Space-saving ideas from Jali

Space-saving ideas are worth their weight in gold – but with Jali you don’t have to pay a fortune to make them real! Our unique approach to making space work for you means you can have all the storage you dream of, at an affordable price.

Jali bespoke combined radiator cabinet and shelvingOur radiator cabinets include a handy shelf as part of the design, but if you have a wall above your radiator, why not make the most of it? There’s now a quick and easy way to design a combined radiator cabinet and bookcase online – our new Jali radiator/shelving Designer is available free at the link here.

Just measure your radiator – there’s a “Help with measuring” button on the screen – and enter the numbers or drag the arrows until you get the right size. Then press “Next” and the Designer will automatically create a cabinet with the minimum clearances needed for the size of your radiator.

Now press “Next” again and, as if by magic, the Designer will add shelving above your cabinet. We’ve even made it easy to design storage for popular formats such as CDs. And if you want to customise the bookcase section yourself, there are buttons for instantly adding or subtracting shelves and for making them evenly spaced or graduated, as seen below – even more Jali magic!

Jali bespoke radator cabinet and bookcase unitYou can extend the width of your unit, but the Designer will only go up to a maximum of 1200mm. If you’d like something wider than this, call us on 01227 833333.

If you change the measurements of your combined unit after you’ve put in your radiator sizes, it’s a good idea to use the ‘Back’ button to check there is still enough clearance for air flow. Just press the ‘Inside’ button to see a picture of your radiator with the frame of the cabinet around it.

Jali radiator cabinet/bookcase Designer – inside viewThe minimum overall depth of the bookcase section is 200mm, so this means the cabinet cannot be less than 200mm in depth; the Designer will automatically add sufficient clearance. But you’ll also need at least 30mm between the far left and right-hand side of the radiator (including the taps or valves) and the frame. There also has to be at least 70mm between the the top of the radiator and the underside of the frame.

Jali bespoke desk and Flexi shelvingJali’s unique Flexi shelving is another brilliant way to fit storage into almost any space in your home or office. For example, fill a wall with compartments of different sizes.

Then extend the unit above and/or under a window or door, for a bespoke run of shelving that would be impossible to find in any store.

In fact, unless you build it yourself from scratch or bring in a carpenter or joiner at great expense, it’s impossible to get the kind of design and quality that Jali offers you. It’s made-to-measure made easy!

A single unit can be made up to 3 metres in width and height, for truly stunning and seamless furniture that makes the most of every last inch of space. And your unit can be primed, top-coated or finished in beautiful real wood veneers in oak or walnut.

Depending on your needs, we can make you a long, low sideboard, or a tall and handsome wardrobe. Together, we can produce a customised cupboard for a group of guitars or a stash of shoes. Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room – if your stuff is in the way, or crying out for display, we can solve all your space problems, beautifully (and economically)…


Secrets of the dresser: porridge, pots and pooches…

Jali bespoke painted dresser At Jali we specialise in making furniture to your designs; It’s what we do. But we all need a little inspiration here and there when dreaming up our next masterpiece, so for your amusement (and a little education) we have put together some musings on dresser design. So, sharpen your pencils pupils, we’re about to embark on a Brief History of Dressers. Yes, really. Quiet at the back please.

In as far as we are having a history lesson, how far back should we go back? Skara Brae perhaps? Skara Brae is a cluster of eight Neolithic stone dwellings, located on the largest island in the Orkney archipelago of Scotland. It was occupied from roughly 3180 BCE –2500 BCE and is Europe’s most complete example of a Neolithic village. You’ll notice the aesthetic is perhaps a little dated now (but all style is cyclical, so try not to be too hasty in condemning it.) But it is significant in this context due to…? Anybody? Yes, the DRESSER! Two house points.


Stone furnished dwelling at Skara Brae for HY2318 © Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Seven of the houses have similar furniture, with the beds and dresser in the same places in each house. The dresser stands against the wall opposite the door, and was the first thing seen by anyone entering the dwelling. Now, we pride ourselves at Jali on the enduring quality of the beautiful products we manufacture, but we’re practical too; just as the planet is recognising the need to bring an end to non-sustainable, solid hardwood furniture, we very rarely manufacture any of our dressers from Neolithic Stone any more – that time has passed. But the principle remains: the dresser is often one of the most prominent pieces of furniture in the home.

