.
Then, the door will rest on the surface of the concrete surface. If the distance from the concrete surface is lesser than 20mm, the door will protrude outside of the granite as shown in the attached image. This will not give a proper finish, and there are chances that the water will seep into the cabinets because the doors are outside of the granite.
Make it clear to the builder that the Granite nose depth is 50mm or at least 30mm. If it is not there, ask the builder to make provision for this. If not, the interior guys will definitely ask you to do this civil work, or the give you a finish which you would not want.
4. Bottom surface of the counter
Though the surface below the granite counter is not visible, it plays a critical role in the final finish of the kitchen. Modular kitchen cabinets are made as boxes and are fitted below the counter. If the surface is not even, since the boxes can be done only in cuboids, you will see a lot of space between the bottom of the counter and the box.
These have to be packed using white cement or plywood and this will not look good. Please refer the image below the understand how the spaces will appear.
With even surface
With uneven surface
Talk to your builder and explain clearly the above points. The mason and the painter should take extra care to finish the bottom surface of the counter without any unevenness. Only a couple of mm can be adjusted using the wall putty, so this requirement should be passed onto the mason himself.
Nice to Have:
As I mentioned already, give us the kitchen without the counter or the granite. The granite can be laid after the modular units are fitted.