Double socket outlet for the kitchen

We’re installing one of these MK Aspect K24343 double socket outlets in the kitchen, instead of a regular socket.

Compare to a normal socket they’re very expensive (approximately £60-£70 so we’ve only bought the one) but it’ll be good to be able to charge up a couple of mobiles/tablets using this instead of tying up sockets with chargers.

Click for more information on the MK websiteMaybe we’ll buy a couple more and fit them in the bedrooms too, later on. They fit in a 35mm deep back box (which we have fitted everywhere) so we could just swap the standard ones out with these whenever we want.

Here are some detailed photos - sorry about the quality of some of the photos of the reverse side.

This is the front of the socket showing what it looks like before and after the included cover plate is fitted. I didn’t press it fully on but you can see how snugly it fits on the right hand side of the photo. Nice to see no screws showing which is not the case with the regular moulded double sockets.

MK K24343 Front MK K24343 front with cover plate installed

As you can see it’s quite well engineered. You can see there are two earth terminals in case you want to make doubly sure that you have a solid connection to ground, though the two earths are linked (as they are in the regular MK K2747 sockets, where there is just a central earth terminal) so you can just connect the earth wire to one of these if you want.

MK K24343 Rear MK K24343 Bottom

The big block in the middle contains the circuitry for the USB charging units. This will output 5VDC at up to 2 Amps on either socket and it will detect how much current the device you plug in needs for optimal charging, so it should work with any device no matter how particular they are about having the correct charger. This isn’t the case with many of the cheaper units I’ve seen on the internet, such as this one where the output is very unstable and iPads in particular turn their noses up at them. It’s also worth noting that the unit being examined in that video also had twin earth terminals BUT there was no interconnection between the earths so unless you were fitting this inside a metal back box AND making a good connection to it with the screw holes then you would have one earthed socket and one which wasn’t earthed at all, so it’s important when you do an earth test to test both sockets and not just one, and be especially careful that both sockets are connected to earth if you have the socket mounted on a plastic surface box.

The rear of the socket is very deep but MK advise that it will fit into one of their 35mm deep back boxes and the angled top-connection Live & Neutral terminals should make it a bit easier to squeeze this in, though in future I’d definitely plan where I would be fitting these and put a deeper back box in. It’s possible, of course, to add a pattress and have the socket sticking out from the wall instead of being flush mounted

MK K24343 Top MK K24343 Profile

This is the leaflet which comes in the box - it was in English on one side and Arabic on the other. Click for a very big (1200 x 800 pixels) version of this.

Instruction leaflet for MK K24343

We have some ceilings up!

The ceiling in the left hand bedroom is nearly finished - the one in the other bedroom is well on the way.

I’m not too sure how the pelmet is going to work - it’s still a very wobbly fit and it’s not too clear where the curtain track will fit. It looks upside down if anything, but I’m sure it’ll be alright on the night!

Coffered ceiling in bedroom 1 Raised ceiling and pelmet near window in Bedroom 1

This is a kind of before and after shot except that the left hand photo is the right hand bedroom (looking towards the window) and the other one is the nearly finished ceiling in the left hand bedroom (looking back into the room from the window).

You can see the beam running across the room near the window in the first photo, and how this is covered and extended back into the room in the other photo.

Ceiling under construction in bedroom 2The dropped ceiling extends the width of the beam towards the centre of the room 

Doorway from the living room (on the right) to the bedroomThis photo was taken from the bedroom doorway, looking up to show the finished dropped ceiling in the bedroom and the still exposed concrete beam in the living room. We had been thinking of making the ceiling level lower in the living room - to allow us to hide the curtain track without needing to use a pelmet at the balcony window but it really would be too low and look a bit odd - maybe even claustrophobic as this level would be used all the way through to the entrance lobby - so we’re just going to drop it down to the same level as we have in the bedrooms, and hide the curtain track as beautifully as we can. That’s a problem created by the design of the room - the balcony window is simply too high.

If the finished effect really irks us then we can think about putting a shorter window in.

A new doorway and a new archway

We’ve decided to add a door between the entrance lobby and the hallway. We’d been thinking about having the bathroom door with a right hand reverse swing (pulling out towards the front door) but this won’t really work if we add this new door, so the bathroom door will need to be a normal left hand swing (in towards the bath). We can make a small cupboard or something to the right to the door (as you enter the house). The door will need to be glazed to avoid blocking all of the light from the entrance lobby.

