Wednesday, 23 January 2013

You wait ten years for a new kitchen....

... and then two come along at once!

The tale of my house renovations is one of stop, start, stop, start. I realise that it is nearly 3 years since I proudly unveiled the work that my brother-in-law had done for me in the granny flat. It was a cool, calm breath of fresh air in the otherwise cluttered chaos of my house.

Unfortunately I ran out of money and work downstairs came to a standstill. Then when I had the funds, Tim was busy working on other projects and never came back, as builders are wont to do. So the back kitchen has remained in this state ever since.

Enter Robert.

He does this sort of stuff standing on his head. But he managed to remain very quiet and tactful about the general state of dilapidation, and besides there were other projects to keep him busy. Of which more in another post.

Just before Christmas, however, he asked whether I would like him to put the washbasin back on the wall in the downstairs loo. (Doesn’t everyone keep a washbasin on the floor?). And it sort of snowballed from there.

We excavated the flat-pack kitchen units from my Room of Doom, I bought some new doors, he called his carpenter and plasterer, and work started.

The plan was simply to get the annexe finished, then regroup to plan what to do with the rest of the house.

Well that was the plan.

On the Friday morning two weeks ago, I asked Robert whether he would replace the nasty, stained sink in the main kitchen with the stainless steel one I had bought five years ago. (Sigh).

No problem.

Unfortunately it didn’t fit. The discrepancy was only a millimetre or so, but the hole in the worktop was simply too big. So we considered whether to buy new worktop to replace the old one, which was looking distinctly tatty in any case. But the old cabinets were falling apart too. Why not rip those out while we were at it. And take down the horrible 1970s archway that I have hated since the moment I first walked into the house and that makes the room so dark. And pull up the ugly parquet flooring that was laid so badly.

Heck. Why not just redo the entire kitchen?

Well, apart from the fact that I had nothing to replace it with, why not?

Not a problem either, apparently. Two hours searching on EBay later, Robert had found someone near Bristol who was having a new kitchen fitted and selling their (pristine, as far as I could see) old one.

Saturday lunchtime we set off with the car and trailer, and arrived at our destination about 4 pm. Only to find the homeowners sitting in their lovely old kitchen, surrounded by cardboard boxes, with all the kitchen units still firmly attached to their respective walls!

“When were you thinking of collecting it?”, asked the gentleman of the house, fondly imagining that we had just come to check it out.

“Now.” said Robert, taking out his toolkit.

And so we did. Three hours later, all the kitchen units plus large cooker were quite miraculously packed on our 7’ x 4’ trailer and off home we set. It was like the opening credits to The Beverly Hillbillies!

Sunday morning we unpacked it all into the lean-to for closer inspection: for £500 and a road trip to Bristol, we appear to have acquired a large solid beech kitchen and a beautiful racing green cooking range with the cleanest oven I have ever seen. It is difficult to believe it was ever used. Result!

OK, so there is a bit of work still to go, but compared to the previous rate of progress this is lightening speed. And as soon as the electrics for the back kitchen are signed off, we can move into there and start work on the main house. I really can’t wait to attack that archway with a crowbar!


  1. Men that can "do stuff" are amazing :-) I knew someone like that once upon a time <3

  2. Yeah,he was a good'un. I look forward to seeing your pictures of all his work xxx

  3. Hi! We've also moved to Wales - west wales - to raise crops and chickens and live as simply as possible. I started a blog because of moving; we'd always lived in Bristol and wanted a way of keeping in touch with close and less-close friends. It really helps, and everyone wants to come and stay with us because I make things look so idyllic. Probably I gloss a little, but I don't have to gloss much because we really are so happy here.