The Story of Dan Kitchens – The Early Days

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In 1979, shortly after arriving in Australia from Denmark, Vagn Madsen began working as a cabinet maker for a then well-known kitchen company in Sydney.

Vagn had a passion for quality and design. He soon realised that these attributes were of little importance to the company he had joined which was more focused on mass production and economies of scale.

In 1981 Vagn Madsen and his brother Benny Madsen secured the rights to represent HTH, a major Danish modular kitchen manufacturer with a worldwide presence.

They formed HTH Kitchens of Scandinavia and opened a warehouse and kitchen showroom in Sydney. Whilst successful, Vagn was stymied by limited sizes and colours that had to be transported half way around the world- not much of an improvement to his previous situation. Keen to follow his passion and to offer truly bespoke kitchens and joinery, the two brothers parted ways and Vagn decided to create his own brand.

Dan Kitchen Sydney

The original Dan Kitchens Logo.

The formation of Dan Kitchens

Dan Kitchens Australia was established in 1984 and first operated out of factory premises in Smithfield, and, not long after that, at expanded premises in Girraween, in Western Sydney.

In 1985, Vagn Madsen was joined in partnership by Danish cabinet maker Jan Peitersen, previously of PP Møbler, Danish furniture manufacturer of Hans J Wegner’s classics. Jan Peitersen and Vagn Madsen’s collaborative effort would endure for over two decades and make Dan Kitchens the success that it is today. Jan Peitersen retired for health reasons in 2005.

In 1988, Dan Kitchens moved to a purpose built building at Seven Hills. The company owned facility incorporated manufacturing, a design studio and a kitchen & joinery showroom on the one site.

In 2014 Dan Kitchens expanded into an adjoining 850m² building that provided valuable additional production space. As the company grew in size and sophistication, cutting edge CNC manufacturing equipment and gas heated spray booth facilities were incorporated into the Dan Kitchens operation.

The development of expertise and sharing of knowledge

Vagn Madsen and Jan Peitersen developed a close knit, enthusiastic team of employees, often mentoring young and mature age apprentices personally. Traditional finishes such as hand worked timber and hand painted, lacquered joinery, no longer of interest to other contemporary kitchen companies, are handled with confidence by a team of quiet achievers.

Dan Kitchens enjoys an egalitarian company structure where communication and information flows freely, much to the benefit of staff, suppliers and of course, clients. Whilst no longer “on the tools”, Vagn maintains a “hands on” approach. He leads the design team and manages day to day business whilst also researching and planning the company’s future development.

An enterprise that has flourished and endured

Supported by a core of staff members, many of which have been with the company for the majority of their working lives, Vagn Madsen has steered Dan Kitchens to a position of pre-eminence within the Australian market.

Trade qualifications and experience gained in Denmark underpin the company’s single minded focus on quality and attention to detail with results that have gained Dan Kitchens a unique reputation and loyal clientele. Word of mouth, strong referrals and repeat business from recent and past clients account for well over 60% of the company turnover further validating Dan Kitchens’ credentials and good name.

The company today: Danish design in an Australian setting

As evidenced by the elegant and inspiring projects found on the Dan Kitchens website, Danish design principles such as form and function are to be found in a variety of styles and tastes. From the most elaborate whole house contemporary kitchen & joinery fit out to the sleekest luxury apartment kitchen, Dan Kitchens projects can be found all over Sydney and country NSW.

Led by Vagn Madsen, the Dan Kitchens design team offers confident, knowledgeable, intelligent design solutions for the most challenging projects. Staffed by company employees, the Dan Kitchens design team offers a refreshing point of difference in an age dominated by franchised operators and commission based salespeople.

Discuss your project with the Dan Kitchens team

The Dan Kitchens Design Team are available to discuss your custom kitchen and joinery project with you. As professional designers, they take the time to listen and talk with you about what you are planning to achieve, the challenges you are facing and offer advice as to how Dan Kitchens can carry out your new kitchen design project.


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