Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Our New House–Back in the Kitchen and More in the Annexe

This is the first of three posts for today. A very busy day today with my hospital appointment (see post 3) followed by a visit to the carpet shop to choose Mum’s sitting room carpet, only to find that Tuesday is the one day of the week that they are closed… duh. Then off to the house mid-morning, to find Andy and Paul taking a tea break in between being hard at work, in the absence of Chris who apparently has a structural crisis at home.

Andy says he would love to take 3 months off so he can catch up with all his jobs at home! I said I would sack him as soon as he’d finished our work. His face lit up.

They’ve been going great guns in the annexe. Mum’s bathroom is finished now, except for the vinyl flooring that we’ve got to order. Here is her beautiful shower cubicle with its fold-down seat and grab rail.

01 Annexe Shower Complete

When we were clearing Mum’s house, she said she wanted to keep her bathroom cabinet, and I brought it home rather than putting it in storage, as it was a bit tatty, so I painted it white and freshened it up. Paul has fixed it up, and all I have to do is put the glass shelves and the mirrored doors in. You can see the second grab rail that Paul has put up, beside the loo, to help her step into the shower cubicle.

02 White Cabinet in Annexe Bathroom

There was a bathroom cabinet already in the house and this has gone back over the basin.

03 Wooden Cabinet in Annexe Bathroom

The plastering around the new window and door has now been primed, ready for painting.  The other day my hubby took a piece of wallpaper from this room and colour-matched it with the correct emulsion paint, and this will eventually be done, along with the rest of the painting and touching up.

04 Annexe Sitting Room Wall Ready for Painting

In the annexe kitchen, the wall units are now up. I hadn’t noticed before but they have bevelled glass in them. The sink is not yet installed, but resting in place under the window.

05 Wall Units in Annexe Kitchen

Paul has done some plastering around the power points in readiness for the tiles to go up, and has done the same on the opposite wall. You can see the power for the cooker and fridge.

06 Plastering in Annexe Kitchen

When they took out these units from the main kitchen, I was so glad when they said that there wasn’t sufficient undamaged green worktop to be used, and we’d have to have new worktops. I hated that green, and it did absolutely nothing for the wooden cabinets but made them look dark and unattractive. Here is a sample of the worktop that Andy has chosen for us – it’s got a semi-matt, slightly textured surface and a nice marble effect which goes very well with the tiles he’s got for the splashbacks in the both kitchens and utility room. (The colour looks a bit funny in this photo – it’s actually more yellowy-brown.)

07 Annexe Kitchen Worktop Sample

Here is Paul plastering around the power points in the main kitchen. It’s all starting to look neat now.

08 Paul Plastering in the Kitchen

Here is where he has plastered on the other side of the room. You can see the pipe for the extractor (which is drooping in a very depressed looking fashion on the outside wall!), and also its power supply just beneath.

09 Plastering Above Hob

Tim has now put the cover on the central light, and installed the two halogen spots over the sink.

10 Kitchen Lights

Paul then started to work on the sink plumbing. I am very happy about that, because it means that in a couple of days we will have hot and cold running water, and I can at last get to grips with the “builders’ mugs” which haven’t been washed up since I last had access to a sink!! In this picture, Paul has turned off the mains and is draining the pipes under the sink. You can see the famous gallows brackets supporting the unit,  and the skirting board propped in place. You can just see the underside of the sink from this angle – it is a shallow sink, and even though the board along the front below the worktop is not that deep, unless you stoop down, you simply can’t see it! It’s amazing.

11 Draining the Pipes Under the Sink

Here is Paul working on the kitchen plumbing. To the right of the bucket you can see my wonderful new boiling water tap that I managed to find on Ebay. A real touch of luxury in my beautiful new kitchen!!

12 Paul Working on Kitchen Plumbing

There has been quite a lot of discussion about what to do about the pipes and cables under the sink. Normally these are concealed by the cabinets, but in this case, because there are no cabinets to enable me to get my knees underneath, it was a bit of a problem.

When the kitchen was being installed, Andy was not pleased that the panel they had supplied to go along the outside of the peninsula had the grain running horizontally, which really didn’t look right, as everywhere else it was running vertically on the base units, and he had to make up three separate panels from left-over pieces, all with the grain running vertically, to make it look right. Trevor from Howden’s said he’d never had anyone complain about that before! Another example of Andy’s “exacting standards” perhaps? Anyway, this horizontal-grained panel was redundant, and they thought it would end up getting dumped, until Paul had a brainwave this afternoon, that it could be used to conceal the pipes under the sink! The grain runs horizontally along the board in front of the sink, so it looks fine. By the end of the day, he had cut the slots and holes in it for the various pipes etc.

