Wren Kitchen Experience (Buying my First Home)

I've always loved the look of integrated fridge freezers in kitchens as I think they are so much nicer and neater to look at. When I came to look at the house at the first viewing, they had a big American style fridge freezer, which was functional but given how neat the rest of the kitchen was, in my opinion it really did stick out like a sore thumb. The space available also had pipework boxed in at the back, making one aspect much narrower and a very annoying dust trap. 

I asked the sellers where they got their kitchen from and was told it was newly fitted (which I assumed meant in the last year) and from Wren. I sent pictures to Wren and luckily, the kitchen was still available to purchase. The person I spoke to was very quick to answer and clear to name the design which I found really useful. One of the first appointments I made for when I got my keys, was for Wren to come out for a home measurement visit. The appointment was easy to book online and I got messages in the lead up to keep me updated. When I was delayed in picking up my keys, it meant that I had to ring up to cancel, but they were very flexible and gave me the latest appointment on the same day, which worked out perfectly. 

The man who came to measure was lovely. He was very attentive, clear and informative. He was easy to speak to and went above and beyond to explain the process. I had originally only booked to have the measure of the kitchen and given the small space, it wasn't that much work. If you've watched the vlogs, you'll have seen that when I first entered the property, I was met with utter shock and horror to find the utility room had been ripped out. I am still in the process of fighting this! However, since he was measuring, I asked him to also measure the utility room space and he very thankfully did. 

I went to the showroom to have my first appointment with my designer, who in all honesty I found rubbish. I called multiple times before I managed to get through to him, and then finally did, and found him pretty useless at the showroom. If you're in Nottingham, avoid Rashid. He had to keep going to ask his manager questions and also told me that I could get it all delivered next week...which was a lie. 

I ended up taking a couple weeks to decide what to do, because Wren have a stupid policy in that you automatically get 50% off the entire order when purchasing 5 or more units. Once this has been placed, you get 50% off for life. Luckily, I had had the utility room space measured, but I hadn't planned on doing that room until next year at the earliest and need to wait for a builder to discuss where the wall split would be. Nevertheless, it was going to be more expensive to get the one unit I wanted, instead of 5, which was crazy to me! I had pretty much set my heart on an integrated fridge freezer with a full height wine rack next to it, but I thought it was a rip off. It was surprisingly my dad who convinced me otherwise. 

I went back a couple weeks later, following a conversation with some builders, to inform about the measurements for the utility room. I had called multiple times and not managed to get in touch with Rashid and he always rang whilst I was at work, despite me informing him he needed to email. I went twice on my days off and he wasn't in, or he was otherwise engaged, so on the third visit, I asked to speak to anyone else. I ended up being placed with Sarah who was absolutely lovely, very informative and I felt much more comfortable having her in charge. 

With the stud wall splitting the room in half, it ultimately meant that I would have a 650mm tower unit for stackable washer dryer, and a floor and wall unit of 250mm. It was only ever going to be used for cleaning products so whilst it's not quite what I had imagined, as I had originally wanted a tower unit for an ironing board, it meant that my total came to 5 units. The Nottingham showroom doesn't have the 4D virtual reality experience, but they do have the 3D design and it was nice to see them come together. I ended up matching the kitchen units to my base units and the utility I decided to go with white, just to make it feel more spacious and to match the appliances which would be on display. I wanted a door to cover the units but sadly, Wren don't do that so I think I'll use a curtain rod to cover. 

From there, I paid the initial deposit which was just over £350 and purchased the recommended £5 sample doors to ensure the correct colour match as they advised they might have changed. It turned out, the existing kitchen was actually over 5 years old. I was happy to pay the full amount, but was advised in order to do the paperwork, I needed to wait. When I went home that night, I also looked up lots of different appliances. I had originally had them included in the quote but found them much easier and quicker online, which would mean I had a fridge freezer ready for when I moved in. 

I then was placed back under Rashid. Once again, he called on my days at work. I escalated this to the manager who didn't do much, but gave me his email. I emailed him to inform him of my days off and for the next 3 weeks, he wasn't at work on any of the days I was available. Luckily, he made me an appointment with a third designer for the same week. I went to the showroom with questions from the previous contract, to which she was able to answer quickly and put me at ease and then I made the remaining balance and also booked a delivery date. You can only book for the week off, so I picked one of my quietest weeks and then they confirmed delivery just 2 days later via both a text message and a phone call. 

In terms of the delivery, I was informed of a delivery time slot via the app and on email prior to the date in question. I set my alarm to wake up 10 minutes before as it was a 2 hour time slot, and got woken up by the door bell an hour and a half earlier as they arrived much sooner. The delivery drivers came as a pair but one remained in the car, whilst the other carried in all the items. I think this was the main cause of the damage because he was carrying massive tower units single handedly. I got the kitchen units delivered to the utility room, and the utility units delivered to the garage. When examined, every single unit was damaged in some way and whilst the plinths and cornices were in tact, the sealing strip was the incorrect size. 

I went ahead and fitted the kitchen units as the damage, whilst serious were hidden and did not affect functionality. The utility room units unfortunately would be on display, so for those, they do need to be replaced and it was a nightmare trying to arrange even a phone call. I managed to finally get in touch by emailing them and asking them to phone me for details. It wasn't quite as much as I had hoped but I got a partial refund of £275 for the two kitchen units, then replacements for the 3 utility units and 3 items that were missing or wrong to be replaced. I also complained about the service and delivery drivers as felt they were rude and overzealous, likely causing the damage. 

Stay tuned for Friday's post to see the full kitchen reveal, or watch one of my recent vlogs to see a sneak peak of the before and after.