|11/03/2014||Filled under Carradale, house refurbishment, Scotland|
My original plan for refurbishment of the kitchen was to start at the top, the ceiling, and work downwards via the kitchen units until all that was left to install was a new floor covering. Very soon, however, I realised that this was the wrong way to go about things and some time later it dawned upon me that kitchens have their own sequence of tasks, and that this is one of the special secrets known only to professional installers.
In the six week journey I have just completed during which our new kitchen has risen from the ashes of what once was, many of those special secrets have magically revealed themselves to me despite my non-professional status. Our cupboard doors, for example, each of which required the accurate drilling of two holes for the handle, now all look identical because I had a spare Breton Chartplotter, a clear plastic device whose purpose is known to navigators of small ships, which I was prepared to sacrifice in order to make up a template so that the position of the screw holes was replicated on each door. When it came to the electrical connections for the central heating boiler, the programmer and the thermostat these required a complicated wiring junction box, the mysteries of which only became clear after extensive research on the Internet. Discovering this special secret took time but I now have the satisfaction of knowing where each cable leads and what its purpose is, knowledge which I suspect is deliberately withheld from most human beings for health and safety reasons.
When it came to tiling the walls I was on more familiar ground as my expertise in this area has been tested before. As it happens I can tile in both French and English having a few years ago spent some weeks tiling a new floor just outside Lyon chez our friends Guy and Noëlle. In our kitchen only English was needed although there were other words spoken from time to time when a tile didn’t quite break according to plan. Looking back, had it occurred to me in advance that shaping large tiles around kitchen units, powerpoints and worktops meant that so few could be fitted without cutting I may have never started at all but this particular special secret only emerged into the light of day once the job was well underway.
I now realise now, of course, that a bottom to top approach to refurbishment works best in kitchens and by the time I had finished putting up the shiny white ceiling panels, running up and down a ladder for hours on end, the whole job was done. Suddenly my urge to get going on the next task has nowhere left to push me and I feel a strange sense of guilt at my own laziness.
Alongside this I must confess to a sense of achievement at having negotiated so many pitfalls to finish the job to a standard I am happy with. I may never fit another kitchen again so if this one stands forever as a testament to my skills then at least I am not ashamed of it. It also has one rather novel feature that you will not find in most kitchens. The forest mural came from an idea we had to cover a rather untidy wall with something spectacularly eye-catching. It is visible only from within but mirrors the world outside our doors so perfectly that we just love it!
Click on either picture to enlarge.