Saturday, 10 December 2016

Meeting your Butler in Belfast !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, been really busy as you would expect in the run upto Xmas but I'm got time to sneak in another visit to Milestone HQ News.

I thought this week I'd try to debunk a couple of old myths and ones that keep popping up with disappointing regularity, so here goes.

I still get asked if we can fit ordinary laminate worktops around a Belfast sink, the answer is generally "No, don't be silly, they'll be ruined in a very short space of time, BUT there is hope as I will show below !!

 A traditional Belfast sink normally needs granite, quartz, hardwood or Coffee Cup worktops around it as you need to cut around the shape of the sink, shown in the pic below. 

Once you cut into the worktop to make the shape you expose the middle of the material so it stands to reason that solid surface tops of some sort are really the only material you can use, as the name suggests, they're solid all the way through and not affected by the cutting.

If you were to try and use normal laminate worktops, you cut through the laminate straight into the chipboard core. This exposes the wood particles and as soon as they get wet, the worktop is ruined !! You could say "well, just edge the cuts with the edging tape" but that doesn't protect the underneath where the worktop overhangs the sink edge.

 The edging tape doesn't seal the cut well enough to protect it from being soaked while you're using the sink, kiss of death for your worktops !!

So, it's a no-no really and no-one with any sense would even think about attempting it.

HOWEVER, with careful sink choice, there is a way of achieving the principle with no risk to the worktops. We've just carried out one such job this week.

This choice is a Butler sink and "Yes", people get these mixed up, technically a Belfast sink and a Butler sink are two different things, not as many people think, two different names for the same thing, so that's myth No.1 sorted out. 

Whilst the Belfast sink, in some peoples eyes, looks more traditional ........

The Butler sink takes the place of a piece of worktop, going all the way to the back wall, so it saves on worktop material and cost.

It has the tap mounted in it.

It's bigger, so easier to wash larger items ie: large baking tins & pans, small children & dogs, in it but still sits on a 600mm base unit.

It can successfully be used with laminate worktops and be sealed properly, so "bye-bye" myth No.2 !
but there's no reason that granite or any of the other solid surface materials can't be also used.

And it's higher, so if you don't like bending or are prone to back ache, this could be just the sink for you. 

So, now you know the difference and the "whys & wherefores", the Butler sink does have an important part to play in kitchen projects if this is the look you're after but your budget won't stretch to granite etc.

Well, there you go !, Milestone looking after your health and your wallet and still providing good looking kit !

Live long and prosper. Jules

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Yet another "Milestone" in kitchen furniture !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, it is with great delight this week, that I would like to share with you a brand new range of kitchen doors and complete units that we have taken in to our fold.

The "Hoxton" door range is a range that dovetails perfectly with our ethos of being able to replace unit doors on any kitchen in the land.

Those of you that know us already will know that every single unit door we have in the showroom can be supplied to refurbish your kitchen in any size we need or form part of a new kitchen where custom sizes can be important. This range ticks those boxes !

There are over two dozen different colours available, just some of which are shown here, all in colours that are bang on trend for todays discerning kitchen buyer

Standard Shaker doors are available as well as plain flat doors and flat doors with integrated handles

The doors are also in two different textures: Smooth and Textured. The textured ones have a superbly embossed gentle woodgrain pattern worked into the surface, creating a wonderful worn woodgrain appearance while being easy to wipe clean. They need to be seen to fully appreciate.

This range also gives us the facility for curved doors which are very popular at the moment, creating the superb look you see in this pic.

While we are used to being able to provide your doors in any colour you like, Hoxton have chosen a great colour palette that sums up the colours being chosen at the moment. We're sure there will be something within the selection that will suit everyone !

To be able to get a range like this where we can make any size we need in a good quality, "bought in" door is very rare in our industry and to offer with a really low price price tag for bespoke products is just brilliant !!

Come in and have a look, ask for "Hoxton" and see what you think. We know you'll be impressed !

Yet another "Milestone" in kitchen furniture !

Stand still ! .... Never ! We're constantly searching for new and exciting stuff. It's what we do !


Saturday, 5 November 2016

Add some stylish Retro to your life !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, Big news this week !

Following on with our Eco and Retro theme that you all know us for, we are very pleased to announce that as of Friday next week we will be dealers for the wonderful Gorenje range of free standing appliances. Including the fab Retro range of various items of statement pieces for your home.

This little baby is our first display piece that arrives next Friday. Exciting stuff

Not only do they do the statement fridges but washing machines and tumble dryers aswell !

Just some of the selection of colours for washing machines and you can have tumble dryers to match

Add to that loads of colours and different formats of fridges and fridge freezers and you can really start to create some excitement in your kitchen.

