Kitchenette refurbishment in Kilburn, north-west London
A two bedroom flat, located on the ground floor.
The old kitchen before the works started :
Kitchenette refurbishment in Kilburn, north-west London
A two bedroom flat, located on the ground floor.
The old kitchen before the works started :
The kitchen is equipped with a small sink, fridge and boiling ring, making an ideal place for serving drinks, brewing coffee or heating snacks. One remaining wall has glass windows, and the other is covered with mirrors. At night, kinetic lights reflect off the white ceiling. In contrast to the striking appearance of the garden room, is the open plan kitchen – dayroom. The large stainless steel bar, echoed by the roomy bottle rack above, divides the cooking area from the eating and sitting area. A number of useful items have been built into the stainless steel counter top -two bowls for washing up, a circular pastry slab of marble, and an electric cooking hob. The raised oven and fridge have been fitted into a storage wall fitted with cupboards and drawers, finished with a red laminated surface. This kitchen unit is a superb example of the benefits of a well-planned layout. Although it is contained in a small space, the kitchen is efficient, easy to work in, and visually appealing.
It is wise not to let a kitchen ‘evolve’ in a haphazard fashion-a great deal of thought should be given to the arrangement of storage units and appliances, ventilation, and plumbing. The step down to the main part of the room is effectively set off by the touch of red laminated skirting. The centre of the room is used for family meals and as a play area for the children. The pattern floor is a time-saver when it comes to house keeping.
The dining room is yet another splash of colour with walls painted in a gloss paint. Instead of curtains, there are floor-to-ceiling ‘shutters, also painted in gloss paint, giving the room an almost grotto-like effect. Although the room is not a particularly large one, the choice of furniture gives a sense of spaciousness. The glass-topped table is on a stainless steel base. The transparent perspex chairs are visually unusual and also very practical because of their washable surfaces. The red-fronted cupboards are useful for serving and have the added attraction of inset stainless steel hot plates for keeping food warm. If a house needs cheering up or you want to get a new look without spending a great deal of money, think carefully about changing the colour scheme.
The days are gone when baths were tall cast iron structures with ornate exposed legs. Some period bathrooms can look good with cast iron baths too.
The simple lines of a modern bathroom require the sides of a bath to be boxed in. Boxing-in a bath is a comparatively simple job and can be done with a wide range of tiles, plastic laminate, tongued and grooved timber boarding, or even gloss painted plywood.
None of these presents any serious technical problems. All these surfacing materials can be mounted on a simple but robust wooden frame fastened to the floor around the edge of the bath. The installation, however, has to meet various requirements. First, the frame must be strong enough not to warp-this is a serious problem in the steamy atmosphere of bathrooms.
The tendency of wood to warp in damp air can be reduced by painting all the parts with waterproof paint or varnish on all sides, so that the humidity of the wood remains constant. Second, it must be properly fastened to the surface it touches, so that it will resist kicking, blows from mops when cleaning the floor, and so on. The frame can be nailed to a wooden floor or it can be fastened to a concrete floor with wall plugs and screws, or with masonry pins. Nearly all baths have at least one side or end against a wall, and the ends of the frame can be plugged and screwed to this too. Third, the outer surface has to be reasonably watertight, so that water does not seep down behind it and under the bath where it cannot be mopped up.
This is simply solved by setting the panel about 3mm back from the outer lip of the bath, so that any drips from it run down the front of the panel instead of seeping through its back and rotting the frame. At the same time, the join between the bath and the wall should be sealed, either with a ‘bath trim kit’ consisting of narrow tiles with an L-shaped cross section or (more simply and cheaply) with the white or clear silicone sealing obtainable from any plumbing shop.
Fourth, the pipework under the bath must be accessible for maintenance. This includes not just the taps but also the trap in the waste pipe, which has to be cleaned out occasionally. The best solution here is to screw on the panels with ‘mirror’ screws, which have decorative covers on the heads so that you don’t have to disguise them. Don’t use too many screws; six or eight is ample for each panel if it has to be removed from time to time. (It is a good idea to inspect the floorboards under a bath for wet rot every few months.)