“This is not just the history of furniture, but of society in the round” is a bold assertion, but those of you wanting extra credit in the exams later this month would do well to test its veracity in the Magum Opus “Welsh Furniture 1250-1950: A Cultural History of Craftsmanship and Design” by Richard J Bebb. (Saer Books; First Edition edition (1 Jun. 2007) Early dressers are found in cultures throughout Europe, where they typically take centre stage in the main living area, but in Wales the quality and range produced, as well as the sheer quantity, has led to the epithet ‘Welsh dresser’ being adopted internationally. Part utilitarian furniture, designed for preparing food and storing utensils, part shrine to treasured possessions and precious artefacts, the gradual change of use provides an insight into the increased prosperity of society as a whole.

Plus, it’s always a good place to store porridge. While your kitchen drawer inevitably contains Blu-Tack, a Nokia 5110 and a Prosecco cork of utterly unknowable provenance, we need to address the problem of where to store hot, cooked porridge when we wish to congeal it into something that can be sliced….

“A slab o’ parritch fae the drawer.”

We have yet to add the online facility for porridge drawers in our beautiful Jali made-to-measure dressers, but the Scottish Dresser (lesser known, but very real, cousin of the Welsh) sometimes contained a tin-lined drawer for just this important chore – simply pour and store! Once cool, slice the cold porridge carefully into quivering, tender, grey slices…

While we are working with the maxim “A place for everything and everything in its place”, the Jali designer has many of the facilities you need to create your own Welsh Dog Kennel dresser. Yes, it really is A Thing.

Unfortunately we do not have the legal rights to any images of a traditional welsh dog kennel dresser, but needless to say it would be worth a few moments on Google if you have even a passing interest in seeing a dresser with a dog living in it. And who amongst us doesn’t indulge that urge periodically?

So here’s the next best thing: a dog (borrowed) next to a dresser (ours). Should you have the urge to store both your pet and your pottery alongside one another, then try your hand at designing the dresser of your dreams here:

Jali’s new online dresser and storage unit designer

You may want to select the option marked ‘Gap’ on option 4 in order to create a spot for Spot. Or not, as the case may be.

Once established, the dresser developed in different ways in various parts of the country and distinct local types are readily discernible by the mid-18th century – in the south west, for example, many dressers were built to fit into corners – the true ancestor of the modern fitted kitchen, but that can wait until next term. THE BELL IS A SIGNAL FOR ME, NOT YOU! But nevertheless, you are free to go. Quietly, please.


With a fresh pair of eyes…

This week, I had a message from Jackie, our customer in the Netherlands who loves her new and extraordinary home-town of Heusden (below) and her Jali decorative shutters – I recently wrote about all of them in my blog post here.

april-b30fd78aJackie has returned the compliment in her “Pancakes and Poffertjes” column column in the Eindhoven News.

“Seeing with a fresh pair of eyes” is a lovely piece, full of wisdom and insight into the joys – and challenges – of living in a new place and a different culture.

One of the satisfactions of working for Jali is the contact we have with so many fantastic people like Jackie. It’s a great privilege to help make their ideas reality – Jackie and her partner have been renovating their house and it’s great to have had even a small part in that exciting but exhausting process. We wish them much happiness there; who knows, we may even meet up in person in the not-too-distant future!


A new kind of DIY… for a lasting glow!

DIY is dead, according to a recent Guardian article, but at Jali we disagree – we’ve created a new kind of DIY that’s firmly in the 21st century. In The death of DIY: why can’t I do it myself?, Stuart Heritage, son of a plumber, bemoans his own deplorable lack of ability to do even the most basic tasks around the house, let alone tackle a major project. And he blames his kind of uselessness for killing off DIY, epitomised by the announcement that B&Q is closing one in six of its UK stores.tape-measure and Pozidrive screwdriverBut Jali’s way of doing DIY is different, and doesn’t require access to a giant shed in an industrial park. Instead, all you need to get started is a tape-measure, a pencil and and a computer. (OK, you may need to visit a store to buy a decent tape-measure.) Measure up your space, then design a gorgeous Jali product to fit it. Then, place your order. Wait a bit – generally around two weeks, often less, depending on how busy we are. Couriers will bring your order right to your door – and for most parts of the country it’s a free service.

