Depressing visual representation of all the jobs left to do: the kitchen

This is part one of a two-part mini-series whereby I put all the work we’ve already done into perspective and think about just how much more time and money we still need to dedicate to these two rooms of the house that are taking over all of our free time and finances. This is part one: the kitchen. Tune in tomorrow for an exciting look at the long list of tasks still to do in the living room.

1. Sand and repaint the ceiling

2. Cut skirting boards to size and repaint

3. Fit skirting boards

4. Finish painting the kitchen walls

5. Finish sanding and fit the peninsula

6. Tile the kitchen walls

7. Paint the stairs wall, handrail and ceiling

8. Replace all of the switches with brushed silver ones

9. Get a condenser tumble dryer


Do you ever think of the things you would change (house-wise) if you won the lottery? I do!

Win over a certain amount, and obviously you could move (which we would – why would you live in a semi-detached house?), but if you won a less life-changing amount, you could still make some dramatic changes. I like the thought of not having to wait to decorate rooms. We could have our bedroom painted at the same time as decking is being put into the garden. Built in wardrobes? Not a problem. Dressing table? I’ll take two.

Having said all that, as long as we’re in this house, the kitchen will always be the kitchen Barry put in with his own bare hands. We’ve agonised over flooring, and waited until payday to buy the next lot of paint. I’m not trying to say I would’t appreciate the money (I definitely would), but there’s pride to be had in working for it too.

Bane of my life

I don’t know what I’d do without lists – they add order to a project and allow me to better organise my actions and finances, but God, they are annoying. Sometimes, do you think it’s better to just not know everything you have to do and pay for?

Take the oven, for example. I know I’m being awkward. Barry, quite clearly, also knows I’m being awkward. It sounds simple, but I just want it in the middle of the space that’s left. I’ve included a photo, but you can’t really see, but at the moment, there’s a 9cm gap on one side, and a 5cm gap on the other. My symmetrical brain finds this aesthetically unacceptable. Because of this, Barry is going to have to replace the gas pipe (about £50 of copper piping), move the electricity switch, and all because I need it to look right. When I was about to cave, Barry refused, and said he didn’t want to hear about it for the next 20 years. The man’s right, I have the memory of an elephant.

This then has the knock-on effect of delaying when we can call the joiner to cut the worktop. We’re reaching a critical point, and I feel like I might actually scream if I go to our kitchen sink one more time before remembering that we have to wash up in the bath. Barry also needs to build the unit on the other side, sort all of the end panels and fill the (equal) gaps by the oven before we give the joiner a ring, and we expect it will be around £100-£150 for him to make the cuts and fit the worktop.

I’m sure we did have a life before the kitchen, but I can’t quite remember what we did with our time.


It’s felt a long time coming, but finally the best day of the month is here: payday! Can’t decide what we’re going to buy first – lights, worktop cutting, flooring. Tiles? Floorboards? Still can’t decide for the kitchen. The list goes on. Seriously, the list goes on so long we’re dedicating about three months of combined wages to it, just for what we want to do immediately!

I’m in a lottery syndicate at work and with the triple Euromillion rollover on Tuesday (which we sadly didn’t win), we were inevitably discussing what we would do with the (£4.85m each) winnings. Barry wouldn’t be finishing the kitchen himself, that’s for sure! In fact, we wouldn’t need this kitchen because I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t want to live in a semi-detached with that kind of dough. It’s another rollover tonight, and we’ll be playing again.

Imagine the house you could have with that kind of money. It blows your mind: you could actually have anything you wanted. I’m pretty happy with the kitchen choice though, so I may actually may buy it again with my imaginary winnings. We’d definitely be having an island

I was all ready to write another ranting post about the tap situation last night. On our way to the cinema, we had a few minutes to kill, so we nipped into B&Q across the road to collect our cooker hood filters and ask about the tap. After spending more than a reasonable amount of time staring at the selection available, the only tap that matched the sink we have, other than the one we’d chosen, was just over twice the price. Our original tap was £89, and this one was £179.

