We are a family run business and have been manufacturing high specification kitchens and kitchen units since 1982. Our history lies in supplying premium high street retailers throughout the UK but now through DIY Kitchens, we offer you the same high specification kitchens, at unbelievable prices!
Over the years, our team has grown massively and many of the staff that joined us back when we began, are still with us today! Take a look at our complete history below and see just how we became one of the biggest online kitchen retailers, in the UK!
Our company was born in Barnsley more than 40 years ago when our first kitchen was produced in the family home of our founders Alf and Clare Ellis. When looking for a new kitchen, they scoured the market a great quality at a reasonable price. With no success, they decided to make their own.
After the first kitchen was fitted by Alf in their home, friends and family saw it and from their comments, Alf and Clare were encouraged to explore opening a factory and showroom, and so their family business began.
Our first showroom and factory was a 1490 sq ft building located at Castlereagh Street in Barnsley. Here Alf and his small team manufactured our first units and doors at the back of our retail showroom, where Clare Ellis helped our customers to choose just the right kitchens for their homes.
By 1985, we had moved into a 10,000 sq ft factory and by this time had a growing list of trade customers. Some of our early customers were local high-quality house builders and national companies like Mclean Homes and Charles Church, amongst many other prestigious developers.
In our new 10,000 sq ft factory, we also had a retail showroom where our early showroom team included talented Kitchen Designer Linda Greenwood and our Showroom Manager Linda Bailey. At this time, our team had already built a loyal customer base of trade and retail customers, with whom we had our an excellent reputation for excellent quality, at the right price. 1985 was also the year that we became a limited company.
1986 was the year that we produced our first glued and dowelled carcase, followed by the introduction of veneered panels and accessories, all produced in-house. Since its creation, the company had always produced carcasses with matching visible gables.
By the end of 1988, we started providing our customers with 18mm, fully colour coordinated cabinets. We have now increased our range to 9 colours and over 900 standard units, the most the kitchen industry has to offer!
In 1993, we began spraying kitchens to any colour match requested. This let our customers create the kitchen of their dreams. We were also the first in the UK to purchase a Ligmatech through feed automatic carcase press with handling equipment. This increased production substantially, alongside newly installed CNC drilling machines.
In 1996, we acquired the first of our two current sites near Pontefract. An industry leading, 26,000 sq ft, purpose-built manufacturing facility.
By 1997, we again led the industry by investing in several pieces of machinery. This included a spindle moulder and CNC equipment, allowing us to manufacture solid wood and smooth painted kitchen doors in the UK, which is quite unique.
In 1999, we bought new machines to work alongside our traditionally skilled craftsmen, allowing us to increase solid wood door production, as well as giving us the ability to manufacture our unique foil wrapped doors.
During this period our current Managing Director Matthew Ellis joined the company. Initially, he spent time working in each manufacturing department, learning the skills required to create our kitchens, from the Falcioni spray line through to operating our beam saw and delivering customer kitchens.
In the first few years of the new millennium, the much loved DIY Kitchens website was launched. Initially supplying kitchen doors, handles, and accessories direct to the public online.
After much customer demand, we sold our first complete kitchen online in the summer of 2004. This first kitchen online was the popular Eden Classic, featuring traditional country kitchen elements including beading inlay on the doors and tongue and groove paneling.
In 2007, we built an 8,000 sq ft, free-standing showroom in the grounds of our manufacturing facility near Pontefract. This was to help provide customers with the opportunity to experience the superior quality of our kitchens first hand. Each year we re-fit and develop areas our showroom to demonstrate industry trends and innovations. During this period, we also invested over £1.3 million in new equipment at the Unit 26 plant, including more efficient sawing, edging and drilling machinery, to increase production.
During October 2009, we acquired a 47,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in South Kirkby, just 100m from our first site.
Following this, £1 million was invested in several pieces of hi-tech door production machinery. This included a Burkle membrane press, several Biesse machines (including a saw), a CNC router and an automated storage and retrieval system.
During 2011, our manufacturing facilities were expanded by 20,000 sq ft to house a new £1.5 million automated cabinet assembly line, the most advanced in the UK capable of producing over 100,000 cabinets per year.
Going into 2012, a further £3 million was invested in automation, allowing us to speed up packaging and dispatch of all our kitchen units.
In 2013, we built a 6,500 sq ft factory extension designed to house three new robotic paint spraying lines. This addition not only increase our capacity, but importantly it also further improved the quality of door finish on offer to our customers.
Going into 2014, we installed yet another spray line to help keep ahead of increasing customer demand for bespoke painted kitchens.
We continue to lead the kitchen industry with our new, 10 acre, 152,000 sq ft manufacturing facility near Leeds. This site allows us to give customers the choice and quality they've come to expect, but faster than ever before. To take kitchen manufacturing to a new level, over £12 million has been invested in our ground breaking rigid cabinet production facility. Much of the machinery is bespoke, having been designed and specified by us. The new cabinet assembly line includes 8 robots and is the longest line in Ligmatech Germany's history. It's capable of producing a rigid cabinet every 20 seconds and is almost 500m long, that's the length of 5 football pitches!
In the summer of 2017, we were visited by UK Prime Minister, Theresa May. The event was attended by BBC, Sky and ITV News channels, amongst many others from the media. The Prime Minister toured our manufacturing facilities, followed by a nationally televised speech and question & answer session, enthusiastically participated in by many of our team.
As our business grows, we are always expanding our team to ensure product quality remains consistently high. Many of our staff have been with us since 1981. These experienced employees pass down the knowledge they have gained, ensuring continuity of skills and high standards. During 2018, we created our first purpose built Customer Support Centre to build on our hard earned national reputation and to create a team that's second to none. We also further cemented our reputation by becoming the Which? Best Kitchen Brand and by being presented with the Houzz Award for Customer Support.
Further expansion of the business meant we outgrew our logistics facilities. So, in 2018 we opened our group Logistics Centre. Along with large investments in a new fleet of delivery vehicles and intelligent stock systems, the new facility will allow us to continue to meet the demand from our customers.
We invested a further £3.5 million into automatic paint spraying lines in 2018. During 2019 and beyond, this will allow us to double our output capacity and further push quality levels. With 6 lines in operation, we now have more paint spray capacity than any other UK kitchen manufacturer.