Thursday, 18 July 2013

Our New House–Pipes and Worktops and Handles and…

Over to the new house again today, and lots of progress on all fronts! This is my usual first of two posts after a New House visit – please see the second one for details of progress on my ARTHaven.

Most of the work continues in the kitchen. Once this is done, work can begin on the annexe kitchen and utility room. When we arrived today, the worktops were in! Here is my wonderful reduced-height worktop going under the window and around the corner as far as the cooker.

John is being very careful to keep it covered with cardboard from the kitchen packaging to protect it from damage.

01 Reduced Height Worktop

The sink will go on the left, then there will be a work surface. the microwave will go in the corner, and then round the corner there will be the hob, and more work surface between the hob and the oven tower.

We’ve got handles!!

02 Handles and Worktops

This is the full-height unit and peninsula, with the fridge-freezer tower on the right.

The display unit on the opposite wall is now completed, with its handles. Most of the doors and drawers now have their soft-closing devices fitted as well. Very smooth.

03 Display Cabinet Completed

Back to the other side, and you can see how John measures and marks up for the placement of the handles. Sticking a piece of masking tape onto the door or drawer front, he marks that with pencil and drills through. Once the holes are in place, he pulls the tape off, leaving no mark. Clever stuff.

04 Measuring for Drawer Handles

The fridge-freezer is now installed in the tower beside the utility room doorway. The next picture shows the cabinet doors open, not yet attached to the fridge and freezer doors. Above the top of the fridge you can see a strip, onto which the door will butt, and after installing it, John wasn’t happy and took it off and re-did it – when I asked what was wrong with it, he said you have to leave a tiny gap along the vertical edge of the opening side of the door, to ensure that the seals on the fridge and freezer work properly. and he needed to move the top strip by a few millimetres to make it perfect. His attention to detail is wonderful.

05 Fridge-Freezer Installed

Here is John working on the fridge-freezer, and you can see the interior of the fridge. It all looks very nice. The shelves are glass rather than plastic-covered wire, which is going to be a lot easier to manage, and to keep clean. It looks more spacious than my current under-counter fridge (which Mum is having in the annexe kitchen).

06 John Working on the Fridge-Freezer

In the next picture you can see the interior of the freezer, too. This is a lot smaller than the large chest freezer we currently have (on its last legs now, so we’ll get rid of it when we move) – we don’t need such a large one, and we have got a smaller chest freezer which is going in the outhouse, which we will share with Mum, and for her everyday use, we’ve got her a small counter-top one.

07 Fridge-Freezer Interior

You can see the small white projections on the fridge and freezer doors. These fit into slots on the inside of the wooden doors, allowing movement between the two when you open and close the doors. It all works very smoothly.

When Trevor from Howden’s was here at the beginning, he and Andy had a long discussion about the reduced-height unit under the window. They were all for putting a cupboard under the worktop between the sink and the corner, and I said that wouldn’t work, because I wouldn’t be able to sit at it. Trevor explained that you can’t have a great long worktop supported on nothing! I was prepared to compromise (reluctantly) over this, and then Andy said, “What about gallows brackets?” Trevor agreed that that would work, so gallows brackets it is – this means that the whole worktop is supported from beneath, but is still accessible along its whole length, giving an uninterrupted sweep from the door to the oven! Brilliant. This is what they look like. You can see why they are called gallows brackets! (I just hope they don’t hang the cook once she gets started in the kitchen!!)

08 Gallows Brackets

Notice the wedge John has inserted between the underside of the worktop and the gallows bracket, to keep everything level.

He has now fitted a nice piece of trim along the front, just under the worktop.

09 Trim on Reduced Height Worktop

There’s a good substantial end panel against the utility room entrance, and the sink will be installed at that end.

There’s another glass-fronted unit above the sink, which John installed today. Its door is not yet fitted.

10 Glass Wall Unit above Sink

The oven tower is now complete with its cupboard above and drawers below. John and Andy took the cooker out again to fit the reinforcements John wanted. Immediately above and below the oven was a rather curious little strip with end-grain showing at each side, and I thought it looked a bit odd, and then John filled the gaps with a nice bit of trim so the whole thing is flush, and looks very neat and good.

11 Oven Tower Complete

On the left of the pan drawer at the bottom you can see a little shelf. This will have a panel up to the underside of the worktop, which will create a storage space for my trays.

Neither the oven nor the fridge-freezer are yet wired in, but once John gets everything installed, Tim will come back and sort the electrics.

That’s about it for the kitchen for today. John discovered they were short of a few handles, but he’ll get those from Trevor before starting work again early next week.

