Saturday, 31 May 2014

Top Tips to change the way you think

Ey up, my faithful blogworms, 

It's TOP TIPS time again.

3 sets of top tips this week following conversations I've been having with our customers over the last few weeks. You can choose to use or completely ignore these tips but I would say that 90% of people we talk to have used and loved the results achieved.

# First Top Tip

When planning any room that involves fitted furniture ie: kitchens, bedrooms and sometimes bathrooms, sticking to 3 colours ( one of which can be your metals if you want ) for the entire concept gives a feel of coherency and completeness without getting visually messy. The furniture should be the feature of the room and chosen well, use the colours to complement it not shout at it !

You can, however, for one of your colours, use differing shades of the that colour and if chosen carefully, it can work well.

 If you start using more than 3 colours, when you walk into the room you really don't know what to look at first, your eyes are all over the place and the room totally loses it's focus. This destroys any wow factor you may have created and just makes the room a place you want to get out of quickly and not a place you'd enjoy being.

FORGET feature walls ! these are a stupid idea in a kitchen !  The kitchen should be the feature and anything that detracts from that is a pointless waste of time and effort.

# Top Tip 2

When using built in furniture that has countertops, worksurfaces etc use a principle of blending verticals and blending horizontals to create harmony.

Choose your furniture first in terms of cabinets and tops putting some contrast in between the two, these are your priority. Using your chosen worktop colour then blend the floor covering with it. I use the word blend deliberately as they don't have to match but need a tangible link to pull them together.
Once you've sorted that, then using the blending theory, apply it to the vertical surfaces. These two principles together give a good platform to base everything else on. Certainly kitchens where these apply look much, much better in their overall look and just look right.

If you've ever looked at someones kitchen where they've got this wrong, the kitchen probably looks nice but something in your mind is telling you that somethings wrong even if you can't put your finger on it. This is why !

For example: where the floor is a similar colour or tone to the doors, it looks like the units have sort of frayed into the floor and it becomes indistinct and vague, this can look weird and is the bit that's not right, particularly if there are dark worktops accentuating the problem.

So, blend verticals with each other and blend horizontals with each other and irrespective of your colour choices, usually it looks spot on.

# Top Tip 3

This one is where wall colour can make a room really feel like a nice place to be, I suppose that's stating the obvious but consider a twist !

To really give the room a cosy feel, ignore most peoples conditioning where you always paint the ceiling white ! White ceilings are for people with no courage and imagination !! ( unless, of course, you're painting the whole room white anyway ! )

This works best where you are decorating with pale to mid colours and paint the walls and the ceiling with the same colour !  
Trust me ...... with the right colours this looks absolutely stunning and really makes the room feel cosy, warm and a nice place to be ! 

90% or more of people we've suggested this to have done and love it and admitted that it's something they would never have thought of trying.

You've got nothing to lose cos if you don't like it, repaint it white but at least be brave enough to try it first.

There ya go 3 top tips that always work, experiment, open your mind, follow these simple principles and you will be surprised at the difference it makes to your life.

And I pass all these tips on for free ..... I must be mad !

Jules, see ya next time.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Trumpet blowing is thirsty work !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, 

Big week coming up for us this week, the H & M Head office kitchen is ready to deliver. H & M are one of the most eco conscious companies we've come across and really do get our full support. If you're not currently an H & M customer, you really should look at what they can offer !!

This is quite a big kitchen and they're materials / appliances choices have been made sensibly and sympathetically to eco issues. 

Our strength in projects of this type lies in our ability to put together the full project as a "one stop shop" and by careful communication with the customers specifiers, we can ensure that no parts are missed, everything arrives as planned and we make absolutely certain by careful checking that every single piece required from us arrives in one go, complete and has all the detailed plans with it that you need to assemble the project successfully.

More often than not, the customers own contractors are doing the installation work so, when the job is delivered I carry a full set of plans with me, wherever I am and give the project manager my own mobile number so I can answer any questions that may arise immediately.

On this particular project there are also 2 coffee stations required with a request for quick throughput commercial glass and dishwashers, which aren't the prettiest things to have on display in a stylish office environment but are needed for fast turn round of plates, cups & glasses between meetings.

By careful and thorough design, we have been able to design housings / cabinets around them to incorporate them seamlessly into the overall layout and by providing the detailed sketches ( seen left ) that we designed them to, then any contractor should be able to build them exactly as they were designed.

