A long overdue kitchen update

As we hinted at in the previous post, work on the kitchen has been continuing, albeit at a much slower pace than we’d originally hoped. But it has been moving forward, and the room is looking better by the day. For starters, we are now finally free of damp! The bare bricks were treated and re-rendered.

Rendered wall

Finally damp free

And far more exciting than a wall – the floor is finally finished!

Finished floor

A level floor at last!

It took a really long time, and it feels like we’ll never be free of all the dust, but we’re so pleased with the result. With the floor down we had a bit of a lull before taking delivery of the kitchen, so we finally summoned the courage to try wallpapering for the first time. To make it easy for ourselves, we decided to just paper the uneven walls with 1400 lining paper, and then paint over it. This meant that we didn’t have any pesky pattern repeats to worry about, and the thicker paper is apparently easier to work with. Since the ceilings are quite high in the house, we decided to start off underneath the window, so we weren’t working with a really long length of paper. Finally, after a LOT of preparation, we put up our first strip of wallpaper.

Wall with one strip of wallpaper

Our first strip of wallpaper!

At the time it was a rather big occasion. The picture really doesn’t do justice to the atmosphere and celebration given to this tiny piece of wallpaper. Perhaps you had to be there. Anyway, once we got started, the rest of the wallpaper went up really quickly. And then we had to tackle the really difficult question – what colour to paint the walls? Wallpapered wallsWallpapered walls We’ve always been fans of quite light, neutral shades. But in this room, they all seemed too cold. The two front runners for a while were Mellow Mocha and Egyptian Cotton from Dulux, but they were coming out almost pale purple in the light, so we weren’t sure. But we don’t like things to be left undecided, so at one point we nearly gave in and just bought Egyptian Cotton, just to stop the indecision hanging over us. But at the till we couldn’t go through with it, and it was back to the drawing board. We started looking at the more period brands, hoping to find a shade that would suit the age of the property. We liked Farrow and Ball Hay, and found Imperial Gold by Crown to be a really close match. We had samples of both, but it seemed to be an over-correction of the blue-based tones, as they were both way too bright and overpowering. Sensing a Goldilocks situation, the man of the house was becoming increasingly frustrated by this point. It was last chance saloon, before succumbing to the dreaded Magnolia. And then Little Greene stepped up to save the day. We tried samples of Woodbine and Chamois. Whilst my personal preference was the more lemony Woodbine, the boss man liked Chamois. After all the stress to get this far, Chamois was declared the winner as an act of appeasement. But I have to say, now it’s up, it was the better choice.

Wallpapered and painted walls

Starting to look like a proper room at last 🙂

So we’re now just working on the last few bits, ready to take delivery of the kitchen. The end is in sight, I am tantalisingly close to having a kitchen sink!

A kitchen-shaped can of worms

Well work on the kitchen has been progressing at a very fast pace!

After making the decision to keep as much of the floor intact as possible, we’ve been working to get the old concrete floor level. We’ve hired a builder who quickly got to work, removing the oven and sink to re-lay the concrete.

Kitchen minus the sink

And the sink is no more

While the initial reaction has been guilt-free takeaways, the novelty’s quickly worn off. So we weren’t best pleased when we found out that the kitchen will be delayed by 4 weeks. But every cloud has a silver lining, and it has meant that we’re no longer rushing to get things finished. This extra bit of breathing room has allowed us to consider the kitchen layout in more depth. We were originally going to have the fridge in an awkward position between the pantry and the kitchen door. It is going to look much better tucked into the pantry, but the trade-off in practicality isn’t ideal. So we’ve decided to swap out one of our cupboard units and install an integrated under-counter fridge. We’ll still keep the fridge in the pantry, but all the every day things like milk and veg will be right in the middle of the kitchen, where they belong.

The delay has been a blessing in disguise for another, slightly more concerning reason. In the house that keeps on giving, we have discovered: More Damp. It turns out that the original back door was in the kitchen wall at the back of the house, and wasn’t bricked in particularly well. And at some point in time, the boiler was moved into the pantry and the hole left by the old one was just boarded up with wood. Basically the wall is like a colander! So all the plaster’s been stripped off the wall and the brick work has been treated with a waterproof barrier.

Damp treated wall

Things escalated quickly!

It’s been a few days of upheaval and it’s amazing how quickly the entire room can be completely transformed. Hopefully the next time we say that there’ll be a kitchen sink! But before we get there, we at least have adhesive on the concrete ready to lay the quarry tiles and the damp wall should be plastered by the end of the week.

Hopefully by the end of the weekend we will have a tiled floor and plastered (maybe even wallpapered?) walls. There are even whispers of the oven being back in place! But for now, the man at the local chip shop is our best friend.

Work so far – now with pictures!

Where do we start?

We have several works in progress at the moment – it’s hard to believe we’ve only been in the house for a few weeks!

As mentioned before, the fuse box has been moved from under the sink and into the pantry. The old fuse box was in a worryingly bad state – one of the circuit breakers had been stuck on with sticky tape and some of the lights had 30 amp fuses in them. Needless to say, we feel a lot safer now that our electrician friend has paid us a visit 🙂

Old fuse box removed

Old fuse box removed

Circuit breakers

Nice modern, safe circuit breakers

The damp proof was another top priority job. Fortunately it wasn’t all doom and gloom there. An original estimate to satisfy the mortgage company came in at over 4 times more than other quotations. After getting another few opinions it turns out that there were just a couple of areas needing silicone injections and replastering. We’re going to be living with patches of bare plaster for some time, but it’s good to know that the damp was minimal and is now sorted 🙂

Corner of a room with bare plaster

Bare plaster actually looks nicer than the existing paint!

Another area of concern was in one of the front bedrooms. There is a fair bit of discolouration around the ceiling and walls and (much worse in my opinion!) a persistent smell that is very similar to a teenage boy’s room. Not good. Attempts to air the room, prop open the door, light every scented candle known to man have only temporarily masked the problem. We definitely have Something Bad happening here. So it was back to the good old Yellow Pages to find a roofing company. Initially we asked them to paint the wooden fascias and replace the guttering, which was chock-full of leaves and doing a very bad job of moving the water away.

Downpipes

Fancy new downpipes

The replacement guttering and downpipes look really good now. We didn’t realise how ugly the old pipes were until we saw the new ones. With 4 sinks upstairs and an en-suite pending there was a fair amount of work to do and we’re really pleased with the results. But sadly the replacement guttering is only a small improvement to the outside of the house. The entire roof will have to be replaced. And soon…