When you open the door at Cirencester’s bespoke kitchen studio Parlour Farm Kitchens, you’ll either be greeted by the aroma of fresh espresso, the sight of ex-head -chef turned Managing Director Dino Mussell cooking up a storm for the team, or Bertie the dog wagging his tail and looking hopeful of petting. An ordinary day in the office for Dino and his team, a welcoming treat for the customer.
One of the first things that strike you as you enter the Parlour Farm showroom is the sheer space dedicated to displaying their meticulous handiwork. One of the largest kitchen showrooms in the region, customers are encouraged to browse the range of beautifully styled kitchen displays, without intrusion. This is something I picked up often during my time with the team: their relaxed approach to selling, and their complete dedication to the journey of designing a kitchen; none of the hard-sell tactics some customers may be used to.
The team at Parlour Farm are a very friendly and welcoming bunch. With love for their work evident as they show me around their showroom, it’s clear that their years of experience have crafted a group of bona fide kitchen experts, passionate about their craft and unafraid of a challenge.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Karon, showroom manager; Dino, MD and a group of the designers for a chat about their family business, keen to find out more about what makes them tick and ask them some burning questions!
What is the most satisfying aspect of working at Parlour Farm Kitchens, & what is the culture like here?
Without hesitation Dino replied that his most satisfying moment, the best part of his day, is meeting with customers and seeing their lightbulb moment as they begin to visualise the kitchen of their dreams. This was a common theme amongst the designers, who all highlighted that the best part of their job is designing without limitation or restriction, to create the customer’s perfect kitchen. That’s the beauty of Parlour Farm in my opinion, as they manufacture their kitchens on-site, every project is completely bespoke. No two cupboards are ever identical, let alone any two kitchens – a fantastic opportunity if you are in the market for something entirely unique. Put simply by Karon, a standard kitchen at Parlour Farm does not exist, the idea of a cookie-cutter kitchen is not in their nature, and their clients can only benefit from this.
Service. Quality. Long-term support.
It was unanimous. Their personal customer service, inimitable quality and dedication to their 20 year guarantee are the foundation of what Parlour Farm stand for. Although this was delivered to me in a matter-of-fact, ‘It’s-as-simple-as-that’ way, this is why Parlour Farm have been elevated to Centre of Excellence standard; it’s completely innate to them that only the best will do, so much so this has become second nature.
Where and What do you get your inspiration from?
Interestingly, each kitchen designer answered this question with a very different approach, highlighting what Dino had identified as one of their greatest strengths: their design team all have different tastes and styles, so ideas bounce around in their office until something completely unique is created.
From architecture and fashion to bloggers and Pinterest, inspiration seems to come from anywhere, leading to some of the bold kitchen designs they’re well-known for. The bright orange kitchen island display a striking testament to this approach (pictured below).
What do you think makes Parlour Farm stand out from the crowd?
The reputation of the company goes a long way to setting the business apart from its competition. Their non-corporate, family business vibe puts customers at ease, and much of their new business comes from recommendations from past clients. This local-business culture allows the team of designers to be truly creative with their designs, thinking outside of the box to create aesthetically unique and functional kitchens that will suit the customer’s needs in the present, and in the years to come.
Your workshop is only a couple of minutes away, and you welcome your customers to visit. What do you think are the benefits of manufacturing kitchens on site?
When asked this question, interestingly, the team were divided in considering the benefits for the manufacturing and designing process, and for the customers themselves. Whichever the stance, it was clear that the on-site workshop allows both customers and designers a genuine insight into the manufacturing process – transparency that you can only get when you purchase from a bespoke kitchen manufacturer. Dino commented that they regularly get customers popping in to check on their kitchen’s progress, the perfect service for customers who want a personal touch and to have real involvement in the process.
What do you think are the biggest challenges that face designers currently?
Now, this may be a challenge that arguably Parlour Farm have created for themselves by offering an entirely bespoke service, but the consensus was that when designers offer their clients a world of design opportunity, there is an inherent challenge in the balance to be struck between imagination and realisation. The team underline to me the importance of having a budget for your project early on in the process, so your wish-list can be priorities and fulfilled, and your expectations can be met.
What are your top tips for a homeowner buying a brand new kitchen?
- Being open-minded to the designer’s knowledge & experience.
- Do your research to find a business you can trust & then let them do the hard work.
- Consider your home an investment, not only will it improve the daily lives of you & your family, a great kitchen will add value to your home.
During my time spent at Parlour Farm Kitchens, it really struck me how much of the Ideas for Living philosophy they embody. They’re truly passionate about creating spaces that work hard for their clients, as well as looking great. The attention to detail and ability to tackle any challenge with an open mind sets them apart from the crowd.
If you’ve been inspired by what you’ve seen, you can find out more about Parlour Farm on their Studio Partner profile, where you can get in touch with them directly.