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Worktop Express Blog

Oct 21

Martyn and Will Rees founded Direct Online Services Ltd in 2009.

Martyn and Will Rees, Co-Founders of Worktop Express

Direct Online Services Ltd is the online retailer behind prominent kitchen worktops brand Worktop Express and oak kitchen supplier Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets (as well as a number of other acclaimed brands). We are pleased to announce that the company has just secured an investment of £3 million from the Business Growth Fund to support further expansion.

Founded by father and son team Martyn and Will Rees in 2009, one of the company’s primary aims is to supply high-quality, sustainably-sourced kitchen components at truly affordable prices. The company already operates in the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, and is excited to have secured the funds to expand further into Germany and launch a new operation in France.

‘The business has grown rapidly in the past seven years and we have continued to make investments in our team, infrastructure, operations, sales and marketing,’ commented Martyn Rees.

Will added: ‘With this substantial investment, we plan to expand our product range as well as our presence in the UK and overseas, and hope to become the leading online worktop retailer in Europe’.

The Business Growth Fund was formed in 2011 to provide long-term growth capital for fast-growing SMEs in the UK. Backed by five of the nation’s most prominent banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered – the independent organisation helps ambitious businesses reach their full potential.

Direct Online Services Ltd now employs almost 200 people and predicts turnover to exceed £25 million this year. You can find out more about our flagship brand on the Worktop Express ‘About Us’ page.

Oct 17

Ecosia is a search engine that uses its advert revenue to plant trees.

Anyone who is a fan of our hardwood worktops will know about our passion for sustainable and ethical sourcing, and that we are strongly committed to our rigorous environmental policies. But did you know about this one easy change you can make to minimise your own carbon footprint?

Ecosia is a search engine company based in Berlin, Germany, which donates 80% of its surplus income to not-for-profit organisations with a focus on conservation. Launched in December 2009, its current emphasis is on tree planting, whilst it ensures all of its business operations are C02-neutral and all its financials transparent.

Powered by BING, a search engine owned and run by Microsoft, Ecosia displays adverts on its search results pages. The company is paid for every click on a sponsored advert, an amount which varies depending on the search term. If a web user clicks on an advert after searching for what is categorised as a higher-value search term, the advert revenue from this one click could pay for a number of trees.

Within two years, the search engine raised more than €250,000, and 116,000 seedlings were planted thanks to Ecosia’s donations. Today, the figure stands at more than 5,337,000 trees planted in total – and around €2,886,000 donated – so you can see how far the project has come. The company aims to plant one billion trees by 2020.

We strive to become ever-more sustainable in all our processes and have collaborated with the International Tree Foundation (ITF) for several years to support tree-planting projects across the UK and Africa. Find out more about our pro-environmental endeavours in our recent project update.

Oct 14

Beautiful worktops are an intrinsic aspect of any kitchen design. If you’re looking for a little something extra to help with your everyday culinary tasks – or to give to a friend to show off on their work surfaces – we have searched the web to find the perfect kitchen accessories for you, and none of them cost more than £20. If you’re an owner of solid wood worktops and are committed to perfecting the fine art of hosting, these excellent gadgets and utensils are just what you need:

The Obsessive Chef Chopping Board, made entirely from bamboo.

The Obsessive Chef Chopping Board – £20.00

Perfect for the truly conscientious chefs among us, the Obsessive Chef Chopping Board features markings that will help you cut and dice with the utmost precision. There are also angled lines that assist in cutting to 30°, 45° and 60°.

If you pride yourself on fastidious food preparation, why not treat yourself to this bamboo chopping board? Just £20 from Waitrose!

Five-piece bamboo utensil set from Mason Cash.

Mason Cash Elite 5-Piece Bamboo Utensil Set – £10.00

This five-piece utensil set from Mason Cash is the ideal complement to our impressive bamboo worktops, and features the same distinctive node markings. This environmentally-friendly kit of utensils includes a range of slotted and solid spoons and turners.

A useful kitchen starter kit, the Mason Cash 5-piece set can be purchased from a range of high-street and online retailers for around £10.

A ceramic and wood olive dish with olive picks and four compartments.

Ceramic and Wood Olive Dish with Picks – £12.99

If you love entertaining, this ceramic and wood olive dish is a must. Incorporating ceramic surrounds and a wooden centre, the dish also includes handy olive picks to save your fingers from getting oily.