New inner entrance door

The new door will be a single leaf left hand reverse swing. An alternative would be to add double doors at the entrance to the living room, but we can add this later if we wish, and everyone seems to agree on putting one near the front door - this will help block any disturbing noise coming from the stairwell/lift, and also help to spare our neighbours from any noise leaking out from our home.

We’re also going to make the entrance doorway (which will remain just as an opening) into an archway, like this:

New archway for kitchen entrance

To allow better access for the wheelchair it might be better to widen the opening - as a guide the opening into the kitchen in our rented apartment is 1 metre wide x 2.26m high, which is plenty big enough. The ceiling height in the kitchen will be ≈ 226 cm so this would give an archway like this:

Archway into kitchen

The ceilings are going up

The supports for the plasterboard ceilings started going up a couple of days ago…

Living Room

Living room coffered ceiling supports installed This shows the raised (coffered) level of the ceiling. The plasterboard will cover this area then supports will be added to drop the ceiling down in a border around the room. The border will be 90cm on the left hand side of the picture and 70cm on the other three sides of the room. The reason for the wider dimension on the left is due to the wider beam there - we could have made all of the other sides the same size as this but it would’ve made the coffer start to look too small. However this is also the entrance to the bedrooms so the extra width will help to set those doors back into the general darkness at the back of the room because the downlights will be slightly further from that wall than they will be for the other three.

The long cables you can see dangling around the edge of the room are roughly where downlights will be positioned in the lower level ceiling (they’ll all be the same distance (35cm) back from the coffer, all the way around the room, and there will be a main room light centered in the coffered area - you can see the cable for that in the middle of the room. The central light will be on one switch and all the downlights on another.

The TV will go against the wall on the right so we may simply add a couple of table lamps in the room for a bit more subdued lighting when we’re watching the telly. It’s unlikely we’ll have all the lights on at the same time very often.

Kitchen

Kitchen ceiling supports partially installed

It was for a fan! The hole will need patching up - we decided to drop the ceiling all the way from that beam near the terrace door to the entrance of the kitchen. Unfortunately this was at the same level as the hole they’d made for the fan (the main building vent pipe is behind that wall) but extraction will be provided by the cooker hood so the duct from that will feed through the ceiling void and come around that corner and be connected to the vent pipe inside the hole.

You can see the cables dangling there for two of the downlights - actually THREE (there’s one right in the foreground). These lights will form an “L” shape centered on the entrance doorway and also on the width of the ceiling between the far side of the beam and the window-facing of the wall with the hole in it. This should also centre it on the kitchen units - two downlights might have been better but we’ll have concealed lighting under the wall cupboards which will light the countertop, in addition to the light in the cooking hood, so it should be ok.

There will also be two downlights in the small raised area of ceiling between the beam and the door.

Revised living room curtain track position

Originally we planned to put the curtain track on the soffit in the window recess but this is a problem because it is too close to the window (for aesthetic reasons) and also it is likely to leave a gap at the sides of the curtain (it will be difficult to fully close the curtain at the sides).

The alternative position is one which won’t work quite so well with look of the dropped ceiling which we will have all around the room, but it’s one we will need to live with.

Living Room Curtain Track Position

The plasterboard will need to be installed as normal (covering the area indicated in the picture, which shows the curtain track) and then a piece cut out to the exact size of the curtain track.

We will just need to make sure not to put the supporting steelwork for the plasterboard in this zone.

The finished appearance should be something like this (but NOT a red curtain track!):

 Finished ceiling with curtain track

Another revision :/

We want to hide the curtain rail as much as possible so we will need to lower the level of the dropped ceiling a little bit though, of course, this will affect the level of the dropped ceiling all the way through to the entrance, and may lead to a difference between this and the level which has already been set in the kitchen.

Like this - note the lower level of the ceiling which hides the curtain rail:

Curtain rail is hidden by the lowered level of dropped ceiling

The benefit of this position is that we can then match the position which we will use in the bedrooms, where the ceiling height will be higher than in the living room and where the curtain track will sit back from the window, hidden behind the edge of the ceiling (instead of using a pelmet).

It may be necessary to move the curtain track further away from the window and drop the ceiling down a little further to:

a) hide the gap between the top of the curtain and the track, and

b) ensure that the top of the window is visible when you walk into the room

This image shows the track set further back from the window and with the dropped ceiling set at a lower level, though it should be borne in mind that this same level will apply to the ceiling all the way through to the entrance.

Curtain track set back a bit further and ceiling lowered a bit more

This is the bedroom window where we can set the ceiling at whatever level we like and fully hide the curtain track and the top of the curtain:

Bedroom Window

The same can also be done in the kitchen:

Kitchen Window