Warning – photo-rich post!
The first of two posts for today. Over at the new house today we found a hive of activity, and then contributed to it – with me doing things indoors and my hubby working hard outside.
The first thing we noticed on arrival was that Paul had started the kitchen tiling. Unfortunately it’s really hard to get the colour right – in the pictures the tiles look white, but they are actually a natural marble-effect. I had problems with the light in most of the indoor photos today because the sun was extremely bright.
In the next picture you can see he’s begun tiling to the left of the window, and is working on the arch from the utility room.
Tiling over the hob.
The tiling is now complete, ready for grouting. Once this is done, Ashley the painter can come back on Wednesday and paint the kitchen, after which the extractor hood can be installed. I think this will complete the work on the kitchen.
The new plaster in the utility room.
The next series of pictures shows Paul working on the arch between the utility room and the back passageway. I managed to persuade Andy (who has an aversion to arches!!) to allow me to have one over the doorway created by the removal of the door. Without the arch, it looks as if a door has been removed, and the arch makes it look much more like an original, intended feature. Andy said, “I take your point…” I said to Paul, “He’s softening!!! We’ll make an arch convert of him yet!” I have chosen the Flannigan and Allen song “Underneath the Arches” as Andy’s theme tune.
Originally Paul thought he might use a purchased arch former, but in the end decided to construct it himself. He has cut four curved pieces of plasterboard to form the arch, and in this photo he is attaching them to the doorway.
Here he is attaching the small blocks which serve to support the arch pieces.
This picture shows the construction of the arch, taken from underneath.
Paul demonstrating how to construct the curved piece to cover this construction, which will form the base for the plaster. Taking a strip of plasterboard, he has made a series of cuts at right-angles to the length, but not all the way through. This causes the strip to flex, and enables it to follow the curve. I have seen something similar done with skirting board, to follow a curved wall.
The curved strip of plasterboard in place, nailed to the small wooden blocks.
Paul finishing the attachment of the curved piece.
Forming the curved piece in this way obviously creates a series of flats, but these are obliterated by the plaster. Here is the first, rough coat of plaster on the inside of the arch.
Paul smoothing out the rough plaster inside the arch.
Working down the insides of the doorway.
The rough plaster layer complete. Once dry, the finishing skim of fine plaster can be applied, ready for painting.
A moment before the next photo was taken, Andy was also there, looking at it and smiling, and I said, “I’ve got to get a photo of this! A picture of Andy smiling in approval at an arch!!” At this, of course, he promptly vanished into the annexe, and nothing would persuade him to come back!
Paul said I should have said nothing, and simply taken the photo, and the only way we’d ever get a picture of Andy smiling underneath an arch would be to photoshop his head onto Paul’s body!! Using my Serif PhotoPlus photo editing software (which does pretty well everything Photoshop can do, at a fraction of the price) I have done just that.
Eat your heart out, Andy!! (Amazing – and somewhat disturbing – what you can do with a bit of photo manipulation… They can make you believe anything these days!)
To return to more serious matters… The next series of pictures shows Andy putting the finishing touches to the units in the annexe kitchen. Here he is glueing strips to the exposed cut ends of the worktops. He is not using those iron-on strips (which I find always come off eventually), but good old-fashioned Evo-Stik contact adhesive, which will attach these strips for life. He apologised for the smell, but I said not to worry, as this smell held fond memories for me. In the 60s when Formica was all the rage, my dad put it on everything and more or less built Mum’s kitchen for her, and the smell takes me back to the happy days when I was a child and used to “help” Dad in the workshop and always enjoyed watching him making things.
Evo-Stik looks exactly like Nestle condensed milk, something else that Dad loved. We used to give him a tin of this for Christmas and he used to eat it straight out of the tin with a teaspoon! (I don’t recall him ever doing this with Evo-Stik, though!)
Here are the unit ends finished, ready to receive the cooker and fridge when we move.
The sink in the annexe kitchen. Originally Andy was going to use the one from the old main kitchen, but it was too large, so this is now going in my ARTHaven. The sink he has used here is a second-hand one from his store, which was originally going in my ARTHaven. Sort of game of musical sinks around the house…
The next picture shows where the fridge is going. Mum is having my fridge from our present house, having left hers in their old house. As I am having a new fitted fridge freezer in my new kitchen, this is now redundant, and newer than hers, so she is having it. Tim has wired in a power point under the worktop for it, with a fused spur running up behind, so that it can be switched on or off without having to pull it out – this is the smaller of the two boxes over the worktop. Beside it is the double box which will house the cooker switch and a single socket.
We have bought Mum a small counter-top freezer for her day-to-day use (she will also share with us the chest freezer in the outhouse), and this will sit on this worktop.
The space to the left of the fridge will be occupied by the slot-in electric cooker, also from our house. She had a separate ceramic hob in her old kitchen, which has remained as it was fitted, and again, as I am having a new fitted hob in my kitchen in the new house, my cooker is now redundant, and Mum is having it. It is only a few years old and in good condition.
