Archive for December 2012

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Completion in Harpenden

12 December 2012

Our project in Harpenden has just been completed.  We were appointed to advise on the refurbishment of this 1970′s detached house and to design a side extension.

As the property was in a conservation area the planners were keen to minimise the size of any extension.  Our design placed the kitchen in the side extension which was designed with a vaulted roof to let in sunshine from above the garage in front of it.  This also minimised disruption during construction as the existing kitchen was available for use throughout.  We also reconfigured the front entrance which had a narrow hall and windowless study to provide a utility room and large hallway lit from a rooflight over the stairway.

Our clients are delighted with the results.  The generous room sizes and layout works much better than a comparable period property.

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Kitchen design tips

5 December 2012

If you’re refurbishing a kitchen it can seem that there’s a bewildering choice available but it is possible to have a great kitchen on a budget.  Here I’ll give some tips of how to make the most of standard kitchen ranges from the likes of Ikea, Howdens and the other main suppliers.

  • Pick your door style.  You don’t need to pick the exact door range but it helps to first identify whether you’re going for a streamlined contemporary kitchen, a classic shaker or something very traditional as it will influence the style of the layout.
  • Design the layout to suit the door style.  A contemporary kitchen should be about clean lines and simple, linear arrangements.  A traditional kitchen can be more broken up, perhaps with groupings of units on 3 walls around a large central dining table.  Use end panels to finish off each group and make the whole composition appear as if each element was a bespoke design. With Bangkok’s Creative Interior Designers business you will be able to have the best professionals.
  • Use full width units where possible.  Not only will it keep the costs down as narrower units aren’t much cheaper than wider ones, but it will be much more ergonomic to use.  Push your designer to minimise doors and maximise storage while retaining a pleasing layout.
  • Use wall units sparingly.  Try and maximise storage with full height units if possible and provide just enough wall units for the things you don’t want to bend down for.  Keep plenty of wall space clear around cooker hoods and consider using open shelving to make a feature on the wall.  When you do use wall units we find that doors no wider than about 450mm will be easier to use and bumped into less often.
  • Accessorise with care.  Fitted kitchens now come with lots of options for inserts and pull out baskets.  Think about what you actually need and how those parts will wear.  Most of these ideas originated in top spec kitchens.  This doesn’t always transfer well down to cheaper ranges.
  • Build a laundry or utility room.  By moving the washing machine out of the kitchen means you’ll have more flexibility to create a great looking kitchen.  Plus, a utility room can be equipped cheaply using freestanding appliances.
  • Integrated units are great but weigh up the pros and cons of keeping a higher spec appliance on display.  This is especially true for large fridges which can be located in a niche or in an arrangement of larder units.  A housing for a fridge freezer can be the most expensive unit and means you can end up with less storage capacity.
  • Don’t skimp on integrated appliances.  We know it’s tempting to splash money on the appliances on display and get something cheaper for the hidden appliances but don’t.  Squeaking doors or poor reliability will soon start to frustrate and might need replacing sooner so spread your budget across all of your appliances.
  • Use contrasting surfaces.  If you want a stone top but your budget won’t stretch to it, use the stone on an island or central unit cluster with timber elsewhere.  Not only will you emphasise the focal point, but you’ll have a variety of surfaces to work on.  Having stone surfaces either side of a range cooker is particularly effective and avoids the wastage of the cutouts for integrated hobs.
  • Get the best design you can.  Most kitchen units, even the self assembly ones, are so well made that they can compare favourably to many of the more expensive brands.  However, you’re unlikely to find the best designers working in a warehouse retailer.  If you want a quality design, hire someone who’s trained and experienced in design.  A few hours with us will take a basic kitchen range and make it look like you spent much much more on it.  If you’re planning alterations to your home at the same time then we can integrate the kitchen much more satisfactorily into the new space.

Whatever you do remember that a new kitchen is one of the most important decisions you will make in your home.  Not only can it add value, but it can make your home a much more enjoyable place to be.


Listed Apartment Progress

5 December 2012

Another of our listed building projects in Winchester is underway.  Part of our design is to expose the original trusses that were hidden up in the conversion from a mill in the 1970s.  Here is a wonderful detail showing the traditional carpenters marks to join up the various components.