Most us don't expect to buy a new bed or sofa just when we move house – but we are led to believe that the first thing you do when you move in is order a new kitchen, regardless of whether the existing one has years of life still in it. It’s a destructive cycle of consumption which may be good for the kitchen industry but certainly isn’t good for the environment.
However, there's a glimmer of hope in the shape of a resurgence in popularity of freestanding kitchens. When grandma was a girl, of course, all kitchens were essentially freestanding, but everything changed in 1950 when Poggenpohl unveiled its Form 1000 range, widely regarded as the world’s first fitted kitchen. In a generation the whole market was transformed, and dressers and pantries were swept away in favour of broad sweeps of fitted base and wall units and uninterrupted worktops.
A fitted kitchen is still the choice of around 85 per cent of kitchen buyers. However the more eco-conscious are increasingly cottoning on to the fact that a freestanding kitchen can almost be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.
, managing director at Bristol-based It Woodwork
believes freestanding kitchens are an inherently more eco option because they're unlikely to be discarded: 'We try to push our clients towards freestanding pieces also because I feel they're more interesting and timeless. Most of our work is for people who are moving into a new house and when people move they realise a kitchen is a very personal thing - so they aren’t necessarily going to be happy with an inherited kitchen.'