- 24th April 2013
The Hub of the Home
As our desire for sprawling kitchen diners increases, the kitchen is becoming one of the biggest rooms in the house The age of the formal dining room has passed and so we now need a space big enough to accommodate our need to cook, eat, relax, socialise, entertain, work and study.
It's because of this cultural change, that kitchen design and fitting is big business. What you could spend on a new kitchen is probably limitless, but not all of us have a limitless budget. There are ways to get a style you want within a more realistic budget and still have some money left over for shoes!
As you can imagine, a reclamation business is not really the place to come for a highly laquered, highly modern kitchen. We are much more inclined towards the traditional, wooden, country look which can be updated with polished worktops, funky handles and accessories.
At Wells Reclamation we have our freestanding kitchen unit range. Each unit is solid pine, including the internal shelving and drawers - no MDF for us! The range is small but perfectly formed with sink units, island units, butchers blocks, cupboards, wall units, larders and dressers. All the freestanding units come with solid beech worktops as standard. This can be replaced by you with granite, marble or slate to make the finished look more contemporary. The additional brilliance of freestanding units - when you move you can take it with you!
If you want a more 'fitted kitchen' look, we also have our Mix & Match range. This collection of solid pine units enables you to create a fitted kitchen on a budget. Once in situ, the units can be painted any colour to give you the look you want and finished with the worktop of your choice. The beauty of this range is the speed in which you have a finished kitchen. As each unit is already complete, the fitter does not need to start with the carcassing and then the doors etc. When I had mine installed, I had no kitchen at 9am, and by 3pm I had a fully functioning useable space. Brilliant!
Wooden worktops or something else??? As long as you secure wooden worktops properly and then treat and seal them, there is no reason not to have wood. Using the right sealants and oils will ensure a long life for your worktops - using trivets and chopping boards when necessary will protect them from damage and markings. However, if you like the idea of a highly polished reflective surface there are a number of options. Granite, marble, slate, or stainless steel. The natural stone options are beautiful when cut and installed professionally. They are hard wearing, easy to maintain, easy to clean, and you can have an array of colours to add interest to your kitchen. The added appeal of natural stone is the lack of uniformity - no two pieces are the same. If you prefer a more consistent look, stainless steel could be the choice for you. It gives your space the look of a professional kitchen and again is easy to maintain and easy to clean. Another positive of more costly worktops with cheaper kitchen units, is that it enables you to create an expensive look on a limited budget.
Adding a touch of individuality is so easy with the array of knobs and handles available on the market - highly polished simple chrome knobs, traditional brass cup handles, wood, ceramic, glass, wrought iron, novelty shapes etc - the list goes on and on. Whatever you choose, go for the best quality you can afford - imagine the wear and tear on your kitchen over the years and how many times a day you open the cupboards and drawers - the handles have to be sturdy as well as beautiful.
All in all, it's probably easier to spend more on a kitchen - have a problem, throw money at it. But by shopping around and thinking smart, you could save £1000's leaving you with some extra cash to spend on better appliances and lots and lots of shoes.
- 23rd March 2013
Sage the Eurasian Eagle Owl
We've had our share of unusual visitors over the years - Rock stars, TV stars and Movie stars - but Sage the Eurasian Eagle Owl is by far the most interesting. She is absolutely beautiful. At only 18 months old she already has a wingspan of 6 feet - WOW!
- 5th March 2013
Shut the Front Door...
As a nation, we love our houses and we love our gardens (Oh, and we really love our pets). However, the front door always seems to be a little neglected.
We'll spend time and effort on our hallways and the front garden/pathway but then seem to forget that the front door is the household equivalent of the handshake. It is the first impression we give our visitors and it gives an immediate indication of who is inside and the style of the interior.
Curb appeal and a welcoming feel are so important when considering your front door area. If you have a painted front door, it should be in an appropriate period colour and be maintained regularly. If you can imagine the beating the average front door takes from the elements, you can appreciate how well it should be painted and how often. If you have a bare wooden front door, then the best wax or oil protection you can afford is imperative. Wood does not like moisture and should be protected against it.
