5 Stylish & Handy Worktop Inserts

Having Granite or quartz worktops enables some nifty options that are both discreet and practical to make living & working in the kitchen that bit easier:

Worktop Wireless Phone Charger Insert

countertop phone charger insert

 

 

Integratde into the work surface for a flush fit, discreet and convenient wireless charging solution.

Simply sit any Qi enabled mobile device on top of the charger. If your device does not have Qi built in an additional interface is required.

 

 Worktop Pop up Socket

worktop pop up socket

This great pop up socket inserts discreetly into the worktop with matching cover. At the press of a small sensor inconspicuously situated under the worktop overhang the motorised socket raises for use. It then inserts back in place when not in use

 

Worktop Extraction

countertop integrated extractor

 

 

Air Uno has launched innovative countertop extraction hoods integrated with induction hobs

Integrating the hob and extractor into one fluid and subtle worktop design, both models draw vapours and odours downwards.

 

Integrated Food Prep Disposal

countertop integrated food disposal

No more running around the kitchen during the busy food prepping tasks at home. This worktop waste bin would be ideal for anyone looking for a solution to household waste, without having to display an obvious bin in the kitchen

 

 

  Worktop Integrated Television

countertop integrated tv

Boiling Water Tap or Kettle, Which Should I Choose?

My husband and I have differing views when making home improvement plans & decisions. Our most recent discussion was whether or not to have a boiling water tap when we finally get round to having a new kitchen. For me there was several reasons why I believed  a boiling water tap would be right for us but to placate my husband I agreed to look into things in a little more depth

I’m sure I’m not the only person that pops the kettle on then goes off to do something else, gets completely side tracked so have to boil it again! Another bad habit I have is filling the kettle to the max line every time I use it. I’m usually on auto pilot in the kitchen so I don’t focus on what I’m boiling the kettle for or how much water I actually need! This drives my husband mad, as he is tight oops I mean a little frugal!

When friends and family pop round, it’s not until I notice them becoming a bit twitchy or in the case of the more straight talking friends blurting out “Am I going to get that drink from you or not?” that I realise I put the kettle on half an hour ago and haven’t stopped talking since, completely forgetting about making their drink! Such a bad hostess ☹

So for me having a boiling kettle is of definite interest and although I’m rather impulsive, in the interest of remaining married to my stingy (oops, there I go again!) careful husband I have made it my business to do some tedious useful research.

 

Kettle v Boiling Water Tap Initial Outlay

The initial outlay of a boiling water tap will cost you more than a top of the range kettle.

 Kettles  £25 – £200                                                                                      Boiling Taps £310 – £2000.00

 

Kettle v Boiling Water Tap Running Costs

If you fill the kettle with every use and boil it several times a day, you will be approx. 1.5p a day better off if you only boil the amount of a couple of cups, you will be a approximately a whopping .02p better off. If you’d like to work out comparisons yourself the average cost from a boiling tap is 1p per litre against a kettle at 1.66p per litre. However, there is also the cost of water and if you’re on a water metre and fill the kettle every use you could save another £100 per year on water rates

 

Kettle tap or not

Kettle v Boiling Water Tap Summary

I have chosen to have a boiling kettle tap in our showroom and the information gathered was helpful when looking from a business point of view. I chose a separate tap that is labelled clearly to avoid any confusion if used by visitors however the option of 3 in 1 is worth considering if space is an issue

Kettle tap
Showroom Boiling Water Tap

I will definitely have one at home when my husband can be bothered finds the time to make a start on our new kitchen and I must confess I made the choice for home before even looking at the financial implications. However, after boring pouring over the above comparison, my husband agreed that other than the initial outlay it certainly wouldn’t cost us any more than a using a kettle.  So marriage still in tact!

In the showroom we have a reasonably priced insinkerator and for me it’s been a godsend so when looking for one at home I am more than happy to have another insinkerator but I have to confess I’ve been rather drawn to this beautiful tap. The Zip Hydro tap not only dispenses boiling water and filtered cold but also sparkling. Yes you read that right sparkling water straight from the tap! This comes in at a whopping £3,399 Oooh now let me think ……..  sparkling water or husband, not an easy call but on this occasion the husband comes out on top. However if the tap were to dispense Prosecco, then taht would be another story!

5 types of water tap

Zip Hydrotap

Feeling Drained about Worktop Drainage?

With our kitchens holding visual importance alongside practicality, the Stoneworkz team are always looking out for nifty solutions to help customers when faced with compromising decisions and dilemma’s. One thing that often pops up is “I don’t want want an ugly draining rack spoiling my lovely worktops”. With this in mind we’ve put together some guidance and ideas that we hope will be of use.

With most of us using dishwashers for the majority of the time, it’s always a good idea to consider what you’ll actually be using your sink for. This will help you choose the right sink and draining area for the job! If you use your sink mainly for washing the dreaded pans and oven trays then it’s important your sink will accommodate these bigger items.

