At Caple, we know how much everyone loves a celebrity kitchen makeover. We’ve helped Olympic champions, reality TV stars and even Great British Bake Off finalists to achieve their dream heart of the home. But we’re 100% committed to helping each and every client who comes through our doors to create a kitchen that best suits their needs. Our beautiful, fitted furniture is available for everyone – not just famous household names!
So, this week, we’re thrilled to showcase Gemma Heaps’ kitchen makeover. Our marketing manager Alex Fuidge caught up with her recently to discuss her journey. Gemma’s fabulous Shaker kitchen currently takes pride of place within an exciting new self-build project. Read on to discover which Caple furniture and appliances Gemma chose and why – and learn more about the highs and lows of building your own home from scratch.
No 7 The Build is a labour of love. It’s the property that Gemma is building with her partner and her two boys, Brooks (aged five) and Casey (aged three). This family home is situated on a site with eight other individual self-builds. Previously a bungalow occupied the site, and the land was split into these nine different plots.
“We broke ground in January 2021, so it’s taken us just over a year to get this far,” Gemma reveals. “We are really pleased with progress, as we have project managed it all ourselves and have never done anything like this before!” She continues: “At each stage of the build, there have been issues to overcome. We just had to get used to that, and realise that there is always a solution. One thing I have learned, however, is that jobs always take longer than expected.”
Self-build homes offer plenty of advantages. Within reason, self-builders have complete freedom over the design and specification of the property. This allows them to create a bespoke home that perfectly suits their personal needs and lifestyle. However, self-builds are not for the faint-hearted. Such projects can take months or even years until they’re fully finished. And rooms tend to be completed in stages, so it’s vital to prioritise – and have plenty of patience!
“In terms of rooms so far, I would say the kitchen, playroom and the boys’ bedrooms are complete,” Gemma acknowledges. “We wanted to make sure the boys felt at home when we moved in to limit the disruption for them.”
The 40sq m Shaker kitchen is a wonderful open-plan space that Gemma carefully planned in great detail. “We wanted to make the kitchen spacious to walk around, and sociable to entertain in,” Gemma explains. “Those were the key elements for us – and lots of storage. We also spent plenty of time planning where the appliances would go to make everything flow. ”
“What sold it for us was that we could have customised details and choose any colour ourselves,” Gemma explains. “It also meant that if we wanted to, in the future we could always repaint it. The colour we chose is Farrow & Ball Drop Cloth. I tried to keep everything bright and neutral, but with enough colour to make the kitchen stand out from the walls, which we painted with Farrow & Ball Strong White.”
Our Harptree traditional Shaker kitchen design marries both contemporary and classic elements, which is exactly the effect Gemma was keen to create. “In our previous home, the kitchen was very modern, but not as big and with fewer appliances,” she notes. “We would have to squeeze past one another around the island, whereas now we have designed it so that two people can walk side-by-side.”
While Gemma’s Shaker kitchen design embodies all the classic elements you’d expect, there are plenty of modern appliances. “The wine fridge has to be my favourite,” laughs Gemma. “It’s always a show-stopper when people visit. It’s such a bonus that it holds 89 bottles, and can accommodate both red and white wine.”
Gemma is also thrilled with her white Leesti sink and fully integrated dishwasher. “I love the large sink,” she confirms. “And I’m really pleased we went with ceramic, as I think it ties in perfectly with the kitchen. And I must mention the dishwasher! While we were building, for 15 months we were in a rental property that didn’t have one, and I definitely missed it. This model [our Di653] lights up when you open it – and even opens itself when it’s finished – so you know when to empty it. It’s absolutely brilliant.”
Gemma has spent huge amounts of time planning both her new Shaker kitchen and the rest of her self-build home. What advice does she have for anyone considering something similar?
“Regarding kitchens, definitely give a lot of thought to where you’d like your appliances to go, and include adequate workspace,” she replies. “And always allow for plenty of storage. I even have cupboards under the kitchen island where the bar stools are. I have tried to utilise every possible inch of space!”
She adds: “Regarding a self-build, if you ever get the opportunity, just go for it! Juggling my partner working away a lot and having two young children was sometimes a struggle, but it has all been worth it. Don’t be afraid to project manage. Just make sure you get a good team of workers, as it definitely helps to bounce ideas off them.”
The right kitchen fitter can also make a world of difference. “Ours (Ian Brice) was just the best,” enthuses Gemma. “He helped us with our designs and always gave honest advice. His work is stunning, and our kitchen looks even better than I had envisaged.”
Gemma concludes: “I’m so glad I chose Caple. At our local showroom in Avonmouth, we were given a demonstration of the appliances, and were extremely impressed. We’ve used them so much since moving in, and we love the way they look and function.”
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