Contemporary Orangery Kitchen Extension
The final result of this contemporary orangery kitchen extension is looking great, the clients have chosen a sleek modern kitchen which fits the orangery perfectly.
Sometimes some of the most important aspects of our work are the bits you don’t see!
In this case the fact that the steel beam is hidden within the ceiling space really makes difference to the end result, allowing the ceiling to be flush.If the steel was box in below ceiling level, it would split the room in two and spoil the feeling of light and openness.
The steel column is now in place and the guys are working on altering the tiled roof to the left of the picture.
As often is the case, we did not want a large brick nib in the opening between kitchen and conservatory. However, when removing the brickwork right back to the corner of the existing building, the structure is weakened as it is the corner of the bulding that give it lateral strength. To compensate for this, we have used a steel column that is connected with resin-bonded steel studs to the existing wall.
In some cases, it is possible to lose the steel column within the wall cavity, but on this job there is a solid nine inch wall so the steel column will have to fit inside it. However, it is still far more preferable to have an eight inch steel than a two foot brick nib.
Interestingly, structural engineers alway tend to specify beams butted up to columns, rather than beams sitting on columns. This type of connection may appear illogical, but it is the accepted method.
The guys have just got the RSJ (Rolled Steel Joist) into place. This is will be set within the floor/ceiling void so the new and old ceiling should run through flush without having any down-stand.
The existing floor joists run perpendicular to the RSJ, so they will have to be let into the flange of the beam and supported by it. A series of props and needles support the existing house whilst the hole is cut for the steel. The guys have developed an ingenious method of using chain block to lift the 160kg steel in to place. This means the work can be done by a couple of old codgers 😉
We will leave the existing wall in place until the orangery is fully built and is secure and watertight. However the steel has to be put in place before the orangery roof can be built.
RSJ going in
The RSJ is in. We’ve used a series of Acrow props together with “strongboys” – the yellow attachments on the top. This has allowed us to support the upper wall without the need for needles going all the way through the wall of the room upstairs. It would have been problematic to put props inside the kitchen, partly because there were units in the way that we don’t want to remove yet, but mainly because the existing floor is not in good condition and wouldn’t take the weight!
This method has worked because we were able to slide the steel in from the corner of the house, however this is not always possible. We have also managed to place the RSJ in the floor/ceiling space, so there will be no down-stand in the opening between the kitchen and conservatory.
In doing this, we’ve discovered that there is a false ceiling in the existing kitchen which is also in poor condition, this will need to be made good and the ceiling re-plastered.
This old conservatory has had its day. The softwood is rotting, the double-glazed units have failed, it’s exceptionally cold in winter and too hot in summer and leaks in the inevitable rain.
There is single door from the kitchen, through which you step down into the cold floor of the conservatory. The kitchen has only one small outside window and is very dark.
The plan is to insert a large RSJ and remove the wall to bring light into the kitchen. The new orangery will be built at same floor level as the kitchen so it feels like one room. Most importantly it will be well insulated enough to use all year round.