It's at least a couple of years since we decided to have a 'new' kitchen. So granite worktops were bought and fitted with newly-tiled splashbacks, a beautiful new racing green stove was installed, the electrics, plumbing and lighting were overhauled, but the quarry tiled floor and the solid timber units stayed, resulting in the overall look of the kitchen staying the same as it always had been. This was not through any conservative wish for time to stand still, but because of the old adage if it's not broken why fix it? There's enough waste on the planet, without adding to it and anyway the units and floor tiles were perfectly serviceable, so recycling seemed like the best option.
We had planned to paint the kitchen and maybe even the units, but there are always too many other demands on our time, plus there's always the problem of having to agree on a colour. It's almost unheard of for us to decorate a room, finish it, then be able to stand back and admire the results. In our home, generally things take years to evolve into something that can be perceived to be anything different from how it's always looked - even though there's constant tweeking, to the untrained eye it all remains ostensibly the same.
So... when the mood seems right to do something which really will make a difference to the way things both look and work, I usually jump in with both feet. Enter the project of the moment - opening up the fireplace in the sitting room, lining the chimney and installing a wood stove, then replacing the floor with new oak boards.
The existing floor had to be carpeted after we were underpinned years ago. The contractors robbed Peter to pay Paul, taking the best of the original boards out to patch another room. They then replaced those in the sitting room with very short lengths of new boards of the cheapest timber, and sadly no amount of staining would ever get them to blend in.
We've always enjoyed our wood stoves in Wales and every so often P would say something about getting one here in York, but as my head is usually somewhere else when vague intent is perceived, I never really gave it a second thought. When he eventually told me he thought it would be a good project for the autumn, my ears immediately pricked up.
|Before we started|
|Dust sheets on|
|Point of no return - wonky brickwork filled in with rubble - even the|
builders who do this job every day were slightly fazed to say the least
|Right side of the facing done, starting the left side|
First job was to mask up and chip the years of congealed soot and tar out of the chinmey. Even though it had been swept in preparation, something much more drastic was necessary. Didn't get around to taking a pic of the used dust masks but I can only say I hope Andy and Paul don't need to do this every day, the masks had about half a centimetre of thick black soot on the outside!
|Facing finished and Paul starts restoration work on the hearth|
|Job done, phew!|