If rain stops play, cover those radiators!

We may be obsessed with the weather in the UK, but can you blame us? This summer, it certainly seems as if AWOL really stands for AnyWhere Outdoors Leaks… But if unseasonal rain has put paid to your plans for beach, barbecue, park or garden, we have a suggestion.

Fish (sorry!) out your tape-measure and design yourself some lovely covers for your radiators. This will make you feel a) virtuous right here and now and b) very happy when winter “officially” begins, and your radiators are more effective and a stylish addition to your décor. Now, “smug” is a word I normally shy away from, but I think a smidgeon of self-congratulation would be entirely justified in these circumstances…
Jali bespoke radiator coverThere are other reasons why now is the ideal time for some home-based activity. For one thing, decluttering, often a necessary preparation for a refurbishment, seems less daunting and difficult in the summer months. For one thing, there’s literally more light on the subject, and if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it can provide useful extra space for organising and bin-bag packing. (Just watch out for those sharp showers the Met Office is always warning us about.)

I have an unpolished oak kitchen table, made in Dublin in the1920s or ’30s, that needs a new coat of chalk paint this year. (Someone who shall be nameless decided it was an ideal surface on which to do some soldering. ‘Nuff said.) The original application (of paint, not solder) was so much easier in the garden, so that’s another weekend job destined for the great outdoors.

Being able to have doors and windows open is a great asset too; ventilation is better and drying time for paints and varnishes applied indoors is shorter in the summer months.
Jali bespoke radiator cabinetAnd it’s also the ideal time to design and assemble all kinds of Jali products.

Many customers decide to order new furniture from us in the final months of the year, in anticipation of friends and family arriving for the festive season.

Unfortunately that may mean longer waiting-times for manufacture and delivery. So be summer savvy, and get designing ahead of the pack. Sorry, did someone utter the “smug” word again?

Finally, don’t miss next week’s episode of George Clarke’s Old House, New Home, to be shown on Tuesday 28 June on Channel 4 at 8pm. Some of our elegant decorative shutters will feature in the latest makeover. Even we don’t know what the final result looks like – we can’t wait!


Built-in furniture that fits – enchantingly!

Alcove alchemy, close-fit chic – whatever you call it, creating built-in furniture is a kind of magic. But when you team up with Jali, you’ll find it’s a very practical kind of sorcery, that will transform your home and amaze your admiring family…

One of our clever customers has just sent us photos showing his wizardry with several Jali pieces – he used our unique online Designer to help him achieve a superb fit and finish. Below is a combined radiator cover and cupboard: our customer added his own shelves  but you could use our custom MDF shapes to make your own, quickly and cheaply.

Jali bespoke combined radiator cabinet and cupboardTo design a similar unit, create a cupboard and radiator cover of the same height and depth, and ensure that the right- and left-hand sides where they will join are flush-fitting. Then contact us on 01227 833333 and ask us to make a single top and a skirting for the base. The two units will then be tied together securely and form a single, smart piece of  furniture. The opposite ends can either be freestanding, or, as in this case, can fit flush against one wall, for the ultimate in tailor-made cabinetry.

i280Our clever customer also designed and assembled two cupboards to fit in alcoves on either side of a fireplace.

He used the ‘Position’ button on the Jali Designer to choose the ‘Fitted between two walls’ option, then created insets on either side (18mm and 20mm) to ensure a perfect fit.

As is often the case, one alcove was slightly wider than the other – the beauty of the Jali system is that it allows you to create two units of slightly different sizes that look like a perfectly matched pair.

And if you look closely at the fluting on the cupboard uprights, it matches that on the mantlepiece next to it – how smart is that?

Our customer’s top tip? Walls are never straight – this is something Jali’s DIY team have learned the hard way too, and it’s why we designed the process to be so versatile and adjustable. He also says you do have to be prepared to do some scribing and perhaps make other adjustments to get a perfect result. But they are very pleased with the look and quality of the units, and we’re very happy to hear it.

There’s another, spectacular success story in this customer’s file – but I’m saving that for a future blog. In the meantime, we think he deserves a huge round of applause for this transformation, achieved, not with a magic wand, but a few woodworking tools (and a bit of help from Jali!)


Kitchen storage blues? Not any more…

Got those crazy, can’t-stand-it, kitchen storage blues? Can’t fit standard cupboards in those empty but awkward spaces? Shelves too high/low/deep/shallow or just plain inconvenient? Drawers sticking or just not up to taking the load?

In our experience, you can live with less than ideal kitchen storage for just so long, then you snap. Preferably not at anyone in particular, just at the whole “lack-of-places-to-put-anything” scenario. And you never know – your nearest and dearest may be hatching their own cunning plans to lessen the daily irritations and bouts of cursing. You know, the ones brought on by unreachable casserole dishes and worktops crammed with stuff that won’t fit in anywhere else… Jali bespoke kitchen storage cupboards and drawer unitOur advice? Just b-r-e-a-t-h-e, relax and let Jali take the strain. The great thing is, we’ve been solving problems like this for so long, it’s now second nature to us. Nip over to our website and Bob’s your designer, carpenter and all-round fairy godperson.

One of our canny customers got to grips with her kitchen crisis by doing that very thing. It was a lovely old house, one with “character” in estate agents’ parlance, and a somewhat quirky layout.

Such properties don’t lend themselves to standard-size kitchen cabinetry, and so it proved. It also had “features”, including ceiling beams, alcoves (of different widths, of course) and charming nooks, crannies and odd bits of space that no off-the-shelf furniture would fit. A nice problem to have, you could say, but a problem none the less.

Jali bespoke cupboardWe came to the rescue with our unique and brilliant Jali Designer. A very tall, very thin cupboard to fit the tall, thin space beside the fridge? No problem.

Wall cupboards to fit either side of the extractor hood (the fan isn’t exactly in the middle, so each will be a different width)? Ditto.

Our customer also designed drawer units, with graduated drawers, plus two large larder cupboards for the dining area, to fit into alcoves (of different widths, natch).

Every aspect of the design, including number, length and depth of shelves and drawers, the style of doors and height of skirting was decided by the people who would live with the furniture and use it every day. It all added up to a very chic, practical and stylish ensemble that fitted the feel and personality of the house and its family perfectly. Here’s the double cupboard combo:

Jali bespoke cupboardsWith the Jali Designer, most of our pieces can be made to fit seamlessly into a space with no ugly gaps showing. Just look for the “Position” button, choose one of the three side-fitting options, then choose the “Inset” button to change the position of the side-walls of your item.

So successful were we in banishing our customer’s kitchen blues, she even chose the colour for her new units. What a lovely note to end on… aah!