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. 


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 )




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 !


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 !


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Stay well and stay hydrated.... for free !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, been on my jollies but I'm back now and full of exciting news I feel you all need to know about. 

A fantastic scheme called "Refill" is out there in the UK, helping to cut back on bottle waste and provide places where you can refill your water bottle for free !!

We are now listed in this great new scheme and helping to cut back on the mountains of plastic bottle waste that we generate every year. When you're out and about, either at home or on holiday 1,000's of us buy and carry a water bottle around when the weathers hot but what do you do with your bottle when it's empty. I suspect a lot of you already know the answer to that ..... you see them littering pavements, forests, moorland, beaches etc and not being taken away and recycled properly. 

Well now .... there is an alternative and it get's you something for free ! Call into businesses displaying the sticker shown below and you can get your bottle topped up for nothing, how good is that ?

Inserted below are some clips from the website :  Go on and have a look for more details.

Single-use plastic bottles are expensive to produce, use up valuable natural resources to make and transport and create mountains and mountains of waste once we’ve gulped down the contents. And recycling’s not the answer either, here in the UK an estimated 800 plastic bottles a MINUTE are either ending up in landfill or as litter, which will too often make its way into our waterways and out to sea.

Refill is a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to make refilling your bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing refill points on every street. We know water fountains can be expensive to install and maintain, so now friendly cafes, shops, hotels and businesses are welcoming you in to refill your water bottle – for free! Refill is currently happening in Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, Bath and Bradford-on-Avon with Brighton, Norwich and Hunstanton launching very soon!

How does it work? 

Participating cafes, bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses simply put a sticker in their window – alerting passers-by to the fact they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle – for free! Download the free Refill rewards app to see where you can Refill on the go, or add new places to Refill yourself! 

You can go on either of these and download the app and find all the locations where you can take advantage of this fantastic scheme and help with the re-use of the dreaded plastic bottle, doing yourself, nature and the environment a favour, all at the same time. What's not to like.

As you will see, the scheme at the moment is predominantly in the South West, where it started. So let's raise awareness and try and put Yorkshire up there on the map with the best of them ! 

A lot of you, I know, have been following the progress of our new showroom display "Eco goes Coastal", well we've decided to incorporate a working sink and tap into it to provide our refills for people in the local area. We are the very first business in Ilkley to do this and we hope others will follow suit. 

Milestone ..... again...... leading the way with new developments !!

Stay well and stay hydrated people .... Jules

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Think I'm in love ?

Ey up my faithful blogworms, after months of planning, it's finally coming together, Eco2 goes Coastal !!

Using our brand new cabinet colour in Grey Linen, a modern colour with a retro twist, we've also taken a fresh look at how your kitchen units can be used. Exploring different ways in which space can be used, these new cabinet arrangements are a direct result of listening to what our customers have said they want. 

The unit doors are in the brand new Denim colour which is currently going a storm through Europe at the moment. We're usually 12 months behind them here in the UK, so we're actually ahead of the game ..... that makes a change !

As is becoming normal for me ..... me ! normal ! that's a laugh but anyway, I'll let the pictures do the talking. This is an early appetite wetter showing progress so far, needless to say, full pictures will be up on a future blog when we get it all finished.

It's probably the most environmentally friendly display we've ever put together, full details of which will follow in the future blog  .... Eco Friendly and Gorgeous .... it doesn't get much better than this !

Taking a different look at how wall unit space is used has driven the new layout within our units shown here, easy reach everyday space with not so often used space above. Bring back the concept of the much missed "Midway" units that sit on your worktop with commonly used items within easy reach. These can be open or with doors, your choice but we've shown one of each.

Bringing the idea of smaller more convenient drawers individually with a bigger drawer pack has been a much requested idea, so we did it. Probably better seen in the pic above, you keep the big pan drawers under which have grown in popularity steadily over the last few years anyway. Makes for a more versatile drawer pack with more than a passing nod to the old Apothecary chest of years gone by.

This has become our good old stand by, split shelf corner base which has been so well received since we brought it in, we just had to include again in the new display.

