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Am in kitchen renovation hell - please post stories of hope!

(23 Posts)
EagleRay Mon 14-Mar-16 21:30:02

My kitchen is in the basement of a victorian townhouse and although only replaced 10 or so years ago, the damp proofing was bodged and so it was long overdue for replacement. Also, the space no longer worked as a kitchen diner due to poor layout and expanding family.

Discovered I was pregnant with DC2 last year and so somehow got this now or never urge to get the kitchen sorted. As well as replacing the units and fixing the damp, there's some structural alterations to create a pantry and a new dining area.

So far, so good, but work only got underway last week and I'm now 32w pregnant and HUGE. Nothing has gone wrong (apart from the damp being worse than anticipated and so extra work needed to fix it) but I think because I've had months of looking at kitchens, layouts, materials and floorplans, then all the time spent decluttering the house and boxing up the kitchen stuff, I feel like I'm done already and don't seem to have much energy left.

And although 7 weeks should be plenty of time to get it done, I just seem to have lost any visions I had about the finished article. The silly thing is, I've had loads of work done on the house over the last decade and it's been a bit difficult but bearable. This time though it just feels a bit much. Have also got a 3yo (who thankfully is in nursery most of the time that the builders are here) and DP works away most of the time (but the building work is being done entirely under my instruction and finances anyway as the house is mine).

I think it's the displacement of an entire floor of the house which is getting to me - there are dining chairs in the spare room, boxes of saucepans in the hallway and so on. Oh and doing the cooking in a cupboard sized utility room then washing up in a tiny bathroom sink (I can barely fit into the bathroom as it is.

I will stop my whining now - am very aware it's a temporary problem and very much a first world one but my poor weeble-shaped body has had enough!

OnePlanOnHouzz Mon 14-Mar-16 22:09:50

Can you rally round your friends and rellies to offer you a cooked dinner at their homes each night for a week or two ? It will all be worth it when it's done - but in your condition I think you can get away with asking for a bit of help !! Hope it all goes well for you !

EagleRay Mon 14-Mar-16 22:38:14

Hi OnePlan smile there isn't anyone we can ask really and our varying dietary requirements are a nightmare! I am enjoying the simple pleasures of Lidl savoury baked goods for quick lunches though and our oven actually broke back in January so we've had a fair amount of time to get used to very basic cooking.

We're supposed to be going on holiday this week for a few days in order to escape the chaos for a while, but I feel very reluctant to leave the builders as there always seems to be something that needs resolving each day. DP says we can find a nice self catering property with a proper kitchen, whereas I like the idea of a nice hotel so that I don't need to think about cooking or washing up hmm

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Mon 14-Mar-16 22:59:21

Well if he's offering to cook for you for a few days then say thanks very much and put your feet up. If he looks confused just ask him if he actually thought that you would be cooking the slightest little thing because you won't! Have fun.

OnePlanOnHouzz Tue 15-Mar-16 07:41:50

I have guests descending soon - otherwise I'd have said come over and be waited on here !

( for anyone else reading this - we do know each other !)

Treat yourself to a break somewhere close enough to deal with build problems if there are any - but far enough away to feel you are escaping perhaps ?

MiaowTheCat Wed 16-Mar-16 07:36:00

Stories of hope... well our kitchen is finally finished! Does that give you hope!? (I still need to paint it when I get the kids out of my hair for a bit)

We started with the wall between the lounge and kitchen being knocked through in October - spent Christmas with chunks out of the ceiling and exposed brickwork - and because the old kitchen wasn't at all child friendly - we had a garden fence and gate running down the middle of the room (with tinsel on).

Kitchen was delivered end of January and our builder (complicated by the fact he lives next door so we couldn't get cross with it all really) started the first week in February.

Week 1 - fine - the kitchen came out more than obligingly and the state of the walls and floor was much better than expected. Guy who was disposing of the rubbish did one load, took payment for that and never appeared again so we ended up having to get skips at short notice but that was tolerable.

