Thursday, 29 August 2013

Our New House–Completion of the Kitchen

The first of two posts for today.

The kitchen in our new house is complete! I am absolutely delighted with my beautiful new kitchen and can’t wait to move in and start using it properly. Today I spent quite a long time cleaning out some of the cupboards and installing things in them which my hubby brought over – only the tip of the iceberg so far, but I’m hoping to get most of it in before the move. When we moved to our present house, it was horrendous for the first few days because the kitchen was filled with boxes, and I couldn’t find the things I needed, so I thought I would try and get ahead of things with this current move.

Before showing you the most recent kitchen photos, laid out on the worktop was a series of screws which just had to be photographed – Andy told me they were the concrete screws for fixing the handrail by the steps from the annexe door to the patio.

01 Beautiful Concrete Screws

They were all rainbow-coloured and so pretty with their double-helix threads – one thick, one thin. We creative folks spend a fortune on alcohol inks etc. to get this sort of effect! I have no idea how this is done; it may be the result of some sort of hardening process. Shame they are going to be buried forever in concrete. They should be made into jewellery!

In this photo you can see close-up what the worktop is like – almost white, with a beautiful texture and marbled effect. With the light oak effect of the units, it gives the kitchen a beautiful light and airy feel, and very different from what was there before.

My beautiful hob and extractor hood in their full glory, with installation complete at last. Of course, there’s a layer of dust on everything, but hopefully over the coming weeks we’ll gradually get on top of that.

02 Hob and Hood

The hood lights are lovely and bright – two halogens shining down on the hob, with easy-access push-button switches for the lights, and three-speed fan which is a true extractor, taking the cooking fumes through an external vent to the outside, unlike the one that was there before, which merely circulated the air through a paper filter. I am particularly impressed with my hood in that the metal grille that covers the vent on the underside is easily removed by sliding a catch. It can then be washed and replaced easily. These things can get pretty manky after a while.

The hob has no control knobs but is entirely “touch screen.” This should make it much easier to clean. The switch on the right is the main isolator for the hob, with a single socket – not sure what that will be used for as the space to the right of the hob is extremely limited. The oven switch is located in the cupboard above the oven.

03 Hob

The full height units. I am so glad I opted for the peninsula unit in the end, rather than wall units along the wall the other side of the door. This arrangement makes for a lovely compact working area, and provides me with extra storage space, with carousels in the corner unit. As you can see, I have two double power points along the wall, and the two switches on the right control the fridge freezer and the strip light installed under the wall units. I shall keep my Kenwood Chef, toaster and other kitchen appliances on this worktop.

04 Full Height Units

My hubby has started taking boxes full of kitchen stuff over, and today I cleaned out the original fitted cupboards to the right of the oven – all but the very top one which I couldn’t reach without a better stepladder. I have started putting my tins and jars in, so that they are readily accessible. The middle shelf has got a mixture of things just stuffed in for now – these will eventually find their way into the utility room and other cupboards.

05 Original Fitted Cupboards Being Filled

The “Le Mans” carousels in operation. They are called this because they resemble the famous racetrack! I love the way they emerge from the cupboard (top one) and then in a beautiful sinewy motion, come right out (bottom one). As you can see, I’ve started putting my baking things – mixing bowls, measuring jugs etc. – in here.

06 Le Mans Carousels in Operation

Starting to fill the cupboards in the peninsula unit. These particular items filled a whole banana box and I am amazed that they occupy such a small space! I am thinking of getting some of those wire spacers for kitchen cupboards so I can store more stuff on top in each shelf.

07 Filling the Base Units

Even the new units required cleaning before putting anything in – the dust is everywhere! I am trying to wipe everything down with a damp cloth to prevent it dispersing into the air again, but I think it will be a while before we’re dust free. The Venetian blind in the kitchen is filthy and will take a lot of work to get it clean.

Here is a glimpse of our airing-cupboard-to-be. Paul has constructed the dividing panel. It stops short just to the right of the doorway, and half way across the space, leaving the rest of the space for the annexe. He is going to install some slatted shelves on both sides of the divide. I had a long discussion with Andy about the provision of an area for hanging – I have invited him to come to our present house to see what we’ve got here, which I was not able to explain in a way that he grasped it!!

08 Our Airing Cupboard in the Making

The doorway is going to be covered by a bi-fold door which will save space.

As you can see in this next photo, of the new work from the other side, it stops short of the ceiling. The long pendant light has now been removed and replaced with a ceiling mounted one. At the further end, against the back wall, there is a cut away portion to allow for the long heater to project the full width of the space, thus heating both airing cupboards. The switch and timer are just inside the door on our side. Once we get the solar panels installed, the timer will enable the heater to be on only during the daytime.

09 Annexe Airing Cupboard in the Making

The shelves on the right in the annexe airing cupboard will remain, and the rest of the space can be used for storage. As far as I remember, there will not be a door closing off the airing cupboard area at the end, but there is now a door closing the whole thing off from the annexe sitting room – a redundant door from our game of musical doors around the house!

When my hubby called in yesterday, he was concerned that the unit Andy was installing in the utility room would not allow sufficient space for me to get my wheelchair through into the kitchen. Today we brought my newer wheelchair over so we could test it – it is slightly wider than the old one which now lives in the new house. The gap was too small, by about only half an inch! The unit Andy has used is one left over when the old kitchen was taken out, and he is now going to have to get a narrower one, which is a nuisance – we can’t just shove it over towards the left, or there won’t be enough room for the washing machine.

