9 Mar 2015

Kitchen installation

Sustainable Kitchens were ready and waiting to install the kitchen.  Charlie O'B (so identified due to the extraordinary amount of Charlies we have had on this project!) arrived and set to work.  The units had all been made in the workshop but the countertop had to be measured and templated onsite.  Only then would we have the exact dimensions needed to fabricate the stainless steel countertop.

Charlie was supposed to have had the place to himself but with the plumbers and electricians busy with other jobs and trying to squeeze us in where they could, it meant that everyone was on site at once.  It was very noisy and busy and meant that everyone had to do a little more jiggling and juggling to not be other's way.  NOT ideal, but there was a lot of jolly camaraderie.

It took only three days to install the units and then it was immediately covered in board to protect it while all the other trades continued. 

By now we were in the first week of August, and had been planning to move in at the end of this month!!!  Doubts were beginning to seed...  My presence on site was really limited due to the fact that we were full swing in the middle of school summer holidays and site was really not safe to bring the children to visit.

A few weeks later the steel was ready and Joseph came along with Charlie to install.  This was far from a straightforward task.   But Sustainable Kitchens handled it with a cool and professional head.   

Steel, unlike wood, is an unforgiving material.  Wood can be planed and eased to fit like a glove.  I had also asked for an experimental aspect which concerned the edge detailing- normally the steel wraps around the ply base so that you see a metal edge (we have since discovered why, as it hides a multitude of sins).  I had asked for the edge to be exposed so that the steel just looked like another layer in the ply.  I wanted the lighter feel that this would give to the metal countertop. 

This meant that the front edges had align perfectly or be cut/sanded so that they would be.  It also meant that the bonding of the metal to the ply base had to be perfect as the edge would expose any gaps in adhesion.  This aspect would normally be disguised by the wrapped edge.

A bit of head-scratching but Charlie figured it out calmly and with a smile, always up for a challenge with my experimental kitchen design!  The wires you can see in the wall are the for the LED lights which have been recessed into the Dinesen Douglas shelf which wraps around the kitchen.  The moveable island was finished in the workshop and wrapped in the wobble-sanded steel.  It was kept out of the way and delivered the day we moved in. It is so beautiful.  I'll share finished photos soon.


  1. Hi Tara,

    I love your worktop so much, that my other half is going to have a go at installing a similar one in my kitchen. We have the ply in place, and are ready to order the steel. This is a DIY-jobby, so would you mind sharing some tips for us novices?

    Did you go for brushed or polished satin? Did you find the edge of the steel to be sharp, and if so, how did you get around that problem - are they profiled in any way? Am I right in thinking you applied the adhesive with a roller to minimise gaps?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.


    1. Hi Katie,

      We went for wobble-sanded stainless steel, and I love it. It has a much softer, matt-like appearance, and is very forgiving of smears and smudges - they are not an issue. We can also sand out any deep scratches ourselves if necessary.

      Our Kitchen was installed by Sustainable Kitchens (http://sustainablekitchens.co.uk/) so I'm afraid I can't give you much detail about how the steel was fitted. But, the roller idea sounds like a good one, you want to get as much adhesion as possible. I think the edges were sharp in places and Charlie had a sander that he could use along the edge. Although I'm sure you could ask your metal workers to sort this out for you during manufacture. You will need to sand the edge though, I think, as walls and lines are rarely straight so the metal will need to be trimmed in places, unless they are fitting exactly to the template in the workshop...metal is not a forgiving material.

      Another tip is that we needed to clamp the metal along the edges as the adhesive cured and there were still a couple of places where the metal wanted to lift and had to be re-glued.

      Good luck. Post a photo when you've done it as I'd love to see how it worked out.