In terms of your choice of door furniture this should be down to a combination of period style and personal taste. Odds are that the reason you live in your house, whether it's a Georgian town house or a country cottage, is because you like that particular period style. In which case you will, more often than not, like the door furniture from that era. If you are unsure of the period features, it's easy to do a little research online or at the local library (if you can find one) and then choose something within the time period which suits the style of property and your own personal taste.
If you go for brass door furniture, please have everything in brass. Likewise in iron or chrome. Mis-matched door furniture is worse than the wrong type!
Knockers or Bells. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd write). However, it's a decision you have to make. If you go for the knocker option, there are countless designs available from the classic lions head, to a more novelty squirrel. Personally I'd be more inclined to go for a classic design just because it's more in keeping with a period home. However, if you decide on a novelty design, something inoffensive would be best. Having a huge polished brass penis (I kid you not) attached to your front door could give off the wrong impression.
The bell option is another quagmire of choice and style. For period homes though, the choices are limited to a few classics. You could have your own brass bell pull or a more traditional iron one. Both would be attached to an interior mounted bell system for your own Downton Abbey inspired design. The other option would be to have a bell mounted on a bracket by the front door which the visitor rings for attention -not recommended for hangovers!
Latches. I love latches and if I lived in a cottage, my home would be full of them. You cannot beat hand wrought iron door latches for beauty and simplicity in design. The design of a latch is not only indicative of the period of your home but also it's location. The latch however, must be combined with a lock for security
Knobs, locks and handles. It's no use having a beautiful home if you haven't got proper security. A good sturdy lock (personally, I'd go for two) is a must and there are choices available to suit the age of property. A surface mounted Rim Lock is a traditional look and these can be iron, wood, brass or chrome. You can then choose the appropriate knobs and/or handles. There are many period designs available which will just improve with age.
All in all, the humble front door is more than just the barrier between you and the outside. Spending some time and effort to get the right look and style will make a huge welcoming statement to the world about you and your home.
- 5th February 2013
Choosing the right flooring for your home can by an extremely daunting task. There are so many options - natural stone, wood, ceramic, travertine, concrete and even leather (strange but true!).
Before you consider the choices, take time to think about what type of home and family you have. Do you have children, dogs, a clumsy other half? Do you need a low maintenance floor due to a busy lifestyle? Do you want to 'wash n' go' or spend time sweeping, cleaning and polishing? Think about the long term wear and tear. What level can you cope with - if a small scratch or heel mark sends you into an uncontrollable rage, wood is not for you.
So what are the options at Wells Reclamation?
Natural stone - Great range of choice. Slate, sandstone, travertine, terracota, limestone. The finishes range from honed, polished, riven and tumbled depending on the look you like.
Polished and honed is more reflective, can be more contemporary and could be slippery when wet. Whereas riven and tumbled gives a more aged, traditional look and gives a natural grip.
Stone is phenomenally hardwearing but at the same time totally unforgiving. So it's great for a busy household but should be combined with some thick rugs if small children are in residence. You can use slabs of all the same size for a checker board effect or have a combination of sizes for a more random, traditional look.
Wells Reclamation always has a good stock across our entire range of natural stone. Most can be used for internal and external spaces.
Wood - Oak, pine, elm. Solid or engineered. They all have their pros and cons.
Oak is probably the most popular choice due to it's beautiful grain and colour. It's tougher than pine but if you go for solid boards, it must be left in the room unlaid, to acclimatise to the temperature otherwise it will warp. This means you have to plan well in advance. Once laid, it must be sealed properly to avoid movement. Despite the time consuming preparations it looks fantastic. One other small consideration is that this is not an ideal choice for underfloor heating. Huge changes in temperature do not suit solid oak boards.
