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By Farmer Giles
When we first bought the farmhouse 17 years ago, we had to burn every bit of wood apart from the pitch pine beams in two rooms and the roof, otherwise every stick went on a huge bonfire, full of woodworm, many floor joists resembled weetabix in strength, and the wife accidentally dropped a lump hammer from waist height which went through a floor board without much resistance they were that rotten.

So we could move into the house and sell up in London, we fitted the cheapest kitchen we could find, I think it was from B&Q. It is now looking very tatty, it isn't what we wanted but was all we could afford at the time and we have coped with it for a few more years until the kids are of an age where they have stopped destroying quite so many things. I've bolted many of the hinges as the carcasses have disintegrated, the plinths are in tatters, plastic legs hanging off. It has done it's job.

The utility wasn't too bad, I gave it a major makeover about 5 years ago and used some Ikea cabinets which weren't at all bad. However I have just built up on top of the utility and some of the cabinets have suffered. Here's the utility as it was, the extension was complete back in the sixties, before that the back of the house was built into the hillside almost up to the bedroom windows.

utility before.jpg

The youngest daughter's bedroom is very small so the plan was to extend the utility up a floor. Here it is in progress, it persisted it down for weeks during the work so the utility room below got a hammering water wise, but we didn't care too much, we stripped out almost everything of value and managed to keep one corner dry for the washer and dryer.

utility during.jpg

And as of a few days ago, we finished the shell so I'm busy putting in floor joists as we have the windows being fitted in mid January then I can knock through from the daughters existing bedroom, her old bedroom window becomes a passageway to the new space, the old room will become and ensuite and wardrobe.

utility after.jpg

I haven't done this myself, I do the project management and some building work but I have had builders in to do the block work, stone work, roof timbers and stone roof. I'm under doctors orders not to do too much after cranial surgery back in August and I'm back at work so don't have much time. However I do most of the electrics, some of the plumbing and I will be doing all the second fitting and some of the first fitting like insulation and plasterboard etc.

So far we have most of the 6 x 2 floor joists in and I had the presence of mind to put all the 50mm insulation backed plasterboard, roof insulation and soon mill flags up into the bedroom space before we put all the floor down. Trying to get them up a winding staircase after dragging them through the house would not have been fun.

To be continued....
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By Farmer Giles
Cheers Mike

Here's first drawings of the kitchen and utility, not full details yet, still discussing it. Utility room is relatively fixed but kitchen needs more discussion with the missus. All I wanted is the high level design at this stage. If you are wondering about the size of the "cavities" in some of the walls this is because in some locations they are 600mm thick and are not cavity walls but rubble filled. They are a sod to put pipes through but I have done all that the first time around.


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By Farmer Giles
We have just about finished the heavy lifting in the extension, we knocked the wall out between the old bedroom and the new on Saturday and moved all the big bits of stone down between the floor joists and some big ones back up to match the existing sandstone head and cills of the window that is now the opening between the old bedroom and the extension. I've already moved the insulation backed plasterboard up into the new bedroom which means I can now put the rest of the floor down and start the rewire. New windows are being fitted in a couple of weeks then I can get the plasterers in.

I also managed to get a couple of 28mm pipes in between the existing underfloor heating manifold and the new room. This means I don't have to lift the existing oak floor to tee into the underfloor heating, I can do it at the manifold which is much easier. The 28mm pipes mean I can put the pex plastic pipe through later.

So apart from rewiring, fixing plasterboard and rationalising the old plumbing, I'm getting tooled up for making the kitchen units.

The radial arm drill is nearing completion, I have a new mitre saw and plunge saw, I already have small table saw, routing table and bandsaw, the last two remaining items are the large holey table to dimension the sheets of birch ply and a kreg pocket hole jig for attaching the face frame, not to make the frame, that will be dominoed.

I will probably make the 8 x 4 holey top, I have a MF3 size top already, so as somebody suggested I will use that as a template to make the bigger one.

From a kreg point of view, given I have the smaller festool domino machine, I don't think I need the all singing and dancing Kreg jig, I think either the Kreg mini or the R3 which is similar but dual hole and has a clamp adapter will probably suffice.

The idea is that I will have a flush face frame and inset doors/drawers. So the face frame will just cover the cabinet edges so there is no internal lip. My original plan was to make all cabinets out of 18mm birch ply, given I am making them in units, the frame width between two units will be 36mm. If I did the same spacing between drawers then that may be a bit heavy, but if I only have one drawer per unit with a door below then 38mm may look ok. I could make the sides of cabinets next to each other to be 12mm so the frame is 24mm wide, but that may be too small and then there is the impact on the internal cabinet width if you are buying commercial sliding baskets etc.

So still thinking about this, I will be making a prototype for the utility room so I can play with dimensions and looking at similar cabinets on line and in the flesh.

Irrespective of the width of the face frame, the kreg jig will just be used to attach it to the cabinets.

I've had a look at the internal measurements of some older B&Q cabinets and some Ikea cabinets. The only thing they have in common is n x 32mm, the depth of cabinets are different and the "n" is also different when it comes to mounting holes. I will be walking around to a couple of neighbours to see what sizes they have, some have very expensive kitchens, some are a bit more basic. What I am aiming for is to drill all the holes in the cabinet sides in advance of building them so I can fit Hafalle/Hettich and Ikea accessories.

