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Looking for a smart compact kitchen solution that offered safe, convenient facilities for cooking and storage, owners of luxury student accommodation complex Drinkwater House in Middlesbrough, have installed eight of Elfin Kitchens’ space-saving mini kitchens.
Located on the doorstep of Teeside University, Drinkwater House is a newly refurbished building that has been converted into private student halls. Owned by Taniya Properties, the complex has been expanded with the addition of new, secure studio apartments, which is where eight of Elfin’s kitchens have been installed.
Selected from the 1200mm-wide, standard range, the M-120-Mos-K model is designed exactly for compact spaces like the studio flats at Drinkwater House. Meeting the robust requirements of student life, the kitchens are built entirely of white powder coated steel and feature a storage cupboard with slim foam filled doors and drawer fronts and stainless steel door and drawer furniture. Also included is a sink, drainer with monobloc tap, two hotplates with a 30-minute safety timer fitted, a 30 ltr combi oven and grill, an A+ rated fridge with freezer compartment and one large, self closing pan drawer.
Commenting on the Elfin kitchens, Taniya Properties Manager of Student Services, Seema Jagota said: “When we were looking for a kitchen solution for the studio apartments within the development, we wanted a compact option that provided all the cooking, cooling and storage facilities a student might need. We also wanted something that would work with the neutral decoration scheme. Elfin’s kitchens tick all of these boxes.
“We especially liked the safety timer facility. As landlords letting to students, safety is a priority for us. Each kitchen is fitted with hot plates and comes with a 30-minute cut-out timer, which effectively reduces the risks associated with student cooking. It offers huge peace of mind for us and the insurance company!”
In terms of Elfin’s performance, Mrs Jagota explained: “Everything has worked like clockwork. When you’re refurbishing a property it’s essential that things go as smoothly as possible. Elfin delivered on time and the kitchens arrived as specified. The installation instructions were all straightforward, so really it’s a case of so far so good and we are definitely considering using on Elfin on our next development, which is already underway.”
Fitting a kitchen into the challenging spaces of an old property whilst providing a safe place for guests to prepare and cook food, were the main reasons, the owners of The Tower Gastro Pub & Apartments in Crieff, Perthshire chose us. Three of our compact kitchens have been installed, helping to transform tired, old rooms into new, stylish self-catering apartments.
Prior to the refurbishment, the owners, Bob and Annie undertook some research with both customers and potential visitors. It was clear that self-catering facilities were one of the priorities for initially attracting guests to the establishment. The challenge was to fit a fully functioning kitchen into the apartments, each one being a different size and shape, as is often the case in older properties.
Experienced guesthouse owners, the couple purchased The Tower in 2011, first opening the gastro pub part of the business in December. Once that was up and running, their attention turned to the refurbishment. Knowing exactly what they wanted to achieve from the outset helped, as Bob explains: “ Our aim was to make sure the rooms were planned with our guests in mind at all times. It sounds obvious but how many times do you stay somewhere and find something missing or in completely the wrong place!
“For the kitchen element, we wanted to offer a complete mini kitchen package so that guests could prepare and cook their own meals, should they wish. We considered working with our preferred joiner to create a bespoke option but then I came across Elfin.”
Practically minded, the couple planned the kitchen using the Elfin Kitchens brochure, choosing three different compact kitchen configurations to suit the limited space available in each room.
There are four apartments, three of which are self-catering and feature an Elfin kitchen. Built entirely of white powder coated steel, the kitchens feature stainless steel door and drawer furniture, slim foam filled doors and drawer fronts with a self-closing drawer action. All of the standard kitchens with hotplates have a 30-minute safety timer fitted.
Each of the kitchens includes an A+ rated fridge with 4* freezer compartment for the storage of fresh foods, a stainless steel worktop, sink and monobloc tap, useful dry storage and hotplates. The largest apartment named Thistle, features a 1500mm Elfin kitchen, which also integrates a combi microwave, oven and grill, whilst the Heather room incorporates the 1200mm version with an inbuilt microwave with grill. The slightly smaller room features the incredibly space efficient 900mm-wide option.