Engineered Oak - this is the perfect option for those who want the look of oak boards, but do not have the time or inclination to acclimatise solid boards. This option comes with a high quality oak top layer on a commercial level ply base. Once it's down you can't tell the difference except that it won't move or warp, making it ideal for underfloor heating. It also needs to be sealed in the same way as solid boards and it will age in a similar way.
Pine is cheaper but softer than oak. High heels are not kind to pine boards. Again, make sure you seal the boards to avoid staining, movement and warping.
Elm is stunning but can be very volatile. Not that it'll bite your leg off, just that if not acclimatised or sealed and it gets wet or damp, it will look like a mexican wave across your living room. English elm is pretty rare these days but imported elm will give you a fantastic look. Due to it's rarity and spectacular finish, elm is an expensive option. But if you can afford it, it's amazing.
Without a doubt, you will find an extensive and beautiful range of flooring at Wells Reclamation. CALL US TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR REQUIREMENTS 01749 677087
- 9th January 2013
Happy New Year! And would you believe the sun is actually shining...Stranger things have happened.
This unusually clement weather has got me thinking about the Spring and the (minor) possibility of a good summer. Outside party's ahoy!
So how can you make your outdoor space party friendly?
First off, do not be sucked in by this early January sunshine. The likelihood is that the rain will be a prominent feature this year (boo) so be prepared. A sheltered area is essential - whether this is a simple oak framed structure or an elaborate cast iron pagoda. Whichever you choose, think of the roof. Tiles or slate make the structure weather proof and therefore perfect for a British summer. However, even a fast growing climbing plant will give adequate shelter in a light shower. Integral seating or a number of benches beneath the structure make it far more useful.
As someone who finds food cooked in an oven much more appealing than something burnt beyond all recognition on a barbeque, the recent trend for outside ovens is very welcome. These can be simple off the peg devices, or you can go one step further and build your own brick oven with a beautiful cast iron door. We have 3 different sizes available in a classic traditional design. They are great for bread, pizzas and slow cooking. Just lovely.
Most people (i.e. me) find sitting on damp grass rather unpleasant so proper chairs and tables are the way forward. Teak, cast iron, metal, plastic - the choices are endless. Just make sure you treat or paint your garden furniture regularly to avoid rust or rot.
To add an extra level of interest and ambience - don't forget the lighting and the decoration. Tea light lanterns add a really pretty glow on a summers evening. They can also be moved about as necessary. Decorative electric lanterns give a stronger and wider light, but are obviously fixed. So do think about what you want them to achieve before the electrican gets carried away,
For decoration, think about statues, sculptures and water features. They can be contemporary or traditional in style, but always go as big as the space and the budget allows. There is nothing worse than a puny statue dwarfed by an expansive garden - it will look cheap and tasteless.
Paving and pathways. Always go for natural stone rather than concrete if you can. It looks beautiful and is easy to maintain. Go for riven or tumbled to give grip in wet or icy weather. We have a vast range with some of the largest stocks in the country at amazing prices.
It is worth considering that when inside, we spend a vast amount of time looking outside, and so what we see should be pleasant and appealing. A little effort and imagination should help you create the perfect outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing.
- 20th November 2012
All I Want for Christmas is You....
Not long now before the kiddywinks are running about high on sugar and e-numbers, screaming 'He's been! He's been!!!!'.
It's at about this time that we've probably run out of ideas for sensible gifts for our friends and family, so perhaps it's time to start throwing money at the problem. Luckily, we can help with our final (slightly tongue in cheek...) Wells Reclamation Christmas Gift Guide.
The Top Ten 'Blow the Budget' gifts for 2012 are...
