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

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Feeling rather smug !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, there's going to be a slight hiatus in my blogs next week and the week after as we're working up in the far wilds of the Yorkshire Dales installing a very Eco kitchen in a Passive house construction, google passive house and you'll know the technical probs we're up against.

 The kitchen we're installing is an Eco Organic with a twist !! You know us by now, nothing's straightforward ! 

This will probably be the most Eco kitchen we've ever done, here's why:

1) Based on our Eco2 cabinets with high recycled timber content mfc.

2) Chosen from our Eco Organic range which is a painted kitchen finished in Organic paints

3) Using Sustainable Tulipwood for all the doors & accessories, some painted, some natural timber.

4) The wall units are built totally from solid Tulipwood, cabs, doors, the lot.

5) The worktops are FSC sourced solid Maple and will be finished in the new Eco, low V.O.C, water borne Danish oil.

And the twist is that we will be using the only "Integrated handle" Shaker door ever created by any kitchen company, anywhere. 

Nobody has ever been daft enough to try making a handleless shaker door, so we thought we'd have a go ! Think of all the time saved in agonising over which handles to choose ! Loads of integrated handle flat doors on the market BUT we're the first to do it our way .... cue for a song ?

Yet another milestone for Milestone, he said, feeling rather smug !! 

You will, of course, see it here first when we come back, I'll be taking loads of pics as we put it all together in the various stages.

This project is going to be pretty unique in the true sense of the word. I'll let you all be the judge of whether we succeeded when you get to see it. 

Exclusively yours, Jules

Saturday, 25 June 2016

A constant in a ever changing world

Ey up my faithful blogworms, bit of a bits and bats week this week, responding to conversations I had this week. A catch up on a recent job, a freebie for you all to play for and opinions on recent events really.

 Starting with a catch up from a post I put up on 14th May, "Re-defining space". 

Tiling .... what, where and how ?

After much deliberation we decided to use two seperate colours of tiles: a grey off white and a rich Victorian maroon. Most people are conditioned to think in tiles in all one colour but I hope you agree that the chance we took here works really well, certainly the customer loves it.

We tiled the two flanks in the grey off white while the maroon took centre stage in the opened up fireplace creating and fab central feature blast of colour. It's a Victorian house and the maroon tiles look like they've been there forever and we worked round them !

We think it's useful illustration as to how you can re-think your perception on using tile colour. To link it all and keep it subtle we chose a grey grout for all 3 tile areas, white would have been OK but the grey really does set it off, although I admit it might be difficult to see from my pictures.

BY THE WAY ...... What do you think of the fireplace overmantle ? On the subject of reducing waste, again, this is the original fireplace surround that we took out to open it up to put the cooker in. 

Our customers wanted something to detail the chimney breast with and we stood the old surround on the worktops more as a bit of a giggle really, they liked the idea and it's been there ever since, they love it. It will, in time, be made to fit fit properly and painted in a colour to suit the room but yeah .... why not ??

Here's a cheeky little freebie competition for you to play with. Those of you who know me, know how I hate wasting anything so here's an egg rack for a dozen eggs made from from a timber off cut left off a job ages ago.
I'm sure you all know by now that keeping your eggs in the fridge is entirely the wrong thin to do so how about a fab egg rack ?

It's a bit different, a bit more creative that the normal boring ones and all you have to do to win it is pop into our showroom, guess the wood and it's yours !! Simples. Yes, I know, this favours my local blog fans but as my last topic illustrates, you can't please all the people all the time ! There's only one so it's first come first served, good luck !

Brexit ..... You can't escape it, it's happened and I feel now that we all need to stop whingeing, knuckle down and let's pull the positives out of this and move forward. 

We are a great nation and have a lot to offer so let's re-kindle our great British spirit of old and do what we're good at: pull together.

From a Milestone point of view, we will be a constant in an ever changing world. All our own brand products and all our Eco offerings are all made within the UK and, as far as is humanly possible, always will be. 

Who knows, buying British and supporting local industry and products might well be more important now and in the years to come ??

Staying positive, Jules

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Save waste, save money !

Ey up, my faithful blogworms, been going back to our roots just lately with a run of "replacement door" orders. This is where we started all those years ago in 1988 and it's nice to re-visit this type of work from time to time.

