My Experience with Two Guys Kitchens and Bathrooms, Basingstoke

UPDATE: a reasonably satisfactory conclusion to the installation

Anyone who watches my Twitter feed knows that I am having my kitchen overhauled; it’s being done by Two Guys Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms in Basingstoke. So far my opinion is that they sell good kit and they’re nice people but I feel that their execution is lacking; however my final judgement is still out since the install is ongoing.

Measurements and pre-order were all done very professionally, I visited the showroom twice, confirmed my intention to buy early-on in the relationship, and worked up a spec with the salesguy; there were a few changes to the spec as time went on but it was all quite easy. The order went to Haecker kitchens in Germany, and the Blanco sink was also ordered; it was only upon delivery that things started to go wrong.

Installation was due to start on a Wednesday as agreed with the salesman; so I was surprised and worried to receive a letter from the Two Guys administrator, seeking to confirm installation beginning on Monday, two days early. Since the flooring was being done this was not possible, however after a couple of frantic phonecalls the Wednesday installation was confirmed as the correct date.

Wednesday arrived with the installers and a host of problems; first up was the sink carcass which evidently had been crushed during transit, yielding damage:

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This unit had taken 6 weeks to arrive, so I guessed that if I sent it back it would be another month before I had a replacement. Not viable. The lead installer assured me that the damage would largely be lopped-out during the sink fitting – not exactly true, as you can see:

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…but given the eventual battening and the robust structure of the solid stainless steel sink sitting above it, I decided to chalk this one up to being largely a “workaround” issue; after all I wasn’t expecting any further problems. But then I saw the doors:

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Notice the cupboard door in this picture; it’s wood-effect but instead I had specified a very-high-gloss magnolia finish. Oops. Things came to a crashing halt while we established that irrespective of the (apparently) “gloss magnolia” order documentation somehow the doors from a prototype sales order had instead been ordered and shipped.

That made me angry, but what made me fume was this:

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On this diagram you see a recess between the wall (right) and chimneystack (left) with four cupboards, labelled 10/11/12/13 ; there are narrow gaps labelled 9 and 14 on either end, about 25mm deep. The order had been measured and written down by the salesman as 4x 900mm cupboard units, that fitted the space rather nicely.

What arrived, or rather didn’t arrive, was this:

40cm Gap, with power cable

In this picture you can see one of 4x 800mm cupboards, mounted on the wall, together with the power cable that should have come down behind “Cupboard 13″ to provide power for lighting. Somehow – perhaps a transcription error – the wrong sizes had been given to or processed by Haecker yielding a 4x100mm = 400mm gap at one end.

40 bloody centimeters, and nobody had noticed.

Holding my emotions together by this point was extremely challenging because I thought I had been a model customer and deserved a hell of a lot better than this; the salesman came out and apologised profusely, confirmed he had written-down 4x 900mm and wasn’t sure how the error had gotten into the computer, made a couple of stabs at asking if I would accept the 400mm cupboards with an additional shortie in the middle and fortunately understood when to take no for an answer… although it took two attempts.

So: wrong cupboard doors, additional two weeks. Wrong cupboards, concurrent additional three weeks. What else could go wrong?

Well, there’s the granite worktop.

The Two Guys fitters measured and cut a template for the granite to be milled; lovely blue-grey stuff it is; however when the slab arrived on schedule last friday – one week after the main fitting – the “upstand” (bit of granite that wraps around and up the wall) arrived as expected in two strips. One strip goes up the back of the main slab, and looks lovely.

The other strip (meant to wrap around the sink and join the main upstand) has been cut to a wrongly-measured height/depth and so was useless and not installed:

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So the granite lads – very nice, personable chaps, apparently based in Littlehampton, happy to chat about their work – made some more phone calls, and there came yet another apology from the MD of Two Guys, plus an agreement that the granite lads would be back in this area this week, either Tuesday or (more likely) Wednesday, and would give me a call to do the last bit of granite.

