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Worktop Profiles Explained

Worktop Profile Cross-sections

It's quite often thought that worktops come in only a few edge details, usually square edged or rounded edge, but the truth of the matter is that there are many options available, which can add that little extra design detail to your next kitchen project.

Depending on the worktop being chosen, you may have well over ten or fifteen options to choose from, so we thought we'd explain a few of these in more depth to show what's available, and what might work with a certain style for your next kitchen design or installation.

Square Edge - Quite popular with wooden worktops, the square edge option gives a solid look and feel, with clean and simple lines to suit almost any kitchen design. The style is also suitable for stone and composite worktops, where quite often a very subtle chamfer will be created to provide better durability for the worktop.

Pencil Round - Pencil round is a very popular option for most kitchen worktops and is one of the most widely used styles currently on the market. This style is quite often referred to as quarter round or double quarter round and is clean in its appearance and not overly fussy, leaving the rest of the kitchen and materials to do the hard work.

Bull Nose - The bullnose, or rounded edge design is considerably more rounded than pencil round for example, and is rounded on either just the top edge or both top and bottom edges. The rounding over is usually around 25mm+ and creates almost a complete curve when used at the top and bottom of the worktop. Bullnose worktops are perfect for use on curved cabinets as they help create a more fluid design with softer edges, resulting in a look that runs seamlessly around the kitchen space.

Chamfered Edge - Chamfered edge worktops use a small bevel to either the top side or the top and bottom sides of the worktop to produce a sleek timeless look and feel that sits comfortably in both contemporary and traditional kitchen designs. The chamfered edge also adds a level of practicality due to the removal of sharp edges, which are often otherwise prone to chipping and day-to-day damage.

Ogee Bullnose - The ogee bullnose is quite a premium and classical look that offers chunky curved edges with a good level of detail to ensure the worktop makes an impression and acts as a design feature in its own right. The Ogee Bullnose is most popular in natural stone worktops.

Sharks Nose - The sharks nose edge detail offers a sleek rounded look that sees the underside of the worktop recess towards the cabinet to provide a striking overhang effect at the edge of the worktops. Sharks nose edge detail is quite often popular in granite and composite worktops and is becoming more widely used by the trade.

Single Imperial - Single imperial offers a subtle rebate above a half round-over to create a smooth and subtle edge detail to worktops that works well in both modern and traditional kitchen designs. The single imperial helps add a feeling of quality to the worktop design whilst not being so detailed that it detracts from the rest of the kitchen.

Waterfall - Less commonly used than many of the styles discussed above, the waterfall effect creates a subtle lip on the top edge of each worktop that is pleasing to the eye and works well with both modern and traditional designs.

Single Spanish - A timeless look that is well suited to more traditional and classical kitchen design, the single Spanish is a good option for those looking for detailed edging that adds a feature and element of craftsmanship to the overall design.

Single Ovolo - Very similar in style to the single Spanish edge detail, Single Ovolo is great for more traditional kitchen designs where softer, more subtle edges are required.

Creating a Home Office

Office Created with elements from the Egger Zoom Collection

Creating a home office is becoming much more popular in the UK as we are seeing more people working from their homes either full time or after the normal working day, so it goes without saying that demand for something a little more than a desk placed in the middle of a spare room is increasing, so we thought we'd go through a few helpful ideas to find the right spec for your next customer.

The home office comes in many shapes and sizes and can be found in the most surprising of places, from under-stairs cupboards, to hidden walk-in offices situated off a bedroom, practically anything is possible, and design ideas and styles can be injected into the finished furniture quickly and easily to meet the most demanding of consumer requirements. We find that with the right design, a space that seems totally un-suitable can be tailored to perfectly meet the consumer's requirements, and often exceed their expectations too.

