After stalling for as long as possible I gave in the fight at the start of the year and agreed that the kitchen needed replacing. It was 20 years old as is the extension that houses it and my main concern was that the structure might need some attention as we know it wasn’t the best built. However a local builder gave it the thumbs up and confirmed that the blown plaster and eroded cement were no cause for concern.
The kitchen designing and choosing process was always going to be lengthy with endless possibilities to consider but we were happy to keep the existing layout and just tweaked it a bit. Catriona had the details of the original kitchen fitter and had enquired after extra matching units to put on the opposite wall but the £5k quoted seemed ludicrous. Having ripped the old units apart I appreciate that the facias and the surrounds were well made but suspect that this guy was a carpenter rather than a kitchen fitter as the electrics, plumbing and fittings were all of the lowest quality and poorly installed. The project has moved along at a decent pace and the main headache was emptying out all the cupboards and finding space for everything whilst the kitchen was empty. You will not be suprised to hear that we will be manning our own bric-a-brac stall at next month’s church fete (fondu set anyone?)
We had a local fitter recommended to us and although he’s a one man band he has 30 years experience and is well connected with the ability to call in his recommended plaster, tiler and UPVC fitter at the drop of the hat, so in effect he project managed the whole thing for us too. Stuart started by rewired the lights himself then called in ‘Tommy’ the plasterer to patch and skim the roof. ‘Bruce’ fitted a new back door opening out rather than in and whilst we were at it we had a barn door fitted. We arranged for our own electrician to wire in a couple of exterior lights whilst the walls were in a state and then I removed the existing wall units to reveal the state of the wall – which was pretty bad. There was much vertical work for Tommy to do and we reduced his bill by pulling off the plaster on the wall behind the garage for ourselves which was quite good fun (for the first hour anyway).
Stuart claimed he could do the kitchen within a week, but as suspected it took a little longer. This was probably because Stuart’s missus had gone out to their Spanish villa and he was filling up his days whilst they were apart but he worked hard for the first 48 hours meaning we could cook in there by Tuesday evening and he had the dishwasher plumbed back in the following day. There are a few things that still need to be finished: kick boards need fitting after the Karndean floor has been eninstalled in a couple of weeks time, a splashback is still being made to measure and plug sockets will be replaced after ‘Vinny’ has done his tiling in 3 weeks time. Stuart is a United fan and it concerns me that we have gone for a red, white and black colourscheme although there is still time to change the tile order from red to sky blue.
We now have 6 more plug sockets, more cupboard and drawer storage. There’s a fabulous double oven, integrated microwave and the new hob is digital electric so far prettier and ‘cleanable’ than the old gas rings we had. We’ve a ceiling high larder unit by the side of the fridge freezer, moved the dishwasher to be by the sink and have a powerful extractor hood vented out. Stuart replaced a couple of skirting boards the previous owner’s dog had gnawed through as well as the replacing the radiator and installing a floor level fan heater to give us an extra boost when we are sat at the kitchen table in the depths of winter. The draws and cupboards are just where we want them too. The kitchen is probably the most important room in the house, the kids draw, paint and play in there as well as eat (and throw food around for amusement too). Maria sits at the table to do ‘clever stuff’ after tea so it might become a homework venue too given time. We don’t begrudge the money we have spent as we’ve got a lot for it and have everything just as we want. I hope to post pictures of it finished (and decorated!) by the end of this month.