“We can cut everything to exact measurements at the yard and just fix and seal it here. Should only take 5 minutes.”

Since I’m writing this at 5:40pm on a Wednesday evening and still lack my sink upstand, you can guess that it hasn’t arrived and that I am feeling both let-down and disappointed.

I went past the anger stage with the cupboard-width episode and so instead of having a coronary I’m waiting to see what offer Mr Tony Marshall – manager of Two Guys – is going to make in order to make nice for the pain of this entire fiasco.

To recap:

  • I still like my kitchen, and through the efforts of several people – some of whom I trust immensely – I’m turning it into my space and I don’t feel it’s been “spoiled” in some cosmic sense.
  • I like all the TwoGuys people I’ve met. They’ve all been pleasant, helpful, and in a couple of cases “right characters”.
  • I am having good stuff installed; but that I need to micromanage aspects of the installation is not concomitant with the money I am paying.
  • I do feel upset – and I have in past felt absolutely bloody furious – regarding this experience; it has put my schedule completely out of whack because the painting is waiting upon the delivery of new cupboards/doors next week, not to mention interim paint-colour-selection that requires the correct cupboard doors. If I were maintaining normal work hours it would be a nightmare.
  • The time-cost to my redoing the rest of the house is also quite large – I must now shelve (ha!) plans to redo the living room because it is still half-full of kitchen-cack that requires cupboards for storage and I’ve now lost my slack time.

So I’m waiting for a phone call… plus a comprehensive itemised shipping list so that I can nitpick for what I’m supposed to be paying and how much it costs.

9 thoughts on “My Experience with Two Guys Kitchens and Bathrooms, Basingstoke

  1. Stephen Usher

    This seems to be far too normal and very reminiscent of the problems we are having at work with the new building. This is everything from the electrical systems, fit and finish, furniture and audio-visual systems. i.e. practically everything.

    Maybe builders were always like this but we didn’t expect any better from tradesmen? Have we been spoilt by consumer items which actually turn up when wished for, aren’t damaged in transit and fit the description?

    Reply
  2. Weez

    I chalk it all up to the bloody metric system. Nevertheless, I am extraordinarily grateful for my wonderful KerryAnn at the Washington PA Home Depot, who has made my own kitchen installation go off almost flawlessly . . . I must send you some pictures . . .

    Reply
  3. rac

    Hang in there, and if need be hang them out to dry afterwards!

    However nice as people to work with they are, if they can not supply as per order at the first attempt, then they should be taken to the cleaners.

    Imagine, without wishing to give you nightmares, adding a wife/partner, kids and a dog in this scenario – HELL doesn’t come close with the delays they have caused! You are welcome to tell them that from me, of if they are still fiddling around next week, I’ll willingly come and tell them myself!

    Reply
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  5. Michelle Anderson

    I wish I had seen your blog before I signed on the dotted line with Two Guys. I am now wishing I had gone to [Ed: a competitor].

    Instead of going to work I am managing remedial actions. It is hideous.

    Reply
  6. Lisa Blenkin

    I have just had my kitchen finished by Two Guys. From the suggestions I had from the designer, I made a few changes to the room. This has transformed the way I work in the kitchen. The installation was not without a few niggles, but these were put right promptly and with out any quibbling from Two Guys. I’m very happy with my new kitchen.

    Reply
  7. Dave J

    I have used Two Guys for both a new kitchen and two new bathrooms. I had two very different experiences.

    The kitchen was a great experience. The design that Heather came up with was innovative and different to the other people we sought price and ideas from. The installation team were great and everything went in to plan.

    The bathrooms was another issue. Late, wrong parts, poor communication, incorrect pricing, slow installation, broken promises. We had to change plans around our son’s wedding as a result.

    My summary. No hesitation in whole-heatedly recommending the kitchen team. Stay well away from the bathroom team.

    Reply

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