I have some Blum and Hettich drawer sliders and Hettich hinges on order to play with, I have some Ikea baskets and drawers so will source so Hafalle fittings then I can decide on cabinet depth and hole patterns.

By siggy_7
It sounds like in many respects you're at a similar point to my own kitchen build, and thinking of a similar construction technique. What I've settled on is:

1) A grid of vertically placed plywood strips screwed down into the floor - this will form a level base onto which I can screw down the cabinets, and also forms the kickboard
2) 18mm plywood cabinet boxes screwed onto the base frame - these will basically be frameless boxes. Each cabinet will be separated horizontally by another 18mm strip of plywood, so the gap beween one internal face of one cabinet and its neighbour is 54mm
3) A sub-frame of maple (chosen because it will make a good match to the birch ply, both covered with clear sealer - I'm thinking floor varnish). I'm planning a horizontal top, middle (bottom of drawer height) and bottom rail that stretches the full run of each cabinet, making the whole assembly very stiff. The vertical parts of the sub-frame will be 54mm wide to match the cabinet spacing, leaving no lip. This will be nailed in place once the cabinets are installed (nails placed so that they are covered by...)
4) An inset face frame of doors and drawers. The maple sub-frame forms about a 10mm reveal when a door/drawer is opened. Will be using Blum Blumotion cup hinges for the doors and Blum Movento drawer slides. I'm planning to fit all the doors and drawers first, level them up along a run, then install the rest of the face frame around the doors and drawers. This will be done in painted beech

I got the idea for this from a kitchen design book "Rennovating a Kitchen" by Taunton. It's a bit American, but has some good ideas in it. ... edir_esc=y
By woodywoodwood
FG - the house is beautiful. I would love to see some more pics of the work you are doing. We are due a refit, but after losing the main workshop the spare bedroom, study and dining room, as well as the garage, store room (s) and lock up are ALL full of table saws, work benches, spindle moulders, drum Sanders, bandsaw, overhead routers........ Well, you get the picture.
Hopefully you can inspire me. Now where did I put that morticer?????..... :shock:
Thanks for posting.
PS - regarding your foresight in putting boards upstairs before floorboards, today I had a fit in Rickmansworth. The surveyor did his job, few weeks ago, but in between him measuring up and my arriving to fit a bedroom, the stairs, complete with doglegs, went in. So, the easiest thing was to take out the windows, yep - the windows, to get the end panels in. Apparently my fault!!! :roll:
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By Farmer Giles
thanks for the kind words and glad to see others have the same thought processes :)

I've been away working down south, which I do every week however this week my brother was down due his wife having a big operation. So I had two nights on the town, the first to keep his mind off his wifes operation the following day, the second celebrating what seems to be a successful op.

Trouble is I think I overdid it and now I have the lurgy so laid up in bed really frustrated. All the hinges and sliders have arrived and all sorts of other stuff but I feel like death so will leave it until next week. :(
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By Farmer Giles
I managed to get time for a quick peek at the sliders and hinges I bought to try out.

The Hettich Quadro V6 full extension under-mount sliders are expensive but ooze quality and will work with a flush face frame, I think. All I need to do is have a two part drawer front and make sure the front of the drawer extends down a little to clear the slider. So the missus can have full extension, soft close and nice dovetail drawers, lovely and I get a couple of mill of adjustment just in case my fixing isn't bang on ;) I'm still going to mock up a prototype before deciding for definite.

I bought a pair of flush face frame hinges, I only had a brief look but they looked the part and the soft close mechanism is nice, I'll give them a quick test this weekend before detailing what they are in case anybody wants some.

The missus has given me more info about the kitchen she wants over and above the basic cabinet layout. Near the cooker she wants a stainless steel worktop which extends all the way to and beyond the sink. She definitely wants function over form as she has asked for two chutes in the SS top, one for compostable waste and one for other food waste (meat, bones etc.). All of that is doable and given the wall is not remotely square I can make a template up and take it down to the local SS fabricators and get them to cut, bend and let in a couple of small SS sinks. The rest of the worktops will be a bit different, more later on that :)

The wife has just planted 1400 trees and bushes in the field, hedging or for coppicing, but she already has some willow that she harvested last year and will have loads more for this year. So instead of wire baskets, other than the Ikea ones we already have that I will reuse, we are toying with the idea of willow slide out baskets. I'll provide a frame that slides out, she can do the rest.

There is a small "breakfast bar" type area, this she wants dual height so she can kneed dough more easily etc. She has asked for under counter storage and power, and somewhere to put the mixer. I've got a few ideas of how to incorporate this along with slide outs for scales etc.

So the mists are clearing, I'll have a tooled up warm workshop in a month with a bit of luck and by the time I have finished the bedroom and utility I think I'll be ready to tackle the main event. I'm quite looking forward to it :)

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By Halo Jones
Looking forward to the stainless steel counters. We are planning a large island unit with a stainless steel top. One thing I don't understand is the grades of SS as some types seem to get marked very easily. Is there a standard for kitchen use?