Howden’s are one of the market leaders in accessible, inclusive kitchens. It was great to not only see, but test out some of their features at Naidex 2017. I was also able to interview Kirsty Harris – Regional contact manager for Wales and West region.
Chronic Style Disorder: So Kirsty, it’s great to meet you and see Howden’s Kitchens in action at Naidex. How long have Howden’s been making adaptive kitchens?
Kirsty Harris: Hello! Howden’s have been offering adaptive kitchens for 8 years now and been coming to Naidex for same amount of time. Historically there was little awareness of the brands who do accessible kitchens, we find people now come to Naidex specifically to come and see how they can use Howden’s kitchens.
CSD: I have to say I wasn’t aware that Howden’s made adaptive and inclusive kitchens before I saw your stand at Naidex! Can you tell me what’s the difference between adaptive and inclusive kitchen?
KH: the main difference is that we often use rise and fall systems in inclusive kitchens (which can be used for hobs, sinks, cupboards and worksurfaces), so all the family can make use of the features, however suits them. Whereas elements such as pull out baskets and eye level products (such as oven with pull out worktops runners) tend to be seen as adaptive – as they’re generally put in place for the person with additional needs of those functions. We try to also make our kitchens cost effective for all.
CSD: That’s really good! So many adaptations can be prohibitively expensive! What are the options for funding kitchens?
KH: Many people find them through DFG (Disabled Facilities Grant) which can often be accessed through your local authority. Some people self fund, but we also partner with Leonard Cheshire Disability.
CSD: For those who weren’t able to visit your stand this year, how people can experience one of your kitchens?
KH: There are local depots all over the country. You can search our website for your most local depot.
CSD: I love that your kitchens aren’t one size fits all.
KH: We offer a wide range of solutions – from rise and fall sinks and hobs to eye level ovens and range of options to make cupboards easier to access. There’s a really comprehensive selection of choices to meet most needs. We also have in house designers who can work with your occupational therapist. They’ll talk through every element of kitchen including how it looks.
CSD: It great that there are lots of different options in terms of colours and different surfaces.
KH: We make sure that there’s different contrast levels between surfaces and units which can be useful for those with visual impairment. Its also important that people feel good about not just the functionality of their kitchen but how it looks too!
CSD: I couldn’t agree more! So how do people go about getting an inclusive or adaptive Howdens kitchen?
KH: Well we are trade only, but each branch has a list of account holders who use our products and know how each of the accessible functions work. Howden’s kitchens also have Royal Warrant, and there’s also a 25 year guarantee on all of our kitchen cabinets. Howdens Joinery is a great company to work for and we achieved 7th position in The Sunday Times 30 Best Big Companies to work for 2017 survey.
CSD: That’s an impressive guarantee! Thank you for talking to us today!