The first step is to understand how the space is to be used. Is the office playing a practical role in simply being a small space for catching up on emails, or is it serving a greater purpose, possibly a place to meet clients out of hours. The way the work zones will be used is key too - we've found that by analysing the files, folders, in-trays and computing habits of the end user pays dividends in the long-run as it means the space can be totally tailored to them and the way they work, so if they're constantly getting up to grab files from a cupboard across the room, bring that closer to them in the new design so they don't waste time going back and forth.

The use of unique boards and decors is a great way to really make an impression with the home office too, just because it's a functional space doesn't mean it needs to look that way. The use of wood grained boards with texture and different finishes can set a unique ambiance in the office, and one that can compliment that person's personality and their home.

Try to also integrate clever storage ideas where possible. We've seen a few of our customers do innovative things with their designs, such as integrating a full computer screen into an electrically lifted mechanism, which hides it within the desk when not in use, but reveals it at the touch of a button. Whilst this option is quite elaborate, there are other simpler things that can make a huge difference, such as installing the right type of drawers, hinges that open out wider to provide better access in tighter spaces, or using wirework solutions for stationery, computer towers and larger, heavier files.

The other thing to remember is that people need to enjoy being in the space they're working in, so consider other elements such as Audio / Visual. Integrated TV's and sound systems are becoming a top seller to the higher end of the home office market, along with different lighting schemes to suit different moods and times of the day or year.

The possibilities for the home office design are endless, from the board and fixings that make up the general theme, to the finer details such as lighting, technology and handles which embellish the design; anyone can achieve the exact home office look and feel they want, and quite often within the budget they've got available.

Designing The Right Worktop Theme

Designing The Right Worktop Theme

Worktops are a paramount part of any kitchen design and layout. They not only offer a practical function for the end user, but have significant aesthetic value that can often complete the overall kitchen design perfectly. When chosen poorly however, the wrong worktop in the wrong setting can often detract dramatically from the desired outcome or effect, so it's key to ensure the selection of the right worktop for the job.

With curved cabinetry becoming much more popular in recent years, worktops are becoming much more curved too, and with this new trend we are seeing the wider use of more interesting edge profiles such as shark nose profiles, waterfall profiles and everything in between.

Solid stone and many composite worktops are offered in a wide range of these profiles and can add value to the design when carried out properly, as well as adding a feeling of luxury and quality.

The use of the right profile with the right worktop choice adds an extra element that shows the process has been thoroughly thought through by the designer, and well executed by the installer.

But using the right profile for the right design and material is key.

The use of the well loved and more traditional ogee profile is commonly used with premium marble in traditional country style kitchens, a perfect combination most would agree, whereas the sleek sharks nose profile often lends itself better to more contemporary, curved kitchen designs.

The use of break-fronted furniture, integrated seamlessly with a solid stone, wooden or composite worktop adds a real feature to the kitchen space and allows for that portion of the kitchen to be a feature in its own right.

Combining worktop materials is also becoming a very popular choice for many consumers, which often sees more durable, easily maintainable materials such as granite, laminate or composites within the main work areas, and then more tactile materials such as oak or timber worktops in the breakfast bar, centre island or counter areas.

This combination of materials helps to create not only clearly defined zones within the kitchen space, but also design features that are pleasing to the eye too, adding value to the finished kitchen design.

If you're unsure of which combinations work best and what's possible, why not pop into one of our trade counters to see what's available and get some impartial advice on what might work well for your next project.

Forget Natural, Use Laminates!

Synergii Lunar Night

There's no doubt that people love natural stones such as granite or marble, but not everyone has an infinite budget and quite often a more cost effective solution is more suitable as it allows your customers to change the look of their kitchen more often without wasting very expensive items every time.

Wooden worktops are another popular item at the moment as consumers lean more towards the cosy, warmer tones in cabinetry, but again, these can often be expensive and not the easiest to maintain if you have a busy lifestyle.

So what's the answer?..... Laminate

Laminate worktops have come a long way in recent years, and can now offer a stunning range of styles, finishes and even textures to suit individual needs. Laminates are available in granite effect, wood effect and many other natural materials, and these days look much more realistic than you might think.

