18 days ago I started to retell the tale of the kitchen renovation. It seems as if reliving the experience was enough to silence my ramblings. As I look back at our various projects I do wonder why we ever start new ones, but as I write I am busy plotting the new paint scheme for the lounge. 18 days ago I had a train of thought about how these posts were going to go. I got off that train many days ago and I don’t think there is another scheduled. So without further ado I will commence with part 2, in whatever form it wants to take.
I finished part 1 at Christmas time, Mystery DIY Man and I made our regular pilgrimage back to the other island and clocked up a few km travelling between Orewa, Whangamata and Tauranga. While up north I found a few kitchen appliance sales, which lead to a rather large range hood being posted to Dunedin. The Mothership, bless her, sent it to our old flat – who thankfully didn’t really want a new rangehood. Aside from shopping, driving and ‘relaxing’ we came back ready and enthusiastic about the kitchen (oh, the sarcasm). Sadly in the time we were gone the floor had not magically levelled itself, nor had the french doors installed themselves. With that in mind we decided to tackle the french doors. After watching many renovation TV shows and proclaiming ourselves experts we set about cutting a rather large hole in the outside wall of the house. What the TV shows forget to tell you about is the week or so of no doors and rather large gaping hole you will have. As testament to the charmingness of our neighbourhood no one attempted to remove the flimsy plywood ‘door’ while we were at work. Mystery DIY Man has some very talented and generous soldier mates, one in particular who I shall call Mystery Builder is very good with joinery. Between he and his brother they created a lovely set of french doors and helped install them for us. The doors were installed exactly 12months after we took possession of the house – February 2011. We were ticking along quite nicely at this point, progress being made and whatnot – but Mother Nature was about to throw her toys.
February 22nd, 2011 saw Christchurch suffer a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, here is not the place to describe the destruction and chaos experienced in the area. Needless to say the kitchen went on the back burner as Mystery DIY Man changed his DIY cape for his soldier’s attire and headed up to help out on the cordon and where-ever else aid was required. Meanwhile, I gained an evacuated brother and ‘brother-in-law’. My brother, being ruled by the surf shortly left Pioneer House and travelled back to the Mothership where the swells were more promising. Around the same time Murphy’s Law made sure that our kitchen cabinets were finished and needed to be collected. Here is where Mystery DIY Man’s little brother came to the rescue and helped me manhandle all the kitchen cabinets into the back of a car and a trailer and then back out again. I’m still not convinced it was the best hangover cure for him, but I am thankful nonetheless. So, four months since the saga started I now have walls, doors, cabinets, and a reasonably level floor – and this is how it remained for another month or so.
By the end of April we were ready for a new exciting arrival in the kitchen – the benchtop! The bench was not without its own dramas, and I believe even enjoyed an Easter holiday to Central Otago with its creator (not sure his wife was a huge fan of the 3rd wheel). I had been eagerly anticipating the phone call that would announce the bench was ready to be collected – so when it came I decided we would hop in the car and go and get it. This usually would have been reasonably straight forward, but it was freezing cold and the bench top was 112km north in Oamaru. The highlight of this trip was the ability to stop in Hampden for fish and chips, if you’re ever passing through you should definitely stop off for a piece of blue cod from Lockies. We manage to arrive in Oamaru around 9ish, pack the car full of bench top and hit the road again. This time however the trip was less than romantic with a giant wall of beautifully polished rimu between the two of us. There was not a huge amount of talking going down rage on the trip back to Dunedin – but on the bright side we did have a bench top (Mystery DIY Man didn’t fully appreciate this at the time).
With the benchtop installed we finally gained what every kitchen needs – a kitchen sink. From there on the saga was a little more straight forward, we got some flooring installed and skirting boards put in place – but still something was missing. A splash back. For the splash back I had a very clear picture in my mind of what I wanted – some ‘red, but not fire engine red tiles, no, not that red, a little darker, no not that dark….’. So very clear. And so started many trips to tile shops all of which ended in frustration, anger and disappointment. No where could I find the correct ‘red’ or the words to describe said red to Mystery DIY Man, who by this stage I suspect wanted to kill me. After about the 3rd trip back to each of the tiling stores in Dunedin I had an epiphany – I wanted a wine red, a merlot coloured tile. With this new found knowledge we toddled back to Bunnings, where I swore I would never find the tiles I wanted. You’ll have guessed it by now, but there was a beautiful merlot coloured tile just waiting for me (I’m not sure Mystery DIY Man would have hung around otherwise).
I suspect if I had been writing this post as the kitchen creation developed it would have been much longer and included all the little lessons we discovered along the way. But as it happens like all painful things in life somehow the brain ensures we forget the really painful bits – meaning we’re silly enough to go on and start new projects. Thankfully for Mystery DIY Man the bank balance meant he got at least 18months before I decided that I really did hate the bathroom. Now 2 weeks away from celebrating 3years in Pioneer House with a new kitchen and 95% complete bathroom, are we silly enough to start another project? You betcha!