Tomas Kitchen Living, Cambridge's very own designer kitchen brand
The brand was born in a shed at the bottom of the garden at Tomas and Mette Hinton's old place in Newnham Croft in 2009. It all began following an uninspiring visit to some kitchen manufacturers in Italy. Tom was unimpressed and decided that he could do better.
Without fully comprehending the enormity of the task, he resolved to create a classic British kitchen.
The look was to be modern, yet not overly so – just right for those seeking the relaxed feel of a traditional kitchen with clean lines and modern functionality.
Another key ingredient came from Mette’s home country of Denmark, where Tom discovered the classic modern design ethos: quality and functionality, two concepts that run deeply through everything the company does today.
The first showroom was opened around seven years ago on Cherry Hinton Road and was originally called ‘Crofthouse’.
Tom explained: “In the beginning we weren’t entirely sure which direction to go. We had the idea that keeping the Tomas brand separate from our own showroom would give us flexibility, particularly if we were going to supply independent kitchen studios nationally.”
Tomas believes that the idea of a dealer network was in principle a sound one, but there was no real success when it came to finding like-minded people to be dealers, and it gradually became clear that everything would be better if kept in-house.
So in order to grow the business beyond its Cambridge birthplace, a store was opened in St Albans in 2014. At the same time, the branding was simplified and the name above the showroom door at Cherry Hinton Road was changed to Tomas Kitchen Living.
Manufacturing was brought in-house in 2015. A dedicated production centre was established at 20A Mercers Row in Cambridge and merged with the Cambridge showroom. Tomas Kitchen Living made its national launch at Grand Designs Live at London’s ExCeL in spring 2015.
The third Tomas studio was established last year in Hampstead Garden Suburb in north-west London. There is even a ‘shop-in-shop’ Tomas display at Tom’s sister’s cook shop in Watlington, Oxfordshire.
“We have made a lot of moves in the last 18 months or so,” said Tom. “Once our direction became clear, it was as if the fog had lifted – it’s exhilarating to be moving forward!”
In a very competitive and crowded market, Tomas Kitchen Living is thriving and steadily carving out a niche in both price and style.
“The product has huge appeal,” Tom noted. “The look, the quality, the original colours – inspired by my father and grandfather’s oil paintings – combine to create something different and special.
“Add to that oak drawers, ply carcasses, great service and a reasonable price tag. People love the product and that’s hugely rewarding for me.”
The lines are functional, uncomplicated and timeless. The quality is second to none, with birch ply cabinets, dovetailed solid oak drawers and state-of-the-art hardware.
In addition to producing its own kitchens, Tomas Kitchen Living is a dealer in top-notch Danish furniture and lighting brands such as Carl Hansen and Sons, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Louis Poulsen, Gubi and Pandul.
Tomas Kitchen Living has now arrived and its order book underlines the strength and appeal of these creations – Cambridge’s very own kitchen brand.