We had a really nice member of staff helping us. He got a cherry picker to lift him and the new tap up, to check what it looked like next to our sink (which was inevitably 5m up, the furthest up). We all agreed it matched. Then came the hard part. As we’d already arranged finance for the rest of the kitchen, with the other outgoings we have this month, we weren’t happy to fork over the difference in cash for a supplier issue that wasn’t our fault. If we’d known when ordering that the tap we’d wanted was unavailable, we’d have picked the only other tap that matched and it would have been price matched. We offered Jason K (the lovely, patient member of staff) another option: get the tap we do want transferred from another store. I think Romford had the only remaining tap in the country. This was apparently impossible due to paperwork.

We did point out that, along with it being the only other mono brushed effect tap (I know all the lingo now), we are currently washing up in the bath, and we were the ones that had noticed the tap had been missing; we hadn’t been told before the delivery had arrived (or even with the delivery). I also pointed out several things were wrong with the order, they price-matched Wickes anyway, so if we knew the original one was out of stock we’d only have chosen this one anyway, and Barry made the observation that we’d spent quite a bit on a kitchen that we may have to return…

Jason called his manager a couple of times to explain the situation, but because she couldn’t (wouldn’t?) come down to speak to us, she couldn’t see that we weren’t just some grabbing couple who had decided to jump from a mid- to top-range tap with no reason. I felt a bit sorry for him at that point, because I know he would have just given us the tap (not just to get rid of us, he genuinely believed we had a good point).

Jason carefully wrote down our issues, and many reasons, and said he’d get back to us tomorrow. We went to the cinema (This Means War, quite funny), and when we came out, a voicemail from Jason was waiting.

He’d sorted it with the manager! Hooray for Jason! While we were in the area, we asked if we could come straight over to collect it, and so we did. It even comes with its own soft cover.

Chalk one for B&Q customer services; they should promote Jason.


Money makes the world go around

Or so Liza Minnelli tells us.

We’re selling everything we’re ripping out of the kitchen/bathroom on eBay to recoup some of the costs of renovating and decorating.  Barry’s started everything at 1p though, so we might not get enough to pay for a tin of paint!  So far we’ve listed the loo (which I thought would get no bids as it’s used, but strangely, several people have shown interest!), sink, three radiators and two doors.  We’ll list the kitchen, oven and hob as soon as we’ve taken them out.

Like most people, we’re having to prioritise what we want to pay for each month, as it’s not realistic to buy everything all at once.  This month’s big buy was the downpayment on the kitchen, and we’ve also stretched to the radiator as well as paint for the living room, and bags of plaster.  As an aside, we’ve put up the radiator we bought and Barry’s discovered it has a hole in it, bloody eBay!  Trying to sort that now, but it will involve bleeding all of the other radiators, and then doing it all again when the new one arrives.  I hope it’s soon, my toes are looking a bit frostbitten.

Back to money!  Next month will probably be more paint and the kitchen flooring, and the month after we’ll be able to get the living room flooring.  This doesn’t even include the annoying inexpensive but numerous items like radiator valves, paint testers and sandpaper.  Not sure when we’ll be purchasing the tumble dryer and microwave and the myriad accessories we need (ok, want).

It’s maddening for me not to be able to complete a room at a time: the living room just needs the skirting boards and doors painting, new flooring and the photos and frames sorting and it’s mostly done (still got those pesky units to sort).  In the meantime, we’ve started on the kitchen because of the time constraints with the units.  I think there may have to be a break at some point (mental or otherwise).  Although we’ve got tester paint on the bedroom wall, we might have a month off after all this (although that could be four or five months down the line).

When I get to that point, what will I write about?  I’ve asked one of my friends to give me a picture of her heinous patterned carpet (her opinion, not mine, I haven’t seen it!); I think there’s at least one post about what people could possibly be thinking when they buy them.

K -5 days…