Friday, 23 December 2011

We made it

With a final dash we have achieved a working kitchen and decorated the tree. So time to relax and enjoy the festive season. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Some Christmas sparkle
Happy Christmas


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Kitchen part one - Barista bar

With Christmas fast approaching we've at last started to assemble the kitchen. After much planning and looking we decided on the Ikea Applad. I wanted a simple style that was pale but not high gloss. The Applad is soft white with a silky finish, easy to keep clean but adaptable in style. I was looking for Swedish simplicity but with a hint of Mediterranean warmth. Or as Andrew says Abba meets Pavarotti.
Courtesy of Ikea

Used to designing kitchens on a CAD system I did find the Ikea on-line planner a little clumsy but once we went into our nearest store found them very helpful. We ordered it back in June and it's been in the garage since the end of July.

Where do I start?
Our starting point was the short wall with the boiler. I wanted to have a separate area for making tea & coffee - my personal barista bar - and this also developed into a wine area.  When friends visit they can make drinks without needing to get near the food preparation area. In hindsight this was probably the most difficult area to start with as we had uneven walls and tall units.

Ready to start

Because I have a thing about symmetry we used an integrated fridge freezer housing to cover the boiler to match the real thing at the other end. We had to cut an end panel to make a filler between the carcass and the wall, partly to pull the cupboard out to give access to the boiler for servicing but also as the wall is very uneven and this allowed us to start with a vertical.

First carcass
Despite tales of horror we* found assembling the units quite easy, but only if you follow the instuctions very carefully. What may seem an odd thing to do will have a reason and also, as there are no written instructions, examine the drawings carefully. The only thing we did do, after the first unit went up, was to screw the legs on. These seem insubstantial but work well once the weight of the cabinet holds them in place. The difficulty is keeping them on while manouevring  the unit in place, if they are not screwed in place they fall off at the most inconvenient times.

Screwing on the legs
Joining leg
First carcass
Next was a 600mm base unit, with a gap for a wine cooler, and then the integrated fridge freezer.  The base unit has a drawer for cutlery and bottle openers and a cupboard with two pull out wire shelves. One will house all the mugs and the other tea and coffee.
The Applad kitchen comes in two heights and we chose the taller one as we have the headroom and you can never have enough storage in a kitchen. The wall unit here however is a shorter one as we are going to put a shelf underneath for some of the coffee making equipment.


All up
At last, after nearly eight months, I have a fridge :-)  Next stop an oven.

Until next time


* when I say we what I mean is I read the instructions and passed the screws while Andrew did all the difficult stuff.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Kitchen floor

We had decided on traventine tiles for the kitchen and hall, I like that they are light but warm in colour. The fact that they are a natural product gives them a great texture and adds interest to a large space without being busy.
Because they were going to extend into the hall we decided on a brick bond pattern, this visually extends the width and is more forgiving of uneven walls. It took a couple of hours for Andrew to plan - the pattern had to line up with three openings in the kitchen and the front door.

The tiles we bought were filled, honed and polished on the front but the backs are very holey.
Reverse of tile
Because of this the reverse of the tiles have to be 'buttered' before laying on the bed of adhesive. This makes sure that all the holes are filled and there will be no voids.


First tile down

Coming along

The only issue we had was the drying time of the adhesive which meant we could not walk on them for 16 hours. Andrew did well on planning exit routes for us. One day I came home to this....
Walking instructions

On day three Mortimer & myself got marooned in the office/kitchen/workshop as the hall floor was being tiled outside our door. Fortunately I had the computer, kettle, dog biscuits and two chairs to upholster so all was well.
After all the tiles had been laid and grouted we spent along time on hands and knees cleaning all the limestone dust off before applying two coats of sealer. We made  sure that it was well absorbed into the grout so that we won't have any problems with grubby tiles or grout lines.
Spreading adhesive
Finished kitchen floor
Hall to kitchen
So at last we're ready for the big kitchen fit.

Until next time.