13 Panel Under Sink

The green striped box on top contains the tap for the sink – a beautiful pull-out monobloc.

Finally, outside, my ramp is now complete. They have made the two “wings” at the sides to allow easy access from either side, and the original ramp from the back step leads to the bottom step of the steps going up the side of the garden.

14 Ramp Complete

Here it is from the side. With all the stuff in the way, I wasn’t able to give it a trial run – I shall have to be very careful not to get carried away and career at top speed into Mum’s patio and give her the shock of her life (possibly doing a backflip on the way?)

15 Ramp from Side

That was all the work that the team did, apart from what Andy did in my ARTHaven (see post No. 2). I wasn’t idle today, either, but managed to clear ALL the boxes from the entrance lobby. I cleaned out the understairs cupboard and started to put stuff in there. My hubby provided me with some small white bookshelves to put things on, and I’ve measured up to see if any of our other redundant ones from our present house will also fit in.

I wanted to clear the entrance lobby because when Mum’s furniture arrives out of storage on 23rd August, among her stuff is a large pine dresser which is going in the entrance lobby. She hasn’t got room for it, and I said I would love it to keep our china in, because we will no longer have a dining room and are having to get rid of our beautiful dining room suite, unfortunately.

My hubby was also very busy today, continuing to work on the garden fencing, and he also started painting the tops of the little walls in front of the house. The whole of the front looks a bit sad and tatty, but a lot of the problem is that it’s just dirty, and once we can get a hose onto the front of the house and clean up the masonry and the grubby white UPVC window frames, it will look a lot nicer. A longer-term plan for me is to get to grips with the dull brown letter box and front door step and polish them to their original bright brass finish. I love these brass fittings that one used to see so often in town houses. We have lots of original features and it will be nice to show them off.

We had fun and games all day today! The team were on fine form. It started as soon as we arrived, because I was all in purple today, and was using my purple crutches. They were sitting in Mum’s patio having their mid-morning tea break when we arrived, and Andy said “Oh! You’re all purple! You almost match the scaffolding!” I laughed and pointed out my own purple scaffolding (crutches). He said if I didn’t watch out, when Mr. Chapple eventually did turn up to remove his scaffolding, he might inadvertently toss me in the back of his truck along with the rest of it.

The scaffolding is becoming a bit of a sore point, actually, because it’s distinctly in the way now. The work on the roof is finished and they are keen for the scaffolding to be removed so that they can make Mum’s back step, for starters. It took ages to come in the beginning, and now we can’t get rid of it!! We sat over lunch together and came up with all sorts of suggestions to get Mr. Chapple to come and get it. Andy threatened to cut off one of the legs if he didn’t come for it tomorrow. We then said we should make a feature of it, and use the best quality materials (my hubby suggested hardboard – nothing but the best lol!) to board it in and make an extension for Mum. I said we could convert it into a conservatory for her. We decided we should definitely grow some plants up it. Then we thought we’d either sell it to a rival contractor and make pots of money, or set up in business as scaffolders in competition with Chapple’s and make pots of money. Not…

When I went up to see what Andy was doing with my ARTHaven shelves, he was complaining that he needed time off to do his own house, and I suggested that we clone him, like I tried to do with his partner Wonderwoman (my home help) because all my online friends wanted her to work for them, too. He thought this would be a good idea, and then I remembered… “No, on second thoughts, Andy, one of you on the roads is more than enough!!” Wonderwoman tells me that every time they go out in the car together she says “Stop the car! I’m getting out!” and if she’s driving, he gets so mad at her for going so slowly that he grabs the wheel, works the indicators, etc. etc. and complains that she drives like a granny. “That’s because I AM a granny!” she says.

Trevor from Howden’s arrived, and as he went upstairs to see Andy, Paul called out, “You’d better knock… I’m not sure if he’s…” (I think he was going to say “working on long shelves just inside the door”) but Trevor said, “Is he in the nude or something?” I think he already thought it was a madhouse… I am convinced it is.

I went into the kitchen to find Andy and Paul kneeling on the floor, poring over a scrap of cardboard and making intricate drawings on it while discussing how to fix something. I assumed this was to do with my panel under the sink, but Andy looked up and said, “Ooops. You caught us moonlighting! We’re trying to work out how to support Paul’s new decking!” I said, “Moonlighting while on OUR job?? I shall sack the lot of you!” at which Andy beamed and he replied, “Yaaayyyy!”

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