Defining a practical kitchen and bathroom
A practical kitchen can be defined as it marriage between the furniture and fittings and the structural reality of the room. Once you have a fairly clear idea of what is the best possible layout that will suit your kitchen, you can use a free design software online or the kitchen and bathroom supplier could offer you a free design. Our London Kitchen Fitters and Bathroom fitters will provide you with a kitchen or bathroom design. Then you can go on to selecting the furniture and fittings for the refurbishment.
Choosing the furniture and fittings
As mentioned before it is not enough to concentrate purely on the good looks or otherwise of any particular items. When choosing furniture and equipment for your kitchen and bathroom, the first question you need to ask yourself is ‘will it work’? This is where ergonomics relates to the problems of design. To recap on this ergonomics can be defined as the relationship between man and machine.
In a tiny kitchen, every inch counts. Room for food preparation, cooking, washing up and storage is at a premium but too often such kitchens are badly designed, lacking storage space and with a thoughtless choice and siting of kitchen equipment. This can be infuriating for the housewife who spends much of her day there. With a little planning, however, a tiny kitchen can be made as pleasant to work in as any other kitchen.
Ideally, to make really efficient use of limited space you should start re-planning the room from scratch. Take a long look at what is already in the kitchen and the type of equipment you have there and you will probably find that much of the space is wasted. A hotchpotch of different-sized storage cupboards, for example, is a great space-waster. An old sink will have very little room below it for storage. A central table in a small kitchen will make traffic jams almost a certainty.
Planning the Kitchen layout
With space at a premium in your kitchen, it is essential that you plan the room thoroughly. The best way to do this is to use a kitchen design software or make a scale drawing of the floor plan of your kitchen on a sheet of graph paper. Mark on it any architectural details plumbing, electrical points, windows, the door and the way it opens.
Next, cut out coloured pieces of card and mark them to represent the cooker, fridge, sink, cupboards and any other units. Lay these down on the plan and move them about to find the most efficient kitchen arrangement. Once you start doing this it will be easy to visualise how,everything can be fitted in, and how to save space.
You will gain many ideas from working with your plan, but remember that there are basic design rules for kitchens, however large or small. There are three basic shapes for a kitchen plan-I, U and L shapes. Decide which one is right for your kitchen and fit in the units accordingly.
An I-shaped arrangement is best for really cramped kitchens in passages and very narrow, rooms. In this type of kitchen, all the equipment and storage can be down one side of the room or right in front of you, making a neat and efficient line.
An L-shaped arrangement is good for a rectangular room, or for part of a multipurpose room where the kitchen can be slotted into one corner. The L-shape can either be fitted neatly around the corner or, if space permits, one ‘arm’ can be left jutting into the room to act as a serving place or eating bar. But this arrangement is more suitable for reasonably big rooms.
A U-shape can be used in square kitchens and is often best in a confined space because the equipment can be ‘wrapped’ around the cook, who stands in the centre and has everything well within reach.
Work areas in the kitchen
Kitchen space must be divided into 4 work areas-preparation, cooking, serving and washing up even if there is a dishwasher. Within the framework of the I, U, or L shape, arrange these work areas in a natural progression, so that you don’t have to keep doubling back on your tracks when working in the kitchen. For example, you should place the fridge, food storage cupboards and mixer in the food preparation area. Keep pans over or under the sink as they usually need water in them before being put on the stove.
In a tiny kitchen, it is essential that there is a storage place for everything. Items that can’t be stored will simply be left cluttering valuable work surfaces. So plan your kitchen to the smallest detail to allow as much working space as possible to be left permanently free. When you have planned your kitchen to your satisfaction, you can start fitting in equipment and storage units to suit the work areas.
Units and Cabinets
You can save a great deal of space by using every inch of wall space from floor to ceiling for storage cupboards. The base units, the tops of which provide a work surface, should all have sliding doors. These take up a lot less room than I- hinged doors. Base units should stand on a recessed plinth. This will not only make unsightly scuff marks less conspicuous, but will also increase the kitchen floor area slightly, allowing you to work more comfortably as you can get your toe s under the working surface. One problem with base units is that manufacturers standard sizes will rarely fit snugly into a tiny kitchen.