Bob installed the kitchens himself and the couple are pleased with the results, he said: “The kitchens arrived quickly, pre-built with instructions and were easy enough to install. We wanted to provide our guests with everything you need from a kitchen; just in a smaller space and the Elfin kitchens do exactly that.
“What really sold it for us was the safety timer feature on the hotplates. The safety of guests is of paramount importance to us, not to mention the fact that we live above, and this really does provide that extra peace of mind.
“Elfin offered us a complete solution that looks like a finished kitchen, and suits the design style of the apartments perfectly. Obviously, with the gastro pub downstairs we hope our guests join us for food but we like the fact that they have the option of their own facilities – it’s working really well!”
Built in 1885, the building itself has been used for many things: a training facility for monks, a nunnery, a police station and has even been home to the families of weavers. However, with the help of Elfin Kitchens, the present owners, Bob and Annie Anderson, have renovated the building into a perfect family run gastro pub with self-catering apartments.
Space is at a premium in the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea - one of London’s most fashionable and affluent areas. And it’s the space saving benefits of Elfin Kitchens’ all-in-one compact kitchens that provided the perfect solution for 80+ studios in Princess Beatrice House – an impressive 1930s building, formerly used as a hospital and a hostel.
The seven-storey brick and stone construction was completely stripped out and fully refurbished to the highest standard to create private student accommodation. Each self-contained studio had to maximise every centimetre of space, with the proposed layout positioning the kitchen area right next to the door and the only means of escape. So, the kitchens not only had to be space efficient and of course look good, but meet demanding Building Control fire regulation requirements too.
Whilst researching the challenging kitchen situation, the client representative and project architect discovered a previous, similar project where Elfin kitchens had been installed and called the company in. Elfin Kitchens’ representatives met them on-site to discuss requirements and went away to build a prototype, which was delivered to site for the project team to review and approve.
The prebuilt mini kitchen, manufactured from white powder coated steel, is just 1200mm wide with matching wall cupboards, all featuring stainless steel door and drawer furniture, slim foam filled doors and drawer fronts.
Elfin also supplied some accessible versions, which provide wheelchair-friendly access to meet the inclusive design requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
Project Architect, Paul McGrath from Ceetoo Architects commented: “The attraction of Elfin’s products is that they pack the function of a whole kitchen into a tiny but efficient space.”
The integrated pack of equipment selected for this project included a sink with mono-bloc tap and drainer, worktop, A+-rated fridge, choice of solid or ceramic hotplates, a combination oven and dry food storage - all this functionality in one, off-the-shelf unit.
The added selling point for this project was that the kitchen included a dry powder fire suppression system integrated above the hob. This system facilitated compliance with the stringent fire strategy requirements, particularly given the location of the kitchen next to the exit door.
Peter Thompson, the client Project Manager was impressed with Elfin’s approach to the project: “Elfin Kitchens worked closely with the project team throughout ensuring that the design provided exactly the right solution. Operating at this level of detail, with experts like Elfin Kitchens, is just the kind of service we need from suppliers.”
For fast and easy installation the kitchens, all pre-assembled and fully boxed to ensure complete protection during transit, were delivered to site, unpacked, manoeuvred into position and plugged in – it really is as easy as that.
Client representative for the building’s owner JMS Estates (IOM) Ltd, Anthea Sherley-Dale was delighted with the finished kitchens, she said: “Elfin Kitchens is a friendly and attentive business to deal with; any questions were answered quickly and effectively and their product is unique and well thought out – perfect for a development where space is an issue.”
Princess Beatrice House was originally designed in the early 1930s as a hospital by one of the country’s greatest architects – Sir Aston Webb - and named The Princess Beatrice Hospital. The building closed in the mid 1970s and was purchased and comprehensively refurbished for use as a hostel supporting single homeless people with support needs.
Elfin Kitchens were approached by the University Partnerships Programme after they had seen Elfin’s trademark compact kitchen designs. UPP asked if Elfin could convert their kitchen design to accommodate disabled students at the new halls of residents building, Virginia Wolfe, at Canterbury University, Kent.
