Friday, 30 August 2013

Our New House–Kitchen Unit Woes

The first of two posts today.

We went over again today, and my hubby dropped me off fairly early as he had appointments all day. Andy was there on his own today, mostly working on the utility room, and also in my ARTHaven (see my second post).

The main problem today was that the various odd units we had left over from the main kitchen and original annexe kitchen did not have doors, and also the larger unit for the utility room sink was too big for me to get my wheelchair through into the kitchen (see yesterday’s post). Andy had gone to B&Q for some new units yesterday and they didn’t have this basic stock item in stock, much to his disgust.

Today he discovered that the old units were not a standard size, and may have come from Ikea, which is notorious for being non-standard, so the standard doors would not fit, which means we have to have new units. This is a bore when we’ve got perfectly good recyclable old units but no doors…

He went to B&Q again, after I’d told him we’d called in ourselves on the way home and chosen the doors we wanted, which were a reasonable match with the main kitchen. He came back with one wall unit only, and several doors, and also some shelf brackets for my ARTHaven. He bought the utility room sink yesterday.

05 Utility Room Sink

After all this messing about, he did manage to fit the first (larger) wall unit above the worktop in the utility room. I forgot to photograph this but will do so on Monday when I go back. It looks very nice indeed, and now I know the basic layout of the utility room and back passageway, I can begin to plan where my various bits and pieces will fit in. Andy is on holiday all next week and part of the following week so work will stop on the utility room until he returns, by which time hopefully B&Q will have sorted themselves out and restocked on this basic item!

Not only is all this very inconvenient, but it has added another £200-odd onto the budget. There have been a lot of extras (only to be expected on any project) – some of our making, some of our making on Andy’s suggestion (he has such good ideas which are hard to resist – once you’ve heard them, you know you couldn’t live with it as it is!!) and some because of unforeseen problems, like the cowboy wiring and plumbing in the annexe. Fortunately the budget has been robust enough to weather most of these storms, but it does look as if we’ll go a bit over in the end, but hopefully not by too much!

At least Andy has been able to recycle a lot of stuff, moving it from one location to another – we’ve had this with doors and sinks, and with the garage too.

Yesterday I promised I’d photograph the garage foundations, now that the concrete has been poured. It looks absolutely vast, but of course it includes some hard standing in front for off-road parking. The beginning of the garage is marked by the two breeze blocks which indicate where the central timber post will go, between the two doors.

01 Garage Foundations Laid

Andy is recycling the window he took out of the annexe when he replaced it with the smaller window and door. He is always very careful when removing items because it is quite likely they will come in useful somewhere else.

02 Garage Window

This window will be at the back of the garage, over my hubby’s workbench (also made from recycled materials – in this case, the green worktops from the original kitchen – he’s welcome to those as I hate them!!). It will overlook the garden and let in lots of light. Being a double glazed UPVC window it will help keep the garage warm – it will be insulated. He has also saved the side door from the original garage, and this will be installed in the new one.

Yesterday Andy pointed out to me where he’d attempted to make a snow angel (concrete angel?!) in the wet concrete, but unfortunately it had dried too much, and all that was revealed was a slightly discoloured weal in the concrete, which I have tried to photograph – with some enhancement of contrast, it’s just visible:

03 Snow Angel

I wish he’d been able to do a decent one! If he had, his hair and clothes would have been covered in concrete, which might not have been such a clever idea!!

Another problem cropped up when Tim the electrician was there the other day, and that is the power supply to the outhouse for the freezer. True to form, this power supply was done cowboy style – quite illegal – and Tim disconnected it forthwith. We now have to have a new power supply (more expense) probably running back from the garage which will have its own supply and board, with special armoured cable for protection from the elements. I asked Andy whether it wouldn’t be better to take the power for the outhouse from the house as it is nearer than the garage, and he’s going to discuss the options with Tim, and find out his reasoning behind his original suggestion. In the meantime, if the garage isn’t finished by the time we move in, Tim has suggested we use a temporary extension lead, running the cable from the outhouse, winding it round the original cable pipe from the house, round the corner of the house and in through the existing tumble drier vent into the utility room where my washing machine will eventually be – he is going to put a double socket in there for the washing machine and we can use that in the short term. Andy also pointed out the power supply for the water feature in our little patio outside the main kitchen window – it will be nice to get that working.

Yesterday I mentioned the very deep threshold on the back door, which makes wheelchair access impossible without assistance.

04 Deep Threshold

Over the next few days I’ve got to do some research and see if there are any removable threshold ramps available. A new door with a low threshold would be beyond the reach of our budget, but Andy did suggest we replaced the door panel with one with glass at the top – now the glass panel over the door has been replaced with a solid one to allow the boiler vent to pass through it, the back passageway is now very dark with the door closed – the only light comes through the cat flap! It’s something to think about, anyway.

As far as my own activities today were concerned, I was busy unpacking more kitchen boxes. I have finished cleaning out all the kitchen cupboards now (even the new ones needed cleaning as the dust has got everywhere), and I found Andy’s stepladder so I was able to clean the top cupboard in the fitted cupboards to the right of the oven. There’s a lot more stuff in the cupboards now, which pleases me greatly – the more we can get installed before the move, the better – after we’ve moved there will be more than enough to do and it’s great to be able to get on with some of it in advance.

I also took a few more things into my ARTHaven from the spare bedroom after my hubby came back – he was meeting a friend in the late afternoon who helped him clear away some of the rubbish which has accumulated in the garden. My hubby also had the chance once this was done, to continue working on the fence panels. We are definitely making progress on all fronts!

Andy and I sat up at the top of the garden under the apple tree to eat our lunch, and shared 8 or 9 raspberries from the raspberry canes that are growing up there! There are loads more to come. I adore raspberries and I’m so glad we’ve got some growing in our own garden.

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