Kitchen extension ideas…

Some great gallery images of kitchen extensions on http://www.housetohome.co.uk.

All images courtesy of: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/galleries

We’ve gone through just about every possibility of extending our living space, all of which so far have been beyond are very modest budget! My latest idea is to simply use the existing shell of the kitchen and utility area and to just redesign the space into a kitchen / dining room area, with large double French doors onto the garden.

This will mean no knocking down walls, building new walls, moving drains, laying foundations, no skylights etc. It will just mean putting a new pitched and tiled roof on the existing utility room (it’s a flat roof at present) and extending the walls up a bit.

The other main thing will be to insert a load-bearing steel lintel to support the end gable of the house, allowing us to open up the existing space into a single space. This may sound complicated but it just involves propping up the existing walls with removable steel supports then sliding in the new steel. We’d get a builder to do this and the roof and we’re getting quotes right now. Hopefully it’ll be affordable!

The connection to the garden is really important and means we would be able to see the kids without needing to be right by them outside. It would also improve our connection to the seasons and outside, including more light, better views and an improved feeling of space inside.

All the other jobs we can do ourselves, such as getting a new window for the kitchen, finding and installing the French doors to the garden, fitting a new kitchen, painting and decorating. I feel some major Doing Yourself In coming!

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Fairy light reflections…

A new installation of fairly lights in the kitchen produces some nice effects!

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Protected: Pan drumming…!

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Sink-side worktop finished…!

At last the sink-side worktop is finished.

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We had made great progress with it but came to a bit of a stop 2 weeks ago, when the waste pipe for the dishwasher wouldn’t fit on the Ikea waste properly. But after fixing that with magic plumbing tape it’s all done.

Much cleaner and brighter and the new sink is bigger than the main bowl of the last one and the washing up bowl fits in perfectly.

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New kitchen worktop…!

We’ve jumped into the DYI in a big way over the last 2 weeks and have now replaced one side of the kitchen worktop with a new, Buck Rogers style, white worktop!

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The gas hob was slightly tricky to finish, but nothing we haven’t tackled before. It involved going to B&Q twice, the first time Claire cycled over there to get a few pieces (such as PFE tape, connectors and a bendy hose), then I went back later to buy another connector and new tape measure and jigsaw blades.

I also fitted a baton under the worktop to support it where there are no units to support it. We’ve gained about 50cms of worktop which makes a good difference and the overall brightness of the space has improved.

Well worth £35 for each side of the kitchen.

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Pre-Winter house / life organising…

This year we are going to be sorted out before winter hits, around the end of September.

We’ve already had the external insulated render done and I finished chopping our firewood at the end of April (giving a good 6 months seasoning time). We’ve started the allotment and aim to do the major rotavating in the autumn. We’ve painted the stairs fun colours and applied the first coat of paint to the newly plastered upstairs hallway/landing areas.

So, we’re now onto the next phase, which will include getting the wardrobes back onto the landing and out of both the boy’s room and our room, shifting the bed and chest of drawers (which our lovely friends have just given us!) around in our bedroom, buying some tall Ikea storage shelves for the under stairs cupboard, putting all the random boxes and toys in these new shelves, finishing off the last piece of skirting behind the sofa, finishing painting the skirting, re-painting the walls and fire place area, ordering a single stone piece for the hearth (probably Forest of Dean stone), fixing edging around the hearth, painting the shelves to the right of the fireplace, stacking logs under these shelves, finding a battered old armchair to go in front of the logs, fitting the new kitchen worktops and hobb, building the new electric meter box cupboard, cutting the new mixing table to size and building a wooden cover which slides over it all.

I’m sure there’s something i’ve missed out but those are the main things! This will make the winter much more bearable and mean less stress all round.

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My talented wife…!

Some amazing paintings by Claire.

Painted on the inside of some of the kitchen cupboards.15 years since she last painted and there’s real potential there! I could be the agent! ; )

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Play kitchen…

Jamie and Jac were getting very excited about their ‘new’ play kitchen.

Claire basically just taped some hobbs on top of the toy unit and stuck a card door onto one side, but they loved it! Claire’s Dad also sent them some aprons and hats.

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DYI & the killer cat…!

We made a bit more progress on a few house jobs over the weekend, but most weren’t to do with anything we’ve already got on the ‘to do’ list.

All the jobs were insulation related, but also cat related to a certain extent. Because of the single storey, flat roof bathroom extension at the back of the house being so badly insulated (probably due to the roof), this creates quite a cold area, which works its way into the main living areas.

