Sunday, 28 August 2011

House warming present

When we moved back into our flat 3 weeks ago we had a 99% complete bathroom (minus the glass shelf above the sink), and a 50% complete kitchen.  That is, we had cabinets in place, but no worktop and therefore no sink or stovetop...  We faced it bravely for a few days, and after living in a friend's sharehouse for 2 months we were just glad to be home.  So we washed our dishes in the bathroom sink and cooked our toast on the bare top of the built in fridge but it wasn't pretty. Toast crumbs are now caught in areas of our appliances that should never have seen the light of day. 

Luckily, our builder knew this would be a nightmare of proportions Epiales himself would aspire to.  And so when he came around a couple of days later to do a few touch ups, he gifted us this beauty as a housewarming present:

It all works, including the dishwasher!  Unfortunately without cabinet handles, everything is tres difficult to open now, but I can certainly deal with that.  He made it from a scrap worktop and the cheapest sink money can buy.  Its all absolutely brilliant, and a testament to what a great guy he was to work with.

I'm so itching to rip that protective blue stuff off, its killing me every time I look at it.  I showed the photo to a colleague who commented on my bold colour choice.

Those lamp shades were originally destined for the dining table. We both had brave looks in our eyes as we pulled them out of the box, but deep in our hearts we knew they were way too small to meet the criteria of 'whopping great big lamps' that we had spoken of for so long.  And since GG was always scared of my idea to have '3 burning suns' (aka globes without shades) hanging over the worktop, we decided to keep them and put them up in the kitchen instead. I'm pretty happy with them now they're up. More pics soon of the new dining table lights.

Here's a close up of our new tap:, by Paini. Choosing a tap is hard.  So many types, and most of them look really ugly in isolation, but then you probably wouldn't even notice them once installed. But then you have to choose it in isolation. Tough job, but this is what we came up with.
He's looking a bit wonky there, because the sink that our builder bought (bless him) ain't the strongest and the tap is probably not yet bolted down as much as such a manly tap would need.

The last part of the kitchen is 'Bo', so named because he was inspired by an over-priced similarly functioned piece we saw in  BoConcept. You can see something similar here - its that tall drink of water on the right hand side.  Ours is the Ikea hacker's version - 2 stacked over-counter cabinets and a couple of side panels. I'm quite pleased with him and frankly while I wasn't having any overhead cupboards, we needed more space than the 1 under counter cupboard we ended up with.
In any case, I didn't realise how far we'd come, until I looked back over a few photos from the day we packed everything up for the builders to start.  I'm all for the industrial look boviously, but t looks so much better with all the pipework painted white, and without that fugly extractor fan.  We had the gas pipe in the far corner moved through the wall and it now runs down the bedroom wall. Frankly I just couldn't deal with having a hole in my stainless steel worktop for it to run through.
Still a lot of work to be done, our friend Rob is making the stainless steel top and then we need to tile the backsplash (white non-bevelled subways, same as in the bathroom).  

Rob's in the trade and has access to a full workshop full of industrial tools, but unfortunately they can't work with steel more than 2.5m in length.  This was a bit of a conundrum for a while, and we considered having it made somewhere else, but eventually came up with a great solution - split the worktop with a feature wood section. On an angle. More details to follow soon, GG is in the midst of concocting a sketchup for it...

Saturday, 20 August 2011


We're back.  But its been an up and down couple of weeks. And we're still dealing with the aftermath as you can see below, hence the absence of updates - despite there being SO MUCH to blog about...

Within 2 hours of the builder's call to say the painters were done, we were back in (but steering clear of the walls).  It was all awesome for about 15 minutes, until we realised the boiler was broken.  The first shower in my long-awaited sparkling new bathroom involved a kettleful of boiling water and the new plastic bin from under the kitchen sink, temporarily seconded for the fondly nick-named 'bucket shower'.  

Now its 2 weeks later, and we've had our last bucket shower.  Boiler was replaced on Tuesday.  Budget was looking ok until we had to add that bad boy on to the bottom line.  It was ridiculously expensive, even at the mates-rates we managed to get by hiring a friend (£1300).  But I'd forgotten all about that by the time I'd turned myself into a prune having my first extended and super hot shower under that shiny new chrome head.

Absolutely everything is covered in a thick layer of dust despite the dust covers, which were admittedly a bit haphazard.  The floor is stil filthy, and our feet turn black walking on it.  I've just spent tonight (yes, Saturday night) cleaning the bedroom, continuing to file our clothes into the Great Wall of Wardrobes, and washing the floor.  But given that I haven't been able to do the lounge room for all the stuff everywhere, it probably won't make much difference.

But despite this, the absolute highlight of the last 24 hours at least, has been sending the dishwasher off on her maiden voyage (on the eco-setting of course). Oh how I'd dreamt of this moment.  It was almost everything I'd imagined, except that the Ikea Whirlpool quality isn't quite as good as it could be... but I guess it was bottom of the range, and we did get 3 appliances for the price of 2 (we also bought the under counter fridge and freezer).  The sliding mechanism of the top drawer means it sometimes misses the connection with the top spray hose at the back, and then the door won't shut.  

Anyway, here's a sneak peek or two, with more detailed posts and much better photos to follow at a later point when we've tidied up and found the camera...
Wardrobes. No more suitcases, at least on the weekends.  Unfortunately still travelling for work every week.
Kitchen lighting, shelves, and some Orla Kiely ceramic containers with wooden lids for tea from our Mums (luckily enought to get both for my birthday this year).  Stainless steel shelves still have the protective wrapping on in this pic.
More soon!
Happy weekend.