Floor Tiling Orientation

This is how we’ve decided to lay the floor tiles. The only tiles laid so far are the ones in the bathroom, which are at a slightly higher level than the floor in the rest of the apartment (which is all the same level). In an ideal world the floor there would have been the same level too, and the joint lines would then have needed to mitre perfectly with the ones in the corridor leading to the living room, but the differing height and the fact that we plan to put a bevelled edge between the two floor levels (instead of a step… bearing in mind that we may need to get a wheeled contraption into the bathroom at some point) means that matching the joints is neither easy nor actually critical: the bathroom door will generally be closed and the ramped threshold will tend to disguise any imperfection in the mitreing.

Flat 9 Floor Tile Orientation

There are just three doorways where the orientation of the tiles changes so we can put some brass strip between the adjoining areas. I’d like to fit drop seals to the doors to seal the gap at the bottom, so the floor itself will allow a wheelchair to travel around the apartment virtually unhindered.

Final (or maybe not) kitchen material & colour selection

We returned to the kitchen materials shop today to discover that the materials we liked first time around weren’t laminated MDF after all - just laminated chipboard - so we needed to make another selection.

Lana’s favourite was what she called “Dirty White” (Code 0811) - with one aspect of the purchase being on her mind… how to keep it looking clean. Lana is holding the floor tile we’ll have in the kitchen, to see how it looks.

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The alternative (my favourite, Code 0804, but not so easy to keep looking clean) was the more yellow colour:

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It’s difficult to see the colours properly on the internet, or even take a decent photo of the material in the shop, but they were on display in the same place so this gives an approximate comparison of the two shades of colour:

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The lower one is definitely a more grey colour. Possibly the closest I could imagine the kitchen looking like in the colour which Lana chose is something like this:

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It IS an incredibly difficult thing to decide on - I think the best we can do in a situation like this is to just go for it and, if we don’t like it, put up with it and  put it on our list of improvements to make once we’ve got over the financial hump of getting the place fit to live in.

Choice of material for the kitchen units

Today we went to the big kitchen materials store to try and choose all the boards and mechanisms. While we managed to select the cupboard and drawer mechanisms and the face detail for the doors there was a conflict of opinion on the colour and finish for the kitchen units themselves. There was also quite a wide selection of handles to choose from, but we’ll leave that until we decide on the material.

We did manage to get it down to a shortlist of about three. The type of material we went looking for was laminated MDF and the stock in the store was mainly the EGGER brand which, on checking them out more thoroughly, seems to be the most reliable brand we could see there. Another brand we looked at was CLEAF but this turned out to be laminated particle board (chipboard) so they didn’t make the shortlist.

With all manufactured materials like this there is a safety element to consider, which is the slow release of formaldehyde which is used in the bonding agent. I did find a safety data sheet for the EGGER material which says it meets Emission class E1 of EN120, which means that it just meets it or it greatly betters it - I suspect the former but I think we’ll be safe with it being laminated too.

1) CLEAF S070 SHERWOOD

This was Lana’s favourite but my first impression of this one was that it would look terrible - a really fake wood effect… and the colour just isn’t something I could get used to, ever. We’d decided against getting a real wood kitchen so I don’t see the point in trying to emulate the effect we’ve already decided against.

Having now seen their catalogue I’m somewhat relieved to find that this is not laminated MDF - it’s laminated chipboard so that rules this one out.image

2) EGGER H1394 SAND CREMONA OAK

I suppose this was my alternative choice if we HAD to go for a wood effect - against all logic (see my reasoning above). This is laminated MDF and ,while it looks a rather good and less expensive alternative to real wood I’m not sure it would look so great once we’d had the full kitchen built out of it - it would make good office furniture.

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3) EGGER F425 ST10 BEIGE LINEN

Lana quite liked this one. I thought it looked ok but, perhaps, a bit too cold (a grey beige instead of a warmer shade). Again this is laminated MDF - I think this one makes the shortlist.

4) EGGER F427 ST10 BEIGE LEATHER

This one caught my eye because of the warmer tone and it may go well with the floor and the dark brown quartz countertop we want, but it may actually be a little too dark.

