Saturday, 18 November 2017

Groundbreaking Eco design

Ey up my faithful blogworms, going to be away next week, will you miss me ?

Got a lovely total Eco project to install over in York, our glorious county town here in Yorkshire. Needless to say, I'll keep you all up to date with pics etc. So watch this space !!

This week is mainly catch up really, I did say I'd give you finished pics of our recent Eco project with the hand oiled timber doors kitchen that went in the straw build kitchen and these feature below. 

But first, our new Eco2 Coastal display is finally finished and going down a storm already. 3 kitchens sold off it so far, it think it's set to be a winner in the coming year. A choice of colours and finishes available around the coastal theme.


Here it is, in all it's glory, every unit sets a new standard in kitchen unit design. We've listened to what folk have said they would like units to do and incorporated all these new ideas into this one display. Groundbreaking would be a good word here !!

The picture doesn't do it justice and you really need to see it in the flesh for us to explain all the cabinet re-designs in full. Sticking our neck out a bit here to see if it works but you've got to try new things .. right ?

And .... Yes, before you ask, the brand new, superb, VW Gorenje fridge can be supplied as a stand alone order for your existing kitchen at competetive prices. 

Anyway, to catch up, here's the pics Imentioned earlier to go with my earlier blog on this hand-oiled kitchen. We now have the worktops on the island unit.




Pictures of this in my earlier blog show how it works, this shows how it looks finished. Stunning innit ?

One of the most complicated to design and fit, this island came about with concentrated discussions with our customer where they considered carefully how to use every single bit of it. It ticks every box !

Short but sweet this week as I have a lot to prepare for next weeks project before we set off but as promised I'll keep you posted. 

Rushing about ! 

Jules








Saturday, 11 November 2017

"Green" with envy !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, Eco can be a funny thing, it's sometimes an issue that no-one thinks about but then are really chuffed when the story unfolds !

I'll explain ...... We've just completed a kitchen project for a lovely lady who lives locally who made her choices based on her likes / dislikes in the normal time honoured fashion without even considering anything Eco.

When her work was completed and we said this has been a very Eco driven project, she asked why, when we explained she was absolutely thrilled to have a brand new totally Eco kitchen. 

She then admitted that she was so proud to have been an ethical purchaser that she was going to make the point to all her friends !!

Almost like the Eco content was secondary to her choices but features primarily in how she will describe her shiny new kitchen to her friends. 

Circumstances like this can often be the most basic entry into the world of thinking environmentally but can change a persons thinking to be more Eco friendly in the future !!



The kitchen chosen is from our Eco2 range in Cashmere Grey matching cupboards and doors. The lighting is a spot bar with low energy 5w Cobb bulbs. The fridge / freezer in the tall housing is from Gorenje, a manufacturer with probably the highest eco credentials in Europe at this time.

Using tiles from the Johnson range that have a recycled content, as far as we know the only UK tiles to have this.

The worktops are from the same manufacturer as the cabinets and doors featuring the same recycled / FSC mix timber content

And the sink is from the Blanco range having high recycled content stainless steel and the dishwasher is again from Gorenje.


This, then, is almost Eco by stealth with all the elements: cabinets, doors, appliances, worktops, sink, tiles and lighting making the project as Eco as it gets and without a single environmental factor driving the choices made .

It's a funny old world and we're converting it to Eco, 1 step at a time 

You could say her friends will be "green" with envy !! Strange how sometimes the blog title comes to you right at the end

As green as ever, Jules




Saturday, 21 October 2017

Appearances can deceptive !!

Ey up my faithful blogworms, bit of a tale of woe this week, I'm afraid, but a cautionary tale also. Regarding bathrooms, they can be the biggest source of water damage problems in any house if not looked after and checked properly from time to time.

The resulting damage can be a major headache, not only affecting that room but often the kitchen too as it's usually below the bathroom. Our project last week and just into next week is one such instance.

"We need our shower room sorting out, we think it leaks" they said. Massive understatement, once we got the old stuff out, it was clearly rotten as the pics will show.
This has created so much more work than would have been necessary had we got to it sooner and it had obviously been leaking for a long time time. The walls had gone soft, the grouting falling out, the silicone seals were black and the whole thing had a musty, damp smell about it. 

My advice would be to check any of the above and get someone to look at it if you feel something is awry. It could save you a lot of pain and money further down the line.