Texture is becoming big for laminate too and adds a sense of luxury and uniqueness.

Textured laminate worktops are very practical, easy to clean and wipe down, and don't cost the earth to buy. They're also much easier to fit and quicker to maintain, which is perfect for people with busy lifestyles or a family.

Another great thing about laminated worktops is that there are options to suit almost any budget. Our Fusion Laminate worktops for example are a superb and durable kitchen worktop product that caters to the standard price ranges expected for laminate worktops. These come in two thicknesses (28mm and 38mm) and are available in a wide variety of sizes, styles and finishes.

For those looking for something a little bit more premium, but still at a reasonable price, the Fusion Synergii range is a great option. With 38mm thick worktops being the norm, and a wide variety of finishes from black pearl, granite effect, marble effect, riverstone, wood block effects and 'Fizzy Beton' which provides a little sparkle, consumers are sure to find the right product for their requirements, and one that really looks and feels the part too!

The beauty of laminated worktops is that they are also perfect for heavy use areas, such as breakfast bars and centre islands, and can take the strain that everyday living often puts on kitchen worktops.

If you're in need of a little worktop inspiration, why not view our worktops online or visit our trade counter to see sample packs, which are also available to buy for demonstration purposes.

Getting a handle of the situation

Handle Board Collection One

It's quite often those little finishing touches to a kitchen that move it from being good to great, and kitchen door handles are no exception when it comes to finishing touches.

Whilst many consumers often leave choosing their handles to much later down the line, the truth is that the early, and correct selection of handles is paramount to the style your customer is wanting to achieve, and should be considered at length before making any final decisions.

There are many handles on the market, some that are better suited to certain styles and decors.

The use of long, wide bar and rod handles are a popular choice for modern kitchen designs and contemporary finishes, whereas more traditional kitchen designs may look to use a traditional door knob or something with a hammered finish to give it an aged, rustic appearance.

Bar and rod designs are perfectly suited to the ultra chic modern designs we see on the market today, and also offer a practical benefit too. Their design helps to spread the load of the door and make opening and closing much easier when compared to opening with a smaller door knob, this helps with the modern designs which we are now seeing using wider doors and drawers to what had traditionally been carried out.

If you're aiming to produce a traditional design however, you won't need to forsake practicality for aesthetics as there are many bar style handles available in superb hammered and weathered finishes that not only give a rustic and traditional feel, but the functionality that consumers now expect from a newly installed kitchen.

And what if you can't find a handle design to suit? There is another option that consumers are opting for more and more - no handles at all!

There is a variety of handle-less doors on the market at present that offer concealed handles known as 'J Pull', which integrate a recess into the board of the door which then acts as a concealed handle. For those wanting an even more minimalist look, there is also door hardware that allows kitchen doors to open simply by pressing the face of the door, which then automatically opens the door for you - no handles required.

If you're struggling for ideas to suit your next kitchen projects handle requirements, why not visit our handles range online.

Optimising Small Bedroom Design And Storage

Optimising Small Bedroom Design And Storage

The beauty of working with such a wide array of customers is that we see a stunning range of bedroom furniture designs and solutions that meet very individual consumer needs, whether that project requires walk-in wardrobes, sliding wardrobe doors or clever space saving ideas, there's always something new to look at or another way of doing things.

We recently saw a client project that managed to make the absolute most of a tight bedroom space to increase overall storage and generally make it a more pleasant environment to be in. The finished product was a testament to what could be achieved with a really good design and a little forward planning.

We thought we'd share some tips with you below:

The sky's the limit - or should we say the ceiling anyway! One of the key things we've found is that vertical space is quite often forgotten about or ignored, meaning that bedroom furniture designs are based more on floor area rather than overall room capacity.