Elfin Kitchens worked with the specific requirements of UPP to produce a suitable kitchen design to provide a bespoke disabled user kitchen unit plus another 42 kitchen units for bedsit style rooms at the Halls.
Elfin developed a kitchen where the worktop height is adjustable using sliding brackets fitted securely to the wall. Flexible waste connection pipes and tails on the taps to enable the change in height to suit the user without breaking the connection were also fitted.
The under worktop facilities (which would normally include a fridge freezer, microwave oven and storage cupboards) were removed and a mobile storage unit for under the worktop was provided so that the cooking facilities could be easily accessible.
A tower unit to one side of the worktop houses a fridge and combination oven which is set at a user friendly height, and a pull out shelf was added under the combination oven that allows the user to rest hot items before moving them. The fridge is set 120mm above the floor to give easier access.
Bob Andrews at Elfin Kitchens commented “UPP presented us with a brand new area of kitchen design to what the usual compact kitchen requires. Our simple but effective system can save clients, who have a requirement for kitchens for people with disability or access issues, literally thousands of pounds. Our product enables and restores independence for people with an impairment can make life for disabled people so much easier”
Isledon Road is a seven storey building containing 400 student bedrooms and features a range of single studios, premium study bedrooms, kitchens and lounges, and games areas, as well as storage space for 230 bicycles. Located opposite a listed Art Deco theatre known as the Rainbow Theatre, the student accommodation building has continuous bands of windows alternating with bands of different coloured ceramic glazed tiles that reflect the colours of the rainbow as a reference to the theatre. The space also features a double height commercial space.
As part of the build, Elfin supplied 35 standard and five Part M compliant kitchens in the single studio spaces. The double height kitchens provide extensive cooking and food storage facilities for occupants with food cupboards both above and below the main preparation surface. Bob Andrew, Managing Director of Elfin Kitchens said: “Our kitchens are ideal for student accommodation as they offer occupants the ability to be responsible for the cooking and storage of their own food, whilst being durable enough to withstand the inevitable knocks and bumps of being in such an environment.”
Project contractor MACE oversaw the delivery and installation of Elfin’s kitchens. Paul Hapczuk, Project Manager said: “Due to being such a busy site and its location right next to Finsbury Park tube station we needed someone who could offer efficient delivery and the ability to easily manoeuvre the kitchens into position on each floor ready for our installers to connect. Elfin were able to provide this kind of service and worked effectively alongside all the other site activity to ensure a speedy delivery of their kitchen units.”
On larger projects Elfin Kitchens can provide bespoke solutions and this was the case at the new Nido Spitalfields student accommodation site in Spitalfields, East London.
Following extensive discussions with Nido and TP Bennett to ascertain the needs of the building and its residents, Elfin Kitchens was able to develop a series of bespoke designs that would fit the property, both in terms of size and aesthetic appeal.
Design and the look and feel of the kitchens was a vital element in the development. Nido Spitalfields is a smart and stylish development, providing students from overseas with the very best in British university accommodation. Therefore the kitchen facilities had to meet very discerning criteria.
Delivering six kitchen styles, including those with DDA compliant features, Elfin was able to offer three types of cluster room kitchen to provide cooking facilities for up to six residents in addition to contour kitchens designed specifically for use in areas with narrow access points alongside its standard kitchen model.
Considering the need to meet very specific health and safety guidelines, due to the nature of the building, Elfin designed in a 1kg dry powder fire suppression unit linked in to the main fire alarm system. This coupled with the non-combustible steel core of its kitchen units meant that Elfin was able to provide a series of kitchen solutions that would be able to withstand attack from fire and was subsequently tested as such at the BRE Watford, achieving an impressive pass rating following six fire tests using highly flammable oil pan fires. As such, fire protection specialists, Autoquench, were able to set the temperature of the fire suppression system accordingly, delivering an impressive additional safety feature.
With safety in mind, Elfin also commissioned a series of CDA ceramic domino hotplates to be fitted in the kitchens complete with a 15 minute automatic cut off timer meaning the risk of accidental fire as a result of the hotplate being mistakenly left on could be dramatically reduced.
