As we leave winter behind us and our evenings become longer, we are embracing the change in our renovation. And just like the most eager daffodils – we too are emerging from our hibernation, enjoying the delights of our hard work this Spring.
The kitchen extension has almost finished! It’s risen from nothing to the center hub of the house and in a space that visitors don’t even know exists until they peer around the corner of our L-shaped lounge.
But first..let me just take you a step back, as its been a while since my last blog…
Frustrated by lack of utilities Jason made a temporary support frame for the sink and electric hob while we waited for the worktops. He then moved a radiator from the lounge into the dining area, sorted the plumbing and built a radiator cover for it.
Flat pack rad cover – much easier and faster than making it from scratch
A few days on and our building reg’s man from the council turned up wearing his hi-vis neon jacket. (you know, just incase he should fall down the plug hole) he buzzed with enthusiasm around the kitchen “You’re actually using it!” he chuffed. He looked up at the skylights and beamed. I never would have thought that it would have excited him this much. “and it’s warm” I exaggerated to keep his enthusiasm flowing.
“Well that’s because of the insulation. There are guidelines for a reason you know!” he half joked. But I knew he was right, it was the warmest most insulated part of the house. He briefly checked outside, nodding his approval with some last minute suggestions regarding the rendering and dashed out the front door before coming back and planting a kiss on my cheek as he shook my hand. The next day – we were rewarded with our approved planning certificate – which was a huge relief.
When you last dropped in to Rise, we were at the stage where things had come to a halt because of a delay in kitchen pieces. Wicks finally did fix their faults and replaced the worktops but there were many, many trips to the store after that to get refunds from items that had been over-supplied.
Finding someone to cut and install the kitchen worktops however was a challenge in itself. But after a three quotes, and many sharp intake’s of breath’s – our reaction at one quote of £700! – we finally found the right person to tackle the job. It is astonishing how expensive this 2 day job can cost.
But it is no mean feat. It takes a confident carpenter/joiner to take on the complicated curves of the modern worktops and pre-drill the fixing cavities so that they seamlessly merge together when screwed tight underneath. You only get one shot at cutting the sink and cooker holes, and the most important part is also the amount of oiling it takes (underneath and on top) If we had known all of this at the beginning we might have chosen a more rapid, less expensive option in kitchen finishing’s than oak. We found a great tradesman from the mybuilder website and he completed the job in a day and a half. Once the worktops were fitted it was Jason’s task to continue to oil them 5-6 coats over the period of a week, the more oil the better. We figured we’d already waited this long, a few more days wouldn’t matter. As the kitchen was out of bounds we were restricted to eating take aways (shame that) and using the bathroom sink upstairs to wash up. It was then I realised that I have spent probably half my life being patient to reap any reward.
Having said that, there is no substitute for real wood. And I think you’ll agree by these shots just how well they turned out.
Wicks Natural Oak worktops finished with Howden’s joinery clear oil
With the worktops almost finished, and a cold blast weather warning from the north soon approaching, our central heating packed-up. Flummoxed by our one way heating system, air locks and odd noises, Jason tried everything he could to get it going again. He became obsessive – banging pipes and watching You Tube, seeping air out with teeny keys and not letting it get the best of him. But eventually it did.
The cold snap came and we suffered, strapping hot water bottles to ourselves for a week as we watched condensation dribble down the windows. Thankfully a neighbour who is plumber and knows the house well came over. Over a few hours he changed the pump and discovered that a little piece of plastic had wedged inside one of the radiator values blocking off the water. At last we had heat again.
Featured article: Metro Tiles in a cream kitchen
I have spent countless hours researching Metro tiles – bevelled, mixed colours, crackled, or plain glaze, which type compliments a cream kitchen? Its tricky find out the right combination of tile and colour grout. As you can see from the gallery above I bought a few samples to test.
We settled on crackle glazed Metro tiles in Hotel de Ville Blue (they are more like a heritage sage green than blue) and come reasonably priced. Unfortunately I found the standard of tile to be low quality, mostly because the glaze is finger nail-thin making it impossible to cut without the glaze feathering…or maybe this is a fault with all cracked finishes?
We used four meter’s here, and they do look perfect after careful application. However we would advise you to buy the crackle glaze varnish (sold separately) as they are very porous.
Hotel de Ville Blue tiles with a light grey grout
In one single use we managed to splash bolognoise sauce behind the cooker – The tiles were not fixed at the time thankfully – but the sauce/oil splashes did adhere between the tiny cracks and you could actually hear the surface crackle popping away. The other way to get around this being a long-term problem is to fit a piece of splash-back clear glass behind the cooker as the layer of crackle glaze varnish will eventually wash off with constant cleaning. We’re going to go with this option to safe guard any future stain issues.
In the meantime I found a beautiful kitchen bin by Bentley and the husband installed the centerpiece light – a multi globe glass and chrome designer light from B&Q.
So, if you put all of the above together you eventually get this….
The big reveal…
Sofia kitchen range by Wicks accompanied by ‘hotel de ville’ metro tiles and light grey grout
There’s still plenty of work to do in the dining/lounge room as you can see from this pic here below. Check in to my next blog post and see all the updates.
And lastly for those that might have missed it. I had a little article published on the preloved blog for one of my upcycling projects. You can read it here again if you please.
Next time…..I’ll be reporting my findings on Shpock – the online car boot app and hopefully have more to write about with loads more renovation updates. Ta for checking in!