It's always been our mission to develop the products we cover to enable us to carry out refurbishment of existing kitchens aswell as installing new ones, so this is a reminder that when you're thinking of a way to lift or modernise your kitchen, keep this in mind.
It has always been our proud boast that "there isn't a kitchen in the UK that we can't fit new doors to".

Unlike a lot of what can only be described as "charlatans" in our industry offering replacement doors, we can and do make any size door required to fit your needs, in pretty much any material you want.

A refurb based on this principle is always cheaper than replacing your entire kitchen. When you look at what's involved with a new kitchen and how long it takes, for a new set of doors and handles we can be in and out often in just 1 day !! Minimum down time and minimum disruption and a kitchen that looks brand new when we've finished.

Just to give you a couple of pointers as to whether it's worth considering re-furb over re-new, there are two things I always look at first.

1) Are the cabinets in good enough condition to enable this work to happen successfully ?

2) Are you happy with the layout in the room and does it work for you ?

If the cabs are still good, any or all of the fittings can be renewed including things like hinges and drawerboxes and if you're happy with the layout then there's no need for additional or replacement cabinets.

New worktops and sink etc are viable to consider at this stage aswell but once you start to go beyond this, you can reach a "tipping point" where it becomes actually more economical to rip out and start again.

So, consider re-furb before you necessarily think about ripping it all out, you will probably be surprised with the results that can be achieved.

Those of you who know me by now will know that I hate waste and, whilst I'd love to fit you a new kitchen, there are alternatives working with what you have, saving waste and saving you money !!

Looking after your pennies, Jules.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Humble pie doesn't taste too bad !!

Ey up my faithful blogworms, Going on my jollies tomorrow so I'll be away for a couple of weeks.

Here's some early info on a new product that I hope will give you something to think over while I'm away

You may have noticed that I've gone a bit quiet on the old 'Dekton' front.

Good reason for that ..... Great material, ticks all the boxes I could ever wish to tick as far as using it is concerned but with one big drawback ...... None of the fabricators I use can cut it successfully, guaranteed !!

However ..... there's a new kid on the block called 'Neolith'.

Ticks all the same boxes but way, way easier to fabricate successfully. 

This means we're back on course for an all singing, all dancing worktop material. Training and cutting tests have gone well, we've a large colour database and have a thinner section of material available which means easier wall splashbacks can be made without the visual weight of the heavier sections in Dekton. 

We've got some samples and are going to do the extreme destruction testing we tried last time, just to make sure it lives up to expectations.

It also comes down to a 12mm thickness so we can make the new trend of ultra slim profile worktops which is a trend that seems to be gathering steam.

Haven't found a downside to this this one yet but I am trying. After the false start with Dekton, I'm digging deeper into the spec. for Neolith and talking to our fabricators in more depth to find out if they think there's any problem areas.

All's good so far and I will bring you up to speed with whatever I find out next time I check in with you. There is undoubtedly a huge market for a worktop that's impervious to everything but this time I just need to be sure in my own mind that I have the confidence to recommend it to you all.

 I don't mind admitting I'm wrong and eating a slice of humble pie because at the end of the day, I only want to provide products for our customers that I believe in and would be happy to have in my own home. That's my benchmark !!

Looking after your interests. Jules.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Milestone: re-defining kitchen space

Ey up my faithful blogworms,  believe it or not, this used to be a formal dining room with an old 1940's fireplace in it. 

The old kitchen used to be in the extension to the house behind me when I took these pics.

As is the case with so many old houses, they were designed and built for the way life used to be at the time and the way we use our space these days is so much different.

This is a perfect example of how to re-design rooms to suit a more contemporary way of life, opening up spaces and giving free movement around them. 

The amount of kitchen this provides and the associated storage suits the size of the house now, capable of supporting a growing family in a good sized family home.

There is a huge amount of room now for a decent sized dining table within the kitchen and the room part I'm stood in will now be given over to a snug / chill out space with a sofa or two, maybe a TV or whatever they choose. 

The whole concept makes for a more sociable use of the space with a more family orientated feel to it. 