Working closely with the contractor, ISG, Elfin developed a series of pre-built kitchens ready for delivery and installation. Due to the sheer scale of the building however, reaching 31 storeys, Elfin recognised the need to develop a system to easily deliver these kitchens to the 12th floor, without causing any disruption to other parts of the building work.
As such, a lifting rig was designed, built and installed to lift the kitchen units onto a rolling loading platform, via the site tower cranes, to quickly and easily move the kitchens up the building to their designated floor, ready for installation. To help move the units once inside the building, Elfin produced a series of low level pallet trucks and skates which slid underneath the units allowing them to be moved with ease to their designated space. Fitted with adjustable legs, the kitchen units could be moved with ease in to place to be installed over a floating floor allowing for the kitchen to be lowered in to place with the front edge detail meeting that of the floor.
The 700 units were simply fitted into single studios, apartments and shared kitchen areas, providing students with a smart, stylish and robust kitchen complete with all the essentials required. Modified to fit the space in which the kitchen is fitted, the robust white powder coated steel units comprise a combination oven, two specialist hotplates, an ‘A rated’ fridge and smart stainless steel sink complete with a monobloc mixer tap.
Kate Freer from Nido, commented, “The compact kitchen units supplied by Elfin Kitchens are ideal for the Nido Spitalfields development and combine safety, style and durability with an affordable price, four issues which were key to the selection of the units. Delivering everything students need to cook and prepare food, the units are ideal and fit in extremely well with the surrounding décor of the accommodation whilst the added safety feature from the hot plate cut off timer and fire suppression unit provides complete peace of mind both to us as the property management company and the student residents on site.”
Delivered to site as a complete unit, ready with an appropriate waste kit, the kitchen units were simply plumbed into the service pipe supply and connected to an electricity source, making the installation process incredibly quick and simple, allowing other installation works to carry on uninterrupted.
Located in central London, Nido Spitalfields is the tallest student accommodation in the world. Scaling some 105 metres in height, the new building offers students a comfortable, contemporary living space fitted to the highest standards, offering incredible views across the London skyline.
Helping to meet Bournemouth’s university community requirement for over 1,500 extra bed spaces in the town, Elfin Kitchens has supplied 60 kitchens from its cost-effective contract range for the redevelopment of a 1970s office and former DSS building into stylish yet functional student accommodation.
Centrally located in the Lansdowne area of Bournemouth, Bracken House will offer 120 bedrooms in close proximity to the Bournemouth University Lansdowne campus. Undergoing a complete refurbishment, the seven-storey building will provide private student accommodation comprising a mix of one-bed, en-suite apartments, half of which are with fitted out with Elfin kitchens that feature the latest compact personal food preparation areas, and six are specifically designed as ambulant rooms. The remaining 60 studio apartments share 12 separate kitchen breakfast bar units.
Each floor has 10 of each type of room. The Elfin kitchens that have been installed are from Elfin’s contract range, which are built specifically for larger contracts like this where both cost and quality is important.
Prebuilt, the Elfin mini kitchens specified for this project are 1000mm in length and feature two hotplates, an A+ rated fridge with freezer compartment and a white powder coated cupboard with a ‘click’ shut door that creates a clean finish. To keep the price and delivery cost down, Elfin’s contract kitchens are sold without a tap but in this instance a tap was supplied within the contract.
For the ambulant rooms, Elfin has supplied its accessible kitchens, which provide wheelchair-friendly access to meet the inclusive design requirements of the Equality Act 2010, formerly known as The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, so for example the worktop height can be moved up and down to suit the end user’s requirements.
All pre-assembled and fully boxed to ensure complete protection during transit, the kitchens were delivered to site, unpacked, manoeuvred into position and plugged in for a fast and easy installation.
Warwick Robbins, managing director of Bournemouth-based interior fit out contractor Ceiling & Partition Installations Limited, explained: “These kitchens are perfect for student accommodation – especially with the option of accessible versions too. They look good whilst at the same time offering exceptional value for money. A good company to deal with, the team at Elfin Kitchens is always very efficient and keen to ensure you get exactly the right product for the job.”