If you're working on a design for a particularly tight bedroom space, it makes good sense to use the height of the room wherever possible. A great way of doing this is to actually elevate the bed, and create a practical storage space underneath it. Whilst some adults might not like this elevated position, kids tend to love it (providing the necessary safety precautions are taken into consideration), so it's a great idea to make kids rooms more fun too.

The space gained underneath the bed can then be used to provide additional cupboard or drawer space, and even a little office area for the kids' computer or television, or just a quiet space for doing homework.

Even in a bedroom where the height can't be used to this same extent, there are many possibilities to squeeze a little extra storage out of a space without making the room look too dark and cramped.

By specifying a fitted bed, rather than a freestanding option, the overall size and shape can be made to suit the size of the room, its layout, and to match the décor of other fitted furniture within the room. Storage compartments, such as drawers or cupboards can then be fitted underneath which helps to hide away items in a more accessible manner whilst optimising your storage, we've even seen integrated side tables that come out from under the bed, meaning they can be tucked away when not needed to allow for more floor space at other times of the day.

Glide into action: As houses have become smaller over time as the price of land increases, so too have the headaches for bedroom designers trying to make the space function well whilst feeling large and airy without compromising on space and storage.

One of the keys to making this work in a small space is the use of sliding doors, such as the Glide range of bedroom sliding doors from HPP. Compared to a tradition front opening door, sliding bedroom doors help to maximise the available floor space, meaning that where normal doors may otherwise interfere with other furniture items in the bedroom, sliding doors do not, providing a better experience for the consumer, and a better, more spacious overall look and feel.

These doors can be specified in a wide variety of decors and finishes, from vinyl wrapped board to mirrors and polished glass, meaning that any design and taste can almost certainly be catered for.

Using those nooks and crannies: Whilst newer homes are smaller, rooms do tend to be easier to work with than older houses as they are much more square and flat. Older houses quite often have odd shapes or small awkward spaces that make storage or just general use of the space difficult, but again, following some of our customers' latest project tips and advice, we can see just how well these spaces can be used.

Through building fitted furniture and using specialist fittings, awkward spaces such as roof pitches, alcoves and angled walls can be integrated with in a way that maximises the space, and often tidies up the look of the space in question. For awkward areas that are hard to reach, electrically operated openers can be used, with extendable arms that pull cupboard contents out past the actual cabinet to make items easy to view, access or store.

With the use of the right products, a bit of ingenuity and great design, almost anything can be accomplished with fitted bedroom furniture to ensure rooms still feel spacious, whilst offering storage that otherwise wouldn't be achievable through the use of free-standing furniture.

Choosing a Laminate Worktop

Synergii Lunar Night Worktop

The laminate worktop is quite often the super-hero of everyday kitchen design. Whilst it might not have the same prestige as granite or composites, laminate serves a very specific purpose within the KBB industry, and one that installers, specifiers, and consumers can rely on time and time again.

The laminate worktop offers not only a cost effective worktop solution, but one that is easy to work with and cut, with a wider variety of finishes, and the ability to stand the test of time, being able to resist scratches, bumps, scuffs, spillages and moisture, all with an absolute minimum of maintenance or hassle.

So what is there to consider when next choosing a laminate worktop for your next project?

Here's a quick guide.

Usage: The laminate worktop is great for a wide variety of uses. It is safe for food preparation and easy to keep clean, so works well for food-prep areas, general kitchen areas and breakfast bars and centre islands.

As laminate worktops can be manufactuered in a variety of sizes and can easily be routed, shaped, curved and joined, almost any shape, size and formation can be created to meet the needs of the kitchen design.

Looks: Whilst some consumers don't like the idea of laminate worktops in their kitchens, the technology used to manufacture them has come a long way in recent years, offering many benefits over other materials whilst providing similar visual and tactile qualities to items such as real wood or composite materials.

Laminate offers without doubt the widest range of colours, finishes, sizes and textures, meaning any look can be achieved, with textures and finishes available that give a more life-like feeling when interacting with the worktop. Certain worktops can also be made to specific colours or designs, meaning that total customisation can be achieved with little hassle and relatively minimal expense.

