A kitchen, a sofa and a robbery that wasn’t.

Oops, missed a week. We’ve both been in the sick bay with a bug, so progress has been slow… We’re recovered now, so full steam ahead, phew!

We’ve been given this lovely little sofa after eagle-eyed June spotted a neighbour throwing it out… It’s now on my ever-growing list of things to up-cycle. Sweet, isn’t she?

20140311-214721.jpg Last Saturday Ronnie and I ventured into the village for some breakfast, when we returned the workmen mentioned Ronnie’s friend had been round to borrow his electrical saw from the shed, we’d not been expecting anyone so after a quick ring round, we decided that the saw had been stolen by an opportunist, which was pretty much what we deserved for leaving the shed open with valuables inside. Oh well.
The kitchen fitting is almost, very nearly complete. It took the fitter quite a lot longer than he anticipated but we’re really pleased with the results so far.

20140316-181215.jpg These pictures show where the two walls have come down, the first just behind the new breakfast bar, the second came off the yellow wall in the background. The stained glass window I bought will drop into that yellow wall one if these days!

20140316-181228.jpg The breakfast bar has achieved the divide we wanted between kitchen and dining areas, we still need to get the extraction hood fitted. I’m still upset I missed out on those old school stools on Ebay, they would have been perfect! The exposed brick wall can be seen in this picture too, sooooo many hours of scrubbing, but it’s looking good!

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20140316-182639.jpg The oven and microwave sit just got the right of the hob.

20140316-183507.jpg The corner by the pantry has worked out ok, and now houses the fridge freezer and some cupboards, next weekend I plan to sort out the cupboard doors…new hardware, beading and a good few coats of paint. Dottie cat has been ‘helping’ in the kitchen by sitting in the box of handles, refusing to move.

20140316-185000.jpg Finally for this week, the ‘stolen’ saw was returned. A red faced couple knocked at the door and basically they’d arranged to borrow some tools from a friend of a friend and gone to the wrong house, they only realised when they returned it! All’s well that ends well, they bought us some wine and chocolate to apologise, and the saw made a lovely job of their new kitchen floor!

Kitchen planning, light souring, oh, and window distractions…

Last weekend was mainly kitchen planning. Before we set off to Ikea though, the third of our potential window restorers came round to measure up for a quote. The first two guys have still not got back to us after a month…grrr! This gentleman was a knowledgeable sort and has a method to fit double glazed panels within the existing frames, which incredibly after 120 years are in good condition. This is great news as it means that we’ll be preserving more of the original windows, and will save some money as we’d expected to need replacement windows. We’ll be increasing energy efficiency from level 8, down to 1.9, which is apparently quite good. Modern UPVC replacements would bring it down to an excellent level, but there has to be balance in all things. The window man also pointed out the top opening windows in our bedroom, we’d assumed these were fixed as they are downstairs, but once we got up to look they do indeed (or at least should) open. I was excited (genuinely, actually, excited) to see that we also still had the original ‘Monkey Tail’ window stays:

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There are two upstairs which are too high to be seen, so we’ll replace them with repros, polish them up, and pop them onto the bay window in the lounge for all to see. I couldn’t resist ten minutes with Nitromors and wire wool.

20140112-224440.jpg I’m continually amazed by the amount of sheer hard work that went into Victorian properties. I love my work as a designer, I constantly look to add detail to everything I do, but we live in an age where the actual product manufacture is often the quickest part of the process, these window stays will have been hand forged by one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of filthy-faced metalsmiths working within a stones-throw of the house, and they are as good today as the day he made them. Perhaps those forgotten skills are why our windows have lasted over a century…I do so love the Black Country.

Ironic after that little rant, that our kitchen comes courtesy of Ikea, I have my ideals of a locally handmade masterpiece, but also, god damn it, a budget. I did spend a long period of my childhood in Sweden, which has to count for something! To avoid being total Ikea-whores, we’re planning to mix their Lindingo units with more bespoke detailing, and a couple of vintage pieces we’ve accumulated, apparently the cool kids call this an ‘Ikea Hack’. After hooooours on their planning tool we’ve arrived at something like this:

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This is looking from the back door through towards the hallway, exposed brick far right, used to be the breakfast room. The gap is where the wine fridge sits, it’s so complicated to ‘import’ appliances on the kitchen planner that you actually need a glass of wine to cope! This is the vague look I’m going for in the kitchen, which looking at Interiors trends is the same as everyone else this season, oh well.

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The units are Lindingo grey, with solid wood work top. I’ve sourced handles separately, as well as some amazing brackets inspired by Ironbridge, a local landmark. Ikea don’t make a decent corner cabinet so I’m on the hunt for a Victorian unit I can paint to match. We are also going to have a big blackboard from The Timber Shack. Appliances were all bought in the January sales, and are currently piled up in the breakfast room. There are another couple of pieces that I’m excited about putting into the kitchen, both from local pubs, in a round-a-bout way…

And finally, stop press, I’ve saved some money! I’m the type that looks at ‘splurge or save’ magazine comparisons and inevitably chooses the splurge, so was actually quite smug when I found this Dunelm light for a third of the price of the Garden Trading produce I’d been intending to buy, that said, It’s not arrived yet, so could still end in tears when I see it.

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