You need not limit your tasty treats to olives, however. With four compartments, you can delight guests with a range of salamis, stuffed piquant peppers and other such nibbles. This elegant dish looks great on wood worktops, and can be purchased from for £12.99.

This wooden chopping board features a useful conversion chart.

Oak Floating Shelf – £20.00

If you’re seeking a solid wood storage solution to match your hardwood work surfaces, look no further than this 300mm oak floating shelf from Worktop Express®. Made from the same timber as our solid oak worktops, these shelves create an impressive floating effect, and are very hard-wearing.

If you have opted for a worktop of a different timber, you can visit our floating shelves page to discover a wide variety of choices. These popular shelves are easily installed and start from just £20.


Kitchen Conversions Chopping Board – £11.99

Ever followed a recipe that instructs you to pre-heat your oven at Gas Mark 4 and find yourself scratching your head as you look at the ‘degrees Celsius’ markings on your cooker? This multi-purpose chopping board is a convenient solution to many common kitchen conversions, providing a wide variety of equivalent measurements including dry measures, liquid measures and temperatures.

This wooden chopping board is an excellent accessory for timber countertops, and you can find it on for just £11.99.

If you love the look of these accessories but have yet to purchase your worktop, why not request some worktop samples to help you select your favourite timber? Samples cost just £5 and can be refunded against your worktops on a one-for-one basis.

Oct 10

You may already know that a few months ago we launched a brand new range of laminate worktops; what you may not know is that this new collection of low-maintenance kitchen worktops has proven to be extremely popular – so much so that we’re now delighted to announce its expansion to include a variety of attractive new styles and finishes!

This exciting new product launch includes laminate worktops with wood-effect, granite-effect and marble-effect designs. You will also find cutting-edge AEON™ worktops in our latest offering: this is a brand new way of making laminate worktops, using enhanced-performance technology to produce surfaces that have three to five times the resistance to wear, scuffs, and scratches when compared to the industry standard. These premium surfaces are extra resilient, and are designed to look new for longer.

Marble-effect surfaces have rocketed to the top of the list when it comes to current interior trends, and we are delighted to now offer a beautiful selection of Calcutta Marble laminate worktops, which are part of our hard-wearing AEON range.

Colmar Oak - oak effect laminate worktops.
Calcutta Marble – marble effect, AEON laminate worktops.
Winter Carnival – Brazilian granite effect, AEON laminate worktops.

Other styles – such as our Winter Carnival granite-effect worktops, which features a large-scale Brazilian granite design – have a high-definition ‘mirage’ finish that combines matt and gloss finishes for an even more realistic effect.

If you fancy updating your kitchen with a wood-effect work surface, our beautiful Colmar Oak worktops and Coco Bolo worktops leave nothing to be desired – they are very durable, and feature a high-definition wood-grain design.

Like our existing collection of laminate surfaces, all new styles are available with a 900mm-wide breakfast bar option and are supplied with two coordinating edging strips. We have also launched a laminate worktop cutting service, allowing our customers to order their laminate kitchen surfaces with customisations such as cut to size, hob cut-outs, sink cut-outs and tap holes.

Don’t forget, this fresh collection of quality laminate surfaces are all made with FSC-certified chipboard and have been awarded FIRA Gold certification for product excellence.

If you simply can’t decide which style is your favourite, why not order our laminate worktop sample pack?

Oct 03

Fireclay ceramic is a hard-wearing, scratch-resistant material that is full of traditional charm. Ceramic sinks look incredibly characterful alongside solid wood worktops, creating a beautiful contrast of textures. Our extensive collection of kitchen sinks includes a range of overmounted ceramic sinks; elegant, durable and very easy to install, it’s no wonder these sinks are among our best-sellers.

Our overmounted ceramic sinks are made with versatility in mind, and incorporate a reversible design so our customers can choose between a left-hand and right-hand draining board. Made with resilient natural materials, these sinks are available in white and black. Both colour options feature a luxuriously glossy glaze and come in single-bowl and 1.5-bowl designs; this offers the choice of either one spacious basin or the flexibility of an additional ‘half’ bowl (perfect for accessing the tap when the primary bowl is full).

Overmounted kitchen sink in glossy white ceramic
Inset kitchen sink in glossy black ceramic.

The white overmounted sink is best suited to traditional oak worktops, and also looks stunning with striking full stave black American walnut worktops. Contemporary black sinks look magnificent with our exotic zebrano worktops and Black Andromeda laminate worktops; or – for a high-contrast effect – we recommend pairing with a beautifully pale maple work surface.

