Tel: 07490 764877

considerate professional tradeswomen

practical advice & help for your home

Kitchen Extension in South Bristol

Kitchen Extension in South Bristol

This kitchen was an extension project in a terraced Victorian house in South Bristol. A narrow galley-style kitchen was separated from the garden by a very cold utility room. The utility room had previously been a bathroom and had an uninsulated concrete floor. Because of a number of leaks over the years, the joists under the kitchen were very springy and believed to be rotten, and had never been insulated.

There was a large chimney breast between the kitchen and utility room, which blocked the view to the garden.

In addition there was an under-used and quite shady external side area to the side of the kitchen. The clients  wanted to incorporate this area into into the kitchen, to create a large, sunny open-plan room.

The structural building work was carried out by Stepping Stones Building, who took down both the chimney breast, and part of the side wall. They then installed steel beams to support the walls above.

The old external concrete floor was dug out, as was the cold concrete floor under the old utility room. They installed new joists and these were then fully insulated, before a new caberboard floor was installed on top.

A large electric Velux window was installed above the side-return, to maximise the light and two more Velux windows were installed above the dining area, creating a large airy space.

Once structural work and plastering had been completed, Practical Women installed the kitchen. Losing the use of a kitchen for any length of time, can be very difficult to cope with. Where possible we install a temporary sink during the project. In this case, if we needed to move the sink while we were working, we re-installed and plumbed it in each evening.

 The clients chose to have the cabinets installed along one wall, to maximise the space in the kitchen.

The cabinet layout was carefully planned. As the panels and doors were made to order, we were able to adapt some of the cabinets to accommodate the pillars supporting the steel beams. This also allowed the clients to retain a full size washing machine within the kitchen, hidden in a cupboard.


Flooring in Totterdown

Flooring in Totterdown

Flooring Project in Totterdown

The couple who live in this four bedroom terraced house in Totterdown had numerous challenges on their hands with the kitchen floor.

Although the original stripped and varnished floor boards looked characterful, they were full of large gaps, draughty, uneven, and squeaky. The entire floor itself dipped down in the middle, causing any appliances or furniture on the outer edge to lean inwards.

Beneath the kitchen was a bedroom, with just a plasterboard ceiling separating the rooms, so the transfer of contact noise from footfall above, as well as the noise of sounds from appliances carrying through the air, was significant.

There was also a very challenging issue that the kitchen units, which had integrated plinths and side panels, had to remain in place, and were installed directly on to floor joists, with no flooring boards under them at all.

After the pine boards were all removed, the floor joists were all bought up to the same level using plywood strips attached to both sides of the original joist. Tricky uneven areas, such as a hearth, were levelled with self levelling compound.

100mm thick Rockwool sound insulation slab were then fitted between the joists, and 4mm sound proofing tape applied to the top of the joists to provide more acoustic insulation.

18mm thick tongue and groove Caberfloor was then glued together and screwed to the joists.

A click system flooring called Korlock, by Karndean, was cut and fitted on top of the caberfloor boards.

Edge trim was then fitted to cover the expansion gap between the new floor and the skirting. The clients will be painting the edge trim the same colour as the skirting boards.

A kitchen base unit was removed to make way for a slimline dishwasher and the rest of the space replaced with a bespoke open cupboard – made from moisture resistant MDF, which the clients will paint. We also installed the pipe work and electrics for the new dishwasher.

New plinths were cut and installed to accommodate the new floor level and new door bars fitted.

During the project we discovered a 40mm gap under the floor which ran for a metre and was exposed directly to the back garden – which allowed a significant draught into the room. This was filled and insulated.

 Now finished, this kitchen is warmer, quieter and level. Furniture such as free-standing shelves can now be put on the floor without fear of them leaning over and falling into the middle of the room.

Bedroom Insulation

Bedroom Insulation

Bedroom Insulation in Bedminster

This family’s small back bedroom in a Victorian terraced house in Bedminster was a very cold room – having two exterior walls it was so cold during the winter months, it became unusable as a bedroom.

The client wanted the room insulated as it was going to be used as a children’s bedroom but also wanted to avoid losing as much space as possible. The loft space above the ceiling was already insulated.

The method of insulation we decided to use was a multi foil layered insulation called Super Quilt – it’s a little more expensive than some other methods such as rigid sheet insulation, but as there were only two walls to insulate it made sense to go for a product that could give maximum insulation where it was needed most.

It’s very safe and clean to use, lightweight, creates very little mess and is easy to handle.

Battens are fixed to the walls to provide an air gap. The insulation is rolled out, cut and stapled to the battens. Foil jointing tape was used to cover the seams where two pieces met. More battens are then fixed on top, and plasterboard fitted on top of the battens, creating a second air gap.

The plasterboard was filled (no need for skimming which saves on costs) and painted with two bare plaster paint base coats.

The insulation made the room smaller by 70mm and early reports are that it’s now the warmest room in the house in winter and the coolest in hot weather.

SuperQuilt has a “How to Video” if you want to have a go yourself. Otherwise, we are very happy to upgrade your room for you.

Bike Shed in Bedminster

Bike Shed in Bedminster

Bike Shed in Bedminster

This client wanted a bespoke bike shed designed and built for a small garden and asked for it to be made out of as many recycled materials as possible.

It needed to accommodate two bikes, some garden furniture and garden tools.

We based it on a design from a picture the client found on the John Lewis website – so we matched it as closely as possible.

We were able to get a very cheap but huge recycled pallet from Bristol Wood Recycling Project which had very thick timber perfect for the vertical and horizontal parts of the main frame.

The client’s friend had some leftover tongue and groove boards which were ideal for cladding the outside of the shed.

The green roof and guttering were added at a later point, again using second hand materials, and went on to produce a mass of flowers and seedums.

Bespoke Kitchen in  Eastville

Bespoke Kitchen in Eastville

Bespoke Kitchen in Eastville

This birch faced plywood kitchen was designed and made by local bespoke furniture maker Mary Underwood and installed by the team at Practical Women.

Our clients were on a fixed budget so having our team do the plumbing, installation of worktops, cabinets, plinths, doors and shelves, followed by the tiling, meant that we could work simultaneously and avoid the sometimes-expensive delays caused by waiting for other trades to complete their jobs.

The client’s builders had removed a wall so Mary Underwood’s design really made the most of the newly created open plan kitchen dining area.

It turned a narrow galley style kitchen into a larger family kitchen with a horse shoe shaped worktop that created more storage space and almost doubled the worktop area, creating a breakfast bar and lots more cupboard space, accessible from both sides.

The clients wanted a strong colour and so the yellow (which was spray painted to achieve an immaculate finish) complimented the plywood perfectly, with some lovely detail like the pull handles on the doors, the stripey exposed plywood edges and the matching shelves.

To save on budget the clients were happy to complete the tiling after the final plasterwork had dried and do their own decorating.

Useful links:

Kitchen design and build by bespoke furniture maker Mary Underwood