Surrey Carpentry

Professional Carpentry & Joinery Service

The converted office, with new worktops and bookcases

The converted office, with new worktops and bookcases

Home Office Conversion – Worktops, Bookcases and Filing cabinet, Shalford, Surrey

Its always nice to bring new life to a room that when you first enter it, has a strange damp smell, no electricity, and very little appeal whatsoever. This was exactly the case when we converted a damp, dank and dark old scullery in a grade 2 listed building in Shalford, Surrey into a well spaced out, attractive and useable home office for the family.

The room was already equipped with worktops made of slate and granite, and planning control stipulated that they must remain where they were, and not be touched, even though they had seen better days.

To soften and warm up the room ready for office use, the solution was to clad the existing stone worktops in 25mm Oak-faced MDF, which would be much more pleasant for day to day use.

In addition to this, we installed bookcases with adjustable shelving throughout the room, maximising the useable storage space, and also a bespoke fitted filing drawer cabinet system, described in detail HERE.

Main existing slate worktop

Main existing slate worktop

Other existing slat worktops

Other existing slate worktops

Other existing slate worktops

Other existing slate worktops

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First "L" shaped section of oak-faced MDF worktop being fitted

First of all, we got the oak-faced MDF worktops fitted.

To do this we had to establish where the highest point of the unlevel existing slate worktops was, and use that as the datum level to which the new oak MDF worktops would be set. The necessary packers were cut and placed, and the new worktops were then cut and scribed into position. The first worktop was the main “L” shaped one, which was made of three peices, all biscuit jointed, glued, and wound together with worktop connectors, seen above.

"L" shaped worktop fitted, and being wedged down

"L" shaped worktop fitted, and being wedged down

"L" shaped worktop fitted

"L" shaped worktop fitted

Worktops 3 & 4, 3 being the top of the filing cabinet, and 4 on packers, above existing slate worktop

Worktops 3 & 4, 3 being the top of the filing cabinet, and 4 on packers, above existing slate worktop

Worktops 2, 3 and 4, came after this, in clockwise fashion. Worktop 2 was essentially the base of one of the alcove bookcases, worktop 3 was the top of the filing cabinet, and worktop 4, pictured above, went onto the last of the slate surfaces, and had to be packed up by approximately 50mm to bring it to the same level as the rest of the worktops.

Fitted bookcases

Fitted bookcases

Electricity meter cabinet

Electricity meter cabinet

Electricity meter cabinet

Electricity meter cabinet

Once all the worktops were fitted, we attached solid oak lipping to the front edge of the oak-faced mdf to conceal both the mdf core and the stone worktops beneath. Of course the lipping on worktop 4 had to be much larger that the rest of the worktops due to the extra 50mm packers between the stone and the new worktop.

The next stage was to fit the bookcases onto the new worktops. These were done in plain MDF. We scribed the sides into place and fixed a fluted trim to the front of them, which would conceal the gaps between the adjustable shelves and the sides of the bookcase.

Once they were cut to size and lipped with softwood for a better finish, the 25mm thick mdf adjustable shelves were placed on “Tonk” inset shelving strip, which allows increments of about 15mm in adjustment, so they are very versatile.

We also housed the electricity meter below the main worktop in a small cabinet to conceal it, this was also done in oak-faced MDF.

The finished oak worktop bookcase

The finished oak worktop and bookcase

Bookcase above worktop 3 and filing cabinet

Bookcase above worktop 3 and filing cabinet

Bookcase above "L" shaped main worktop

Bookcase above "L" shaped main worktop

Bookcase on worktop 4, with its solid oak cornice, and side fluting

Bookcase on worktop 4, with its solid oak cornice, and side fluting

Finally the solid oak cornice was fitted to the bookcase above worktop 4, and it really put the finishing touch to the job. The reason you now see all the books and items already on the shelves is that we planned for the painters to come and paint the plain MDF parts of the job before we came back to fit the cornice, which took a little longer to get hold of from Mayford Joinery, Mayford, as they were quite busy at the time.

In this picture, you can also see the routed fluting down the side of the bookcase, which was the same on all the other bookcases.

All in all, this job was a great deal of work, but as always, it’s great to stand back and enjoy the result.

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Bespoke fitted filing cabinet in pine and MDF - Shalford, Surrey

Bespoke fitted filing cabinet in pine and MDF - Shalford, Surrey

Bespoke Fitted Filing Cabinet in Pine & MDF – Shalford Surrey

This large, two drawer filing cabinet was done together with installation of the bookcases and worktops described here, when we converted an old scullery in a grade 2 listed building in Shalford, Surrey into an office.

Once the room was tanked and treated for damp issues, we got to work.

The scullery already had worktops made of slate, which cold, out of level, and very uncomfortable to work on by today’s standards, so in order to modernise it, and because it was a listed building meaning we could not remove or alter any of the existing features, the slate worktops were clad in 25mm Oak-Faced MDF.

Oak MDF top and plain mdf carcassing

Oak MDF top and plain mdf carcassing

Heights of oak-faced mdf worktops uniformed off various slate heights

Heights of oak-faced mdf worktops uniformed off various slate heights

Large MDF filing drawers are made to fit the carcassing before fitted using strong telescopic ball bearing drawer runners

Large MDF filing drawers are made to fit the carcassing before fitted using strong telescopic ball bearing drawer runners

First of all, we had to establish the highest point of the unlevel slate worktops, from which we could level round the height of the new oak faced MDF worktops, which would give the available internal height for the filing cabinet drawers.

With this done theĀ  carcassing could be constructed, and then the filing cabinet drawers themselves, which were made of plain MDF, and fitted using some very robust telescopic, ball-bearing drawer runners. The drawers‘ width and depth dimensions were based on having 4 outsourced metal filing chassis’ fitted inside them, which maximized the storage space, as well as kept the cost down due to less labour in manufacturing the drawers.

Drawers fitted and working

Drawers fitted and working

Pine and MDF drawer fronts

Pine and MDF drawer fronts

Two drawer fronts per drawer breaks up the large size of the filing drawers to make them look more proportional

Two drawer fronts per drawer breaks up the large size of the filing drawers to make them look more proportional

Because of the large size of the filing cabinet drawers, we decided it would look nicer if each drawer had two drawer fronts on it to make them look more appealing and proportional. If we had actually had four drawers, we would have lost about 20cms of storage space, and it would have been more work and more money. In this case, I think we chose the best option :)

Locks fitted for security

Locks fitted for security

The completed filing cabinet, yet to be painted

The completed filing cabinet, yet to be painted

The completed filing cabinet in action, and using every millimetre of space!

The completed filing cabinet in action, and using every millimetre of space!

Security was another important factor for the client, so we happily fitted some cabinet locks to the filing drawers, a necessary addition considering the important home and work documents that will be filed in them.

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