That old chestnut !!! The kitchen bin unit, takes up too much space you said, not enough bin space you said, need more segregation for recycling you said, well here's our version !
A double decker .... a 300 wide unit, taller than normal putting your bins at an easy working height, 3 in the top and 2 slightly bigger in the bottom, loads of bin space in a small footprint, easy to use ..... what's not to like ?

This little baby is the latest feature for this display. Speaks for itself in appearance and colour wise it couldn't work better with everything else on the display. Technically it's way more efficient than a lot of other fridges, clever areas for differing needs for differing foods you put in it should promote a longer life for your food and cut down on shameful food wastage !! Something we're very keen on !

Not only that but ..... come on ..... it's got to be the "coolest" fridge on the market, inside and out !!!!

Think I'm in love !!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Clever unit design strikes again !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, this weeks tale is another one of those, like last weeks, where our ability to change any cabinet size to whatever we need makes everything fit perfectly. 

A lot of time was spent on this project as well, to design unit sizes carefully so that no-one would think twice when looking at it. Stealth units ....... make the job so much better.

An Eco kitchen in every respect apart from the granite !!

Our Eco2 cabinets forming the basis as usual ( now with added recycled content, 75% in fact and we can prove it !! ) Sustainable Tulipwood doors painted with low VOC content paint in Farrow and Ball Green Blue No. 84, if you want to know the colour. Sustainable Character Oak worktops. Bon Accord granite, the only Eco negative, around the main run. Granite still being the ideal choice for heat resistance with the ability to put hot pans etc straight onto it. Some Gorenje appliances, still the most Eco conscious appliance manufacturer of choice !!

Carefully sized cabinet structure to fit exactly. How many companies do you know who can make an 1100mm x 850mm L shape corner base ?? Best possible use of corner space.

Peninsular unit to add worktop, storage volume and somewhere to work off the main run. A place to serve from over into the dining room space.

The custom sized L shape corner base using our unique split shelf arrangement for more versatile use of the storage

Strangely, the first time I've used timber worktop to go over two levels with the connecting upstand providing a home for a useful couple of double sockets,

As usual, I'm tidy plumbing obsessed ! Also how many companies do you know the even supply a shelf to go in a Butler sink unit, let alone cut it round the pipework so it's still meaningful ??

You want a Butler sink, Boy have we got a Butler sink ! This one is a beauty, 900mm wide x 630mm deep, it's a superb piece of ceramic engineering from Villeroy & Boch. Of course, those of you who were paying attention will now know the difference between a Butler sink and a Belfast, won't you ?

The sink sits beautifully within the granite tops, even fitting a granite upstand across the back to provide upstand continuity. 900mm high walls units giving just that extra storage when needed.

Oven and microwave fitted at a sensible working height carefully calculated to give best access for reach to both. The hood, we think, is the perfect answer to the problem of repeatedly banging your head on a more conventional hood. We don't understand why these back sloping hoods aren't more popular, even we get sick of banging our heads on "normal" hoods when we fit them !

This layout really does represent the optimum positioning of units for good ergonomics while working in the space. PS: The higher units at the back of the peninsular section are the perfect height for folk to lean on while chatting to you while you're cooking and it keeps folk out from under your feet while you're prepping a meal,  Bonus !

Nice tidy positioning of cooking kit makes everything easier.

Fridge to the left of the drawer pack, bottles in the pull out to the left of the fridge, all it needs now is a kettle on top and it's the ideal spot to make a cuppa.

So, your kitchen doesn't need to be massive to be well thought out and space efficient.

For those of you who know, we are collating records using our own unique chart to calculate optimum storage volumes in given home sizes. Our records show that the ideal requirement for a 3 bedroom Semi is around 3.5 cu.m. of storage.

This one came in at 3.49 cu.m.
so pretty much spot on, job well done. When looking at any new kitchen project we measure storage volume achieved in order to make the best recommendation for any house. We feel this is a requirement everyone should look at to get the best out of your kitchen space. Normally we would record what was there before to give us a comparison and let you know a percentage increase in volume achieved but not many of the original units were left in this case..

It also proves that you don't have to just randomly stuff your kitchen full of units to make the best of it. Our findings are showing that too many units can be as big a mistake as too few !! To find out more, contact us for one of our unique volume calculator sheets. 
Thinking that little bit more than most companies do is what we do best. !