Might look ok but hiding a right bunch of problems



The wall with the shower valve on was in a disgusting state and wet through

The timber framework was also totally rotten and falling to bits

Which means taking the whole wall section out and starting with almost a full sheet of 18mm ply screwed directly onto the wall studs

And creating a completely new stud wall frame to support the side wall of the enclosure.


Looks ok you might think but flexing like mad as all this weight was only fixed by screwing it to 8mm matchboard wall cladding. You have got to be joking !!

That's better a decent new pedestal now taking the weight of the new basin and holding it sturdy.

Using Showerwall panels to cut out the grout joints altogether, easier to give a good seal and easier to clean !

Recycling all the old woodwork that was still decent to clad to new stud wall to match in with the rest of the room, nightmare ! but it worked.


Sorting all this out has doubled the amount of time we though it would take for what seemed like a straightforward job.

Appearances are often deceptive, now where have I heard that before ??

Don't take chances with showers folks, they are wonderful but can ruin your day if they start leaking and that's from our viewpoint aswell as yours.

Think smart .... it costs nothing to get it checked if you're in any doubt

Looking after your world .... Jules



Saturday, 14 October 2017

Milestone gets well oiled !!

Ey up my faithful blogworms, been away for a bit, have you missed me ?

What do you mean No ??

Anyway this weeks entertainment is a particularly Eco kitchen installed into a straw bale build extension to a house and we can prove it.

This is a follow up to our earlier blog on August 5th, putting into practice the things I talked about at that time. You see, there is a plan !!

With the ongoing developments we keep trying in the eco world, this particular kitchen is from our Eco Elite range in solid FSC oak with a hand oiled finish using Osmo environmentally friendly wax oils with solid Iroko tops finished the same way.

An idea we had some time ago, the first one being in a passive house up in Leyburn in North Yorkshire, although there was a lot less oiling involved with that one compared to this one !!


A kitchen of two sides with a central island / work station built using our Eco2 range of cabinets. This side for the fridge a mainly dry goods storage.

A very tricky island unit layout that took some designing, I can tell you ! The hob, sink and dishwasher going in here.

This side holds the built in oven and a free standing microwave / cookery books in the open wall to the left.

Let the oiling commence !

And keep going, with 28 parcels containing the doors and panels etc, this oiling bench saw a lot of service, it was like painting the Forth Bridge. 

As you can tell by all  the unit internal fittings, this kitchen was thought about in great detail as to the purpose for each unit 

FSC character oak doors and panels with solid iroko worktops, all hand oiled, a mammoth task but very worth while ! Note the little window on the right above the worktops, more about that below.

Iroko worktops to both sides.

The island showing a lower section for bread dough and pastry preparation and a sneaky pull out corner unit to maximise the use of space.

Same pic showing it all tucked away

AND, last but not least, here's that little window again ! Apparently, in straw build circles, it's known as a "truth window" showing the straw bale build to show people that you're not joking when you say your room is built from straw, good eh !
Is this a good time to mention that you don't, under any circumstances, keep 3 little pigs !!


The beauty of finishing a kitchen in this way is that it can be refreshed yourself over time using the same oil and a brush and so should last for years and years and always look as good as when it was installed.

As the more observant among you may have noticed, the island does not yet have it's worktop fitted, we are waiting for this to be fabricated as we speak. It will be a couple of weeks before we see that fitted due to demand on the material chosen, so you can guarantee I'll slot the finished pictures into a future blog for you all to see.













Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bathrooms can be Eco too !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, been away a bit recently, working and holidays ..... have you missed me ? ..... what do you mean.. No. Just joking !

Anyway, to business. Many things have been happening here at Milestone HQ, we are extremely busy at the moment with new Eco project enquiries coming in from all over the UK. All our years of doing our bit to push the Eco movement forward have finally taken over and Eco work now makes up more than half of our business. This can only be good for our environment long term and shows that people are now taking it seriously and paying attention.

I have some pics to show you this week of a bathroom project where a large part of it is Eco product based, a bit of a first for us and a shame that at the same time as it will be the last bathroom that we do as a company. We will be looking for more bathroom installers to use our Eco products on a supply only basis to keep this area moving forwards. So, if you know of any forward thinking bathroom people needing this service, do let us know.


Welcome to the wonderful world of pipework, old pipework was well installed but unfortunately none of it was where we wanted it !

How unfortunate can you get where 5 pipe joints are right where we want to put the shower waste ?

