Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Art Of Wood Bespoke Kitchen

We teamed up with Mark Dayman from The Art Of Wood to create a kitchen to suit our space and needs. A traditional kitchen would leave an awkward void above the higher cupboards and would not make the most of the unusual elevation of the space.

Taking inspiration from a family trip to the Eden project, we decided to use the idea of the open box display units that we liked in the cafe. At the Eden project the display boxes were arranged in front of a curved back lit wall and were mainly for display purposes, rather than practical use. So the challenge was to adapt this to incorporate kitchen goods and provide work surfaces without losing the effect.

We stuck with the simple box concept but adapted the spaces inside the boxes to suit our requirements. For example, some boxes have a facing door; some are open display boxes with either a ply back or with the white wall behind; others contain kitchen equipment like the oven.

We sketched up the wall elevation and then started to populate it with boxes, and slowly developed the type and content of each box. It soon became apparent that the look we wanted would be best achieved by emphasising the boxes, thereby making the empty spaces just as valid.

Developing the project with Mark was crucial to achieve the quality and detail that we wanted. We decided to use birch faced ply with a satin laquer. The end grain of the ply was perfect to define and pronounce the boxes and by using a shadow gap rebate we think it helps promote them individually rather than just as an arrangement. The laquered birch face gives a lovely finish to the door and the sides of the boxes. These boxes are also much stronger and durable than standard laminated MDF kitchen units. To further enhance the feel of quality Mark has hidden all the fixings and used premium soft closers for draw runners and door hinges.
Part of the challenge was to incorporate all the kitchen goods, the extractor hood and even the utility door to give the illusion of boxes across the entire wall. We have also been able to provide lots of display space for our much loved studio pottery and antique glass as well as hidden storage.

We are delighted with the final result - we have ended up with what we think is a unique kitchen which fits and compliments the space perfectly. By keeping the overall look simple and paying much attention to the detail we have something that works equally well from a distance (a viewpoint most kitchens do not have) as well as close up in detail.

This is only half of the story though as the large island unit is currently just a temporary work surface of OSB incorporating a sink on some left-over steel trestles. The next stage is to continue the style and create an island unit in the same style – and to finish it all off with polished concrete work surfaces.

Zero Carbon Status Achieved

One of the main goals of the design was to make our house a zero carbon home. This was a necessity to achieve the highest level 6 on the CfSH. The SAP calculation had been done alongside the design and specification of the building to make sure that we were in with a strong chance of achieving the zero carbon status. However there was still the unknown value of the air pressure test to incorporate, which cannot be tested until the building fabric and mechanical system has been completed.

Throughout the design and build we put a lot of time and effort into making sure the detailing was tight and that the build quality was high. This paid off when the air pressure test results were calculated as we achieved a result of 1.9m3/hm2 (the lowest our tester had ever found). This was considerably better than the 3 we had assumed for the design stage calculation and in a different league to the minimum of 15 required for building regulations.

We achieved our goal and scored a very impressive 116 on the EPC certificate, approximately twice the score of the average UK dwelling. By calculating the CO2 used by the fuels required to run the house and offsetting this against the CO2 saved by the amount of electricity we generate, we are actually reducing global CO2 levels rather than increasing through the running of our house. This is evidence that the time and energy put in to drastically reduce the energy consumption of the house and utilisation of our building location and orientation to generate electricity has paid off. We have made the building truly sustainable from an energy perspective.