Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our kitchen renovation

it was a few weeks before Christmas 2007, and we were getting married in the Feb 2007, when we began our renovation. We had one child in nappies, one at Kindergarten and one in Primary (I think... I'll have to go back and work out dates). The kitchen reno was ten years in the planning on my part. Lots of research. Lots of checking out things in shops, magazines, researching appliances, surfaces, checking out things at other people's places, noting ideas, things I liked and didn't like, working out where power points needed to be, what was lacking in the current kitchen (lots LOL), what we had and what we needed room for etc etc I did up endless sketch and to scale plans. The final draft plan we paid Gordon to do ($70), and I worked on it some more from there - and changed a bit more. The point he impressed on me most was turn a negative into a positive... if you have to have for example a column for structural support that you weren't intending in the design, then eithe rmake it into a feature or set it up for storage... that kind of thing. I wanted to open up the entire wall on one side but that would have required a $3k structural beam and we just couldn't do that. So we compromised and left part of the wall in to hold up the roof, and that part of the wall I can put a big home-done print on, or whatever I like.

Finally... the circumstances that are life meant that so many things lined up to make it possible - one millimetre either way and it wouldn't have happened but everything fell into place...

So here's the 'before photos' - I'll add the 'reno in progress mess and dust and complications' ones and the 'finished/current' ones a bit later.

The first two pics are the kitchen.

Use the stove as your reference point to 'join' the pics together in your mind... two 'door' ways and a window in there.
the next two pics are the room next to the kitchen.
this pic above, the stove is juuuuust to the left of the pic - you can see the power cord where it's plugged in (installed by the previous owner, not us!) the next pic below is standing IN the 'dining' room (three doorways/entrances) looking north. in this pic, the small freezer that you can see above pic, is behind me in the pic below. Clear as mud eh... well basically two rooms, 5 doorways and one window...

As mentioned, one room was a dining room that had three door ways and no windows and we just didn't use eventually as it was so dim and really was a thoroughfare. The other room was a little kitchen, really only enough space for one person, with two doorways through it, a main thoroughfare, shallow benches and not much benchspace etc you get the idea.

We did everything except the legal stuff (plumb and electrical) and the wall removal, esp since it was partly structural. We did have a blowout in the plumbing (ummm we can use this drain but it's essentially holding together by time) which resulted in a trench right across the 'back room' which was interesting with a toddler and a gangplank. Not to mention that this was the room where 'everything' was (toaster, kettle and everything else) because the lounge was full of the flatpack, benchtops, appliances (as was the hall) and everything else that was in those rooms or had no other home was squished into bedrooms. We cooked and did dishes on on the outdoor table and bbq.

We almost halved the cost of the renovation by DIYing. We kept the slate we lifted from the kitchen floor (that was laid over the lino which we also removed) which was lucky because we needed it to repair the trench in the back room... a bout of viral arthritis made things very interesting along the way as in, couldn't turn on taps, open bottles or jars and at one stage dragged myself down the hallway because my knees couldn't work... but I did have a good friend come to the rescue with chocolates and yummies and a hug... and she freeway-trekked to do it.

Fresh coffe and buns/biscuits/fruit for the tradies every morning that they came.
There was a fine dust over everything including the toilet, full time. This persisted for a few weeks after the reno.

I had to take the benchtops back three times as they did not fit... the tap that I chose (wall mounted mixer tap) the plumber said to me the morning he came to fit it that it would not fit in the cavity wall so a cheapie from Bunnings was hastily found and is what's still there... and needs replacing already as it leaks... total time I think was about 4 weeks. From first ripping out of kitchen to functioning living in kitchen (minus paint on the walls, floors and kickboards). We have two of those three now LOL

I did use the IKEA 3d planner which was great.

What I like about the kitchen we built:
  • went with all drawers, pullout pantry. The only thing that is 'shelves' (with one big door) is the TW cupboard.
  • I didn't want overhead cupboards, so didn't.
  • yay to my double bowl/double drainer sink
  • yay to corner cupboards having fully pull-out bifold doors and corner basket carousel
  • yay to wall height cupboards having wire baskets up the top instead of shelves so I can SEE what's up there.
  • glass splashbacks and stainless. Contrary to popular opinion very easy to keep clean. Vileda chamois cloth and it's done. No wiping with a second cloth. no tiles and no grout. woot!
  • the roller door cupboard - for the tea, coffee, cups, charger station, sunnies etc toaster, mobiles, brewing vanilla essence bottles and the block of chocolate that you don't want anyone to find *wink*
  • bin is in a cupboard. yay.
  • best bit - everything LOL
What I don't like/what I'd change.
  • TBH there's not much... I'm pretty happy with it and considering the time and planning that went into it, I guess that's why. ONE bit I'd change - that I listened to the benchtop people (one of the few times I strayed from my plan) when they said 800 was wide enough for the breakfast bar, and I wanted 1m. I persisted for a while and they were so sure so 800 it became. Well of course, it's a little shallow and it SHOULD have been 1m and would have worked beautifully.
  • Choose the same colour benchtops but a different composition.
  • I'd swap my corner carousel racks for corner drawers. maybe.
  • no halogen downlights. If I knew then what I know now, I'd not do halogen. As it is we are planning (and slowly doing) replacing them with LEDs.
  • We ran out of budget for the windows in the kitchen that are meant to go either side of the rangehood. ditto at the time for the floor covering, paint, kickboards etc. The floor boards finally went on when (not conceived at the time) Baby #5 was born and began crawling - losing a spud or a ball under the cupboard is one thing but not a small child!
Would I do it again? yes. In a hurry? no LOL I'll be back with the rest of the pics as soon as I can get them uploaded... the 'finished' result is a very far cry from where we started and we are very lucky to have been able to do the work/renovate in the first place. Here's a sneak peak...

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