Bringing the wheelchair in was very useful because it threw up another problem. While the ramps that Andy and Chris made for me work perfectly, there is a rather high threshold in the doorway itself. I can manage to do a wheelie to get in, but the anti-tip bars on the back of the wheelchair catch on the threshold as the drive wheels bump down off the threshold, and on the way out, I managed to get the front castors over by doing a wheelie, but was totally unable, even with the power-assisted wheels, to get enough impetus to get the drive wheels over the threshold at all, and Andy had to shove me! I can’t depend on him being there all the time to fulfil this useful function, of course, so we’ve got to think of some sort of temporary ramp that can be stored just outside the back door to enable me to get in and out when I’m using the wheelchair.

Andy took some time out late morning to go to B&Q to get a new base unit for the utility room, the new sink and some doors, and came back muttering, “I hate B&Q!” I said, “I know you do… what’s brought it on this time?” He said they only had one wall unit in stock, and no base units at all! This is supposed to be a stock item, and he should have been able just to pop in and buy what he wanted. He couldn’t be bothered to stay and queue for hours to order what he wanted, and is going back when he returns from his holiday, when they should be back in stock.

In the photo of our airing cupboard, above, you can see two small units on the floor on the right. These are actually wall units from the old kitchen, less deep than conventional floor units, and Andy is going to mount these on plinths to give us a bit of extra storage space in the back passageway. He has enough worktop the same as that in the annexe kitchen for all of this, and needs to get some new doors for the sink unit, these two shallow units, and a further unit which is going on the wall to the left of the washing machine. Space is at a premium in this area of the house and we need as much storage space as possible. The annexe is actually better off for storage per square foot of floor space than this part of the main house, it seems!

10 Work on Utility Room Sink Unit

In the photo above, you can see the offending wide base unit. A smaller one will bring the projecting right-hand side further from the doorway and give enough space to pass through. The corner of the worktop will be trimmed back from the edge of the unit to meet the doorframe.

Armed with a small strip of the light oak effect from the main kitchen, my hubby and I called in at B&Q on our way home, to check out Andy’s suggestion of their maple effect unit doors. It seems he may have missed the beech ones, which are actually a much better colour match with the units in the main kitchen – we are trying to get them more or less the same, as the utility room is visible from the kitchen. We did cost up the option of having further matching Howden’s units in the utility room but the cost was prohibitive, and an unnecessary expense. I also chose some handles similar to those in the main kitchen and noted down the stock numbers of these items so that Andy can get them on his trade account next time he is there.

Since I was last over, Paul (not there today) has resumed work on the bathroom, and has started laying the plywood flooring which will support the floor tiles.

11 Plywood Flooring Going Down in Bathroom

Andy informed me today that there is a problem with the wet room. If I am to have a true wet room, the floor in that area (beyond the arch and to the right) will have to be lowered in order for the water from the shower to drain away, and in this particular case, it would involve removing the tops of the joists, which Andy is extremely reluctant to do, as it would weaken the floor. He suggested getting a large shower tray like the one Paul has installed in the annexe bathroom, which will more or less fill the space, coming practically into contact with the base of the loo. The remaining floor around the loo will be tiled as planned. In the absence of a shower screen or curtain, this will be virtually the equivalent of a wet room anyway, so I have agreed. It will make no difference as far as room for the shower stool is concerned, and there is only a small lip to step over, which is not a problem for me.

My hubby was over at the house with me today, and was extremely busy all day. He’s been continuing to work on the garden fencing. He has finished painting the front door (pillarbox red!!) and was working on repainting the wrought iron gates in front and to the side of the house. The other day he cleaned the whole of the front with a hose and a brush, and painted the tops of the gate posts, and suddenly the whole place is looking a lot cleaner and smarter, brighter and less down-at-heel and unloved in appearance. Once we get our tubs of flowers in the front, it’s going to look absolutely gorgeous!

12 Painting the Gates at the Front

Across the road on the other side from my hubby, you can see Katie, our Kangoo, complete with her butterfly stickers!!

Also outside, they poured the concrete for the garage foundations yesterday and the area is amazing! It looks massive! I went up to look when we first arrived and I didn’t take my camera with me, and later I forgot to photograph it, I’m afraid, but I’m back again tomorrow and will try and remember to do it then. Propped against the garden fence was the old window from the annexe, which Andy is going to recycle in the garage – double-glazed UPVC, and quite large, so it will let in lots of light over my hubby’s workbench which is being created with old worktops from the original kitchen. The old garage is now the hardcore for the foundation of the new, so nothing is going to waste!

My final picture for today shows the completed steps outside the annexe external door. Andy removed the wooden shuttering while we were there; the steps were made yesterday morning and are not fully dry yet, but will be fine in another 24 hours, when he can install the metal hand rail that he has had made for the purpose.

13 Annexe Steps

The annexe kitchen isn’t quite complete – on Monday the last bit of plaster was still not dry enough for Paul to complete the tiling, but this should be done on his return tomorrow. When he’s finished in there, I can get it cleaned up and start moving Mum’s stuff in. She’s got boxes and boxes of kitchen stuff and there may not be room for it all, so some tough decisions may need to be made when she arrives! (We’ve set the date with my sister this evening for her arrival, which will be Saturday 28th September, which will give us just under a fortnight to recover ourselves after our own move on Monday 16th.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh so much excitement going on Shoshi!I feel tired just looking at all that building work.We need painting done, but I'm using my asthma as an excuse to put it off for a while.
    That builders dust seeps into everything.


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