Projects like this for company head offices need to tick so many more boxes than normal domestic kitchens, they are often quite involved in their design and clever design brought about by thinking outside the box is what we're bloody good at. These are the things that we can really get our teeth into and provide solutions not normally available using standard kitchen units.

I did a blog a bit since that put definition to our way of doing " bespoke" and the way we look at it, this project is a really good example of that level of thinking.

It doesn't matter whether you're looking for a large corporate project or a well fitting kitchen for your home. Everyone gets the same level of committment from the work we do and the best quality at the best price. If you read my blog last week, you'll know that poor quality, badly thought out really winds me up. There's only one way to do a job ..... and that's correctly !!

We've always said ..... " the answer's Yes ! ..... now what's the question.  If you want it and can imagine it, we can make it, ... no exceptions !

Phew .... Blowing your own trumpet is thirsty work, I'm off to make a cup of tea. We'll talk soon, I'm sure. You know where we are ..... Don't be shy.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Caveat Emptor (with a back up plan)

Ey up, my faithful blogworms, really busy at the moment and struggling to keep pace with all my computer stuff but this weeks blog is a cautionary tale for all you purchasers of new homes and apartments in converted old buildings.

Stating the screamingly obvious, you wouldn't employ an accountant to fix your roof any more than you would employ a tree feller to decorate your house !!

This becomes important when looking at new builds where builders have fitted your kitchen, builders build they don't fit kitchens ..... or they do .... but not well.

I must stress that not all builders are like this, but the frequency with which we see this is on the increase as corners are cut in the current economic climate and the only people who lose out are you, the house buying public.

It's been our experience this last two weeks where , what should have been a simple refurb of a fairly new kitchen in a old converted building, has turned into a fault finding excercise putting things right that shouldn't have been done wrong in the first place.

This makes our job more difficult, take longer and as a result, cost more than it should.


1) A badly butchered sink base where the corner structure had been cut away and not reshaped to put the strength back leading to a wobbly cabinet, which wasn't fastened the wall anywhere making the problem worse.

2) Where the sink base had been cut round some soil pipe boxing in the corner all the fibre glass insulation they'd used to lag the soil pipe was falling into the sink base .... nice ! ... that makes your rubber gloves itchy when you put them on to wash up !

3) Washing machine and dishwasher waste pipes laid on the floor and taken up into the sink waste without the correct uphill loop of pipe that makes the pump work properly  .....shortening the life of your appliances.

3) The old favourite ..... this is a kitchen .... you need as many electrical sockets as possible, for all your small appliances, it gets very irritating when you've got to unplug the toaster to put the kettle on !, as usual this installation was sadly lacking.

4) The wall boiler has a wall cabinet around it where so much of the structure was cut away that you might aswell have just stuck a kitchen unit door directly onto the boiler with magnets. ....  design it better to have a wider cabinet, you muppet !

5) An outside tap was fitted to use a hose pipe outside, nice touch you'd think but not good when it doesn't have an isolator fitted to it so you can turn it off in winter ..... that'll be an insurance claim for frozen / burst pipes then ??

6) Fitting new doors to the fridge / freezer housing was a giggle, on most fridge / freezer units there is a natural gap down the hinge side to allow the doors to work properly but when the gap we found was 24mm at the top, tapering down to 18mm at the bottom, then it appears the original fitter couldn't read a tape measure either ! This has pushed the housing out of square, no wonder the doors looked wrong when we got there causing an extra 2 or 3 hours to straighten it all back out again.

7) And the one that always upsets me when I see it ..... not only were the cabinets not fastened to the wall but the worktops weren't fastened to the cabinets either ..... this is stupid ! pure laziness, bad practice and if any fitter we employed fitted kitchens this way, I'd sack him on the spot !!!!!  The rigidity of any kitchen ( and it's longevity ) is totally dependant on everything being fastened to the walls and units fastened together .... if not it's doors drop, cabinets twist, go out of square and generally fall to bits long before they should. 

Please take more care when looking at your new dream home in case parts of it turn into a nightmare !

Open doors, look in, test things, poke and prod things until you're happy, this is your hard earned cash you're spending ! 

We are always willing to go out and do an 'MOT' on a kitchen if you feel something's not as it should be. 

So, help is at hand if you have any doubts at all .  Choose wisely, 'Caveat Emptor' (Buyer beware) .... all that glitters is not necessarily gold !

Your kitchen crusader, Jules.