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 !