As you will know, I'm paranoid about water control, these isolators for the shower will eventually be behing a fake skirting board on the wall side, everything in this room will have isolation valves for total control of each item individually.

Our Eco2 units are the basis here with painted solid Ash for the doors etc, all FSC certified sustainable, the flyshelf lights are 5 watt led with a great light output.

OK, this bit is Corian, probably the most environmentally nasty material you can get but we can't control customer choice !!!

Tiling going in to border a huge mirror

Yep, we're even building niches in to put have your bottles to hand, technically a pain to do but a nice feature

And at both ends of the bath too !

Industrial quality shower door sliders should last for donkeys years 

To get energy effeciency up, we're using the new generation all Aluminium radiators, more output from smaller rads are more cost effective to run.


It's not quite finished and with all the joinery and plumbing work, it has been quite intense, the large tile size hasn't helped in terms of tiling round niche areas etc but it's finally coming together.

Don't forget !! Bathrooms can be Eco too ( well, most of it ! ) and if you are thinking about doing yours and want Eco units, get your bathroom installers to contact us and we'll put something together. Just to remind you, we won't be doing bathrooms ourselves but are happy to supply to others.

Stay green ! Jules.






Saturday, 19 August 2017

Keep your water inside your pipes !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, this weeks blog is a cautionary tale and I hope, as a result, you will be better informed when I've finished than you were to start with !

I refer to "control of water" in your home !

This week we've just finished a new bathroom for a customer and it pains me to say that at the beginning we spent more time than we should have putting water control isolating valves in. 

I hate "other plumbers" who don't consider this to be important. 

In this house the only way to control any water leaks that could happen would have been to turn off the main house stop cock and hope for the best, sorry, that is so not acceptable !

If you get a leak on anything, an isolator valve is vital to enable you to turn it off while maintaining water to the rest of the house.

This picture shows the control we put under the bath to enable the shower and the bath to be isolated individually in case of a leak. We've also made it easy to get the bath panel off for speedy use of these valves if necessary.





We also fitted the same to the vanity basin unit and to the W.C. unit so everything can be controlled simply and quickly should the need arise.

I was also completely dismayed to find that there was absolutely no provision for isolating and draining down the central heating. We needed to do this to move and fit a new radiator in the room


In the end we had to shut off and drain down and remove a radiator near the front door to enable us to empty the heating system to carry out our work. 

What would have happened if a pipe had gone or a leak occured ??

The entire heating system would have continued to empty itself all over house until there was no water left in it. A right mess would have followed that could have been avoided at the cost of a fiver for a valve and a drain off point.

It's a no-brainer !!
 There are always ways and means of locating isolators that are easy to get at, no matter what it is you are installing .

The isolator here is in the unit to the left of the toilet so all you need to do is open the unit door and you're straight on it.
 

The shower and bath isolators are in the first picture at the top.



Basically what I'm trying to do here is get you to look at anything in your home that is water fed and think to yourself .... how do I turn this off in an emergency ?? If you can't then, in my humble opinion, it's time to get someone in to make it so you can.

It is also a vitally important question to ask any tradesman who comes to your house to fit anything that operates with water. 

HOW DO I TURN THIS OFF ??

If he says "Oh just turn off your house stopcock" then sack him and find someone else.

I've seen first hand the damage that water can do if left unchecked, so please take a good look around your house and consider the things I've mentioned. It could save you a hell of a lot of money, upset, stress and, worse case scenario, a house that's 'unliveable in' ( not even sure that's a word ?? ) until the damage is put right. 

Top tip: 


DO NOT USE THESE !! Called a Ballfix valve, these are cheap, nasty ( cost about a quid ) and are prone to failure because the screw is not directly connected to the ball inside ( they're on a spring location ) and even if they work, you need to dash around looking for a screwdriver to turn them off, wasting valuable time.









USE THESE ! These are called a Butterfly valve and they have a built in handle that's easy to turn, ( cost about £2.50 ) and they come in blue and red, clearly identifying whether it's hot or cold water in the pipe and the ball inside is directly connected to the handle, way, way more reliable the the one above. At Milestone, we fit these automatically to everything we install and show you where they are and show you how they work !!





I hope this will help you take a good look at control in your home and know what to ask for when getting plumbing work carried out, whoever does it ! Keeping your water inside the pipe does not cost a fortune !


Spread the message around your friends and family, together we might just avert a disaster for someone your know and love. 