If you’ve selected your sink but have yet to decide on your work surfaces, why not order a sample today? This handy service offers both wood worktop samples and laminate sample sets, and allows you to redeem the cost when you purchase your kitchen worktops.

Sep 30

Tree-themed cupcakes on a solid oak worktop.

Here at Worktop Express®, we take pleasure is getting involved with a variety of projects, whether helping our local community or planting trees across the UK. To ensure we go above and beyond what’s expected to minimise our carbon footprint, we certify that each and every wooden worktop that passes through our hands is ethically and sustainably sourced.

Today, we are pleased to be a part of Macmillan Coffee Morning 2016. Our staff have teamed together to produce a variety of delicious baked goods, to be sold to raise funds for this fantastic cause. The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning takes place today in businesses, organisations and neighbourhoods across the country. Macmillan is a charitable organisation, providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support for those affect by cancer; if you would like to find out more, please visit their website.

In addition to being the day of the Macmillan Coffee Morning, today is also FSC Friday, a day dedicated to the promotion of responsible forestry and the role that the Forest Stewardship Council plays in it. The FSC award certification to forests that are managed sustainably and in a manner that is environmentally sound and socially beneficial, and we are pleased to be able to provide many wooden worktops with FSC certification.

At Worktop Express, we have decided to unite these two commendable events, selling tasty forest-inspired goodies to raise money for Macmillan, whilst honouring the role carried out by the FSC – a theme perfect for ‘Botanical Week’ on the Great British Bake Off! The day is off to a flying start, and we wanted to share some photos of our tree-inspired cake creations!

Our staff baked a variety of delicious goodies to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Our cakes are inspired by forests, to also raise awareness of FSC Friday.
All proceeds for Macmillan Coffee Morning will be donated to charity.
What better way to promote the importance of responsible forestry than with tree-inspired cupcakes?

To find out more about our rigorous environmental policies, please visit our Environmental page.

Sep 26

Our team of solid wood experts have been busy fabricating a variety of made-to-measure wood worktops this month. Designed to meet each customer’s detailed specifications, each bespoke surface is made with its own unique template and cut with the ultimate precision and care.

From hob cut-outs to tap holes to decorative edge profiling, customers can take advantage of our broad range of services either by contacting us by telephone or email or by using our innovative Online Bespoke Worktop Tool. Shoppers who decided to order via this online tool will also benefit from a 10% discount on all our cutting services.

Find kitchen worktop inspiration with our three favourite custom worktops from September:

Black Andromeda

Bespoke Black Andromeda sparkle laminate worktop that is cut-to-size.

Thanks to our newly-introduced bespoke cutting service for laminate worktops, we are pleased to feature the first custom laminate surface in our ‘Fabrication Top Picks’ series. Our Black Andromeda worktops have an eye-catching sparkle surface with a high-gloss finish that is ideal for reflecting light in kitchens.

This Black Andromeda worktop has been cut to size using our high-quality CNC machine. Don’t forget, we can alter both the widths and lengths of our bespoke laminate worktops, as well as applying a number of other customisations. Visit our laminate worktop cutting servicepage to find out more.

Full Stave Oak

Made-to-measure full stave oak worktop for a kitchen island unit.

Full stave oak worktops are a luxurious choice. With 90mm-wide staves than run the entire length of the work surface, this configuration is perfect for flaunting the attractive natural figuring of oak. Oak worktops are blessed with a gorgeous golden colouration and a traditional grain; it’s no surprise, then, that they are amongst our best-selling surfaces.

This particular made-to-measure worktop has been specially produced to complete a kitchen island. The surface benefits from a small radius corner, which equips the worktop with a softer edge (a sensible choice in an area through which people frequently walk). To find out more about our complete range of services, please explore wood worktop cutting service page.


Bespoke Black Andromeda sparkle laminate worktop that is cut-to-size.

Bamboo worktops are a more popular choice for kitchens than ever before. We believe this is due to bamboo’s beautiful golden colouring, naturally water-resistant properties, and eco-friendly attributes. Bamboo is also a distinctive choice as – unlike our other worktops – these surfaces comprise slim, 20mm-wide staves that feature small markings where the nodes occur on the stem of the bamboo.