Week 2 - builder ripped the tendons in his leg and vanished for a week and a half leaving us with chaos.

Week 3 - no builder - electrician and plumber and my mum told him he needed to get something sorted so he reappeared and did little bits as he could.

Started trying to get the plasterer to come out and make good the bits that needed doing... first time he rang the plasterer he was sat by his brother's bedside having just had to make the call to turn his life support off (eek!)... so spent the time calling contacts to get another plasterer to come round.

We finally (well he's coming this morning to pop the splashback on as it needs cutting down a bit to size) finished yesterday... 6 1/2 weeks after work started.

It's absolutely wrecked me having to deal with the chaos and constant mess for so long - I don't cope well with having my house disrupted (it can be in chaos normally but it's MY chaos). I've got a 2 and 3 year old so I've had to keep things as normal as possible for them but with the kitchen out of use, the lounge with boxes of kitchen stuff everywhere and the garden out of use as it was full of units being built and general building crap - it's really ground me down doing the whole thing - hence why it's not painted yet because I just can't face that right now.

The new space and light though are really worth it to sit at the dining table and have a cup of coffee - and the corner larder unit is perfect for hiding in to dare to eat a biscuit without the bloody kids seeing!

ExtraHotLatteToGo Wed 16-Mar-16 12:27:43

OP πŸ’

Self catering...mwhahhhhhhh tell him not to be so daft! Unless he's offer g to do all of the cooking & cleaning up!

miaow. Where did you buy your kitchen from & what do you think of it now it is in?

LeRoom Wed 16-Mar-16 12:53:29

It'll be ok! I was in the same position 2 years ago. The kitchen was in and working with a few days to spare. It wasn't 100% finished but that was ok. It worked and was clean, which were the important bits. Anything else can be easily dealt with on mat leave.

All the contractors were super lovely about making sure it was in and working by the time my baby arrived. The worktop guys came on a Saturday. Don't hesitate to have the occasional prudent hormonal outburst if things aren't trotting along grin xx

EagleRay Wed 16-Mar-16 17:07:21

Hello - finally back after a couple of very busy days!

DD had a rather complex hospital appointment yesterday so that occupied a full day, then today all the trades turned up at once, and they all had questions that needed answering (where do you want your sockets to go, what wattage is your new hob, how many shelves do you want in your pantry etc etc) so I spent the morning rushing around trying to resolve everything. Then the electrician realised he needed to take up the floor in our very overcrowded lounge which is above the kitchen so chaos ensued as we had to shift loads of furniture and crap. DP here today as he's got some days off so it was the first time he'd met the builders. He actually made himself useful and made endless cups of tea for them which helped a lot.

DD is scared of the noises and she was too much of a liability in the lounge so has spent most of the afternoon lying on our bed watching Frozen on a loop

Meanwhile, the bloody holiday... DP had some sort of vision of us going to a mountainous area 'so that we could do hiking and stuff' hmm I've had my cross face on all afternoon as just want a nice comfy hotel with a nice view and wifi Looks like we'll go for a coastal cottage somewhere now - just need to muster up the energy to book it!

OnePlan that's very kind of you re the waiting on! Yesterday I felt too anxious to leave the house for any period of time as so many things to be resolved but today we have ticked off so many issues I do think I could relax a bit if we left for a few days!

Miaow I feel quite weak reading about your building ordeal - I'm amazed you still have your sanity intact! I love the idea of your biscuit hiding area smile

LeRoom I think the challenge is to try and stay rational about what is urgent before a baby arrives and what isn't (and I might possibly have lost sight of that!). We do have 7 more weeks though so even if things drag out, we should still be ok to finish in time. I seem to be quite good at the outbursts so far blush

EagleRay Thu 24-Mar-16 21:38:43

Well, an awful lot seems to have happened in a week... We did manage to go away but it wasn't the hotel and room service I had in mind - think more traditional cottage in bleak landscape with daily visits to sit on the beach (on day 2 I refused to get out of the car and instead slept in the passenger sat and read the papers).