We've been big fans of the Gorenje brand for a long time as, not only are they very capable appliances offering some of the best guarantees around but their Eco credentials  in the market at the moment make them the very best environmentally conscious company making kitchen appliances you can get !!

So, come in and have a look and even treat yourself to a piece from this outstanding range for Xmas, go on ... you know you're worth it !

See you soon. Jules

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Cutting edge design and Eco, outstanding !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, this weeks adventure gives me a sense of immense pride. It's getting harder and harder to be totally inventive within our industry and when you create a totally brand new product there's always that moment of trepidation wondering whether people will share your enthusiasm.

I've already given you the revolutionary Milestone Handleless Shaker in a previous blog but it appears it wasn't just a flash in the pan as we've had a lot of interest, resulting in another one and here it is.

This is a rework of a kitchen we did 10 years ago for a lovely couple who were quite brave, for them, and used a burnt orange glass splashback in the layout.

They fell in love with my new creation and wanted us to refurb their kitchen using it. All our kitchens are created using our top quality cabinets thus enabling this sort of thing to be carried out later without any worries about whether the cabs will still be good enough to take it.

Anyway, here's the pics:

The original kitchen being stripped down ready for re-dooring, keeping the granite tops and Burnt Orange splashbacks.

Back then we used a fairly standard flat cream door with handles in the normal manner as was the fashion of the day

The new doors and drawer fronts going on with new panels, plinths etc to keep it all together

We laid a solid hardwood floor originally and after 10 years it was looking a bit rough as you can imagine so, while we were there, a good sanding and 4 coats of lacquer and it looks as good as new ! There's potentially a whole new blog here but suffice it to say, we only fit natural unfinished hardwood and finish it with flooring specific, water based lacquers so that it is easy and very successful to bring it back to life some years down the road. We NEVER fit prefinished floors as they never looks the same again when trying to refinish them !
A clean contemporary look never before possible in a Shaker door until Milestone got on the case !

The finished effect is that of a brand spanking new kitchen, no handles to spoil the overall look and the couple are highly delighted with it ! The doors are very subtly 2 different colours with the lighter shade at the top.

We are so delighted, as are our customers, with the finished job that we feel it's high time we put the revolutionary Milestone Handleless Shaker door on display here at Milestone HQ. The parts lists have been done and the cunning plan set in motion so give us a few weeks, realistically after Xmas, and come and have a look and tell us what you think, we'd love your feedback !!

I just love been cutting edge and it's extremely gratifying when other people agree with you.

As a footnote and with our commitment to the planet, these doors can be made in two ways:

1) As part of our Eco Organic range being made, as here, from sustainably produced Tulipwood and painted with Organic paint


2) If Eco's not your thing, made from furniture grade green MDF and painted with our normal, low VOC, water based lacquers coming in at lower cost.

Watching the pennies and the planet. 


Saturday, 22 October 2016

Live long and prosper !

Ey up my faithful blogworms, firstly we have a new member of staff ready to start with us on Nov 17th so we're good to go again. An enthusiastic lady who I'm sure over time you will get to meet and really looking forward to her starting here at Milestone HQ.

To recent projects now, we've just completed another small but perfectly formed kitchen for a couple whose parents are coming to live with them. They've built an annex on the side of the house and the kitchen will give them their own independence.

All you need to function day to day in a short run of units measuring only 2650mm all in.

Starting with a split unit on the left providing a fridge built under with a compact multi-function oven built into a seperate unit sat on the worktop, the best way to achieve this combo and not compromise the venting of either.

Moving right with base storage, into a drawer pack with hob over it, a compact dishwasher to the right up to the sink base and a taller than normal end panel to provide a stop end preventing stuff falling off the end. A wall unit for somewhere to store your basics and put things away out of the dishwasher.

Small but perfectly formed, the units are in our ever popular 'Mussel' colour with a white sparkly Quartz for the worktops for durability and ease of cleaning.

The Mussel colour has been, and is continuing to be, one of those colours that comes along once in a while that just seems to capture peoples imagination.
It's an easy to live with colour that takes us away from the cream concept and provides a bit more interest while still being in the neutrals bracket that ticks the box for most people.

It's one of those colours that whether you dress it traditional or really modern with the full spectrum of worktop colours, it just seems to work. 

Long may it continue.

Bit of a short blog today, I'm afraid, but I have a lot of order planning and processing to catch up with, as you can imagine, so I'll sign off and see you all next week.

As Mr Spock on Star Trek used to say ..... Live long and prosper .... we intend to !


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 !