Saturday, 15 October 2016

Modernising backwards

Ey up my faithful blogworms,

It is with sadness today that I have to report that Charlotte, our much valued showroom manageress has left Milestone HQ due to personal reasons but I'm pleased to say that she will be working "satellite" from home for a while yet so you can still email her if you need to !

Meanwhile we begin a search for her successor ! Could it be you ??

If you've missed me these last couple of weeks or so, we have all been on holiday but back now and firing on all 4 cylinders. 

We have new product to bring on stream in the form of a retro material for cabinets and doors called "beige linen" and I hope the pictures below at least give you an idea of what it looks like ! 
Our new linen pattern material showing cabinet interior and door

My pic of the material

The manufacturers pic of same thing
Made up into a full cabinet and door

It's really the sort of thing that you need to see "in the flesh" to appreciate fully. As you would expect with all our products, both can be made any size you need: both standard and custom sized. 
So, it can be used as:

Replacement doors to facelift your kitchen. Modernising it backwards in time, if you like !

Complete units, matching cabinet and doors

And using linen cabinets as a base for your kitchen with any door of your choice fitted to it.

The pattern harks back to the heady days of the 60's and 70's, so very much in keeping with the current retro or nostalgia trend.

We are also trialling a "concrete" effect material to the same end which offers something with a bit more interest and detail to fit in with the current popularity for various shades of grey. And, No, I don't think there's 50 shades of it, before you ask !!
We are waiting for this board to come in, so when it's made up into a display unit, I'll let you all know. We think it looks really interesting and a bit different but we'll let you decide ! 

Think that's all for now but stay tuned for further developments, as they say.

Don't forget, if you're looking for a new career path and keen on design, do let me know.

You know by now that we don't stand still and are always looking for new and different ways to do what we do and if you would like to be part of it, let me know 

As ever. Jules

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Simplicated: The art of simplifying the complicated !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, flushed with success from our London trip, the next job we tackled was every bit as interesting due to the now typical lateral thinking that here at Milestone HQ we're good at !

4 features specifically spring to mind: (1) Hiding free standing appliances done properly (2) Our simple but effective answer to a mobile island unit (3) What we mean by an appliance garage and (4) The most effective way to take care of a window cill

I'll use the same idea as my last blog and explain using pictures, it easier this way. 

(1) To hide a free standing appliance, in my mind, there's only 1 way to do it properly, create a space wide enough and deep enough to completely enclose it.

(1) We sometimes do it once but 3 times in the same run is unusual !  Simply by use of a custom sized door and 2 base end panels an enclosure is created that will take a seperate furniture door

(1)  And when it's finished, nothing looks out of the ordinary but there are 3 appliances very successfully hidden, subtle but clever ! In each case the plinth is fastened to the door so it opens with it. Particularly useful when wanting to get at the filter at the bottom of tumble dryers and washing machines to clean them out !

(2) Want an island but can't decide where to put it, the answer, for us at least, is to make it mobile. Done simply by the use of 2 standard base units, 2 end panels, 1 back panel and a base with castors on it. The trick is in the sizing of the panels !

(2) Square across the kitchen to help when cooking.

(2) Or in line when unloading your shopping and putting it away. The thing is you can use it wherever it's needed and, of course, the castors lock to save you chasing it all over the kitchen. You could even wheel it into your dining room to serve meals off it. Sooooooooo much more versatile than fastening it to the floor in one place !!

(3) This is useful to feature as it shows what we mean by "an appliance garage" Literally somewhere to park a free standing fridge / freezer to make it look like it belongs and much easier to explain with a photograph. I suppose it could be described a "semi built in"

(4) The old chestnut of what to do with a window cill. If you're using granite or quartz or similar for your worktops with upstands. You can see here that we've used normal 100mm upstands around the room but under the window we've increased it's height to run up into using the same material for the cill itself. You've now got the ultimate window cill that requires no maintenance, painting or anything and looks just fab !!

(4) The taller upstand provides the perfect "wet area" protection so you can splash away to your hearts content without worry about stuff getting soaked !

To end with, the overall look is finished with showing you the great worklight that can be achieved with our, now standard, under unit GX53 LED powered lights.
Believe it or not, these lights are only drawing 3 watts of power each !! Who says low energy lighting is rubbish, clearly they've been misinformed or they haven't talked to us yet.

All the things I've featured here don't look out of the ordinary, don't cost a fortune and are subtly clever enough to not to draw attention to themselves. They tackle a lot of the commonly asked questions and problems to be solved but do it seamlessly.

All it takes is a bit of creative thinking and the will to make it work. It shows you care about your work and enjoy creative solutions to common problems.

I've used the word before in earlier blogs ...."Simplicated: The art of simplifying complicated problems

As ever, with your kitchen and budget at heart, Jules

Saturday, 10 September 2016

What can possibly go wrong ?