Then we came home. And I got ill. Have just been discharged from hospital after 3 days in isolation - it wasn't fun but at least there was no dust and I had room service (as wasn't actually allowed to leave my room)

I'm in bed at home now, but have been downstairs for a few minutes to view the progress. It's still a building site but the structural alterations (more complex than anticipated thanks to historic bodgery) have been completed. A new wall has been boarded ready for plastering and most of the electrics done. Meanwhile, I'm proud to say that I managed to get the quote for the bespoke doors and drawers sorted out, plus door samples ordered, from my hospital bed with wires and needles dangling from me (driven by the terror of realising I was running out of time to get stuff ordered in time).

Am hoping things run a bit more smoothly for a few days now smile

ExtraHotLatteToGo Thu 24-Mar-16 22:37:33

Oh no, poor you, on both counts!

Next time, book the holiday you want and tell DH that's what's happening!

What was wrong with you/how did you get it?!

I'm glad you're well enough to be home, but don't rule out taking yourself off yo your parents/friends/hotel if the dust & noise get too much.

You did well to organise stuff from the hospital -well done!!

I'm no further forward :/

EagleRay Thu 24-Mar-16 23:22:35

Whereabouts are you in your kitchen renovation journey ExtraHotLatte?

I've got swine flu - not nice, but better I guess than the pulmonary embolism they were testing for!

ExtraHotLatteToGo Fri 25-Mar-16 07:20:02

Swine flu sad sad that's horrible, you poor thing πŸ’

Where am I in my kitchen renovation journey?

Well, I guess you could say, my runner keeps returning to the starter blocks! 😬

Design, style, budget & supplier/fitter all still undecided.. The bathroom was a complete nightmare and I'm not happy with the result, so that's not helping. I'm not enjoying this at all, I just want it done. Entire house needs painting, every wall & every ceiling have been plastered, door ways replaced, doors replaced & so they all need painting. I've got no energy or enthusiasm.

EagleRay Fri 25-Mar-16 20:21:35

Oh dear ExtraHotLatte it sounds like you've got an awful lot on your plate... My entire house has been done, but over a 10 year period, and in about 4 different phases and seem to be bloody well starting back at the beginning again

Do you have anyone else to help wth decison making? (I have a DP but don't involve him in anything apart from making drinks for the builders). And is there any particular style or the age of your property to guide you? My biggest helps have been getting the kitchen space designed properly/independently, pinterest, and FB groups relating to interiors as lots of people to bounce ideas off and lots of photos to look at!

Can you pay someone to do the painting if it's really getting to you?

MiaowTheCat Sat 26-Mar-16 08:15:18

Our kitchen had one final sting in the tail.

With only the splash back remaining to be stuck on - it didn't quite fit because of where the electrician had put one of the sockets (for the sake of one bloody cm... none of 'em have any excuse really since they had the plans from the day after we had them) so builder said he could get the glass cut down.

It's toughened glass but not labelled as such so the machine has scored it and fucked the splashback - but not able to cut it.

That just summed up the whole bloody saga for me!

OTheHugeManatee Sat 26-Mar-16 09:07:32

ExtraHot - you have my sympathy with the painting. I've decorated more than half our house already and it's a grind. I find the only way to cope with the hugeness of the job is to just think about one room at a time. If I try and contemplate the whole thing I just want to cry.

ExtraHotLatteToGo Sat 26-Mar-16 22:37:01

ER How are you feeling today?

Yes, there's a lot to do πŸ™ It's not a huge place, but it's just 'everything, everywhere' I've just not got an ounce of energy for anything, let alone this.

It doesn't have any character to base decisions on. Unfortunately. It's definitely not my dream home!