Stay safe. Jules






Saturday, 5 August 2017

Let's get well oiled together !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, we are really pleased to announce some new arrivals this week. An idea I've been chasing for a while now is a the ability to produce an Fsc sourced, eco friendly oiled, natural finish, timber kitchen unit door.

Sounds easy, you say. In the past we've used low VOC content acrylic lacquers and these are commonly used these days but to truly get an Eco friendly natural finish then oiling is the way forward.

As usual with a lot of products these days, once you step outside what is classed as normal, you've got a fight on your hands to do something new. Something we've been used to over the last tens years or so we've been majoring on Eco products.

So, as usual, if you want owt doing, do it yourself !

We have !

 We can produce natural sanded finish timber doors in: 

Pippy oak ( first pic )

Walnut ( second pic )

Maple

Pine


Beech

English Ash

Character Oak

In a traditional style (first pic)
and Shaker style (second pic)
in any of the listed timbers. Once manufactured and sanded, we then hand finish them with Osmo Polyx oil. To save you money on your project we can supply your doors sanded with the oil for your to finish yourself or we can finish them for you


Normally, as I'm sure some of you will spot, we avoid like the plague using Hard wax oils for finishing as they severely clog up your sander when trying to refinish horizontal working surfaces like floors and worktops.

However, the Osmo oils are eco friendly being made from natural products and your doors are vertical and unlikely to be used for walking on or cooking on like floors or worktops. 

This makes a hardwax oil a good choice for doors for cleanability and durability. Also using a widely available oil product, you will be able to clean and refinish your doors keeping them in tip top condition for years to come. 


As our faithful followers will know by now, we don't claim anything, eco wise, if we can't back it up. So here is the FSC Source certification for the timber supplied for this new range of kitchen doors.

As we are constantly searching for new eco based product to offer, a development like this ticks yet one more box bolstering our claim to offer the largest range of Eco friendly kitchen furniture in the land !!

No idle claim, I can assure you !

Let's get well oiled together !

Jules 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Yorkshire is a fantastically green place !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, all of a sudden we seem to be much in demand throughout the Eco and green fraternity which is good news indeed !!

Firstly we've been contacted by an extremely knowledgeable chap from Passive House Plus magazine, informing us that the Eco kitchen that we created up in Leyburn, North Yorks. last year is going to take centre stage in their next issue of the magazine.

Here's a quick reminder of how it looked, it does feature in more depth in an earlier blog ! The Eco spec on this kitchen was very high, in fact the best it could be at the time, as described by the text below that I've sent over to the magazine !!


Carcase material for the main kitchen units is 75% recycled material particle board, ( composed of 30% waste stream timber products & 45% recycled factory waste ) with 25% Fsc certified material. 
The particle binder has a formaldehyde content of only 0.1 mg HCHO/ sq.m at 18mm thick which is way lower than the current limit value of 3.5 mg and at 0.1 is the same content as would be found in a naturally growing tree.
The Maple for the worktops is from a sustainable source /Fsc certified and finished with 'Osmo' Hardwax oil

The wall hung unit cabinets and doors are all built from solid American PEFC certified Tulipwood and finished with a 'Liberon' Eco friendly low VOC, wax free, finishing oil.

The main kitchen unit doors are also made from an American PEFC certified Tulip wood and finished with an organic paint from Ecos Paints ( now Lakeland Paints ) from their Feng Shui range. 

The kitchen was also something of a first for us in the fact that it was the first kitchen we built using our unique and original Integrated handle Shaker door.


 
We are, of course, very proud for this to be going in to such a prestigeous Eco building publication. And are very much looking forward to seeing the article !

There's talk of an editorial featuring all that we do here at Milestone ... Woo-hoo !, we'll see how that pans out .


Secondly, and of equal importance, when we won the PEA Award for our Eco work, which was a proud moment, they have been back in touch wanting us to join the organisation !!


Wow, Milestone Design finally getting national recognition for all the sheer hard work we've put in developing our Eco products over the last ten years..... now all I've got do is get our website up to date with all the new stuff we've been working on. One item is, in fact, the kitchen that features in the article I've just talked about above.

See, there is a plan !!

This is definitely one for Yorkshire !! Not all the groundbreaking work takes place south of Watford. 

Yorkshire is a fantastically green place and not just with regard to the countryside ! 
We just need more people to recognise it !

I need all your help to get the message out there, so spread the word !

Jules