“Working with Cutshop has been the single biggest factor in my business success,” says kitchen designer and builder, Rhys Mellor.  Rhys, originally a cabinet maker and boat builder, branched out into kitchen-making when he came back from a 13-year stint in Europe working on super yachts in the America’s Cup, Round the World Vendee Globe and Jules Verne campaigns.

“I took a break from boat building and renovated our own kitchen using my experience with wood and composites.  A lot of people commented on custom features like the waterfall bench and soon I got asked to build a similar kitchen for someone else.  That’s how it all started.”

There's got to be an easier way

Rhys made his first three kitchens by hand.  Measuring, cutting and installing every piece himself.  “I got to the point, after the third kitchen, that I thought – something needs to change, there’s got to be an easier way to do this.”

 In February 2017, Rhys contacted Dave at Cutshop North Shore.  “Dave at Cutshop North Shore was amazingly helpful.  He walked me through my first kitchen, making sure all the measurements were correct and discussing potential design improvements.  I was a bit nervous to be losing some of the control — and paying for it all upfront was also a little scary — but once we got started, I didn’t look back.” 

It became immediately obvious that working with Cutshop was going to take a lot of time out of each job.  In fact, Rhys ended up being able to design, measure up and install a kitchen in half that time it had taken him to complete a job alone.  “Doubling my productivity meant that I could take on more work and bigger jobs with confidence.  With Cutshop’s help I’m able to turn a kitchen around in two weeks.”

However, there were other benefits that Rhys had not expected.  “Cutshop works with extreme accuracy.  Every kitchen I’ve done with them fits beautifully.  I’m a trained cabinet-maker and boat-builder but I can’t cut as precisely as they can.”

A genuine collaboration

Operating from his modest workshop at home in rural Waimauku, north west of Auckland, Rhys has neither the space nor the inclination to invest in expensive machinery.  “Cutshop acts like an extension of my business.  They have all the big machines, so I don’t need to worry about the cost of buying and maintaining them.  Each job comes back to me flat-packed, complete with all the hardware, so it’s easy to store until I go to install the kitchen on-site.”

Working with Cutshop has been a genuine collaboration.  Rhys has now delivered three kitchens with Cutshop and has found that the experience has changed his ideas and way of thinking. “The team has so much kitchen expertise that together, we always come up with the right solutions.”

From a business perspective, the productivity gains have been backed up by Cutshop’s competitive pricing.  “I’ve been very surprised at how reasonable it is to use Cutshop, especially when you get such good pricing for materials like MDF – I can’t source it for less.  And only dealing with one supplier means that I don’t have to spend time chasing up orders.  It’s all done for me.”

Diversification into outdoor kitchens

Rhys has also branched out into outdoor kitchens and has created quite a stir at the last two Home Shows with his beautiful macrocarpa benches, built around wood-fired pizza ovens, barbeques and fireplaces.   “I love building outdoor kitchens but it’s a seasonal business.  During the summer months, I concentrate on outdoor kitchens and over winter I move indoors – it’s the perfect balance.”

If you’d like to see more of Rhys’s work, go to www.loveoutdoorkitchens.co.nz