Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Evolution of Our Kitchen

Again I feel this may be a slightly boring post for people who aren't me, what can I say, its raining a lot here in Bath!

As I may have mentioned before Rich and I live in a very tiny cottage, its nearly 200 years old (meaning there isn't a straight line in the place!) and for the last 4 years we have been slowly redecorating it. When we moved in the decor was VERY dated, I think it was last done in the early 80's, don't get me wrong the place was scrupulously clean and the lovely old lady we brought it off had obviously loved it (she'd lived here for the last 40 years!) but it just wasn't us.

My favourite room in the house is the kitchen and this was the room that needed the most work, I should explain a bit about the kitchen its is TINY, and I do mean tiny, it used to be the old back yard but in the 80's the previous owners roofed it over to extend the house. Our cottage is built into the side of a hill, meaning it quite literally sits with its bum buried, this means the only natural light coming into the kitchen come from a big velux window in the roof because the ceiling is at ground level.

Here is the kitchen a few months after we moved in...

Look at the tiles...beige with tea pots on...nice!

Here it is after I finally snapped one weekend and we ripped all the tiles off...

The units in the above pics where dreadful chipboard and formica things, these pictures still give me the shivers. After we'd been in the house about 18 months we scrapped up enough to get 2 new hand-built units, we had them made by a great local craftsman in Bristol. We had looked at what we could buy off the shelf at all the usual kitchen places but to be honest it was the same price to have hand-built units that where made to measure (and Richard design) with Oak work tops.

In this pic we have the new units but a few of the crappy old cupboards where holding on, we had quite a time getting them off the wall (when I say we I mean the royal in Rich!) also as storage space was at a premium we couldn't get rid of them until we replaced them with something. Also can I just point out the lino floor here, this stuff actually does give me nightmares (I bet it gives Rich and his Dad nightmares too as they had to chip it off the floor)

Note to self: next time, lay new floor tiles BEFORE getting hand made units built and fitted.

So are we ready for the grand unveiling....

Looook at the floor tiles!!! Sorry I realize I'm very sad but I've waited years for this! Ok it has taken us nearly 4 years but we have been hampered slightly but lack of cash and time (and 2 redundancies!) but we have learned a hell of a lot, for instance ebay is brilliant, don't buy from reclamation yards, they will totally rip you off, we brought all the tiles from ebay and salvo web. We worked out after that if we had bought the tiles from the local reclamation yard we would have paid about £2000, we got nearly 1000 tiles for £500, including the hire of a van to collect them and the petrol to drive them back to Bath.
Another little trick I discovered was when it came to buying cement, we got ours from B&Q where a standard bag of cement for the floor is about £13-£15 a bag, but if you keep an eye out for split bags you can get them at about quarter the price. I don't know if every store does this but B&Q Chippenham does, we got 4 split bags for £16 and we had more then enough to do the whole ground floor of the cottage.

So my undieing gratitude goes to Rich and Rick for spending another horrible weekend once again ruining their knees and losing their sanity trying to get it all finished.

So to everyone who has to suffer living with rubbish kitchens, have faith you will get there in then end and when you do it will be totally worth it!

P.S. Please ignore the dirty dishes I have just spotted in the last few pics, just because I have a lovely kitchen doesn't meaning I've stopped being a domestic slut!

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Ok I realize not everyone will be interested in further tales of mine and Richards wedding but at the moment I haven't had much chance to get in the garden and as I type Rich and his Dad are laying tiles in our kitchen floor so I'm trying to keep out of their way!

So I thought I'd share some of our Honeymoon pics, we ended up going to the lake district for a week, mostly because I've never been and always wanted to and also because our passports have expired and we couldn't afford new ones AND a holiday! 

We stayed here, Sheperd's Nook cottage in the Kentmere Valley not far from Remove formatting from selectionWindermere, and its one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

Inside it was wonderfully furnished, you know when you walk in some where and think ' that's how I would have decorated it too!' this was totally like that.

I must admit one of the reason I picked this cottage out of the dozen I was looking at was because of the Aga, I totally love Aga's and if our kitchen wasn't to small I would run out and buy one tomorrow! And if the inside wasn't good enough, this is what we had to look at out the window...

and this...

oh and this too...

and that was before we'd even left the front door!

When we did eventually tear ourselves way from the cottage one of the first things I made poor Rich do was go and see Beatrix Potters farm Hill Top. It is now owned by the National Trust (meaning it was packed with tourists) but it was fascinating to look round.
Here's me out side the really Hill Top...

and here's me outside the fake Hill Top they used in the film 'Miss Potter'...

Poor Richard!!

Anyway we had an amazing time, Rich put up with me dragging him round National Trust properties and was happy to drive down all the twisty turny lanes to get to our little cottage. I could go on ( I have A LOT more pics!) but I think I'll leave you with the best ones.

If anyone is interested in renting Shepherd's Nook you can find all the details (and some better photos) here, I highly recommend it!