Great for family gatherings / parties or just the family being together and reflects a more modern way of life. Obviously, it's not quite finished yet so be prepared very soon for Part Two when I can show you a more finished appearance. 

I thought I'd show you a "work in progress" giving ideas on how designing and installing a new kitchen is often not just about working within the old kitchen space but re-thinking the space you could have with a bit of modification to room use and room sets.

Hope this plants a few seeds if you're currently thinking about a new kitchen and  .... who knows ... we look forward to meeting you soon ! 


Saturday, 7 May 2016

Doing what we do best !

 Ey up my faithful blogworms, Eco kitchens don't have to be big kitchens as this little gem proves.

Small cottage kitchen where our only brief was that the tiles were to be kept. An odd brief and not without it's limitations but .. so be it !

Eco Elite in English Ash was the choice married up to Sustainable Oak worktops. 2 timbers that live really well together in numerous combinations.

Our third timber choice for the Elite range is Walnut for the same reason and this is why these three timbers were chosen to form the basis for the Elite range. 
I can't explain why certain timbers live together happily and others don't but these really do work whichever way round you use them !

Small spaces are always a challenge and the requirements here were cooker, fridge, Belfast sink, a drawer for cutlery and try to maximise worktop space. 

 A narrow freestanding cooker helped with space being at a premium and gave us enough to sneak a base unit in to the left of the cooker providing a bit of balance and somewhere to put stuff down either side.

It was all going terribly well until we got to the sink !!!

Ah .... not enough space for a standard Belfast sink ... bugger ! now what do we do ?

Answer .... Make one !

The Belfast sink you see here is unique in many ways. 

One it's handmade from recycled yoghurt pot. 
Two, it's only 525mm wide.
Three, it's a custom depth to suit the client and stop them getting backache while washing up.
And Four, We built an integrated landing on to the back of the sink to position the tap, there was nowhere else for it to go.

Did I mention the ceiling was a funny shape too ??

As you can see .... it is !

We could only sensibly get one wall unit in and that was a custom size to suit the ceiling shape and sit just nicely on top of the existing tiling. Shelves cut the the wall angles were used to get the best out of the wall space for maximum storage.

Eco materials, creative thinking and a good "can do" attitude made this kitchen a joy to put together and I would challenge anybody to make a better job with better use of space than this.

Milestone : Doing what we do best !

What are you waiting for ? Contact us today if you need the impossible doing and doing well !


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Lets drink to a greener future !!

Ey up my faithful blogworms, "2 go Eco in Salisbury" update.

Our wonderful Eco Organic project in Salisbury is up and running, fully functional, tiled up and being used and enjoyed just like it should be 

Eco Organic is probably the single biggest leap forward that we have made to our Eco stable since we started creating recycled content kitchens.

We struggled for a long time to find genuinely eco friendly materials to create a painted kitchen. The painted kitchen was the gap in our range that was frustratingly eluding us.

As with everything we make, our ability to produce standard and custom sized units was important to us and, it has been proved, equally important to all our potential clients.

We had the cabinets already within our Eco2 range, we had the Yoghurt pot and Coffee cup worktops and we could source the board material in the form of Medite Ecologique to give us recycled content and formaldehyde free board stock. ( Googling " Medite Eco" will provide all the info you need on this product. )

The biggest issue was a suitable paint ! Enter stage left: Ecos paints, made from organic ingredients, this provided the answer to our prayers and .... Hey Presto .... Eco Organic was born.

Painted kitchens have been, and still are, very prolific in the market and now we have the full set of ingredients, Eco kitchens can be made properly and efficiently in this market area. For those of you uncertain about painted kitchens, we give you all the remaining paint that was used for your units so that if anything gets knocked or scratched, all you need do is get out a small paint roller and re-apply. The Ecos paint finishes beautifully either sprayed as we would apply it or applied with a roller if you were repainting. It's a fantastically easy to use paint.

We are the only ones in the UK taking this seriously and producing this style of kitchen in a truly eco and sustainable manner. With our ability to produce any style, any size, any colour and deliver & install anywhere within the the UK, there's never been a better time to start looking at the greener alternative ..... the Milestone alternative ..... to fulfill your requirements.

Lets drink to a greener future !!  Jules