Sustainable Kitchens

Behind The Scenes – Ugly House To Lovely House

This blog post will give you a glimpse into all the behind the scenes action and some of the creative process that went into our “Ugly House” kitchen project.

We worked with architects CE+CA Studio and Amazing Productions to create a fabulous family kitchen. The project was part of a sustainable transformation for the Channel 4 TV programme Ugly House To Lovely House with George Clarke. If you missed it, don’t worry, it’s still available to watch on demand here.

Our clients needed a “living kitchen” for their growing family. We designed a seamless space to better integrate the open plan room. The main living area is an L-shaped space, and the kitchen is very much the focus and the hub of the home. Reclaimed iroko, a downdraft extractor fan and a bespoke window boot box are just a few features of the kitchen design. 

Ugly house to lovely house bespoke kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens
Reclaimed Iroko

Firstly, our workshop team made a start on sanding down the reclaimed Iroko for the new worktops. Previously, the timber was school lab benches covered in graffiti, so needed a lot of work to make it kitchen-worthy.

After the wood was sanded and planed, a minimum of three hard wax oil coats were applied. This seals the timber, prolonging its life and making it an easy to wipe surface.

reclaimed iroko timber with graffiti
The original iroko timber, straight out of the school and covered in graffiti.
iroko panel close up in dark chocolate colour
The final result - sanded down and oiled bringing out the rich chocolate colour.
Apprentice oiling iroko kitchen worktop
Moya, one of our apprentices putting the first coat of hard wax oil on the reclaimed Iroko worktop.
Drainer grooves in reclaimed iroko worktop
Cutting Out Drainer Grooves

James and Alex, our kitchen fitters, cut the drainer grooves for the worktop on site. The clients had chosen an undermount sink. This gives cleaner lines to the kitchen design, as the sink edges are hidden below the level of the worktop. 

Cutting our drainer grooves in kitchen worktop with jig
James, our senior kitchen fitter, cutting the grooves on site with the specialised jig.
Cutlery Tray

To reduce waste, and to match the rest of the kitchen design, head bench joiner, Adam, used the smaller pieces of Iroko to make a bespoke cutlery tray by hand.

Once assembled, three coats of hard wax oil were applied. Adam then prepared the drawer by lining it with green felt and preparing the compartments. 

One of the best features of a bespoke cutlery tray is that you no longer have to try and fit utensils in spaces that are too small! Because you can choose the sizes of the compartments, the tray can fit everything you need it to without any hassle.

bespoke cutlery tray with green felt and sheffield sustainable kitchens logo
The cutlery tray finished in the workshop, ready to fit in the new kitchen.
Iroko pieces ready to be made into the cutlery tray.
Bespoke cutlery tray made from reclaimed iroko
The finished cutlery tray in position in the Ugly House To Lovely House kitchen.
George Clarke and clients standing in new kitchen
The Final Reveal

After months of hard work, which spanned the COVID-19 lockdown, we were delighted to be finally able to reveal the finished kitchen to the clients on camera.

As you can see, the result is a beautiful and highly functional kitchen to meet their brief. Both clients were delighted with their new sustainable kitchen in their renovated sustainable home. 

In conclusion, it was an exciting project to be involved with, and a great collaboration between everyone working to transform this 1930s home. 

For the full kitchen profile visit our gallery post here.

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