Building the kitchen from heaven

IMG_0844
The Kitchen From Hell

Sam and I don’t do things by halves – we never have. We moved into this house last year 8 weeks after my brain surgery and within 2 weeks I had it looking like we’d been living here for …well much longer than that. I can’t stand chaos and disorder and as much as I loved and still love this house when we first moved into it the one thing we knew would change was the kitchen.

It was bad, I mean really REALLY bad. In fact in terms of layout it was the worst kitchen in which I’ve ever had the misfortune to prepare food. So back in March we saw the beginning of a major building project to transform the Kitchen From Hell or KFHL (as I came to refer to it) into the Kitchen From Heaven or KFHV. The build took around 3 and a half months, it cost…well more than a fiver….and if you follow me over on Instagram (where I’m @jeanettesloan) you’ll have seen some of my regular posts as the work was progressing.  It wasn’t however until a couple of weeks ago when I was at Ally Pally for the Knitting & Stitching Show that I kept being asked what the final results looked like. Well here’s the (shortened) story

The house was built in the 1930s and had a number of original features like stained glass  on the interior doors that thankfully the previous owners had kept but they’d also knocked the two downstairs rooms into one long bowling-alley type space. This used to house the living & dining area with a strange play area at the end leading to the garden. The KFHL was just off the dining space backing onto a utility room and all together this strange arrangement made up the ground floor of the house. The main aim of the building renovations was to make sense of these 5 spaces and turn them into a more clearly defined kitchen/dining area that backed onto an open plan living room with a utility room, office and store room built onto the side of the house.  This meant knocking down walls and making a mess……a LOT of mess.

In order to give us somewhere to eat in relative peace and away from the chaos our lovely builders erected a wall to create a new living room which became the ‘camp kitchen’ for the duration of the build. Then they started knocking seven bells out of the rest of the house and this meant lots of early mornings, the consumption of literally gallons of tea and coffee, washing up in the middle of a half built room, storing all our downstairs furniture in the middle of the garden and living on ready meals and takeaways for 3 months.

 

IMG_1690
Mess with more mess beyond
IMG_1743
Alfie up to his knees in it

Before you get the wrong idea we knew it wasn’t going to be easy and the disarray sort of reminded me of living as a student but throughout  both Sam and I kept our eyes on the prize, the bigger picture. I kept envisaging how my dream kitchen would look when it was finally finished, how I would no longer have to wash up in the  bath, how I could eat steamed vegetables rather than ‘nuking’ our dinners in the microwave every night and how I could actually bake in my new Neff oven!

IMG_1851
Ricky taking a breather having erected the steel frame

Now I could go into minute detail about the visits from Brighton & Hove Council’s building control, the enormous picture frame of steel girders that could hold up an entire block of flats let alone our modest semi or the countless cock ups by the ‘kitchen designer’ from a well known supplier that meant the completed kitchen is around 2 cubic metres larger than we were first led to believe. (Better bigger than smaller though, right?).

IMG_1697
Yes I washed up in this sink before they had to remove it

But I won’t. The main thing is that the building work and the months of filth and disruption were more than worth it. It has transformed our house into a beautiful, welcoming space that makes me smile every morning when I come downstairs. In fact I can’t believe this is actually MY kitchen.

IMG_3567

fullsizeoutput_6b6

fullsizeoutput_6baI finally found a home for the Charlie Harper bird decals I bought at Bristol’s Arnolfini

IMG_3569

along with the mounted section of locally produced linen that was gifted to me by my friends Ian & Jo who live in the south of France.

fullsizeoutput_6b3

fullsizeoutput_6bd

fullsizeoutput_6b2
My favourite spot in the Kitchen From Heaven

fullsizeoutput_6b1

IMG_3574

And amongst the many features and gadgets in the ktichen I love that choosing to install one orange and one turquoise cable on these pendant lights still drives Alfie absolutely mad.

fullsizeoutput_6b4

I could dribble on and on but I think the pictures say it all. Huge thanks to Ricky, Bailey, Alfie our first team who did the structural work, David & Robi our sparkys, Mark our plumber, Ian, Chris & James the chippys and everyone else who helped to work this miracle. I’d also like to give a special mention to Boysie; a lovely lad with a cheeky sense of humour who was a member of the first team and sadly was killed in a car crash just a couple of months ago.

J x

PS. Yes boys we know we still owe you that barbecue!

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Building the kitchen from heaven

  1. What a beautiful home you’ve created! I love all the natural light evident throughout, but the orange and turquoise cables are pretty cool too! I’ve just had my bathroom completely redone, so I’m sharing many of your feelings. Nearly six weeks of going next door to my lovely neighbours for a shower every night has now come to an end and my bathroom is new, bright and feels like luxury.

  2. What an amazing transformation! TKFH made me feel claustrophobic just looking at the photo. You now have a wonderful, airy, bright space – and I have kitchen envy! It’s really gorgeous. I can sympathise with the endlessness of alterations. We wamted central heating put in our 170 year old house, but none of the local builders would take on such a big job, so a friend’s new partner (a qualified heating engineer) volunteered. He said it would take around two weeks and he could work within our budget. It took four months and went so far over budget that it wiped out all our savings – we had to take out a loan to get it all finished. And we had a new baby in the middle of it all! Not a nice memory, but the house is cosy now, thank goodness! Enjoy your new kitchen. I’m now dreaming of demolishing mine and copying you! xx

    1. Thank you! Honestly Lorna TKFH was so badly laid out I hated cooking in it. You’re experience sounds horrendous, you just don’t know until you’re in the middle of it and you’re at the mercy of people who you’ve put your trust in. We’ve been ripped off before and were so glad to have decent guys this time. At least you’re warm now! xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s