It's a small kitchen & due to doors, windows, gas point etc there aren't really that many design options. How much did your independant kitchen design cost? I don't 'do' FB, but have looked at Pinterest, houzz, magazines, various other google searches. I love Houzz, but get frustrated as the majority don't say where the stuff is from.

I could pay someone to do the painting but, mostly don't want to. I've done quite a bit myself, but I've paid people to do more than I wanted to. I wanted to physically do more myself (for the accomplishment more than the cost, though obviously a factor too) and this is one thing I can do. Also, I'm a perfectionist and after having every surface replastered I'd lose it big time if it wasn't a fabulous paint job. Though, I'm not sure I've got the energy to do it perfectly myself anymore.

Miaow For the love of fuck! Really?! You are having the worst time sad. Who is taking the financial hit on that Cock up? I hope it's not you!

OTHM. You are right of course 😊One room at a time, but somehow the decisions all seem to be linked and everytime I think about one room there's an 'oh but I find that there, then X won't work' πŸ˜– Whether it's wall colouring (shades of grey pmsl), yikes, flooring....gahhhhh. I should stop moaning and at least get the mist coats done. No decisions there, except where to start & where to put all the stuff 😁

I need 🍷🍷🍷🍫🍫🍫

OTheHugeManatee Sun 27-Mar-16 07:37:10

Get a mist coat done. You'll feel better even for that progress. I know that mind block feeling though 😞

FWIW I find decision fatigue is a real killer in big projects too - just the sheer number of things that need to be chosen from a zillion options. My best solution is to narrow each decision to three options and make DH take the final choice. He likes this as he has design views but hates doing the research, and I like it as I can pick several options all to my taste but not be worn out with final decisions all the time.

MiaowTheCat Sun 27-Mar-16 18:31:57

I hit complete and total question overload point at several points during it all (not helped that our builder is chatty as fuck anyway - lovely bloke - we've lived next door to him for years - and our street is such that if you're having any work done half the street comes along to have a nosey at it all) and just resorted to buggering off to bed and leaving them all to the chaos downstairs on a few occasions!

I found starting with a shit list rather than a wish list was a better place to go - I listed everything that pissed me off about the old kitchen - down to "that socket's just too short for me to put the kettle next to the coffee cups" level of irritation and worked from there upwards. I could have sat and navel gazed for bloody months about working triangles and the like - but it just wasn't working for me to think that way. DH was bog all use - just fell in love with a fridge freezer and that was about it in terms of his design input - so as penance he's currently charged with painting the whole thing (no way am I painting ceilings when there's a 6 foot 7 bloke around to do it)!

EagleRay Mon 25-Apr-16 20:09:27

Well we moved a tiny step closer to completion today...

Worktops fitted then later this week pantry will be completed and oven/hob fitted. And plumbing/taps will be connected too!

The real ballache though is that drawer fronts won't be ready for another 2/3 weeks so nothing can be stored in the kitchen until then.

The house is filthy but I no longer have the strength to do much due to pelvic pain - arghhh!

OnePlanOnHouzz Mon 25-Apr-16 21:15:29

Beautiful sink and worktop !!!
Nearly there !!!

EagleRay Mon 25-Apr-16 21:38:20

Thank you! The tap isn't connected but I put it into position to make everything look nice smile and so that I could pretend to use the sink

I can't remember if I said before, but we made a couple of drastic design changes - the pantry is much smaller than planned as I decided to use the cupboard only and not any of the hallway space. It just felt so nice being kept as open space

I also did away with all of the wall cupboards as they made me feel sad (that's loony pregnancy hormones for you). The microwave is probably going to sit inside the pantry so that I don't need to look at it.

It's all coming together - the overall look is quite stark and pale and there will be additional decorative features which will make it feel like a bit like a big windswept beach. DP cares only about when we'll have a dishwasher again hmm

OnePlanOnHouzz Mon 25-Apr-16 21:53:59

I'm sure it will be fab !! smile

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