When we first arrived today, I noticed that there was a piece of wood across the doorway from the back passageway into the annexe kitchen (the door which is going to be blocked off). When I went round and looked from the other side, I could see why – so that people wouldn’t trip over the new pipes! The plumber has been, and taken out the old boiler and tank, and for the first time, you can get an impression of what a nice little kitchen this is going to be for Mum. Once the door is blocked off, there can be units right across, and the sink will be under the window.

Our coffee bar is a bit fragmented at the moment – the old sink is still there, but nothing to put everything on, so the tray of cups and the kettle etc. are now in the annexe sitting room!

12 Boiler and Tank Removed

Here’s a closer shot of the new pipework around the corner. Like all the rest of the work going on in the house, this is being done to an excellent finish. (Andy never employs anyone who doesn’t meet what he describes as his “exacting standards”!) I was particularly impressed with the bends in the two pipes as they pass in front of the vertical pipe to the left in the picture – both bends absolutely identical! Such a neat job. Once everything is installed and it’s all hidden, it will be lovely to know how neat it all is behind. I think that shows great pride in the job.

13 New Pipework

Moving upstairs, not a great deal has been done as everyone’s been busy downstairs, but the old bath has gone. Everything is now out of the bathroom, the doorways have been created, and it’s ready for work to begin. I know my hubby can’t wait for the new bath to be taken over from our garage here – it’s taking up so much room!

14 Bath Removed

Outside, there was a very encouraging sight – a diminishing pile of roof tiles!

15 Diminishing Pile of Roof Tiles

Peter and his mate have been hard at it, and we all feel very sorry for them, up there exposed to all this tremendous heat, with no shade, and no escape from it. They have been working so hard. They had to come down and pour water over their heads and have lots of drinks – there was a plastic bin absolutely full of empty water bottles! Both of them are as brown as nuts. I definitely don’t envy them their task!

16 Roofers at Work

In this picture they are fitting the battens on top of the felt. Underneath, the purlins have been braced and the whole thing is nice and substantial and strong, and well up to the job of supporting solar panels at the back, once we get them fitted.

They have yet to do the lean-to roof. They are taking the chimney and the metal flue down as they are now redundant – the flue from the new boiler will come through the window above the back door.

They have nearly finished the roof at the front – the scaffolding has to come down early next week because there’s a time limit imposed by the council for the highways license, so this is the area where they’ve been concentrating the work until a couple of days ago. Since they’ve made such rapid progress on the back, there is no gaping hole to be guarded by the Night Watchman, so my hubby hasn’t had to go back and sleep there!

My hubby was busy outside today, working on the fence panels – unfortunately the panels that were delivered on Tuesday are too big to slot in between the concrete posts, so they will have to be trimmed down, which is a bore, and it’s all extra work, but he’ll sort it in the end. He was also working in the summer house at the top of the garden, installing some shelves for storing garden stuff.

17 Shelves in the Summerhouse

He’s going to put some hooks for hanging the mower and other garden tools.

He also cleaned out the second outhouse (not the one for the freezer, which is still full of builders’ rubbish) and cleaned the chest of drawers that was in there. He’s putting shelves in there too, and Mum can keep her garden stuff in there, and we can store the garden chairs too.

Before lunch my hubby went to the corner shop and bought us all ice creams – a most welcome treat! There were about 8 of us in the end, and it cost him under a fiver! Unbelievably good value.

I’m hoping to go over again on Monday, but we may call in over the weekend if my hubby wants to do anything else, or if we are in the neighbourhood.

We called in to see Dad on the way home – my hubby said he was struggling with his shoes yesterday so we bought him some slip-ons, but his feet are so swollen that we couldn’t get them on. We are going to try and get him some of those Comfy shoes with velcro, which he should find easier. He is very confused, very diminished, very thin and bent over. He knew who we were, but he didn’t seem to know where he was. One of the young care assistants there had a chat with me and said she could tell he had been a very intelligent man, and said “He’s a sweetie – we are so fond of him.” They certainly look after him very well, and he seems content.

Fish and chips from the van on the way home, and then bliss! Feet up, fan on, fish and chips and strawberries to follow! Apart from this ghastly heat, altogether a good day.


  1. Wow!!So much work going on now Shoshi. Love the completed oven unit.What a nice kitchen this will be, and designed for your specific needs.
    Roof progress!yay!
    Judy xx

  2. Wow! What a makeover! You should be on TV!

  3. Looks are so lucky to have an exacting builder! Everything is shaping up so nicely!

  4. Amazing! If only I could do something like this on my own... But luckily I got kitchen fitters aberdeen to do all the work for me, so I don't have to worry about it :)


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