Our Materials Philosophy
Our 3 philosophies have always driven our choice of materials and construction methods.
We seek out the best materials and processes, always focusing on durability, quality and sustainability.
Quality – all the way through
Our kitchens are built to last forever making them truley sustainable. They also come with a 30 year guarantee to prove it!
Whenever we make a decision, the environment comes first. We work with partners and local suppliers to source the best materials that help us minimise our impact on the world around us.
Sustainable, Durable Materials – The Details
Our mindset, ethos and understanding is that the quality of our kitchens speaks for itself, and our world and its ecosystems matter. The kitchens that we craft for you are designed to last you a lifetime. This isn’t a credential that we take lightly and the quality needs to be deeper than what you can see on the surface. That is exactly why we craft all of our furniture by hand using only the best and most sustainable materials available to us.
Every choice that we make is taken with the environment in mind. Our partners in the supply chain are tasked with sourcing the best possible materials for your home without impacting our world. From the timber that forms your cabinets to the final lick of paint that finishes your beautiful kitchen, we’re passionate about making the best choices for your kitchen and our planet.
We are really proud of the materials we use, and we design with functionality and beauty in equal proportions whilst using only the very finest quality materials.
TRADITIONAL DOVETAILED DRAWERS
Our solid sustainable wooden drawers with proper dovetail joints and a thick plywood base travel on 60kg runners that fully extend so you can easily grab your heaviest dishes right from the back.
The dovetail is the strongest joint in woodwork and has been used for hundreds of years to build beautiful solid furniture.
For a more detailed analysis of our drawers please take a look at our blog: ‘Our Drawers‘.
We use high grade plywood with 13 layers of Birch glued together in opposite directions resulting in a strong and stable board that will not sag, swell or crack over the years.
We then glue and screw our carcasses together before finishing in a tough matte lacquer retaining the natural beauty of the wood.
LUXURIOUSLY THICK OAK DOORS AND FRAMES
Our doors and frames are built from solid Oak 25mm thick with a 30mm tenon. Being Oak our doors are much harder and denser than the Poplar favoured by almost all high end kitchen companies where screws often loosen over time and dents are all too common.
The deep and distinctive Oak grain will show through the hand painted finish meaning our painted cupboards retain the soul of the timber underneath.
SOLID BRASS HINGES AND NEVER-FAIL DOOR CLOSURES
Beautiful and robust brass hinges combined with our innovative soft magnetic door closures ensure you’ll never need to ask us back to repair sagging doors or broken catches.
SUSTAINABLE WIDE BOARD WORKTOPS
Our handmade wooden worktops are built in our Bristol workshop, using wide boards of sustainable hardwood like Oak and Maple. When designing your kitchen, we carefully select each piece to marry grain and tone.
Hand painting your kitchen gives it a gorgeous depth and texture, producing delicate brush strokes that can’t be achieved through spray painting. Not only can you easily touch it up; you can also choose to repaint the kitchen further down the line, should you fancy freshening it up or going for a new colour altogether.
“Choose a hand painted kitchen and you will get the depth and texture obtained through delicate paint work without losing the natural grain structure of the oak beneath.”
Sam Shaw, Founder of Sustainable Kitchens
FARROW & BALL
Farrow & Ball paint has a depth of colour with natural pigments that refract the light differently throughout the day, giving a truly organic and natural feel. Their colours are vibrant and traditional, making them an excellent choice for period properties.
Find out more about their environmental policy here.
WHY CHOOSE A HAND PAINTED KITCHEN?
Your new hand painted kitchen will arrive at your house primed and undercoated before being fully installed. Only then does our fine furniture painter delicately apply the final coats by hand. We use environmentally-friendly, hard wearing Farrow & Ball paint on all our painted kitchens.
Call us back at any point for a fresh coat and your painted kitchen will still look brand new in 20 years’ time.
What Makes our Materials Sustainable?
Through using sustainable materials, recycling all our waste, planting trees in the UK whilst protecting those in the tropics and offsetting all our carbon emissions, we aim to have a positive impact on our environment.
OUR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
Our strict policy is to use only the most sustainable and responsibly sourced materials available, whilst preserving and actively regenerating the delicate and vital forest ecosystems that we rely on so much. This means NO unsustainable materials, NO rare timbers and NO tropical hardwoods.
Through our partnership with the Woodland Trust we are helping to replant the UK’s native woodland and prevent any further loss of this ancient resource. The Sustainable Kitchens tree dedication scheme ensures the planting and maintaining of trees with every kitchen we make.
With our enthusiastic fund raising for Rainforest Concern we help them protect threatened natural habitats and the biodiversity they contain along with the people who rely on them for their survival. Our fundraising for Rainforest Concern includes annual events by foot or pedal that normally ends in a trip to the physiotherapist!
Every year an area half the size of the UK is cleared of natural forests. These forests, which once covered half of the planet, are irreplaceable and their loss has profound economic, social and environmental impacts. The products of this illegal trade can be found throughout the UK, from building sites to private homes.
We aim to offset our carbon emissions and do this through purchasing Rainforest Concerns Forest Credits, see our certificate here.