Maintenance: One of the key consumer concerns most of our customers get asked about on a regular basis is maintenance. With laminate worktops, maintenance is absolutely minimal, meaning that after a quick wipe over with a cloth and some antibacterial spray, surfaces are as good as new and ready for use once more.

Compared to other materials such as natural stone or wooden worktops, these pose a very practical solution for families, busy professionals and those consumers who'd rather spend their weekends enjoying themselves rather than maintaining their worktops.

Durability: On the whole, laminate worktops offer probably the best all-round durability of many of the worktops on the market today. The worktops are created using high pressure, meaning that materials are dense and highly durable. They are virtually totally stain resistant, and also resist moisture and chemicals very well, as well as being able to resist the occasional hot pan here and there, although heat and steam do tend to be the worktops main weakness.

As the materials are quite dense and also wrapped in a laminate, they resist items such as heavy pans, pots and kitchen utensils being dropped on them, making them perfect for any busy kitchen.

Price: In comparison to natural stone, composite or wooden worktops, laminate worktops provide a very cost effective solution for kitchen designers and installers. As a very rough guide, laminate worktops can often cost just 10% to that of a granite or glass worktop, whilst often providing a better all-round solution that is easier to fit and cheaper to replace over time as tastes and trends change.

Hotel Luxury For Your Customers' Homes

Crema Gloss and Grey Brown Avola Pine

Creating the perfect bedroom design can be tricky as consumers' tastes vary wildly along with their room sizes, shapes, and overall budget, all of which can often dictate the finished design, materials and specification of the bedroom.

After recently speaking to a customer who had been asked to create a hotel style bedroom, we thought it was a topic worth covering to provide some ideas and tips on how best to achieve the utmost in luxury hotel experience at home.

The first port of call is without doubt materials.

The most luxurious of hotels use different materials, textures and design schemes to create a true feeling of luxury, quality and interest.

By selecting a range of complimentary, high quality and tactile materials, a theme, mood and atmosphere can be set. The colours chosen can also affect the end finish too, so make sure to use deep, luxurious colours that opitimise luxury and opulence.

With your colour scheme and textures in place, lighting and technology is an absolute must. The use of mood lighting for a relaxing evening, as well as bright, vibrant lighting for those dark winter mornings help the room provide not only luxury when needed, but a more practical side for everyday living too.

Entertainment (AV) is becoming the norm in luxury hotels at present, so integrating this into the bedroom design is a great idea and offers a great way for consumers to relax and unwind in their new luxurious sanctuary. Consider an integrated sound system that tucks away neatly within the furniture build, and maybe a concealed TV screen or projector for watching TV or films.

Zone planning plays a key part in the process too, so make sure zones are clearly defined and obvious; from a space for sitting and reading, to eating Sunday breakfast and everything in between, making sure there are zones to satisfy your customers needs can make all the difference.

To add a real touch of luxury, consider adding items such as walk-in wardrobes, a four-poster bed and even consider including a bath-tub or sofa in the room (if space allows) to give it that real air of quality and indulgence.

The finishing touches to a room (although often outside many of our customers remit) can also build on and enhance the finished effect, so consider offering advice to customers on their supporting light fittings, decoration and soft furnishings, as these will complete the look and ensure the hard work carried out in perfecting the furniture and general bedroom design doesn't go un-noticed due to none-complimentary items elsewhere in the room.

Creating The Perfect L-Shaped Kitchen

High Gloss White L-Shaped Kitchen

Creating the perfect L-shaped kitchen takes careful planning, an understanding of how best to use the space provided and a good eye for design, ensuring the space looks inviting as well as working well on a functional level too.

The L-shaped kitchen has become more popular since the introduction of open plan living which usually sees a centre island integrated into the design, or sometimes a separate dining table instead.