1) For the budding chef, one of our best selling Pizza Oven Doors at only £110
2) For that very special lady in your life - Victorian Ladies Cylinder Desk - £795
3) For someone who wants a low maintenance pet - This handsome cast iron stag - £625
4) A beautiful statue of 'Joy' - fantastic in the home or garden - £495
5) A stunning Georgian Chest of Drawers - a real investment piece - £495
6) An enormous painted Georgian kitchen dresser - the perfect addition to a large country kitchen - £1295
7) A striking two metre high mirror - £575
8) A fantastic Edwardian Wernicke style display unit - a perfect piece of furniture to display all those expensive shoes - from £495
9) To guard the house without the hassle of actual dogs, a pair of beautiful stone English pointers with plinths (pictured) - £1750
10) A beautifully upholstered Edwardian sofa - a snip at only £245
Alternatively, for more budget proof suggestions, please refer to our earlier gift guides!
- 6th November 2012
Ding Dong Merrily on High...
Part 3 of our Top 10 Wells Reclamation Gift Guides....
Top 10 Gifts for £100 or under
1) 16" Cast Iron Bread Oven Door - a great addition to the house or garden - £69
2) One of our vintage metal hat boxes - brilliant for storage - £55
3) More for the vintage lover - an original vintage 1960's picnic hamper - £58
4) For the spiritual - a fantastic Buddha head statue - £84
5) Handy elm stools - from only £55
6) A wonderful antique wall mirror - only £95
7) Handpainted Chinese Cabinet - £65
8) One of wonderful Colonial chairs - great for dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms etc - only £75
9) Have a lovely cuppa with this Suzie Cooper sunflowers tea set
10) This Rubenesque small hand carved Curvy Lady (pictured), would make a great paper weight or household ornament - £75 (In store only)
- 23rd October 2012
I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...
Here's the second installment of our Wells Reclamation Christmas Gift Guide....
Top 10 Christmas Gifts for £50 or under
1) One of our signature carved wooden panels - £49
2) A Morrocan inspired lantern for £38 (In Store only)
3) Lovely teak chopping board - one side for veg, one side for meat - £32
4) For the dog lover - Our Hudson dog bowls only £30
5) Fantastic carved stone sheep - £35
6) One of our lovely dragons - from £21
7) For the vintage home stylist - this vintage Lloyd Loom style chair for only £48 (In store only)
8) Beautiful classic solid brass Doctors Door Knocker - £35
9) Create your own Downton Abbey experience with our Traditional Servants Bell Assembly - £50
Last but not least...
10) Start your own herd of these very happy, and very lucky cast iron cows (pictured) - Only £38
- 12th October 2012
The Wicked Witch of the Swans...
There has been a fantastic public art exhibition in Wells this Summer - The Swans of Wells. 60 spectacular swans to celebrate each year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and all of them decorated by local artists, craft-makers and residents.
On the 29th September they were all auctioned off at the Swansong Auction with all proceeds going to local charities. We were fortunate to attend and we were the successful bidders of 'Kay Vaged - The Cheese Witch'.
This incredible creation has finally arrived and is now happily nesting within our fireplace showroom.
We are delighted to have her and hope our visitors will love her as much as we do.
- 1st October 2012
Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin'?
Sorry to bring up Christmas this side of Halloween, but here's the first of our Top 10 Wells Reclamation Christmas Gift Guides to help you with your Christmas shopping...
TOP 10 Wells Reclamation gifts £20 or under.
1 One of our many humourous or practical French style enamel signs - starting from as little as £5
2 Useful baskets for storage - from £9.50
3 A novelty nodding cow or sheep - only £6
4 Encourage more wildlife into the garden with our Bug Box - £18
5 One our unique roof tile chalkboards (pictured) - a monumental bargain at only £3!
6 Somerset Fruit Farms crate - fill it with Christmas food for the ultimate foody gift - £16.50
7 One of our handpainted knife/utensil boxes - £17.50
8 Need a gift for a gardener? One of our wire obelisks for climbing plants - from £15
9 How about one of our creepy little gremlins - Only £19.50
10 Finally, if there's too much choice, we have gift vouchers starting at £10
Hopefully, this will help you get cracking with the festivities and I'll be back next week with the Top 10 gifts of £50 or under.