Saturday, 28 March 2015

Ultimately practical dining tables

Ey up my faithful blogworms, 

We talk lots about kitchens so, I thought this week I'd share with you a brilliant concept for complementary dining tables that I've made to go with them.

 Still, in kitchens, granite is probably the most durable, effective & heatproof of all worktops but why limit it the just the kitchen.

We carry out many projects where we open up dining rooms into kitchens to create a fantastic through space where it becomes the social hub of the home. As a result, you do need to concentrate on making 2 become 1 when considering the decor.

Many people then spend loads of time trying to find a dining table that works with the kitchen furniture. 

My idea was to make a table that has a central granite panel to allow you to put hot pans and dishes straight onto it, serving your family or guests straight from the pan while hot !! Much more sociable in the sharing of food, much more practical in terms of cutting down on washing up etc. of loads of unecessary serving dishes and it protects your table from annoying scratches without covering the table first.

I've never understood the principle of buying a fabulous new dining table only to cover it up with a cloth so you can't see it because you're scared to death of marking it. Totally  pointless !!

The top picture here shows a table that we specifically made from scratch to go with an Oak and Baltic Brown granite kitchen, so we can save you loads of time and stress by actually making your table to match !!

The second picture shows an Oak dining table that had already been bought for a kitchen so we modified it to take the central Bon Accord granite panel to match the kitchen.

Making, in our minds, the ultimate dining table that ticks all the boxes you want to tick. So whether you already have your table or want one making to match, don't leave out your humble dining table out when thinking about your new kitchen project, we have a couple of ways of getting you the table you really want.

We can also take any timber table you may already have a insert a granite panel into it, if you just love the idea and want one creating to go with the kitchen you've already got. 

After all, you wouldn't spend a small fortune on new hair-do and then spend all day wearing a balaclava ........ WOULD YOU ?

A bit more creative thinking ...... Jules.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pandoras Box

Ey up my faithful blogworms, this week carrying on the theme of recycling timber, I would like to introduce you all to ...... Pandoras Box !

 More specifically ..... 'Pandoras Camp Box and Table'

Designed by me in my shed as a compact multifunction box to take on our camping trips and days out in Pandora, our campervan.
The very first one, I built from recycling pallets, the theme of last weeks blog but to put into production they are now built from new sustainably sourced softwood.

The concept is to save space and perform more than one task. To that end, Pandoras box carries all your provisions neatly in one place and transforms quickly and easily into a table once you arrive at your destination. Strong and sturdy, Pandoras box is capable of carrying all your cups, plates and cutlery, food & drink or even your camping stove all in 1 tidy place.

Load it up, pack some chairs and you're ready to go ! 

It makes picnic baskets obsolete and is way more versatile !

The legs fasten on very easily and due to their design have a degree of movement to allow small adjustments to level the table and take out any rocking movement, even with 4 legs you won't end up packing the legs with bits of wood to make it stable. The table is equally at home on tarmac, grass or sand as long as it's not too soft.

 We're making Pandoras box in two finishes at the moment: natural and antique black waxed

Ours in use one one of our many holidays or trips out, we don't know how on earth we managed without one !!

Pandoras box lives permanently in the back of our bus, we never go anywhere without it but it does also fit well on the back seat of a car.

Come on ... this is so much better than sitting and eating on wet grass with stones sticking into your bum and certainly a lot more stylish. If you're sitting on a beach on rugs, you don't even need to fit the legs and it's still at a comfy height to eat at.

A perfect addition to your life, turning camping into glamping at a stroke.

For more details and prices, change your life and contact me on : or through my facebook page. 


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Beauty or Beast ?

Ey up my faithful blogworms: Question ?

What's this :

You're wrong ! ... It's fuel for your log burners, kindling to light them, materials for box building, a dining table top, bathroom storage, outdoor furniture, kitchen unit materials, etc. etc. etc.

Where do you buy this fantastic resource: You don't !