Jali bespoke radiator cabinet with bookcase aboveNow put your Jali kit of parts together, using our detailed set of instructions, complete with diagrams. (Our radiator cabinets even come with personalised instructions, with your name on, produced at the same time as your cabinet kit.)

All the fixings you’ll need will be in the box – we use a simple cam-and-bolt system, and there may be some dowels and screws as well, but you’ll see them all listed, and the holes for them will be pre-drilled.

Anything else? Well, you’ll need a Pozidrive screwdriver (possibly add that to the list, while you’re buying the tape-measure), though a power drill with a screwdriver bit will help you to put the bolts in more quickly.

And voila! You have just done some stonkingly good, 21st century DIY, with no mess, special tools or emergency dashes to A&E. And not only are your housemates/partner/children still speaking to you, they’re praising you to the heavens for your brilliance. (Obviously we can’t guarantee this but the probability is extremely high.)

Jali bespoke dresserChances are you are also feeling very proud of yourself – after all, you’ve designed something fantastic and put it together, as well as saving a huge amount of money. You’ve created a unique piece for the place you live in, and made your life nicer and more organised into the bargain. We’ve heard from many customers over the years, and they often mention the glow they get from their Jali DIY projects, their feeling of pride and achievement.

And despite young Stuart’s self-confessed lack of DIY skills, I bet he could do it himself the Jali way. And in the numerous below-the-line comments his article generated, I found confirmation that, whatever the state of the nation’s practical skills, the desire for home improvement is certainly not dead.

So I leave you with some tips from the comments under the Guardian article. Firstly, “for the non-DIYer, there are 2 things you should definitely have though: WD40 and a roll of duct tape. The first for things that don’t move when they should, the second for things that move when they shouldn’t.”

Secondly, “Start with flat pack furniture and painting, both just require common sense, basic drilling (pictures, curtains) and get pros in for anything more challenging until these are mastered.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves…


Wardrobes to suit you… perfectly!

Wardrobe malfunction? It’s a thing of the past with Jali’s brilliant combos of hanging, stacking and drawer space, designed by you to fit your room, and needs, as perfectly as a Savile Row suit.

Our resident design/programming genius Jim tells us his bespoke Jali wardrobe holds a Superman costume – and we’re half-inclined to believe him (although it was April 1st when he said it!) But even if your fashion icon is more Clark Kent than Cara Delevingne, we can help you get your space organised so effectively that getting dressed – or dressed up – is as easy as falling off a catwalk…

Bespoke Jali wardrobe: interiorYou can design your own, made-to-measure wardrobe using the online Jali Designer. It’s a brilliant way to get precisely what you want, inside and out – no ifs, buts or compromises. You can specify the exact depth, height and width on the outside. And inside, you have an almost infinite choice of sections, shelving, compartments, hanging space and drawer units… For a bird’s-eye view of the Jali wardrobe system, play our short animated video:

Jali bespoke wardrobe: inside viewIf you want to include baskets or shoe racks, make sure you’ve allowed enough space for them in your design – we don’t actually supply these, as we couldn’t stock a big enough range of colours, sizes etc. But on the Designer you can easily create close-fitting compartments for baskets, like the ones in our example above.

Bespoke soft-close drawers inside a Jali wardrobeHowever, for the ultimate designer wardrobe, we can incorporate drawer units with a choice of standard or soft-close drawers, evenly-spaced or graduated, painted or veneered.

Just call us to discuss the details, once you’ve created the other elements on the Jali Designer, and we can add them to your wardrobe.

Other options include solid or fretwork door panels, and there’s a choice of inset or overlaid doors, depending on the look you want to create: classic, contemporary or just you!

And we can now provide a primed or top-coated paint finish in a range of colours, real oak or walnut veneers, or a part-painted, part-veneered finish – the choice is all yours…

Jali bespoke wardrobe: just one of the door optionsOne final point – do allow enough time – and muscle-power – to assemble your wardrobe; it may take longer than you think. A celing-high unit will weigh a considerable amount, and for a good result it’s important to position and level the base accurately before starting to add the sections. There’s more information on assembly and installation on our website.

In fact, it’s a good idea to read all the guidance on wardrobe design, so you take full advantage of all the great features a Jali wardrobe can provide.

And just imagine the transformation once you’ve finished, and how proud you’ll be of having designed and built such a brilliant, elegant, life-changing piece of furniture!