Ey up my faithful blogworms, it's been a while as we've been all over the country just lately. 

One job in particular deserves it's 15 minutes of  fame, welcome Angus and Anna. The back story to this is one of cunning, stealth and deception. Angus contacted us about having an Eco Elite kitchen supplied and installed by us in their home without Annas knowledge.

The deception begins ..... we've never done a "stealth" kitchen before, what can possibly go wrong !!!!

 I'll warn you now, this blog is a long one, hope you're sitting comfortably ?

Communicating with Angus by secret email, everything was set up in advance, including a sneaky site visit while we were down London way delivering another job.

Cutting to the chase .... we set off from here at 7am on the appointed day, the very day the family were setting off on their holidays. We can't have missed each other by more than 2 or 3 hours but we did and that's what counts. Enter the wonderful but equally sneaky, Jane, aka Mother-in -law who was brilliant in showing us where everything was and giving us some info about the local area .... Thanks Jane !

Anyway .... off we go, old kitchen started to come out and we realised this was not going to be as straightforward as we thought, unfortunately it rarely is. Our hearts sank when we saw the tangled mess that was laughingly described as 'kitchen wiring' and the over complicated plumbing. Anyway, Auto-pilot and nearly 30 years in the kitchen business kicked in and we stripped practically all of it out ready to start again. 

Oh, by the way, did I mention that we had the keep the Fired Earth tiling intact and the existing flooring intact ! 2 nightmares when fitting any new kitchen being at the mercy of other trades doing their job properly.  

I'll tell the story from here on in using pictures or we'll be here all day ! And this is the edited version !!

Here we go

You've got to be joking !

Nope !

New pipework going in

Including the best kept secret in the world, a Scalemaster, to break down the limescale that causes all the damage the your appliances

All the excessive pipes and wires stripped out and plastered back up, looking tidier already

Working to old tiling AND having to move sockets within it is not for the fainthearted !

Probably the most complicated hot water, filter, pressure regulated tap I've ever had to fit. Took me 45 minutes with the instructions just to figure out how it all went together 

And it's DEFINITELY not all going to fit in the sink base, Shit, Houston we have a problem !

Answer: Use the corner base next door !

Moving swiftly along, wall cabs going in, another area where the tiles had the be moved to suit the cooker hood

Who'd be a plumber ??

This bit I'm particularly pleased with, our ability to make pantry doors to match kitchen unit doors, go on, who else do you know that can and will do that ?

Well that's most of the pipework reconnected. In here there will ultimately be: Hot tap connection, cold tap connection, water filter pipes ( in and out ), dishwasher feed pipe, outside tap ( front of house ), outside tap
 ( back of house), Main cold stopcock, Scalemaster unit, boiler drain off pipe, dishwasher waste, washing machine waste, water heater pressure blow of pipe, twin bowl sink waste, double socket for water heater and dishwasher power and water heater feed pipe. It's bloody microsurgery 

Unused sockets removed and new tiles stitched back in, hood moved over and re-tiled as if it's always been there

At last we start to see some reward for effort with new units doors beginning to go on and the house boiler successfully built in to a new cabinet

Turning the corner with the washing machine enclosure facing outwards from the main unit layout

See, told you we'd hidden the boiler !

It's beginning to look a lot like a kitchen !

Our tame granite lads, who set off at 3am to get here to fit the quartz worktops, bless 'em

And making a great job too ! He never did finish his coffee !

Now, come on, be honest 

Does this look the dog's dangly bits or what ?

This is only the edited highlights, I've got over double this amount of pictures. 

We brought this kitchen in ... on budget and under budget on our living expenses, despite all the extra work.

When we work away like this we only charge for a standard day and typically work 9, 10, 11 hour days to get the job done. We quote a daily allowance for meals and expenses and came in under budget on this. Normally we have digs booked for us on a bed and breakfast basis but here, as with a few other jobs, we stayed in the house we're working in. We're happy to do this and it can keep costs down. 

I said, at the beginning,( if you can remember that far back ! ) "What can possibly go wrong" .... well, the answer is usually nothing we can't fix or sort out. Multi-skilling is essential when working this way coupled with an ability to think outside the box. None of this "it's not my job" bollocks, you crack on and get it sorted, it's the only way we work !!

Hope you enjoyed our little adventure, would we do it again, Yeah, why the hell not, life's too short to not accept challenges.

Yours, exhausted. Jules

And ..... Anna, we've never met but we hope you really enjoy the new kitchen you never knew you were getting !

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Recycling from the strangest places: Fireplaces !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, a quick catch up this week on an earlier blog. 
We are going down to London next week to install a solid Walnut Eco Elite kitchen so I'll be unable to post blogs for the next couple of weeks .... will you miss me ???

Anyway, back to the plot, I posted an earlier blog about this kitchen and felt it was worth showing you these pics this week.