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In conclusion from what we actually saw in stock it seems to be a choice between the EGGER F425 (Beige Linen) and F427 (Beige Leather). If, as I suspect, the Beige Leather is a bit too dark then I am leaning towards the Beige Linen - particularly when you compare this to the full range of similar materials. They do have a Grey Linen there which is distinctly grey, and the Beige Linen does seem to have a hint of beige about it.

If we don’t like it we can re-model the kitchen in a few years!

As far as the style of door we liked these two styles - the rounded top version particularly so:

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Double socket outlet for the kitchen

We’re installing one of these MK Aspect K24343 double socket outlets in the kitchen, instead of a regular socket.

Compare to a normal socket they’re very expensive (approximately £60-£70 so we’ve only bought the one) but it’ll be good to be able to charge up a couple of mobiles/tablets using this instead of tying up sockets with chargers.

Click for more information on the MK websiteMaybe we’ll buy a couple more and fit them in the bedrooms too, later on. They fit in a 35mm deep back box (which we have fitted everywhere) so we could just swap the standard ones out with these whenever we want.

Here are some detailed photos - sorry about the quality of some of the photos of the reverse side.

This is the front of the socket showing what it looks like before and after the included cover plate is fitted. I didn’t press it fully on but you can see how snugly it fits on the right hand side of the photo. Nice to see no screws showing which is not the case with the regular moulded double sockets.

MK K24343 Front MK K24343 front with cover plate installed

As you can see it’s quite well engineered. You can see there are two earth terminals in case you want to make doubly sure that you have a solid connection to ground, though the two earths are linked (as they are in the regular MK K2747 sockets, where there is just a central earth terminal) so you can just connect the earth wire to one of these if you want.

MK K24343 Rear MK K24343 Bottom

The big block in the middle contains the circuitry for the USB charging units. This will output 5VDC at up to 2 Amps on either socket and it will detect how much current the device you plug in needs for optimal charging, so it should work with any device no matter how particular they are about having the correct charger. This isn’t the case with many of the cheaper units I’ve seen on the internet, such as this one where the output is very unstable and iPads in particular turn their noses up at them. It’s also worth noting that the unit being examined in that video also had twin earth terminals BUT there was no interconnection between the earths so unless you were fitting this inside a metal back box AND making a good connection to it with the screw holes then you would have one earthed socket and one which wasn’t earthed at all, so it’s important when you do an earth test to test both sockets and not just one, and be especially careful that both sockets are connected to earth if you have the socket mounted on a plastic surface box.

The rear of the socket is very deep but MK advise that it will fit into one of their 35mm deep back boxes and the angled top-connection Live & Neutral terminals should make it a bit easier to squeeze this in, though in future I’d definitely plan where I would be fitting these and put a deeper back box in. It’s possible, of course, to add a pattress and have the socket sticking out from the wall instead of being flush mounted

MK K24343 Top MK K24343 Profile

This is the leaflet which comes in the box - it was in English on one side and Arabic on the other. Click for a very big (1200 x 800 pixels) version of this.

Instruction leaflet for MK K24343

A new doorway and a new archway

We’ve decided to add a door between the entrance lobby and the hallway. We’d been thinking about having the bathroom door with a right hand reverse swing (pulling out towards the front door) but this won’t really work if we add this new door, so the bathroom door will need to be a normal left hand swing (in towards the bath). We can make a small cupboard or something to the right to the door (as you enter the house). The door will need to be glazed to avoid blocking all of the light from the entrance lobby.

New inner entrance door

The new door will be a single leaf left hand reverse swing. An alternative would be to add double doors at the entrance to the living room, but we can add this later if we wish, and everyone seems to agree on putting one near the front door - this will help block any disturbing noise coming from the stairwell/lift, and also help to spare our neighbours from any noise leaking out from our home.

We’re also going to make the entrance doorway (which will remain just as an opening) into an archway, like this:

New archway for kitchen entrance

To allow better access for the wheelchair it might be better to widen the opening - as a guide the opening into the kitchen in our rented apartment is 1 metre wide x 2.26m high, which is plenty big enough. The ceiling height in the kitchen will be ≈ 226 cm so this would give an archway like this:

Archway into kitchen