Let’s get started with a ‘DIY’ project!

Peter Hay Kitchens has been at the cutting edge of cabinet manufacturing in New Zealand since 1973.  We offer a fantastic range of kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinetry online. All designed with our “ADVANCED DIY” theory. It would be our pleasure to work with you.

Whilst there are several steps in purchasing a new kitchen, there are a few important steps to getting it right. We have found over the last forty years; these same few steps have been the key ingredient to making your kitchen everything you had wished for.

So how do I start?

We think the best place to start is by establishing a few ideas about the look, the layout, the type of kitchen you’re after and what you want out of your new kitchen. The best place to start might be by looking at this very website. We have worked hard to tie in all the concepts, materials, layouts and knowledge you may need to answer these questions. Another worthwhile visit is to our showroom in Auckland. Both the website and the showroom in Auckland will give you a great start, without any pressure and at your own leisure.

So, what questions should I answer? These are a few questions that have greatly helped us over the years.

  • I guess most people have a good idea of the look they are after, most kitchens are sold on visual appeal before function anyway, so here is a good place to start.
  • Appliances you will reuse or will purchase, this is a key step in getting the ball rolling.
  • Consider the layout you are after. What works well now, what would work better.
  • Changes you would make to your current kitchen. Things you like about your current kitchen.
  • Any building work that will make the space work better. This may alter your thinking with the layout question.
  • Materials you would like to use.
  • Are you likely to have the need to integrate dining in the kitchen, this can change how your kitchen will work?
  • How your shopping habits reflect your storage space in your kitchen today and in the future.
  • Finally, what your working budget is. It’s a question people often don’t feel comfortable answering, but it is very important in allowing you to move on with the next stage.

Now I know what I am looking for, what next?

The next move in your DIY kitchen project is the room measure. Whilst it may seem daunting, the reality is, if you allow sometime it is easy to do. Now if you are to undertake building work in this same room, you will need to plan for this.

So how do I measure the room?

Start by drawing out the room shape. Once you have completed this, start measuring the floor to ceiling heights. Take this measurement in a few places, we know from experience most floors and ceilings are not level. They may appear straight or flat, but this is different to level.

From here you can measure the lengths of the walls within the room, from corner to corner. Note this down on your plan.


Takedown the distance of the doorways and windows from each wall and from each other. You will also need to take the width of each doorway and window opening. Mark these down on your drawing. Now you should have the basic room layout and the doorways and windows in the position they sit. Always check which way the doors swing and make sure a door swing inward is not going to hit your cabinets. Check that your windows are above bench height (typically 900-920mm) when positioned within your kitchen layout.

Most pipework in New Zealand homes is located behind walls, however, if you have an object protruding from the walls, mark this down on your plan now. If your project is for an older commercial building, it is likely this will be the case.

Takedown the position of lights switches etc, to make sure they are not going to end up in the line of cabinetry. If they are, then these might be able to be re-positioned when your Electrician visits. Whilst you are positioning electrical work, make note of any existing and additional power points, switches etc you may need in your new kitchen or laundry space.

Lastly mark down the position of your water pipes, waste pipes and gas lines that you will need in the kitchen or laundry. If these are to be repositioned, you will need to mark down the new locations and talk with your Plumber and or Gas Fitter about re-positioning these. Some homes are straight forward like houses on piles, however, some homes with concrete slab bases are more difficult.

It is worth noting down the internal wall squareness and floor and ceiling levels throughout the room as if needed we can manufacture your new kitchen or laundry with additional scribing areas for the installation. All our base and tall cabinets are produced with adjustable legs, so floor levels can easily be accounted for.

What next?

So now you have a fully drawn floor plan on paper, all services are accounted for, you are ready to start the design of the layout.

Now we have a huge amount of information displayed under our “KITCHENS” tab to help you with workflow (DYNAMIC SPACE), ERGONOMICS and STORAGE PLANNING, as well as all the types of cabinets and opening functions we can produce, so it is worthwhile reading those first.

Do check through our “RECOMMENDATIONS” tab for tips, tricks as well as an understanding for what you can and can’t do within kitchen design. It is designed to capture the main considerations you will work through in your DIY project.

Read through our “ADVANCED DIY THE IDEA” section as well, as that explains the idea and the difference we have as a “DIY” cabinet supplier. We are proud of our range and firmly believe it is the best “DIY” offer in New Zealand, capturing most things that so-called custom kitchens feature. That’s why we can safely call our program an “ADVANCED DIY” offer.

At this time, you should also familiarise yourself with our online shop to see what the cabinets look like.

The shop can be found here.