I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for ages but since the theme of things at home at the moment is finishing off then I thought I’d finish a few old posts I’ve got hanging around too.
Remember how I moved everything from one side of the kitchen to the other … including the kitchen sink?
Most people thought I’d finally lost the plot, and at times even I thought I’d bitten off a bit more than I could chew, but it was a good game – and one I enjoyed playing most of the time
If I had thought about it properly I would have taken some “before” shots to compare with after but I didn’t, I just dived in so my before picture is an “Artist’s impression” created by Middle Daughter.
It wasn’t until after I had taken the old kitchen apart and moved the bulk of the units to the other end of the room that I thought of taking some “before” pictures.
There used to be a worktop fixed to the wall under the window and the washing machine was plumbed in underneath it. Against the wall where the washing machine and kitchen units are now we had a large pine table and bench set. The kitchen was set up as a kitchen/diner, but the table and benches weren’t in the easiest place to eat, and the busy kitchen wasn’t at all good for a relaxing cuppa or some quiet homework.
You can see from the “after” picture that the rest of the changes in this corner were mostly cosmetic, the spider plant survived, the washing machine is different and the little freezer from underneath the worktop now sits in Eldest daughter’s kitchen.
This is what the next corner looked like at the same time.
I did an earlier update here after I’d literally built some new cupboards out of the old ones and added some good old “Stickyback plastic” to the doors.
Oh boy, what a mess the other end of the kitchen was.
The cooker stayed where it was, I’m not brave enough, stupid enough or qualified enough to tackle gas pipes. Finally, after many, many, many months of playing around with this and that I was almost there and I showed you how I was getting along with a “Kitchen update“.
So finally with the bulk of the kitchen moved from one end to the other, I was able to create a cosy little dining area, a little table for two, just the right size for us at the moment, but so easily extended with a cleverly disguised pasting table for the Christmas buffet, and a comfy little settee in the corner where the sunshine streams in through the window to make a perfectly relaxing “Lightbox“.
Moving The contents of the kitchen from one end to the other was a pretty big thing in itself but as I’ve discovered with most of the house, I’m not the only D.I.Y. enthusiast who’s lived here. Now I know I’m a bit of a perfectionist, no, let’s make that a lot of a perfectionist, but I do know my limitations and there are a few local tradesmen who probably laugh at me but who are also quite used to coming in and just doing a tiny piece of a job for me, but each time I uncover a piece of the previous D.I.Y. I despair at what I’m faced with and the kitchen was no different to the rest of the house.
Originally in our house the kitchen had been a tiny room and the dining area now attached to the kitchen was attached to the lounge. The change of layout had been achieved by knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, and putting up a partition next to the lounge. When I decorated the lounge I found that although the framework of the partition was quite sound, the facing was made not of plasterboard, not even of plywood, but of hardboard, so no sooner had it been put up, the moisture from the paste on the wallpaper used to cover it had made it warp. Needless to say I replaced the hardboard on the lounge side of the partition with plasterboard, and sealed it suitably before decorating.
When I uncovered the kitchen side of the partition I was more frustrated than surprised to find hardboard again, this time tiled over around the back of the kitchen worktops causing the hardboard to warp which in turn caused the grout to crack. Off I went again with the plasterboard and pollyfiller until I managed to make a result I was satisfied with.
The ceiling was bit of a nightmare in itself, I had to fill in the hole above the corner where the the kitchen light switches and other electrics had once been boxed in so I bought a whole sheet of plasterboard and used the rest of the sheet to cut out and replace some damaged bits of ceiling where there used to be a leaky shower unit in the bathroom above and water had dripped though. After no end of filling, skimming and painting, I eventually had it looking pretty good (not perfect) but pretty good and I was almost happy with it … then we had a leak in the bathroom.
I’d decorated the bathroom during the time I’d been doing the kitchen too, but the leak wasn’t my fault. Remember, I’ll only do as much D.I.Y. as I’m confident I can do so I plumbed in the sink unit, but when it came to the bath and shower I called in my plumber. When the leak happened I called the plumber back and it appeared the overflow had come loose so they fixed it – and didn’t even charge me.
As for the ceiling, I threw my arms up in the air and called the insurance company. Since the leak had been fixed and everything would dry out they paid for a plasterer to come and put up a whole new covering of plasterboard and to skim it all nice and flat. There was a little issue about the plaster drying too quickly above the boiler but I said I’d deal with that and all I had to do was re-paint, in hindsight (which is always a tool I wish I could employ earlier) I should have claimed for the cost of the paint to repaint the ceiling as well.
Pollyfiller and paint took care of the rest of the ceiling but when it came to painting around the light I had another reminder of why I don’t like strange workmen doing jobs in my house. The stupid plasterer had screwed the glass ceiling light up into just the plasterboard ! No special plugs and no support ! Needless to say, it’s now safely screwed into the ceiling joists, back where it was before he started and his name and number have been removed from my trusted tradesmen list.
Eventually I was almost finished, I’d even put on the final piece of skirting board which seemed to have been hanging around forever. We bought some new carpet for the lounge and I cut a tidy piece from the old blue one to go in the diner end of the kitchen, then we picked some cushion flooring to match the rest of the kitchen and since the concrete was so old underneath, we arranged for the concrete to be re-skimmed before the flooring was laid.
The carpet fitter arrived and helped to move the ‘white goods’ to the other end of the kitchen then he poked at the floor to take up any loose bits and uncovered what looked like a tree root running along the back wall where I had put the washing machine. I think we were all a bit puzzled as to how far the root had travelled to get there, but a little more prodding produced a hiss… and an all too recognisable smell.
The mains were turned off and the flooring delayed while the gas pipe was safely re-routed from the meter to the central heating boiler and the cooker – above floor level.
Finally, as I said, many, many months after I started, the kitchen is finished. Thinking back, we were surprisingly lucky. Our washing machine was rented, an expensive way of doing things I know, but I guess we had our money’s worth as I had it changed twice because although it was working fine, there was a strange smell coming from the back of it… Hey ho.
More from before: happenings in “my Kitchen“.