|It looks so simple, doesn't it.|
It took me a month to clear out, and pack elsewhere in the house, 24 years worth of clutter from the old kitchen and utility, together amounting to by far the largest space in the house. Then commenced two months of work, starting on the 25th June and still not quite finished.
The arguments began a year ago. I didn't want a new kitchen at all. The old one was clean, well-designed, and perfectly functional. Why throw out - literally - a £600 dishwasher to replace it with an inferior model, (of which more later) simply for the sake of appearances? Why throw out solid, well-made and spotlessly clean cupboards, just for the sake of appearances?
Husband, a structural engineer, is obsessed with cracks, and wanted builders to knock out all the plaster where we had an extension 24 years ago, to sort out, in the building's underlying structure, the permanent visual problem of cracks. They are not a safety or structural problem. Everyone we spoke to without exception said "Just paper over the cracks and in the time the possible purchasers have bought and settled in, they won't notice them". But no, husband had to have perfection so that "if we pop our clogs the kids, (28 and 30 and both homeowners) will find it easier to sell the house and make more money on it". So, he reasoned, if this disruptive building work has to take place, why not have a stylish new kitchen at the same time?
Personally, I think I have done enough for our offspring, and would like a peaceful and calm retirement. Not massive hassle going on for months. The kids could easily sort out the work (if they thought it important which I am sure they don't) when the house was empty, assuming we had both "popped our clogs" and they had to clear the whole house.
I lost the "no new kitchen at all" argument, but bargained for a new door in the back wall which would lead straight out into the garden. This I have achieved, see above on the right, and it is a great improvement. You feel less trapped in a kitchen where you can get out into the garden. And it lets so much more light in.
I lost the argument over the dishwasher, and the new one, which is inferior, doesn't actually work properly, so an engineer will be coming out on Monday.
The argument over the steam oven fizzled out after husband asked his secretary, whose daughter is a professional chef, whether professional chefs use steam ovens. They don't.
The argument over which cupboard fronts to choose - well I never stood a chance - husband was determined from the outset to have his own way, and there was no discussion. It doesn't bother me that much, although I feel we have chosen the wrong colour work-top.
But we still have (against my advice) three ovens, because as well as the new built-in oven and built-in combination microwave, we have to have the old oven fitted under the work-top so that once a year at Christmas, all the dishes and plates can be warmed without sacrificing cooking space. So a full cupboard under the worktop sacrificed for one day a year. Which, surely in the not-to-distant future, will not be necessary - surely one of our two daughters will take over Christmas, at least once? After 26 years, when will we stop hosting?
I lost the argument over an induction hob because apparently everyone has induction hobs nowadays and soon no other kind will be available to buy.
So what did I gain, other than a new back door into the garden? We agreed on the new flooring, Karndean wood-effect. We agreed on the colour of the paint. We needed a new ceiling (because of the cracks), and new ceiling lights.
Before the workmen started, nothing was broken, everything worked. They damaged the burglar alarm, which would cost more than it is worth to repair. After plumbing and electrical changes, they have left the boiler in a state where it is now on all the time, despite everything being switched to "off" positions. In a heatwave.
They keep on defecating in our toilet, which is a problem because the downstairs toilet has collapsed under the strain and been removed entirely, so now they have to tramp through the house and go upstairs. Which should be private as far as I am concerned. Yesterday they left actual .... well, I won't go on.
Last night we had our first proper cooked meal in our own home since 12th June. Food does soothe, and my nerves, which were on edge for eight weeks, have calmed a little. That was before I found out that the dishwasher is not working properly. And that the new flooring for the downstairs toilet can't be done until September, so we will be without this facility for another month, as the flooring has to be done before the plumbing.
Next, husband wants to go through the same crack-repair scenario in the room next door, which was also extended at the same time, and has the same "problem" (which, in this room, is invisible to the naked eye).
And he wants to start in two weeks time.