Caring for Wooden Worktops

We’ve recently installed a beautiful hardwood island for a client. Woods in kitchens look stunning and are lovely to work on, but do require quite a bit of maintenance. This client was hesitant about having such a volatile material in the kitchen, which is why we’ve limited it to a small wooden island, which stands out as a feature and softens and contrasts with all the high gloss surfaces. It’s not difficult to maintain, but does involve frequent oilings in the first year.

wooden worktop

Our client’s walnut island

Hardwood worktops must be thoroughly treated with at least three coats of protective wood oil, to all sides (including the underside), prior to installation. Most reputable companies do this, but it’s always worth checking. It is also beneficial to apply as many coats as possible to the end-grain of the worktops as this is the area which will absorb the most moisture. An extra three to four coats should also be applied around tapholes, sink cutouts and areas of heavy use or exposure.

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Minimalist home in the backwoods of Finland

I have always been impressed with Scandinavian architecture and design; its minimalistic nature is a refreshing change from more conventional Western designs in which more storage is a necessity to house the assortment of items that one collects over time.  The dining room, in this case, is undoubtedly catering to a certain taste:

For me this is a refreshing clearing of the palate that, although I would not want to visit too often, holds the almost forgotten virtue of simplicity.  I also believe that the beauty of the exterior of the property, along with its surroundings, help to add to the appeal of the property:

Considering that this property does not have running water one can suppose that a more natural and secluded way of living was very much in the architects mind when they created this home – this theme has been continued through the usage of some very nice furs:

I can certainly understand many people’s aversion to a property of this nature: within it one would feel very alone but that is the idea perhaps – meeting oneself through seclusion …

Credit: Freshome

Sustainable home is Costa Rica

Sometimes the positioning of a home makes it very difficult for it not to be spectacular: this home in Costa Rica certainly fits that particular bill:

I particularly like how the architect has provided an enormous decking area from which one can view the incredible surroundings; I am also very impressed by the water feature (as always, understated water features add such a subtle atmospheric edge to a property) and by the decking which is clean and contemporary and contrasts well with some of the properties more rustic elements, like these tiles:

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Rustic meets modern in upstate New York

In recent weeks on this architecture blog I have alluded to the importance of the melding a home with its surroundings and this is another fine example.  The architect, in this case, has dedicated a huge area to outside seating by creating a over-sized decking area (I really love the armless sofas – they are very unassuming and, colour-wise, they really compliment the decking).  However, what really gives the area a great appeal is the use of lush long grass:

This is a fine example of the ‘less is more’ principle: you don’t always need a really cultivated garden to to bring out the best in a property – this ‘un-kept’ look really highlights the angular nature of the house and creates an enviable contrast.  The below picture gives you a better idea of the quirky nature of the property:

This walkway leads to the Atlantic Ocean and it is apt that the greenery here is rugged to match the ruggedness of the sea.  In stark contrast, to the North of the property lies the serene Mecox Bay and its serenity is matched cleverly by the garden to the north of the property which is far more cultivated than its southern counterpart:

This architect clearly understand the importance of variation within a large residence and has done an outstanding job of implementing such variation in a logical and coherent manner.

Credit: Freshome

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Optifire Range by Hestia Logistics

How gorgeous is this wood burning fire? I just love it when you go through a site and instantly projects come to mind where this would be perfect! Plus at this time of year I always love to be able to sit curled up in front of the fire with a large glass of red wine…sounds perfect!


Plus they give you lots of great information with a fantastic video!

800 Green

via 800 Green | Optifire Range | Hestia Logistics.

Unusual lighting …

Sometimes I just see a product and I know that I would love to use it but equally know that there are a very finite amount of places that it could actually be used.  This is one of such products: the inspiration for this was found in the aftermath of 9/11 and is shaped to replicate a fire hydrant lid.  If that wasn’t enough it is also fashioned out of recycled beer bottles and donates a percentage of its profits to the 9/11 museum.

This product not only has a great story behind it but also has ‘another-worldliness’ look about it – I envision this is a Turkish themed room or even in a minimalist room to offer a sharp contrast: either way – I hope to use these products soon!




Don’t turn your screens around!

I saw this during Clerkenwell Design week and thought that it is a very interesting take on the traditional plant pots.  This look is far more tropical and exotic and would be particularly well suited to a conservatory or balcony.

This type of item always gets me!

I can’t resist products such as these: a cabinet made out of old ship planks!  What is particularly interesting about this product is that it does not rely solely upon its gimmick (many pieces of furniture that are made out of something ‘cool’ are not particularly well Designed).  On top the its ‘gimmick’ these cabinets also have an ‘other-worldliness’ which makes them stand out amongst their peers – I admire this Design as it is daring and innovative and has a mesmeric quality that can be very rarely found in furniture.

Credit: Freshome

So that’s where all those out of date travelcards go …

This item reminds me on the excellent ‘Tent’ Design show in Brick Lane (one of my favourite Design shows of the year).  Making something amazing out of items that would not otherwise be thought of twice is a skill that requires both imagination and Design technique.  This bench, created out of used Metro tickets, is an illustration of the way certain minds think: whilst most would be able to find no use for a metro ticket laying on the pavement there are some who covet such a find and are able to use it to a spectacular ends!

Credit: Freshome

No Friday 13th cheap shots here!

Well actually I did try and find something ‘Friday 13th’ inspired but I wasn’t having much luck!  Happily I stumbled across this little gem in the process!  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Credit: Freshome

You have to love this!

I was recently at the Business Design Center and I saw this rather cool idea.  ‘Idea Paint’ is a paint that can be applied in one coat to any wall and what it does is turn your wall into a whiteboard!  This is idea for an office – you can stroll around the room contemplating the meaning of life and you can jot any incredible ideas onto your wall!

Not only will all of your friends want to take turns in drawing rude cartoons but this also does a great favour to the environment.  I am a great ‘list’ person and whenever I write a list I will use only about a quarter of the paper (I never write on the reverse side for example) – Idea Paint will rid you of paper wastage and is also a lot more fun!


Credit: Idea paint

My kind of house!

There has always been a part of me that has wanted to live in a rural area away from the hustle of city life and if I did ever leave the ‘big smoke’ I would like to live somewhere like this.  The great thing about this Design is that embraces the obvious decisions: the surrounding trees are magnificent so create a home with floor to ceiling windows so that the trees become your every changing piece of art.

A picture like this reminds us that Design is often about taking advantage of what is around us and not, so to speak, necessarily reinventing the wheel.

Credit: Freshome

Wish you were here?

On a Friday it is nice to think about being somewhere a little more appealing than the UK in early February.  How about this – a relaxing hotel on the edge of the Sahara Desert.  I love the Design: the how the seating is situated directly by the window allowing the guest to gaze up from their book every now and then – very pleasant!

An unlikely light/plant combo

It is always nice having plants in a room for the main reason that they are ever-changing.  This gives any room an organic feel that is not attainable through furniture alone.  The nice twist in this instance is the combination of plants with a light: I really like this type of quirky Design as it makes a feature out of a standard lamp in an unusual way that will get guests talking.

Credit: Design Sponge

Wood you?

An interesting Design here and I would have to say that it doesn’t appeal to me in the least.  One of the main reasons why Design is so difficult is because it must look effortless.  If a friend were to put this in their room it would seem to me that they were trying too hard to be diverse – I’ll pass on this one!

Credit: Fresh Home