You can see the cable for the cooker coming through the wall via a plastic box. All this cabling was laid while the space between the annexe kitchen and the back passageway was exposed, at the same time that Jamie laid his famous pipework. To the left you can see the capped-off end of a gas pipe – a bit of future-proofing, in case anyone in future wants a gas cooker in this space. Much easier and cheaper to lay the pipes when everything was exposed, than to do it later.
We have taken the same approach the other side of the annexe kitchen, fitting plumbing for a washing machine behind the two single units. Mum doesn’t need a washing machine because I shall be doing all the laundry, but if any tenant in the future wants their own, they simply have to remove the two small units to expose the plumbing, and slot in their machine.
After all the pipework was finished and the wall created with plasterboard, there were a couple of pipes remaining, projecting down from the ceiling, and the finishing touch for Andy today was to box these in.
Andy completing the box. When this is painted white, it will not be noticeable. He has suggested installing a spotlight in this box to shine down on Mum’s worktop, which I think is a good idea – to keep the cost down, this will come on with the main kitchen light, and not be on a separate switch.
Major progress today – the scaffolding has been taken down at long last!!! It was becoming a sore point with Andy as it was so in the way, and preventing him from getting on and making the step from Mum’s new door to her patio. Speaking to Mr. Chappel, he explained that it suited them better to leave the scaffolding in situ until they were ready to use it on their next job, so that they just had to take it down and load it onto the truck and take it straight to the new job, rather than offloading it at the depot and then reloading it for the next job. I can see his point, but this practice does result in irritated customers who are forced into acting as temporary storage for their scaffolding for no charge!!!
In this picture you can see the roof of the outhouse, which Peter the roofer has cleaned off and sealed for us. It looks so much better than before! His work is now complete.
Now you can see the new roof in all its glory, without the scaffolding. We are delighted with how it looks.
My hubby was busy all day outside, tidying up and cleaning. Here, he is in next-door’s garden, clearing away the massive growth of ivy which is choking everything. Our neighbour is very pleased that my hubby is taking care of this boundary fence, even though it is really her responsibility – we are putting in taller fence panels (more privacy for both) and putting anti-cat spikes on top in an attempt to keep our kitties in the garden.
After lunch he sat down and started to repair the pretty little garden seat in Mum’s patio. The wood on the back is coming apart – it is a curved piece made up of several pieces of wood, and the joints have gone and the pieces have pulled apart. He is going to get a woodworking friend to make a new back piece. You can also see the bird table with the feeders that my hubby has put up in readiness for Mum’s arrival – she loves her birds! Also one of the tubs of flowers he’s done – we’ve got a load more at home ready to come over.
He has cleaned up the other patio outside our kitchen window. One day I hope to have lots of plants cascading down this wall. There is also a water feature just out of shot on the left, and we need to find out how to get it working.
Here is my hubby cleaning up at the front. He’s already put a fresh coat of paint on the tops of the walls, and he borrowed a pressure washer from a friend and has made a start at cleaning the front of the house, which was extremely grubby, making the house look unloved. Part of the problem is dirt caused by passing traffic. At the front door there is an old-fashioned brass doorstep and letterbox, both of which I intend cleaning up and restoring to their original shine. I love these original features…
Plans for the next few days: on Friday they came to measure up for Mum’s sitting room carpet and bathroom vinyl floor covering. They are coming to fit these on Thursday, and then on Friday her furniture is arriving. I shall be over at the house on both these days, and will be extremely busy from now on, trying to sort Mum’s stuff and getting the annexe habitable for her in advance of our own move, after which we’ll have our own stuff to sort out before we are ready for her to come down. Still lots to do – the en-suite bathroom has yet to be finished, and once that is done, work can begin on the garage, which Andy reckons will start in a couple of weeks’ time, which pleases my hubby no end! His man cave… Andy says it will be fully insulated, will have light and power, and he could live in there! I now know where to pack him off if he doesn’t behave lol lol!! Andy has now confirmed that we can go ahead with our proposed moving date of Monday 16th September, and my sister has agreed to bring Mum down at the end of the month, which should give us a bit of time to get sorted and recover ourselves a bit. Meantime, we are continuing to take boxes over, and over the next two or three weeks, I shall be starting to put things in our new kitchen. It’s great to be able to get ahead with some of these things in advance of the move proper, because there will be less to do afterwards, and I should be able to find the essentials!
Finally, a bit of fun! Remember this?
This was Chris’s artwork on an offcut of worktop placed over the hob to protect it while further work was going on. I loved the little face in the “O”!
This afternoon, I discovered that Paul had added to this work of art.
What a brilliant portrait of Andy! Look closely at the “crazed” look in his eyes. Note his signature curly-whirly orange glasses cord, and the sad droop of his shoulders. He’s desperate to get sacked so that he can have time off to work on his own house!
In my second post of today, you can see what I was busy doing. Soooo exciting!