Archive for ‘Tips’
Friday, May 11th, 2012, Tips
I’m often asked if I would recommend solid wooden worktops. My answer is it depends on what type of person you are. And how hard you are prepared to work at keeping the worktop in great shape. I completely understand why people are drawn to solid hardwood worktops as they provide a natural beauty to your kitchen that is hard to beat. One of the main advantages of a wooden worktop is that while other work surfaces often age badly, wood gains in character, becoming richer and deeper in colour over time. It also has the benefit of being solid timber throughout. Which means any surface damage or scratches can easily be sanded away to reveal a fresh new surface.
However it is a bit of a Hollywood star amongst worktops and keeping it beautiful takes an awful lot of maintenance.
How do I treat my worktop?
A brand new wooden worktop is carefully sanded to a super smooth finish and will require a regular surface treatment to make it hard wearing and give it a long lasting and tough finish to keep it looking good through the years. The best finish for a solid wood worktop is oil. Simple to apply and easy to resurface it gives the wood a water resistant finish. But it takes 3-5 coats with light sanding or wire wooling in between and should be done every 3-6 months depending on use. Also bear in mind that the first coat of oil will dry very quickly in a few hours, while further coats will take longer to dry and may need leaving for 8 hours or more. So don’t make any plans for a big party that weekend.
Always mop up spills of water and other liquids straight away. Do not allow liquids to stand for any period of time. Get into the habit of wiping down the work surface around the sink and leave the worktop in a dry state. Do not stand wet pots and pans on the worktop and leave for any length of time.
Always stand hot pans on a pan stand or hot rods. Prolonged contact with metals such as iron and steel can cause black staining on the wooden worktop. So put the trivet away when you’ve finished with it.
Always use cutting boards to chop food. Do not cut directly on to your wooden worktop.
Maintain the oiled finish at regular intervals. You can’t over do this.
Sorry but these are too much like hard work for me! Speaking from experience as well as I used to have them in my kitchen and they got ruined through water penetration and staining. But everyone’s different and if you really like them then go for it. But make sure your eyes are wide open to the maintenance regime before you do.
Thursday, April 26th, 2012, Tips
Kitchens used to be the place where someone – usually Mum - slaved away while the rest of the family watched telly in the lounge. Well at least it was in our house – nice work if you can get it eh Dad?
Fortunately times have changed for the better and lots of our customers want an everyday dining area in the kitchen to suit today’s more informal lifestyle. Bear in mind that everyone in your family will need something different from a new kitchen – whether it is an Aga, a space to do homework, or even just to relax and watch TV.
The kitchen has become the centre of family life and is probably the area of the house where we spend the most money on replacement and renovation. So I thought I’d jot down a few tips on how to plan ahead for your new kitchen to help you spend your budget wisely.
1 Use a professional kitchen design company to plan the layout so you can make the most of the space you have. But don’t forget that it’s your kitchen to suit your lifestyle, so don’t be talked into the latest trend or idea for the sake of it. Made to measure units will maximize the space you have and reduce the need for ‘fillers’ between units.
2 Consider a separate utility space, where you can keep all your large appliances, oversized crockery and cleaning products. Your new kitchen should be accessible and easy to use with the minimum of clutter. Options for making the most of your space include magic corners, tall larders/cupboards and deep pan drawers.
3 If space allows, a proper kitchen table is worth buying. Invest in a good one as you will need to use it all the time and for different occasions.
4 The kitchen has taken over from the dining room as the place to relax and socialise. A breakfast bar or an island with stools offers extra workspace and acts as a barrier between the kitchen proper and any dining area.
5 Go to town with technology – it goes really well with traditional or contemporary furniture. Be brave with your choices. Chic new appliances, a good-quality oven and sleek yet practical storage units are essential. Fridge freezers with ice making and cold water are a real benefit if (like me) you have thirsty kids or have friends over for drinks and dinner.
6 Think about how you will use the space. If you are a keen cook, soft furnishings and detail will only take up work space and collect dirt. However, if you are more interested in the entertaining side, then you can be more decorative.
7 If you are happy with the existing layout of your kitchen but want a facelift, change your work surfaces. This will instantly transform and modernise a kitchen. Replacing cupboard doors or handles, substituting small round knobs for longer, brushed steel handles will also bring your kitchen right up to date.
8 Plan the lighting carefully, to give you the option to change the mood. Bright lighting for work areas and low level lighting is useful if you are going to eat in the kitchen.