This shows just how recycling something can come from the strangest places !!

When we installed this kitchen, we opened up a fireplace to put the cooker in, making it central and essential to the success of this kitchen.
We saved the old fireplace surround simply because it was too good to chuck in a skip, really with no idea, at that stage, of what we could use it for. The plot thickens !!

After staring at it for a while, the thought occured "what would it look like sat on the worktops back on the chimney breast". Chimney breast overmantles are not a new idea but using the old fireplace surround was something we'd never thought of up to this point !!

The decision was made and back up it went just to have a look.

Suffice it to say, our customers said "leave there and we'll think about it ". So we did. 

Now, when the decorator arrived we all agreed to slap a coat of paint on it, the same colour as the unit doors and ........ Voila ! possibly the most unusual overmantle certainly that I've ever fitted.   

It just goes to prove what I've always said that a lot of kitchens we've fitted have a habit of organically evolving as we're fitting them. It pays to keep an open mind !

Once the thing was painted, a lot of the visual weight disappeared and we all agree that it looks fab re-purposed and re-used. Re-using the surround and tiling in the recess with a good period colour tile, there is now more than just a nod to the house's Victorian heritage while sitting comfortably within a modern kitchen.

In't recycling marvellous ??? You be the judge !


Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Neolithic Age has arrived. Again !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, following my theme of new innovations, I thought I'd re-introduce, what is probably, the ultimate worktop material ...... Neolith.

Neolith is the "new kid on the block" in terms of high performance worktops able to withstand pretty much anything you can throw at it in a kitchen environment.

Take the best bits of granite worktops: totally heat proof and scratch proof and marry them to the best bits of quartz worktops: totally stainproof and high tensile strength and that would give you the best of both worlds

That describes ..... Neolith. 

Used as worktops, building cladding, outdoor floor tiles, even outdoor furniture tops, Neolith has one edge over a.n.other similar material on the market ..... and that is it's easy to fabricate into most shapes and styles that you could want.

At present it is in 12mm thickness and can be clad onto an MDF or ply sub-base that we make during a kitchen installation so there is a significant weight saving over quartz and granite.

This enables bigger installations to be carried out and less load on the units.

 There is good variety of colours and styles of the material, all relevant to contemporary thinking ..... and one or two just that little bit different if you want to stand out from the crowd !!

Whats not to like ??

The killer question: Is it silly expensive ? .... No, not at all, it fits very much into the current price brackets of granite and quartz materials

So, basically this is a material that ticks all the boxes I would like to tick, making it probably the best worktop material available in the market at the moment.

Last but not least:  Environmentally speaking Neolith is made up of all completely natural materials and doesn't give off any toxic nasties harmful to you or the environment around you. It is completely recyclable at the end of it's life. 

Come and have a look, we're sure you'll be impressed !


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Buzzing with excitement and feelin' gooooood !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, freshly returned from an outstandingly successful installation of our revolutionary "handleless shaker kitchen" we got a buzz out of the whole adventure.

It's a fantastic feeling when you create something brand new and people actually like it ! Particularly when the whole thing is so comprehensively Eco based, you wonder why more people aren't doing it. But they're not and we are ..... so maybe we're not that bonkers after all ?

Let me tell you all a story .... using pictures

Solid tulipwood wall cabinets, hand finished in an Eco, low V.O.C wax oil
Hanging and setting the Solid Tulipwood Handleless Shaker doors, also finished with the same Eco oil

Close up picture showing the handle detail which we chose to put vertically on this wall unit group

Joining 2 sections of Solid Maple worktop together to give us a worktop nearly a metre deep to fit the sink area

That sink worktop fitted perfectly into the deep window recess, A Franke glass and steel sink and solid Maple upstands around the worktop into the alcove. The doors are also Tulipwood with the handle recess horizontally across the top this time and spray finished in Ecos Organic paint in Fjord colour

The central island unit where the hob and oven are going in, showing how we approached making the drawer fronts. Same worktop method employed here by joining 2 sections together to give us 1 large top just shy of 2 metres long x 1 metre wide

This pic shows the relationship between the island and the wall units. The doorway to the back left of the picture is like a utility room where all the other appliances are going with more storage to enable us to just focus on the main areas in the kitchen to promote a minimal look with plenty of space.

And this pic shows the sink run, off to the left of the island. Sink and cooking, a deceptive amount of storage in just a few units and all the ugly bits are tucked away in the utilities room.

A dining table and chairs will ultimately complete the furniture in the room and the 'look' will be completed with a Maple hardwood floor.

All in all, a warm friendly space to work in with a subtle, unfussy appearance, stuffed with cutting edge kitchen design.
We really believe now that this style is so in tune with contemporary thinking that it's conceivable that it's got the potential to be one of the best ideas we ever had !!

Over to all you wonderful people out the in Eco land to tell us what you think of it !

Feeling particularly pleased, Jules