The two classifications we look for when sourcing our materials are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). These classifications are awarded for environmentally, socially responsible and economically viable forest management.
We only use Timber and sheet materials which are deemed to be ethical and which carry certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) who promote sustainably managed forests worldwide. We do not use any tropical hardwood’s.
WHAT MATERIALS DO WE USE IN OUR SUSTAINABLE KITCHENS?
American White Oak – for our doors, frames and drawer boxes. All our oak is PEFC certified
Birch Plywood – for our carcasses and drawer bases always carries an FSC or PEFC Certification
Natural Paint – we only use water based environmentally friendly paints with low VOC levels.
Sustainable worktops – We only use 100% FSC timber in our wooden worktops. This includes American White Oak, Maple, and Beech. We can also offer a range of recycled worktops made entirely from post consumer products such as glass.
Our suppliers are PEFC or FSC certified. Take a look at their environmental policies:
We strive to re-use and recycle wherever and whenever possible committing very little of our workshop materials to waste. Careful cutting lists and an eye for recycled design means nothing is wasted. We turn whatever we can into small nick nacks such as spice drawers and chopping boards and everything left over gets thrown into our biomass incinerator to heat our workshop.
We remove and recycle all the waste produced during an installation and any old kitchen units and appliances are offered on to the Freecycle network, It’s good to Freecycle! Visit your local group for more information.
Enough has been said about the harmful effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on the Earth’s delicate eco-systems, the question now is how can we help to reverse the trend and stop harming our planet?
Our exclusive use of next generation LED lighting provides long life, minimal maintenance and pure, saturated and warm colours whilst only using a fraction of the electricity that standard halogen lights require. Their hugely reduced power consumption not only provides a financial and environmental benefit, they also give out very little heat enabling safe use when recessed into ceilings. 50 Watt halogen spots can reach temperatures of 370 degrees and are a common cause of house fires when not installed correctly. Our LEDs use either 4 or 7 watts and are cool enough to handle.
We need to run a van and use electricity in our workshop in order that we may run our business, we offset this by investing in Forest Credits providing a true carbon saving with the benefit of targeted reforestation and the rehabilitation of degraded forests. We also use Ecotricity as our energy provider, who offer us 100% renewable energy.
Whether it’s beautiful, handcrafted Oak or a concrete alternative like Arenastone, we’ll ensure your Sustainable Kitchen has the perfect finish. We work closely with trusted suppliers to make sure you have the best worktop for your lifestyle.
It’s worth pointing out that our worktops always come as part of one of our kitchens, but we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about that.
Full-length, wide planks of hardwood make beautiful work surfaces. Popular choices include our responsibly-sourced Oak, Ash, Maple and Walnut. Our wideboard worktops are completely bespoke to each of the kitchens we design, and we take all the extra measures necessary to make sure there are no knots, filler, defects or sapwood. They’re all supported by full PEFC documentation, including supplier accreditation number, meaning they’re 100% sustainable.
NATURAL STONE WORKTOPS
When we’re adding a natural stone worktop to one of our kitchen designs, we love to choose from the range at Bristol Marble & Granite Co. Their giant stoneyard exhibits every stone you can think of, and you’ll be able to hand pick your exact slabs (and even which part of the slab) before committing to anything.
Concrete is wonderfully versatile. When one of our clients is after a shape or form that simply isn’t possible in stone, we look into casting their own, bespoke concrete mould. With natural ingredients and pigments, the resulting finish has a glorious depth and warmth. We cannot supply concrete worktops directly, though. If you’re considering this route, you might want to look into Lowinfo, Lazenby and microcement supplier Koubi.
We’d urge you to look into the hardiness of concrete before committing to it, as it can stain and develops a mottled effect over time. Read our blog, ‘Concrete Worktops put to the test‘, to find out more about its durability in the kitchen environment.
Some of our clients love the look and feel of concrete, but have reservations about staining. As an alternative, it’s worth considering Arenastone’s engineered quartz, which comes in two colours: Grigio and Biscotti. It’s known for its durability, as well as its resistance to marking and staining. These are available from our worktop suppliers Bristol Marble.
Take a look at our showroom with Concreto Biscotti.
WHAT OTHER WORKTOPS ARE AVAILABLE?
Engineered stone is made from incredibly hard natural quartz (90%) mixed with high strength resins to produce a strong material with high resilience to heat and staining. Engineered stone can be produced in almost any colour and offers a great modern alternative to granite.
Stainless Steel provides a fabulous modern and indestructible aesthetic to the modern kitchen. Traditionally rooted in the commercial kitchen sector we are now using stainless steel effectively in private homes for a crisp, industrial feel. With sinks welded into the worktop creating one continuous impervious surface, you’ll never suffer the ill effects of water in your kitchen again.
When it comes to worktops, some of our most show-stopping kitchen designs are the White Shaker with Brass Worktop and the Antiqued Brass Contemporary Kitchen.
Worktops can be the finishing touch to a kitchen and while they were once seen as a practical surface to prepare food on they now
Introducing the Concreto range from Arenastone We have seen a huge rise in interest in the super stylish, Concreto range of engineered quartz worktops. These beautiful