If you are short of space and want to see as much of your lovely worktops as possible, then sacrificing a specific draining area is always a possibility. Also if you prefer the sleeker look of a sink without drainers, all is not lost.

Here are 5 nifty products that can be used alongside or instead of draining grooves:

Roll Out Draining Mat

 

These are great for using over part of your sink or at the side on the worktop. They can be rolled up and put away when not in use and also be used to protect your worktops from hot pans.

Available to purchase from Amazon at a snatch of £16.93

 

 

Self Draining Tray

self draining tray

An effective solution for no draining grooves and could be slipped into the cupboard when not in use. It has enough space for up to 4 place settings and comes in 2 colour options

Available to purchase at Joseph Joseph and at the moment an absolute bargain at £24.00

 

Rapid Dry Dish Mat

lakeland dish mat

 

 

This super absorbent dry mat is double-sided and holds up to four times its weight in water. Machine washable polyester.

Available to buy from Lakeland and a snip at just £10.99

 

 

 

Pebble Mat

pebble mat

 

This funky little mat is ideal for a small area it will protect your worktop and can also be used inside your sink to protect glasses and delicate cups from bashing the base of sink

Can be purchase from Amazon  for as little as £5.99

Multi Purpose Silicon Mat

silicon mat

 

This great little mat can be used for draining small items as well as a table mat for hot pans. Designed to maximise air circulation for fastest drying. Can be rolled up and stored away and dishwasher safe. What’s not to like?

Can be purchased from Amazon for a tiny sum of £10.99

Planning A New Kitchen

Having a new kitchen is like having children, pets or getting married, just because you’ve done it once doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the next time! Things are changing all the time and so are you! Now more than ever, the changes seem to be at such a fast rate. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the choices, decisions & planning take a deep breath, grab a coffee and a cupcake and take half an hour to clear your head then start to break everything down into bite size chunks.

For both the first time planners & those that have gone before I hope that you’ll find the following planning formula useful.

Make a list of concerns or needs that are really important for your new kitchen,  Remember that your kitchen needs to be both practical and stylish, keep this at the forefront of your mind throughout your project. Ask yourself the questions below to help formulate your lists then sort into negotiable, non negotiable and wish lists. This breakdown will be invaluable when making choices that affect your budget.

Keep referring back to your lists & answered questions whenever you get that feeling of bewilderment and they will help you make informed and confident choices.

Just one more thing – When works eventually start, you need to prepare for time without a kitchen. Plan in advance fun mealtimes that can be done with nothing more than a microwave & kettle. Use this as an opportunity for eating out more than usual, if your budget doesn’t allow for restaurants & take away’s then make arrangements with your family & friends. You probably don’t see them all as much as you’d like. So be cheeky and arrange to visit them at meal times! Calling on them for dinner will surely be paid back once you’ve got your new kitchen to show off.

Kitchen Planning Questions

What works really well for you in you existing kitchen and what drives you mad?

How do you use your kitchen? What do you do now that you want to continue or do more of?

Do you envisage different uses with your new kitchen? What would help to achieve this?

Is your kitchen the hub of family life? Would a command centre help with organising the family with paperwork filings system easy to see to do lists & a quick view calendar?

What do you have in your kitchen now that you never or very rarely use? Take this opportunity to de clutter.

What do you have in your kitchen now that you use all the time? Could this be improved or does it work just right as it is? Any keepers need to go on your non negotiable list.

How have things changed since you planned /adopted your current kitchen? What may change for you in the next 10 – 15 years?

Consider where in your kitchen you spend most time and your preferred view? Do you spend most of your time at the sink or over the hob or prepping food?  Would you prefer to be looking out of the window here or talking to family & friends or maybe watching TV?

Kitchen Units & Design Style

Dekton Island & Drawer Panels

What do you want to stand out as a key feature? (Walls/Units/Worktops)

Do you prefer contemporary, traditional or urban?

Are you looking for timeless or fashionable? How long (if ever) do you think it will be before you change your kitchen again?

Is easy cleaning important? Gloss will show up finger prints much more than matt

Colour Palette

Do you need a colour that will be forgiving of hand prints, pet splashes or cooking ingredients?

How much natural light is there in your kitchen?

Are you aiming for a feeling of spaciousness or cosiness?

Flooring & Walls

What is traffic through your kitchen like? (Pets/kids/visitors)

Are you a messy or a tidy cook?

Do you like to change aspects of rooms often or is low maintenance more important?

Worktops

Do you want your worktops to make a statement or do you prefer subtle?

Who uses your kitchen and are they messy or careless? Will your worktops need to withstand heavy use?

Is worktops space more or less important than storage?