The art of designing a good L-shaped kitchen is to ensure that the design works well with the golden triangle, whilst also making the space easy for multiple people to work in and around each other.

The beauty of an L-shaped kitchen design is that it is suitable for any kitchen style, size and design, whether that is large traditional shaker or a small compact contemporary, making it a great starting point for many kitchen designers.

A key component of making sure an L-shaped kitchen works well is to ensure it is clutter free. The reason for this is that the shape of the design is very open and visible from numerous aspects, meaning there are no small corners to tuck those bits and pieces away. Ensuring adequate and suitable storage is fitted is key in keeping clutter to a minimum, as well as including integrating appliances where possible to provide a more sleek, streamlined look and feel.

Planning on how your customer intends to use the kitchen also makes a big difference to the design too, so if they're a sociable cook, consider integrating a centre island with a built in oven or sink so they can face their friends and family whilst preparing the meal.

L-shaped kitchen designs also benefit from their openness that allows a natural flow from other rooms in the house, complimenting the open plan living style of many UK householders. By considering the other zones in the room, workflows can be better designed, decors and finishes selected that better match the rest of the home, as well as lighting schemes integrated to offer both task and mood lighting for a range of purposes and occasions.

As L-shaped kitchens are fairly open, try not to over-do the wall cabinets in the space. Maybe break up runs of cabinets with shelving, a central range cooker with surround, or just a break in the line of cabinets to make the space more interesting to the eye.

Whatever your next customer requirement, it's likely that an L-shaped kitchen could be suitable, and may very well be desirable. Considering the above can help to ensure the kitchen design works well and looks great, serving many purposes through one customised and well thought out design.

For more ideas about L-shaped kitchens and how best to design and install them, speak to our experts at HPP who can talk you through the latest products and space saving ideas to make your next L-shape kitchen both efficient and outstanding.

Creating Kitchens For a Growing and Ageing Family

Open Plan Kitchens

The recent issues surrounding house prices, mortgages and the general state of our economy has undoubtedly had an effect on how we live our lives.

It is now very common for parents to still have their children living at home up to, and past the age of thirty. One of the main reasons for this is the sheer cost of housing, and the difficulty for first time buyers in acquiring a mortgage.

As this change in our world has taken place, so too has a change in the way our homes are being customised and modified, which has had an impact on the kitchen and surrounding living spaces to accommodate this change in lifestyle.

Additional to the above, we are also seeing the opposite take place too, with parents moving into their children's homes in later life to help ensure their safety and wellbeing in their later years, whilst reducing their cost of living.

All these factors are having an impact on kitchen design, and we are now seeing a variety of design solutions becoming more mainstream to satisfy these changing and growing demands.

First and foremost, we are seeing open plan living within the kitchen and dining areas being more critical to this than ever before. By creating an open plan area, families gain more space from the room and are able to fit more in than if they had sectioned the space off with walls, this also brings a better and more natural flow throughout the home, making it seem larger and more spacious than it actually is.

This additional space allows for a larger dining area, often encompassing a breakfast bar too, and lower level seating, easier to use appliances and clearly defined zones for different tasks, such as mini office stations for working from home or kids homework, and entertainment zones for watching TV, listening to music or reading a decent book.

We're seeing a variety of much more obvious, and practical solutions too.

Items such as more accessible and space efficient storage is becoming common, with lift systems and corner units that make accessing the contents of cupboards and drawers much quicker, easier and safer for those who are less able, whilst also maximising the use of the space.

Electronic lift systems that also attached to doors and drawers aid those users who may either be disabled or frail, as the units move the contents of the cupboard to a more accessible location, preventing the need to stretch or bend.

Whilst not all families are in this situation, there is a significant portion of the UK market now finding themselves either already making the transition or considering it, meaning that creating a kitchen that can cater to multiple generations of a family is likely to grow in importance over the coming years, bringing new challenges for kitchen designers and installers.

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