You can build cupboards to your own sizes, or you can use open shelves, cheaper for someone on a small budget to bridge gaps between units. The top shelf should be level with the other work surfaces. Corner units are particularly important as there is often wasted storage space here in badly designed kitchens. Corner cupboards with plenty of shelves will gain valuable space.
Over the base unit, shallow midway units, about l00mm and l52mm deep will give ample space for jars or tins of food, but leave plenty of working room underneath. Over these units, hanging cupboards can run right up to the ceiling.
A modern stainless steel sink is shallower and therefore less space-consuming than the old-fashioned ceramic sink. If the sink is set into a work-top you can save a lot of space. Draining racks can be set on either side of the recessed sink hung on the wall behind it or placed on a tiled window sill over it. Even in a tiny kitchen don’t stint on the size of the sink as this is one of the items in most constant demand in a kitchen. If you have a large family a double sink is well worth considering even in the smallest kitchen. It speeds up washing up, and has many other uses.
Waste disposal in the kitchen
A waste disposal unit will take up far less space than a waste bin, though a cheaper and equally space-saving alternative is a rubbish chute set into the wall near the sink. Rubbish can be ‘posted’ through a trapdoor on the kitchen side and falls straight down into a dustbin outside. There should be a hinged flap on the outside wall to prevent draughts and the walls of the chute should be tiled to permit easy cleaning.
A split-level cooker takes up more space than an ordinary cooker unless it is carefully placed. If you can find room for this arrangement however, the hob and the oven don’t need to be next door to each other. This is useful if, for example, yon can make use of an old fireplace.
The fireplace can be removed and the hob set into the chimney on a fitted unit with cupboards beneath. The oven can be placed near the serving area or on the other side of the preparation area. The door opening should be taken into account when placing the oven. Also don’t put the cooker by the floor because this can be unsafe especially with small children around.
Planning a new kitchen design and kitchen layouts
Modern kitchens, old style kitchens, traditional kitchens,all have something in common, they are designed to be practical and aesthetically pleasing.
Taking out a wall-hung or pedestal basin and replacing it with a vanity unit is part plumbing and part carpentry.
You will need to disconnect the old basin, cut a hole in the surface of the vanity unit to take the new basin, fit the basin and reconnect the supply pipes. Before buying the ready-made unit, measure the available space carefully, then choose the counter-top basin to fit the new unit. The taps, basin and cupboard can all be bought separately, but to ensure that the complete unit is compatible it is obviously easier if you buy everything from the same source.
The counter-top basin fits into a hole in the top of the unit; usually the manufacturer supplies a template for cutting the hole. There are several different types of basins: the self-rimmed ones overlap the counter tops and are supported by them; the frame-rimmed model is secured with lugs that connect frame, basin and counter top. The unrimmed recessed basins are held by bolts and metal flanges. All must be sealed with mastic silicone sealant. You will also need a slotted waste connection, an overflow fitting, a suitable trap, and tap connectors to enable the final connection of the water supplies to be made to the taps.
Corrugated flexible copper pipes (15 mm) facilitate easy connection of the supplies, especially in awkward places, and are obtainable with tap connectors already attached. Integral ring-type fittings can be used for all joints. They cost slightly more than end-feed fittings but this factor is offset by the ease with which they can be installed: using a blow torch, you need only apply sufficient heat to melt the solder and the joint is complete.
There was a time when a pink bathroom suite or green bathroom suite was the latest fashion in London’s bathrooms.
A plumbing shop front with a pink bathroom suite for sale on the pavement, in 1980
Interior of the kitchen at the city prison, Holloway,London, in 1862
“One boiler contained a large quantity of broth, with huge pieces of beef… Another boiler contained a large quantity of potatoes which had just been cooked. They were York Regents of an excellent quality. A different boiler contained an enormous quantity of gruel, made of the best Scotch oatmeal, to be served out for supper in the evening. It was filled to the brim, with a white creamy paste mantling on the surface. Cocoa is given on alternate days, and is prepared in the other coppers we saw alongside.”
London Kitchen Fitters & Kitchen Installers in London
Robuild Kitchen Fitters and Installers cover all of London.
Full kitchen refurbishments, including:
Painting and Decorating