Saturday: progress made

I was banished from the kitchen yesterday so Barry could do some work with his earphones in and I wouldn’t get in the way.  I felt like a bit of a spare part, but I sneaked in every now and again to take some photos and then run away.

The oven is steadily making its way to the middle of the space.  Barry’s also put it up on blocks so that it’ll be the same height as the work surface will be when that goes on.

We’re hoping to affix the plinth in some way along the bottom of the oven – we don’t want to be able to see this!

In other news, Barry’s swapped the broken radiator for the new one,

which hopefully won’t leak, and gone over the black paint that was already on that wall, as well as painting behind the radiator.

Hopefully, today we’ll get some more handles on the bottom units, although I’ve woken up early and it’s a lovely day, so we might actually need to go and get some Vitamin D.

The joiner also comes today, so we should finally have a date and proper price for sorting the worktop out.  Sink, ahoy!

Ready for the weekend

I’m so ready for this weekend. We’re not doing anything special, it’s just two days of being at home.

The plan for this weekend’s DIY is for Barry to sort out the gas and electricity points for the oven, and build up the legs of the oven so it meets the same point as the worktop. The joiner is coming on Sunday to tell us how much he thinks cutting the worktop will be, and Barry might ask about a couple of other things, like making the boiler cupboard.

On the eBay front, our kitchen hasn’t been collected yet. Despite the listing clearly stating collection only, she asked if we could deliver. No. There’s a 3m worktop in there! She got a bit huffy and said she’d have to book a man with a van. Go do that then. I contacted the woman again to see when this may be (a, we need the space, and b, we need the money); it will be either this weekend or next Wednesday. Helpful.

Black as night

I’m off work today to wait in for a B&Q delivery (allegedly this should be the last).

This weekend, we took a deep breath and did it – we’ve painted most of the west wall in the kitchen black!  We decided against painting it with chalkboard paint, although looking at it, it’s probably the same stuff anyway.  Still need to do the edges but the majority’s done.

Barry’s also put the splashback under the cooker hood and built the unit that goes on the other side.

We also visited my ex-uncle this weekend with his broken and new sanders.  He was lovely about it and said we shouldn’t have, and there was much merriment about lending us tools that were on their way out!

Barry’s got lots of fiddly things to do now in the kitchen, like fixing the electric plug and gas hose behind the oven, starting to build a cupboard for the boiler, and then putting handles on all of the purple doors and drawers.  He’s going to ring the joiner this week as well; I cannot wait for the sink to be sorted!


Hi, everyone. My names Michelle, and I’m addicted to eBay.

Specifically, selling our old kitchen on eBay. It doesn’t help that my iPhone alerts me every time I receive a bid – I can’t wait to see what items have shot up to. Barry’s been in London all week, and the only news I have to share is the current price of our three items and what the latest stupid questions I’ve been asked are.

I’ve been asked several times to stop the auctions and sell outside eBay, to which I respond with a polite, but firm, no. The worst one I’ve had so far was the gentleman (I use that word in the loosest sense) who insisted £40 for my oven was a good offer and I should just take it, two days after the listing started. At the time of writing, it’s already reached £112. I did have an enquiry from a lady who wanted all three items, which was unfortunate as bidding had already started, but all I could suggest was that she bid on them all.

I found myself writing strange clauses into the listings. “Please bring correct change” is one that springs to mind. The guy who came for the doors ended up owing something odd like £3.56, and brought a £20 note. We didn’t have any change, and Barry was about to just give him the doors. I suggested the man go to the shop for change and hissed at Barry that we were getting charged selling fees, so the buyer would definitely have to pay!

eBay also tells you off if you write the words “don’t bid unless…” because you’re not supposed to put people off bidding. Personally, I think “don’t bid unless you can put this kitchen back together from the photos shown as no instructions are provided” is an acceptable clause.

They all finish tomorrow, and we’ve had much more interest than we thought for the items – our main goal was to clear out the old so we could see the new, but at this rate it will pay off a hefty chunk of the joiner’s bill as well.

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.

Ode to a kitchen (oven remix)

I have been informed by a friend (hello, Jaye!) that it is completely couth to love inanimate objects (see: Ode to an oven), so let me say it now: I love our new kitchen units. They’re not even fully unpacked yet and I love them! It’s like Christmas (well, a sight better than this Christmas actually).

The purple is richer than I remembered, and the white looks sharp and clean (it was displayed with cream in the showroom, so we hadn’t actually seen it with white).  It will be great when we get the doors on.

I think getting the worktop cut will be an extra for which we may actually have to pay, but it’ll be worth it to get it right. It would be very expensive to get wrong!  I can’t wait to get the guy round to do this so that we can start using our sink.  We do have a functioning dishwasher, but larger items are currently being washed in the bath!

Up and running

The oven is now functional! As evidenced, we plastered the last wall and had pizza last night. I can honestly say, it’s the nicest meal I think I’ve ever made in that oven.

It’s so satisfying, removing the plastic wrapping that’s around the oven. It will have to be popped back in its box while we sand and paint, but soon it will be free.

