Amusing Stories from 55 Years in Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom Design - Modern Homes

by Tina Riley
4 months ago

It’s often said that working with animals or children can be unpredictable, and in the world of kitchen and bathroom design, we’ve found our fair share of surprises!  

With over five decades of experience, we’ve certainly accumulated a treasure trove of amusing anecdotes and stories that we’re going to share with you today. From mischievous pets to surprising discoveries, our journey has been filled with laughter, surprises, and heartwarming moments 

So, sit back, relax, and prepare to be entertained by some of our most memorable stories! 

Not quite what we meant by click-and-clean…

This unforgettable moment in the bathroom showroom occurred as we enthusiastically showed off the remarkable click-and-clean features of our beautiful shower enclosures to a client. Sadly, we all failed to notice her small child wandering off around the corner until the magical words “Mum, I have finished” brought us abruptly back to reality! 

Cue the frantic scramble for bin bags, antibacterial wipes, and the hasty departure of a very embarrassed client, who we don’t think ever returned to purchase a bathroom. 

Doggy dilemmas  

We’re accustomed to crafting special areas in the kitchen for our clients’ beloved pets, such as feeding stations, fish tanks, and even bird cameras. In fact, we really love getting the opportunity to create something extra special for our clients’ furry (or feathery!) friends.  

However, we were taken aback when a client requested that we ensure the new design left enough room to accommodate their dog. “No problem,” we replied, “but what type of dog do you have?” It seemed like a reasonable question, yet we weren’t quite prepared for the answer: “We don’t have one yet.” 

The next logical follow up for us was asking what breed they were considering, only to receive another uncertain response: “We don’t know.” We then had to explain the significant difference in space requirements between, for instance, a Great Dane and a Dachshund! 

The hitchhiking cat 

On one occasion, a client’s cat went missing during an installation. Naturally, the client was distraught, and we assured them that we would do whatever we could to help them find their cat. To our surprise, the client mentioned that their cat had a tendency to sneak into vans and cars and go for joyrides (we assume he wasn’t the one driving!), having gone missing several times before.  

Well, we sprang into action and contacted every contractor who had been to the site and even reached out to the kitchen company that delivered the kitchen from Birmingham, all to no avail. We also helped the client distribute posters far and wide. Two weeks later, a stroke of luck occurred when Tina stumbled upon a Facebook post from a garden centre in Bagington which had found a cat matching the description. Excitedly, she called the client and confirmed that it was their cat who had hitched a ride with a neighbour on a plant-buying excursion. Clearly, he thought the new kitchen needed some greenery to complete the look! 

During our subsequent visit to the client (with a little treat for the adventurous feline), Tina noticed a large box securely taped to the cat flap. When she inquired about who had put it there, the installer sheepishly confessed, “That would be me. I’m not taking any chances of him going missing again!” Smart move, we reckon.

Perplexing plants and rogue bathtubs  

Speaking of plants, our terminology has caused some confusion at times. Tina vividly recalls her naïve 16-year-old self asking about the plants while doing the accounts. “What do we do with all the plants, Dad?” she inquired innocently. His response was a puzzled, “What plants are you talking about?”  

To Tina, it seemed straightforward. We were being charged a significant amount each month by Leamington Plant Hire, so naturally, she assumed we had a surplus of plants. Imagine her surprise when I couldn’t locate any! As it turned out, “plant hire” referred to equipment rental. Why couldn’t they have just said that? 

Ditto, Tina once questioned the necessity of having two drivers for delivering just two spotlights to a client, thinking they couldn’t be that heavy. It turns out, she was unaware that “drivers” referred to electrical components necessary for the lights to function! 

On-site, challenges often arise too, adding to the complexity. In our history, we’ve encountered installers calling in dire situations. One instance involved an installer getting wedged in a bath while carrying it upstairs. He managed to make a desperate call to us on his last available dial. It was a struggle not to chuckle, but we did eventually manage to extract him from his predicament!

Bathroom burglaries  

There was also the memorable call from the fitters, informing us that the police had arrived on site with sirens blaring. A concerned neighbour had dialled 999, reporting a burglary in progress. Little did they know, it was just us removing the old bathroom suite! (Not a common thing to steal, but you never know. We love protective neighbours!) 

Four-year fiasco  

We often jest about conducting marriage guidance sessions when assisting clients with vastly differing tastes in choosing their products, but sometimes tensions can get a little much. 

One particular client stands out; she was deeply disappointed that her beloved Ideal Standard Burgundy bath was no longer available, as our new sanitaryware collection was predominantly white. After futile attempts to find a suitable replacement in our showroom, she and her husband, a retired engineer, embarked on a four-year quest across the country, visiting numerous showrooms, manufacturers, hotels, and B&Bs. 

Upon their triumphant return to our showroom, armed with detailed drawings outlining geometric specifications, slope, width, length, and water volume requirements, they proudly presented their find: the Carron Delta bath. However, stunned silence ensued when we pointed out that one of the baths still on display was the very model the wife had sat in four years prior. 

Without a word, the husband left the building, leaving behind an embarrassed silence. Eventually, he returned, took a deep breath, and we proceeded to finalise the rest of the product selections!

Missing mugs 

Once, a client called to complain about the installer—not for his work, which was impeccable, but for allegedly “losing” one of her prized mugs. We refrained from questioning why the client had entrusted the fitter with her cherished mug and instead interrogated the installer relentlessly about its whereabouts. He insisted it hadn’t left the bathroom, and he had no clue where it could be. 

Fast forward about eight years later, when the same client called to purchase a replacement bath panel after damaging hers. We promptly ordered the replacement and arranged for the same fitter to install it. To everyone’s surprise, when the old panel was removed, there sat the missing “best mug” underneath the bath all along. Mystery solved, and everyone had a good laugh—until the next day, when the client reported the mug missing again. 

Despite assurances from the fitter that it wasn’t under the bath this time, the mug remained elusive. It wasn’t until about four weeks later, while emptying a toolbox, that the “missing” mug appeared as if by magic. Tina personally returned it to our customer with plenty of apologies, and ensured that the fitter always carried his own flask with him from then on!

The invisible fridge  

Technology can sometimes add a layer of complexity to situations, as demonstrated by the client who returned from holiday only to be confronted by her disgruntled son. He complained bitterly that despite her investment in a new kitchen, it lacked even the most basic appliance: a fridge. To his surprise, his mother proudly showcased the beautiful new integrated fridge drawers, which were miraculously still full of food she had left for him to eat while she was away! Common sense can’t be taught!  

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our stories as much as we’ve enjoyed remembering and telling them. A lot has changed in 55 years, but our commitment to high quality installations in the Midlands area has never faltered. 


Looking to create your dream bathroom or kitchen? Contact our friendly team today, we’d love to help!