Reno #7: kitchen progress

It’s been a hot and busy couple of days.

Lots of packing, chucking out, unpacking, cleaning and hauling boxes and crates in very hot and sweaty weather, with a broken air conditioner at home. Happy days…

Meanwhile, there’s progress in the kitchen at the new house. The pantry is finished apart from new handles, a bit of painting and some iron-on edge strips on the left hand shelves.

The door is on the sink cupboard and the drawer fronts are all on the drawers. Once the glue is fully set, we can put on the handles. The hole for the sink is cut, and it’s sitting in place until the plumber comes to install the gubbins underneath and fit the monoblock tap.

The range hood is going up. In case you’re wondering, it’s blue because there’s a protective film over the stainless steel, which will be peeled off when it’s in place. The gas cooktop hole is also cut.

Tomorrow, Bill will demolish the two walls inside the bathroom. I can then spend a good part of the weekend wearing a pair of fetching kneepads, protective glasses, gloves and a tool belt while I prise up all the floor tiles and use my new ‘big girl’ concrete scraper to get rid of all the adhesive, leaving a new smooth surface to lay the new tiles. There’s a bit of a rush for it, as the plumber will soon be back from his trip to Japan and will be coming back to install the loo, the new shower head and the basin taps, and he can’t do the loo till the floor is done.

Finally, here is a beautiful housewarming orchid sent by my sister to welcome us to the new house. I have an orchid house in the back yard, but this is too lovely to go out there just yet, I need some time to enjoy it first!

Back to the packing crates.

Reno #6: More lovely wood

The L-shaped benchtop has been delivered!

Before benchtop

After benchtop – with location of equipment

We bought two 60 x 220cm (24 x 86 inch) lengths of acacia butcher block timber for the L-shaped run of cabinets under the window. The local joinery have joined them perfectly to turn the corner, using offcuts to run around the sink with almost invisible joins. As before, the timber has been sanded and a pencil edge added to avoid sharp corners. At the same time, we bought two 40.5 x 180 cm (16 x 71 inch) lengths and had them ripped up the centre to give four 180cm shelves of just over 20cm (8 inches) wide. As they’re shelves, these weren’t sanded or pencil-edged.

Sanded benchtop, before oiling

Benchtop after second oiling – finished colour

Bill is going to glue and screw the finished benchtop into place, and then jigsaw out the holes for the gas cooktop and sink. Once that’s done, I can oil them too, to match the breakfast bar. It’s now had its second coat and is looking glossy, rich and gorgeous.I’ve started packing 80 litre (21 gallon) plastic tubs of kitchen equipment to go into the completed cupboards, out of the way. So far, I have three packed and ready to go tomorrow, and if I find some extra energy tonight, I’ll do another. The local op shop (thrift store/charity shop) is also the beneficiary of 4 huge black plastic garbage sacks of clothing, shoes and bedding. The way I see it, if I haven’t worn it for six years, no matter how good or expensive it was, now’s the time to get rid of it.

Any day now, we’ll be starting the bathroom. Those two inner walls have to go, and then the job I’m least looking forward to; taking up the old tiles and prepping the floor for the new tiles. Hard, messy and laborious. And did I mention, hard…? Still, there’s no choice. Moving the loo means a new floor. Ah well, at least it’ll be a colour I like!

And now excuse me, I have to go and stir the soup!

Reno #5: befores and afters

We spent almost the whole day at the new house yesterday.

It’s coming along. The changes are no longer very dramatic, since the demolition is pretty much finished in the kitchen, but things are definitely still happening. Small details are changing: there are finishes and trims, and Bill is getting on with the task of constructing my mega-pantry wall, using two recycled cupboards from the old kitchen and some shelving. The wall he’s building it on features two light switches, a power point and a doorway adjacent to it, so there’s some tailoring to do in order to ensure the switches can be reached, and to curve the shelves beside the doorway so there are no sharp points sticking out.

This was the start of the plan. Two of the cupboards from the previous kitchen, one large stacked on top of one small and almost the same width, in the centre of the wall. Shelves to go either side. It’s a dead wall, facing the kitchen, and the side of a through-way into my sewing room. Shelves and cupboards were the obvious solution to make the most of the space.

Here’s where we are now. The bottom cupboard is on a shallow plinth so the doors clear the floor. The shelves due to go in on the left will taper/curve from full depth to lose about a third of their depth in the far left corner, for safety and to give clear access through the door next to them.

That big shelf at lower right is going to hold my stand mixer, food processor, etc, to save me having to bend down to haul them out from under the bench-top, and there’s a power point in there too, so I can have a light there as well, if I want it.

There was also a little more of my favourite job, wallpaper stripping. Remember the nasty stuff that appeared in the kitchen when we took the top cupboards down? It wasn’t just nasty in appearance…

That’s better. Still a little more to go, but I didn’t feel up to stepladder work by the end of the day, so it’ll have to wait.

And finally, I got the first coat of tung oil onto the breakfast bar/benchtop on the left side of the kitchen. It’s butcher block acacia, and I love the variations of colour – it’s actually a bit greyer-brown than it looks in this photo. Second coat today. We’re having the same timber for the L-shaped section of benchtop on the right, and the joiner who’s making it for us came over to measure for the mason’s mitre corner, where to put the join around the sink, etc. We’ll also be having open shelves in the same timber above, no top cupboards, to make the room feel larger.

Outside, it’s also looking better. The Husband has cut the grass and I’ve done some weeding. Today, we’re hoping to take over a trailer load of furniture, clearing the guest room and installing everything in the new guest room. We can’t do a whole lot of that while there’s still sawdust and plaster dust everywhere, but it’ll be nice to have one room ready.

And now, it’s time to up and at ’em once again.


Reno #2: It’s huge!

Well, OK, not huge, but at least twice the size.

I’m talking about the kitchen. Now that we’ve removed all the cabinets, including that high-level monster with glass doors, you can see the true size of the room.

Before shot, with bonus Husband to give you an idea of scale. He’s quite large, so it’s not quite as bad as it might appear. It’s really quite hard to communicate how small and crowded the space is because you can’t get far back enough to show the whole room

Below is the after shot, with bonus nasty wallpaper that was behind the cupboards. Now that it’s empty, the size of the room isn’t bad. Sorry it’s a bit out of focus…

We’ll be having a long counter on the opposite side which you can’t see in this photo, open above through to the living room, with more cupboards underneath. I’m going to end up with more storage space than I have in my current kitchen, I think.

Now that the tear-out is finished, I can do a detailed measure up for cabinet carcases and benchtops, and then go and collect what I need, together with oven, dishwasher, range hood and gas stove top. Sam the Sparkie is coming to the house tomorrow to fit the wall lights in the bedrooms, move a couple of switches and fix up the electrics in the bathroom so instead of having two lights, two fans and one heater with all their associated switches, we’ll have one fan/heat/light unit and one triple switch. I have also marked the walls in the kitchen for the sockets and switches I need in there.

I’ve finished stripping bedroom wallpaper, so that’s one nasty job done. Just a bit of filling and sanding to go, and then I can start painting. Finish that, get the carpet guys in, and I can close the bedroom doors and forget about them till we’re ready to move in. I’ll still have to get rid of the bits of this beauty from the kitchen, though…

Time for a good night’s sleep. I really need it…