You may know Clinton and Fiona Patey from in-toto, but this expert interiors duo have now rebranded as The Kitchen Partners
The Bristol Magazine: So let’s rewind; where did it all begin?
Clinton: I’d been working for many years at a senior level in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, but I decided on a complete change of direction when I started with the in-toto franchise back in 2006.
Fiona: I started working in television production and then set up my own interior design business, after a career break to have children.
What inspired you to get involved with the franchise?
Clinton: Having worked for many years for other people, I was keen to work for myself. At the time the franchise route seemed the best way to do that.
Fiona: Having met Clinton, it was obvious that my future was going to be in kitchens!
What inspired you to start your own venture, The Kitchen Partners?
Clinton: Although we’ve always been independent, for many years the marketing support offered by the in- toto franchise was a definite plus. Our business grew rapidly in Bristol to the point where we were the number one franchise in the UK for four out of the last five years. However, following the demise of Alno (the owners of the old in-toto brand and its main kitchen supplier) it became apparent that the restrictions of the franchise prevented us from being able to react as quickly as we’d have liked to the problems we were facing. The Kitchen Partners now isn’t tied to any supplier so we can always offer the very best kitchens, appliances and worktops to our customers.
What inspired the new name?
Clinton: Fiona and I very much work as a partnership when we design our kitchens. We have also always felt like we develop a real partnership with our customers from initial consultation through to completion. The partnership theme continues with the way we work with suppliers and even our employees, so the name really evolved from that.
How is your approach to the market unique?
Fiona: We really feel that it’s important to understand the requirements of each customer and then select the right product for them in terms of design, style and budget. Having the freedom to source products from across the industry means that we’re not forcing people to choose from a specific supplier or range of products which can compromise the design.
What trends are surfacing for 2018?
Clinton: There has been an ever-increasing move towards open-plan living, with the kitchen forming the central focus of the room. The latest trend is to camouflage the kitchen by hiding away as much as possible behind doors, including the ovens, using a pocket door system.
What do you find to be a source of inspiration when selecting products?
Fiona: Our German suppliers are fantastic at showcasing their latest products and innovations in their vast showroom facilities. We visit them a couple of times a year to ensure that we incorporate the very best ideas in everything we do.
What style is your kitchen at home?
Clinton: We’ve just moved home so we are fortunately in the process of designing our new kitchen. Both Fiona and I love the handleless look which is a timeless design classic. We are looking to make a statement and so the carbon grey, matt lacquer door with a Trilium Dekton worktop is our preferred choice. A key component of the kitchen is easy access storage so it will be filled with drawers and the essential tall larder cupboards also with pull-out drawers.
Surprise us with something about yourselves…
Clinton: My auntie is the TV presenter Gloria Hunniford.
Fiona: My 19-year-old son’s just been selected for the England Rugby Sevens team and has so far been to Cape Town, California and Dubai playing for them. That’s some gap year before university!