We spent last night checking we had what we thought we had from B&Q. Sadly, we don’t have what we thought. We’re missing:

  • 2 x cornice/ pelmet
  • 2 x pelmet

Fair enough, we knew about these. However, we’re also missing:

  • 2 x cooker hood filters
  • 1 x tap
  • 1 x wooden maintenance kit
  • 1 cupboard door (they sent us cream instead of white)

So our jobs list for this weekend is thus:

  • Ring B&Q to sort the above ASAP.
  • Sand.
  • Paint the ceiling and some walls (the important ones).
  • Start putting units together!


Old fashioned couple

I was cooking tea the other night while Barry was plastering the very same room, when I realised that we were fulfilling stereotypical gender roles without even thinking about it.  When I pointed this out to Barry, he asked me to get him a beer from the fridge.  I did.

Is DIY divided into boy jobs and girl jobs?  I’ve been doing some jobs like painting, following Barry around after he’s done the manly rollering with the little brush to do the edges.  When he ripped the walls down, I was tasked with sanding the bits of skirting board that came off.  I made curtains for the spare room, but I’ve never been in our loft.

I’m fine with being the ideas person and wandering around with tester pots and a camera.  I’m not saying I want to do the heavy work, I’m just wondering whether it’s implied that I shouldn’t.  Is it just us?

Kitchen update: preparing a special three-course Valentine’s meal was fun with everything in boxes in the living room. We’re going to have a few days of having to get water from the bathroom, but Barry thinks he should have the shiny new oven up and running shortly, and the washing machine and dishwasher have just been moved into their new homes.  Photos of the practically empty kitchen below; we haven’t unpacked any of the new one yet.

Ode to an oven (and a half)

As uncouth as it is to love inanimate objects, I love my oven. And a half.

Gazing at it proudly with my husband, we dream of the culinary delights it will surely produce. What starters we shall master! Our friends shall be in awe of our delicious creations! Pies, puddings, and pre-packaged meals await…

Only first we have to actually install the kitchen.

I was going to leave it there, but can’t resist showing the progress – Barry managed to take down the other bathroom wall last night.



If you can’t stand the heat

Following my mother-in-law’s suggestion, we decided to look into knocking down walls to make our kitchen a larger room.  We think (and so do many of our friends, now we’ve discussed it!) that it’s really small for a house this size.  However, we know we’ll be knocking money off our property by getting rid of a room, albeit a smelly hole.

We did have a builder round to quote for knocking walls down, installing a new kitchen (plus installing fitted wardrobes in our room, but that’s definitely going to have to wait), but the prices were more than we’re willing to pay, so the husband is going to do it all himself, with a little help from the tea fairy (me).

We went to B&Q before making a decision, and vaguely had an idea of high gloss white units in mind.  We were still at the stage where we were testing the water and weren’t really committing to anything, but as soon as we saw this, we knew we had to have it!  The kitchen is from B&Q’s Cooke and Lewis range (as is the photo).

We made an appointment and then a few weeks later sat for an hour having the kitchen designed, with the added benefit of it being on sale as it was January.  If you get installation, they do make you change all of your electricity points (“to ensure they’re safe”, never mind we’re in a new build) and the cost for installation alone was a whopping £3,600, but we looked past that to supply only, which was much more manageable (and they were offering 3 years 0% finance).

Then madness gave way to reason and we realised we’d better get another quote from somewhere to make sure it really was reasonable and we hadn’t lost our senses.  We went to Wickes to get a quote from lovely Malcolm, who quoted us on the Caledonia.  It’s an inoffensive plain white high gloss unit, with integrated handles which I’m not too keen on anyway, but would have lived with if it was the difference of, say, £2k.  It wasn’t.  And my cleaner mother reliably informs me that integrated handles are a nightmare to clean anyway.  Sorry, Malcolm.

I’d also like to point out here that I double checked MSE about B&Q’s units and prices before we sold our souls and there were good reports, but also some scathing ones about the price of their installation.  My guess is that it’s something they don’t really care to get involved in, so they make it worth their while for the times they do.  As a side note, Martin Lewis’ website is brilliant, and I always check it before buying anything major.

So, the husband trotted back to the B&Q designer with our full page of tweaks for another hour of kitchen creation (measurements were slightly off, we wanted white, not cream, a bigger sink and oven, to name but a few changes).

Ah, the oven.  It deserves a post all of its own.  In fact, it’s not just an oven.  It’s an oven and a half.  My mum actually counted the number of knobs on the front from the picture and told me what each of the ten might be for.  Seriously.

B&Q price-matched Wickes and even managed to squeeze in a cheeky wine rack, and I’m really glad they did (price-match, that is) because the colour combo units make me much happier than plain white.  Granted, we were going to tart the white ones up with a flash of colour from a fuschia upstand, but it’s not the same you understand.

The husband called me to ask if we were going for it; B&Q gave him 20 minutes to make his mind up.  I didn’t really need the 20 but ummed and ahed along until we came to an agreeable conclusion.

This was a week last Wednesday.  On the Thursday, he got a call from Indesit asking if they could deliver our new oven on Saturday, very eager.  He managed to put them off a week, but couldn’t delay it any longer, so we’re going to have a random oven until the walls are sorted, the old kitchen is out, the new kitchen is in and we can get a registered gas man to fit it.  The joys of self installation!