Due to this, i’ve been wanting to insulate around the door from the kitchen to the utility/bathroom area. So, I managed to cut and screw up a standard draft excluder to the bottom of the door. Plus, there was a big gap at the top of the door, which i’ve blocked off, using a modified metal corner brace, a wooden baton and some insulating rubber type tape.

I just drilled some screw holes into the metal bracket and screwed this into the wooden doorframe, then screwed the baton to this, then stuck the rubber tape stuff to it. There are now no drafts around the door and the fitting that in part only took 15 mins! Just have to paint the baton white and wood-filler around the edges.

The other kitchen door related bit was fitting a new cat flap into the existing kitchen door, so Tinks can get into the bathroom/utility/back door area, so she can use her litter tray and eventually the back door cat flap to the great outdoors!

This was slightly more complicated than it sounds (see images). It involved knocking out 2 glass panes and a wooden support bar, clearing away all the glass and bits, buying edging and plyboard, cutting the wood edges and hole, bending the board into the opening, screwing the cat flap to the board, getting Claire to re-screw it in as I messed that bit up (!!!!!!), cutting and gluing edging strip front and back.

Quite a fiddly job but it’s draft proof and functional, even if there are 3 different colours of wood in that bit! So, now the litter tray is in the toilet/music room and we just have to teach Tinks how to use the cat flap.

Finally, the kitchen window has been sealed with draft proof plastic sheeting. This covers all the window, except for a smaller opening part at the top, which we open when cooking. It makes a big difference and will help a lot over the winter, given the window is old and drafty.

A day after this was fixed up, Tinks decided to make a break for freedom via the small window, in the process ripping parts of the sheeting with her claws! We now have tasteful taped up plastic sheet, which we’ll have to re-do once she’s officially allowed out. I’m feeling stressed just thinking about yesterday!

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House jobs…

Over the last couple of days, there’s been a fair bit of progress in the house, with lots of small but useful jobs being done…

– The King size and double beds have been swapped over, meaning the king size bed is now in the larger boys room and the double is in our smaller bedroom at the back. This’ll work better particularly for the smaller room.

– Final wood store built and loaded with logs. I also chopped up a pile of logs which were on the large side and swept up the area.

– The acrylic shower door was trimmed at the base so it’s even all the way along. This meant I could also fit the plastic strip which stops leaks out of the shower!

– The three shelves in the boys room were fixed up.

– The metal blind in the kitchen has been taken down and the area behind and around it cleaned up and de-moulded!

– We’ve also started cleaning the floor of the bathroom and getting all the small flecks of paint off + the masking tape which I originally put down to mark out the outline of the sink unit, but which stuck hard to the lino.

– Fixed up two supports for the worktop in the kitchen, which replaces the unit which was taken out.

– Claire stuck up white sticky back plastic on the kitchen door middles and went to Wilkos for some red feature wall paint.

Jobs left to do in the bathroom (which have to be done before we start on finishing the living room) include:

– Final grout around bath and shower

– Paint touching up around edges

– Order and fit handle for shower door

– Sealing around bath panel base and floor cleaning

One final push and we’ll be there!

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Pipe leak & repair…!

A hissing – water leak somewhere – type of sound, started about a week ago…

We’d had a look around in all the obvious places but couldn’t narrow it down. Claire phoned the COOP insurance emergency leak people to come and have a look, but the guy who came out also couldn’t find it! We even took up a floorboard in the living room.

After a few calls back to the insurance people, they said just get a plumber to do a leak detection test, then either get him to fix it or get them back in. We got the plumber in who located the leak pretty quick then capped the pipe. It was a leaking plastic joint in the corner of the kitchen, just before the pipe went under the concrete floor. We were going to get him to do the re-routing of the pipe into the utility area and into the bathroom, but it was going to be £200, which we didn’t have!

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So, we called Claire’s Dad (International Plumbing Rescue) who came down the today to help re-route the pipe from the kitchen to the bathroom, via the utility area. We sussed it all out, I cleared out everything I could from the various rooms (coats etc, pulled out the dishwasher, pulled out the washing machine into kitchen, cleared bathroom).

We got everything down in a list and set out, with our helper Jamie in tow, to Screwfix for supplies. It was £60 roughly for everything we needed, including a new 450mm drill bit for getting through the main end wall into the utility area.

All went well and I managed to get the bath out before I had to leggit down to the sports centre to play badminton! Claire put the bath and shower on Freecycle and a woman from a dog’s home got it! I got back and it was all pretty much connected up!

The best thing about this enforced spending and work is that the ‘music room’ is now one step closer! With the bath out, there’s loads of space for the record decks unit. I just have to tidy up some pipes, paint the room then put carpets on the walls to muffle the sounds. Have to finish the upstairs bathroom first though!

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