Where do you get them then: Pretty much anywhere you drive to or walk to, you'll see these little beauties lying everywhere ! Some say they're a blot on the landscape. Some say they're ugly, unsightly rubbish laying by roadsides and in skips !

You couldn't be more wrong !

This isn't a pallet .... oh no ! ... it's a valuable, recycled timber resource for making many many things. AND IT'S FREE !!

 I particularly like the creative thinker who made the recycling bin, by recycling a pallet to put their recycling in ! That appeals to my sense of humour and performs a useful function.

All you need in many instances are, a saw, a hammer and some nails to turn this roadside wastrel into a thing of beauty, purpose and function !

I know there are many websites and books on the subject available but here in the UK this a still a largely ignored, free resource. Thousands of trees have died to make pallets, let's not allow them to die in vain.

Many books you see advertised and woodworking projects you see on the internet are based in the US, these guys are way ahead of us Brits in a lot of ways related to making stuff from wood. Let's follow their lead and get cracking with a bit more recycled woodwork. 

Who knows, shown the way and taking them on at their own game, if we could create enough wonderful things from pallets, inspired by the Americans, we could ..... maybe..... I only said, maybe, we could eventually forgive them for inflicting McDonalds & KFC on us ???

Pallet: Beauty or Beast ? You decide ?

You could even build your shed to work on your pallets in from ....... Yep ! , ... PALLETS

So, all you sheddists out there ... let's get recycling !!


Saturday, 7 March 2015

Is it worth it ?

Ey up my faithful blogworms, ....

Refurbishment of existing kitchens !

The word "refurbishment" to some people means taking the whole thing out and starting again !!

Wrong ! .... It means working with what you have and bringing existing furniture up to date, rather than chucking away a basically sound kitchen.

This week I'm focusing on what to look for to see if what you have can be brought back to life with a mix of new components.

Here's a list of Top Tips as to what to look for:

1) Am I happy with the existing layout ? If you are then that's good ! If you're not ... what would you change round ? Bear in mind, at this point, that the more units you want to change round or replace, it starts to maybe make it more viable to change the whole kitchen. There is quite definitely a cost tipping point point where it refurbing becomes uneconomical.

2) Look at the condition of your cabinets. Generally the sink base is the one that suffers but if that's the only one, then replacing a single cabinet is ok. More than that, refer to point 1) above

3) Take a careful look at your worktops. If the front edge has blown and the joints don't look good, this would be the time to change them.

4) Does your sink look tatty or drive you mad ? If changing the worktops then this is the best time to change the sink. Changing your sink when you're keeping the worktops means finding one as near as dammit the same size which really cuts down your choices. Apply the same thinking to your hob !

5) Saggy hinges, knackered drawer boxes, old handles that look dated. If any of these apply then now is the time to do something about those as well. These are all easy to re-new.

6) Old appliances: not working right, rusting, broken knobs, leaking, again consider these when looking to refurb, this is a good time to do it.

A typical viable refurb usually takes the form of a new set of doors, new top, new sink and the odd new appliance. This is very cost effective against the price of a new kitchen and can make a massive difference to an old tired kitchen.

The massive advantage of 'refurbing' your existing kitchen lies in: 

re-using most, if not all, of your existing cabinets

not having the change your tiling (unless you want to),

 leaving the electrics alone (which can be expensive to bring up to date),

 not having to buy new flooring when the footprint of your kitchen changes,

 not having to redecorate (unless you want to), 

much less disruption to your life while the work is being carried out, 

costs significantly less than a whole new kitchen (depending on your product choices)  

it takes less time, so less cost !

IS IT WORTH IT ?, using my top tips, you decide. If you want a second opinion, we'll happily come out and take a look. The lists above are exactly the same as how I would look at it when deciding if a lower cost refurb is the answer to a new kitchen.

Don't automatically think that you are going to have bin your old kitchen ! You'd be amazed at what can often be achieved.

Your kitchen at heart ..... Jules.