Do you have space for a dining table in the kitchen? If not an island or peninsula will allow for a  seating areas whilst doubling up for extra worktop space

Appliances

Space – Do you have a big area to work with or are you confined to making the most out of a small space? Ranges and full height fridge freezers can easily be accommodated in large rooms. For smaller kitchens a built in oven and hob & under counter fridge and freezer may work better

Is technology important? automatic programmes take the guesswork out of cooking but if you’re not technology savvy they could be a nightmare for you

Time Constraints –  If you have a busy life self cleaning ovens may be invaluable but and if you have more time on your hands you may feel your money would be better spent elsewhere as these come at a price.

Do you have a utility room? If so you may have the luxury of selecting a separate washer and dryer, if not maybe you need one unit that does both. If your washing machine is in the kitchen noise levels of the machine may be important.

How much do you use your sink?  If you have a dishwasher do you mainly use sink for pans & trays which may benefit from a single large sink and/or will you get more use from a double or bowl & half for prepping food? The size of the sink will affect cabinet size so if the sink is important think of your requirements on this before you plan your cabinets If you prefer sinks that sit under the surface rather than on top you will need to have solid worktops such as granite or quartz.

Family Example

Negotiable
  • Designated area for a command centre
  • Tiled floor
  • Double sink
  • Tiled Walls
Non Negotiable
  • Large Fridge/Freezer
  • Access to garden
  • Easy clean surfaces
  • Dishwasher
  • Island/Peninsula with seating
  • Integrated recycling compartment bins
  • Separate washer & dryer
  • oven & hob out of reach from young children
Wish List
  • Walk in pantry
  • Self cleaning oven
  • Granite or Quartz worktops
Concerns
  • Work surfaces – Need to be forgiving of spillages and heavy use
  • Lots of traffic – Kids and pets in and out all the time need area to be child friendly and as safe as possible
  • Budget – Have to keep within budget but want to get the best as possible for money as needs to last as long as possible

Couple Example

Negotiable
  • Dishwasher
  • Worktops choose between granite and quartz
  • Integrated fridge / freezer
  • Free standing range
  • Tiled floor
Non Negotiable
  • TV
  • Solid worktops
  • Large sink (big enough for oven trays)
  • Island with seating
  • Full height pantry
Wish List
  • Kettle tap
  • Integrated wine/ drinks fridge
  • Integrated coffee machine
Concerns
  • Don’t want a cluttered look so need enough cupboard storage
  • Often entertain and will need the kitchen to work well as a social area
  • Need to consider any additions to the family in the future and will the kitchen adapt to possible changes

 

 

Quartz, Slate & Granite Care

 5 Helpful Hacks for Slate, Quartz & Granite Care

Granite Care

When you’ve pushed the boat out to get those lovely new granite or quartz worktops you’ve longed for it’s really important that you are able to keep them in pristine condition for many years. If you’ve not had solid worktops before you may be wary of how to care for your granite or quartz, worry no more. The following handy quartz & granite care tips will hopefully be of use

Felt Tip Stains on Worktops

For any stubborn marks on slate,granite and quartz, gel hand sanitiser works great. Just put a small amount on the problem area, leave for 5-10 minutes then clean off using a bit of elbow grease. If it doesn’t work first time just repeat a couple of times and it should come off. Works particularly well on pens and felt tips.

 slate quartz and granite care

Grease Marks on Worktops

Slightly abrasive bathroom cleaner such as ‘Cif‘ is a great product to remove stubborn marks from quartz worktops. It is the best product to remove build up of grease that can often occur in the kitchen

quartz cleaner

Slate

For any slate hearths or worktops that look tired and worn down, a coat of oil, will bring it up and refresh the face making scratches and marks less noticeable. If you don’t have any slate oil but have a bottle of the super multi functional WD40 that will do just as well

Oil On Slate

Polished Granite Worktops

To keep your polished granite in pristine condition, nothing more than hot soapy water and a quality furniture polish. As with any other surface, any spills should be wiped up immediately. If any substance has marked the stone, keep dousing the area with hot soapy water and over time the stain should disperse. Once a week, spray the worktop with furniture polish and rub well with a microfiber cloth. If your granite is holding water it would benefit from an application of a quality sealant. You could do this yourself or get a professional to apply for you. For more details call Stoneworkz on 01745 797 007.

granite care

Worktop Saver

To prevent causing any damage to your granite or quartz have a chopping board made from the same material. Keep it close to your hob and oven and place any hot pans directly onto the chopping board. You can purchase stick on trivets to protect your chopping board. Even better, a trivet on a granite or quartz serving tray is a great way to serve hot food in its cooking dish straight to the dining table.

granite worktop saver

 

Lucky Winner

 

What a great to celebrate the launch of our new website, by announcing the lucky winner of our raffle held at the Network She 10 year party at Llandudno Bay Hotel.

The Lucky winner was Eirlys Hughes Lloyd who will be receiving this beautiful porcelain lazy susan. Congratulations Eirlys. For all those that entered but were not a lucky winner this time please like our facebook page to keep updated with future opportunities to win one of our luxury products

Network She Raffle Winner – Porcelain Lazy Susan