We are now in to the fifth week of our extension and it’s been a rollercoaster of highs and lows. I had expected to write weekly posts about the exciting progress we’ve made, but in all honesty, it’s been much slower than we expected. And the stress levels so much higher.
I’ve literally had nothing to write about!
We got the ball rolling 6 months ago in the hope that we’d either be finished or at the very least be near finishing stages by this point (just a few weeks away from our second baby being born). As always with renovations, we’ve had delay after delay. Rain has called off the bricklayers; materials have been out of stock; the neighbours pointing needed re-doing before ours could begin… So here we are, week 5, with barely two side walls constructed.
This was the first external wall going up – finally it began to feel real and we could visualise the new space.
Last week, we ordered the kitchen – we really needed to feel like the project was moving forward. Even if it’s at a glacial pace.
Adding the rear extension means knocking through our existing kitchen. Our kitchen is barely three years old and rather than ripping it all out, we’ve just re-designed it and bought additional units. It’s the Cooke & Lewis Carisbrooke Ivory range from B&Q – cream units and real oak worktops to give it a rustic country feel.
We’re losing several wall and floor units and half our worktops. The existing Belfast sink, the range cooker, a few floor units and the dishwasher have thankfully been reintegrated in to the new design. We lose the corner carousel which I’ll miss but it’s all to achieve the dream – the kitchen island.
This is our second time designing a kitchen and the experience was definitely easier. We’ve used the space for three years already, so we know the kinds of things to think about – the triangle between the hob, fridge and worktop; keeping the sink close to the dishwasher; having the dishwasher near the units we store plates and cups in, etc.
There’s a long list of practicalities to consider and this time I think we’ve nailed it.
Here’s a few plans of the kitchen design to give you an idea.
We’ve added wine racks and plenty of storage to the island. The one lesson we learnt from our first design was that you can NEVER have enough storage. Whatever amount you give yourself, double it!
The lead time for the kitchen is exactly 4 weeks.
From the time the builders knock through the external wall and take the back off the house, we’ll be using a temporary kitchen – a small sink, a microwave, fridge/freezer, tiny worktop space and our range cooker. Not looking forward to that but it’s a means to an end. I’ve made a start on some serious batch cooking ready for the chaos that’s about to start.
Other good news is that the roof design has been finalised. After much toing and froing about whether to keep the roof the same as our neighbours’ extension, we’ve decided just to go for the style we really want. In the end, it didn’t feel right to settle for a roof style that we didn’t actually like. I just hope it’s going to look as good as I imagine!
We’re going with a 15 degree pitched roof to give the internal space some height, charcoal grey slate tiles and Velux windows. The bi-folding doors will be grey too.
I’ve been trying to avoid getting stressed about the slow progress – easier said than done. But I’m repeating the mantra daily to myself: it will all be worth it in the end.