This custom worktop has been fabricated to incorporate a hob cut-out and an irregular cut-out to accommodate a pop-up extractor fan. By creating a unique template for every bespoke worktop, we can tailor your wooden work surface to your precise specifications. All custom wood worktops are treated with protective oil: this treatment preserves newly-cut edges and enhances the natural look of the grain.

If you would like to order a fantastic custom worktop of your own, why not try our innovative Online Bespoke Worktop Tool? This handy tool – which is unique to Worktop Express – allows customers to design, price-up and order bespoke worktops online, speeding up the ordering process whilst offering an additional 10% discount across all cutting services – it’s too good to miss!

Sep 19

We believe wooden counters are the natural choice for kitchens – quite literally! Crafted by Mother Nature herself, solid wood surfaces are totally unique, wonderfully warm and innately appealing. This month, we want to draw attention to our cherry worktops: thanks to their caramel colouration, these surfaces are sure to create an inviting and cosy kitchen environment – perfect for the upcoming autumn and winter seasons.

Cherry countertops have a fairly linear grain structure and are noted for their uplifting, warm colouring. This timber originates from the cherry tree, which is famous for its beautiful spring blossom. Though most commonly associated with the spectacular blooms of Japan, cherry trees are thought to have originated in Europe, and can also be found across Britain, Norway, and as far afield as Morocco and Tunisia.

Our charming cherry wooden counters will fill your kitchen with warmth and cosiness.

Due to the modest proportions of most cherry trees, our cherry worktops are only made in our ‘standard’ configuration, using 40mm-wide staves of solid wood (Deluxe and full stave constructions with 90mm-wide staves are unfortunately not available). Applying coats of Rustins Danish Oil helps to nourish these work surfaces, enhancing the natural grain and showing it at its best. The addition of cherry kitchen upstands creates a seamless join between your solid worktop and wall: a truly stylish finish.

If you fancy brightening your kitchen with charming cherry tops, why not take advantage of our kitchen worktop sample service? Samples are available in 200mm X 150mm X 27mm and 200mm X 150mm X 40mm sections, and come oiled on one side so that you can compare the original and finished product. For a price of just £5 (including delivery), these samples are too good to miss; and, better still, the cost can be redeemed against your order total when you purchase wooden worktops from Worktop Express®.

Sep 16

Being both very hardwearing and lovely to look at, it’s no surprise that timber is a popular material for countertops. The benefits of timber are not only realised in solid wood countertops, however: in fact, timber has been a valuable resource for construction since the dawn of time. Though some architects now prefer to use manmade materials like steel and concrete, traditionalists still tend to favour the unique characteristics and low carbon footprint of wood. We are pleased to note a continued use of timber in construction projects; indeed, plans are afoot for the development of many more magnificently-tall timber buildings (and some are already standing) – take a look:

The Treet Flats in Norway represent the world’s tallest timber structure, and we thought our 4-metre wood worktops were impressive!

Treet Flats – Bergen, Norway

In the Norwegian language, the word ‘treet’ means ‘tree’; apt, as this 14-storey block of flats in Norway is currently the tallest timber-framed building in the world. Measuring 160 feet tall, the structure comprises luxury apartments, and was conceived by the Bergan and Omegn Building Society in order to create sustainable and cutting-edge homes for the future.

Construction on Brock Commons will be complete next year – our solid wood worktops would make a fantastic feature!

Brock Commons – University of British Columbia, Canada

Due for completion in September 2017, this 18-storey building is being built to provide additional accommodation for 404 students at the University of British Columbia. The columns of the building are made from Glulam – glued laminated timber – which is a natural alternative to steel or concrete. Once complete, the building will stand at 174 feet tall, making it the tallest timber-framed building in the world.

The Haut building in Amsterdam will stand at 240 feet tall, and represents a growing trend for tall solid wood architecture.

Haut Building – Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Haut building in Amsterdam is scheduled for construction to begin in late 2017, and – if all goes to plan – will comprise 21 storeys and will top the charts at an enormous 240 feet! The wood-clad skyscraper is intended for the Amstelkwartier district, and is yet another example of a growing trend for tall timber architecture.

Committed to sourcing wood countertops sustainably, we fully support the construction of the energy-efficient Tratoppen in Stockholm.

Tratoppen – Stockholm, Sweden

Tratoppen – ‘the tree top’ – is one of the most impressive architectural endeavours to make it onto our list. Though there are no immediate plans to start work on this timber tower, conceptual designs were released earlier this year illustrating the plans of Anders Berensson Architects to create this 436-foot-tall structure. Boasting a total of 40 storeys, this tower would be made from cross-laminated timber (CLT) and decorated with giant numbers indicating the floor number. Designed with energy-efficiency in mind, the numbers are also intended to act as a sun screen, helping to keep the building cool.

The proposed site for London’s Oakwood Tower is just a short tube ride from our wooden worktops showroom in Camden!

Oakwood Tower – London, England

Not to be forgotten, London has hatched designs for its own timber skyscraper. A proposed addition to the capital’s Barbican estate, this unprecedented structure would dwarf all others before it: it’s set to measure 984 feet high and boast a grand total of 80 storeys. This would make it second only to the Shard in height, which dominates London’s skyline at a spectacular 1,016 feet. Designed by PLP Architects, the project is still awaiting planning permission.

Visitors to our blog will be aware that the Worktop Express® team are extremely fond of discovering ever-weirder and more wonderful uses for wood; so, if you have witnessed any outstanding timber structures on your travels, please share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Sep 12

There are a number of weird and wonderful kitchen gadgets available to improve the efficiency and enjoyment of your culinary tasks, ranging from putting the kettle on to eating your bowl of ramen-for-one.

In addition to our tech-friendly gadgets for wooden worktops, there are many other handy gismos on the market that are ideal for iPhone users. Take a look at our top-rated collection of kitchen gadgets for the smart phone enthusiast:

If you're dining solo in your wood kitchen, why not invest in the Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl?

Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl

Yes, it is really called that. The Anti-Loneliness Ramen Bowl is the ideal solution for ramen-lovers with a tendency to dine solo.

This innovative crockery, from MisoSoupDesign, incorporates an iPhone dock, so users can view their device with ease whilst slurping on a delicious bowl of noodles.

With this handy bowl you can make dinner dates with far-away loved ones a reality by FaceTiming over some soupy goodness!

Ensure food is cooked to perfection in wood kitchens with the iGrill Thermometer.

iGrill Thermometer

Download the iGrill iPhone app, and a long-range Bluetooth connection can guarantee your food is cooked to perfection with this useful gadget.

The iGrill Thermometer is compatible with iPhones and iPads alike. Simply insert the probe into the food you wish to cook, access the app and choose your goal temperature. Remain with a 200ft range and the app will notify you once your food has reached its desired temperature.

Whilst cooking up a storm on wood countertops, use the iPhone Chef Sleeve to protect your phone from floury fingerprints.

iPhone Chef Sleeve

Ideal for the budding chefs and culinary-curious among us, the iPhone Chef Sleeve keeps screens clean and free of floury fingerprints when the baking begins.

These screen-saving sleeves from The Orange Chef Co. are disposable, recyclable and touch-sensitive: if you’re keen to cook up a storm without clouding your screen, what could be better?

Solid wood iPhone stands are the ideal gadget-friendly accessory for real wood worktops.

Solid Wood iPhone Stand

Our solid wood iPhone stands are a smart addition to real wood worktops, and are available in a range of timbers. Coordinate your stand with your kitchen worktops for a supremely stylish look.

Crafted with a small groove to hold your iPhone snugly, these worktop gadgets also have a matching option for iPads.

Kit out wood worktops than an iKettle, and never leave the comfort of your bed until the water has reached the temperature you require.

iKettle 2.0 Wi-Fi Electric Kettle

Ever wake up with desperate cup-of-tea cravings and loathe the 2-3 minute wait whilst your kettle gradually bubbles to a boil?

Fortunately, these moments are no longer necessary, as you can turn on Smarter’s iKettle from the comfort of your bed, only emerging from your cave of slumber once the water is ready to go! You can even avoid a bitter herbal brew by specifying your preferred temperature.

Use our Wood Worktop Cutting Service to order surfaces with our handy WEX Solid Wood Wireless Worktop Charger.

Solid Wood Wireless Worktop Charger

With the WEX Solid Wood Wireless Worktop Charger, mid-recipe phone battery failures (and unfilled tummies) will soon become a thing of the past.

Another nifty device from Worktop Express, this charger comes built into a high-quality piece of timber, with a range of species to choose from. You can even plump for the standalone option, which we can integrate into your wood countertop itself when you take advantage of our Wood Worktop Cutting Service.

If you’ve got the gadgets but still want for wood worktops, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your requirements – we’re here to help and would love to hear from you!