Born Wednesday 16th April, with Mama, Daddy and Babe all doing well.
A few years ago, I discovered the Slow Food Movement, and the way I ate and cooked changed. I was more discerning about where my food came from, what I did to it, and the atmosphere I created when I ate it. Suffice to say, as the name suggests, this takes time. I was eating and cooking more slowly, and paying more attention to the experience of the meal. In short, I became one of those food wankers who takes Instagrams of their lunch. Fast forward a few years and I’m faced with not just a meal to put together, but an entire kitchen. In retrospect, starting a kitchen reno when 6 months pregnant probably isn’t the best idea we’ve ever had, but we’ve had the luxury of taking it slow, and fitting work in whenever the Mister has time to breathe and whenever I’m not being sick or doing a beached whale impression. I think we may have started the slow kitchen movement.
Very clearly not finished yet, the obvious missing factor being the tiles. We have tiles – great white glossy, daunting things! And black grout! And edging! It’s just sat there at the moment, but once that goes up things will be that much closer to feeling together. We also need to put the door on the washing machine and the dishwasher (fun fact: Ikea have discontinued the door attachment kit for third-party dishwashers). The plinths and the worktop-back-edging need to go on, the wall cabinets need to be bolted together and I think that’s it. Oh, and we’re going to put an open shelf to the left of the extractor cabinet for crockery and particularly pretentious cookbooks.
I’m actually quite proud of the extractor cabinet above the hob there. There was a LOT of debate over what kind of extractor to get, and we nearly ended up with a plain stainless steel one-you know the type, looks a bit like an upside down capital ‘T’. The one thing we had to work around in this kitchen is where the outlet for the extractor is. In the picture above you can see it in the top right-a ragged hole stuffed full of plastic bags because SPIDERS. If we had gone for a ‘traditional’ hood, we would have had to botch it quite a lot, as most fans just want to vent UPWARDS, never sideways. We figured that if we got an integrated cabinet fan, we could stick some industrial ducting out of the side, and channel to the outside. That’s the theory, anyway. The decision to paint the cabinet and door the same colour as the wall was one I wasn’t 100% on board with, but I think it works.
A final note to anyone who’s good at math or knows me IRL-I still haven’t had the damn baby yet. He’s a week late now. I think if I just start tiling, he’ll decide that that’s a SUPER GOOD time to arrive, so perhaps that’s the plan. Oh, also this was my 100th post, I hoped to have finished, but I can’t leave you hanging.
So you’ve seen the real life state of my kitchen, but I wanted to share my vision as well. I feel like we’re getting to the point where the bones are coming together, and we can think about the ‘finishing touches’. Yes, a tap is a finishing touch.
1. Marimekko Oiva teapot 2. Orla Kiely Linear Stem pot 3. B&Q Senio tap 4. Aloe Vera plant, Ikea. 5. Habitat ‘Flap’ Clock. 6. Valspar Kitchen and Bathroom paint in Bottlenose Dolphin, B&Q. 7. Franke Ascona sink, Screwfix. 8. White tile with dark grout, via House & Home.
All the appliances are integrated, including the microwave, which means there doesn’t need to be anything on the worktop if we don’t want there to be. Our kettle is a stovetop rather than electric, and I’m pretty sure the stovetop espresso maker will live on the hob, too. I’ve got a cute hanging herb planter, and a stack of nice chopping boards, and for once I’ll be able to edit my little kitchen vignettes. Of course, once the kitchen is done, we’ll pretty much have a baby here, so who knows, maybe I might not get round to that as quickly as I’d hoped. Oh, and on that note, we also have to create a nursery from scratch!
Hi guys! There’s been a fair amount of progress in the kitchen, now that we’re starting to get some of the big jobs done. On Tuesday we got a plasterer in to fix up the walls and flatten the ceiling (we had a lovely 90s patterned Artex ceiling in there…). We waited all week for it to dry, so that we could seal it with some watered down paint. FYI, fresh plaster looks like melted chocolate.
When this weekend rolled around, we got busy with the paintbrushes. Once plaster is PROPERLY dry, it goes all pink and powdery. That’s when you need to make sure to seal it well, otherwise the plaster will suck out any water content of the paint and the paint will dry patchy or the plaster will crack. We used Dulux Light and Space mixed roughly 50/50 with water. I guess you could use cheaper paint, but the Light and Space is what we’ve used on ceilings everywhere, so we had a fair bit floating around. Also, if we ended up with a half used tin of trade pure brilliant white, it would never get used. First coat dried really quickly-no surprises there, as the plaster absorbed most of the water, so we were throwing up a second coat in no time. We did the same again, 50/50 mix. We left this to dry for a few hours whilst we did some more cabinet building. The kitchen was looking pretty bright at this point, but just got super fancy when we rollered on the final coat of ‘real’ paint onto the ceiling. Pure, undiluted Absolute White Light and Space. ‘Twas a thing of beauty.
Check out all the beautiful brightness going on there. Over the last two days I’ve assembled all the wall cabinets, except the one for the extractor fan, as the instructions for that appear to have been written by an utter sadist. I’ve put the drawer fronts on the drawer units, fitted the oven into the oven housing and built one of those funky little wire pull out drawer cabinets. We also managed to get the fridge and freezer back into the real kitchen, which means I can now open the fridge again! When the fridge was stacked atop the freezer in the ‘nursery’, it was against a wall and opened the wrong way, and with this baby permanently attached to my front, there physically wasn’t room for me to open the door. HAHAHA. HILARIOUS.
Sneaky little look at how the kitchen will eventually come together. Unfortunately I took the picture late last night whilst so tired, but it is a small beacon of hope in the sea of neverending kitchen woe. The kind of woe that has had my living room looking like this since BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
Soon. Soon it will be over and I’ll have a fancy-pants kitchen and I’ll never leave it. It’s my birthday next week and I’m having some people come over, so before then I’ll need to have straightened out the lounge at least. The wall cabinets went up this afternoon, but they will need to come down again in the week so that I can paint the walls in the kitchen, and then the cabinets can be straightened and fixed up properly. We’re a little closer to the finish, but given Ikea would have charged over £3k to fit the kitchen, I don’t mind that it’s taking a little while!
Following much excitement and so much waiting, on Wednesday we hot-footed it down to Ikea and bought ourselves a kitchen. The kitchen planner lady was really helpful, but I’m pretty sure she took one look at us-all set with Macbooks at the ready, full of plans and spreadsheets and costings and measurements-and figured she would just let us get on with it. I think that the standard drill is for the planners to go through your online plan and check spacing and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. I don’t think we were typical customers. Despite only bing available since Monday, there was a fair bit of Metod on display, and our kitchen (sans doors) was delivered the next day. All the doors and fronts are due next week. Super speedy. So, after a fashion, the kitchen is in the flat. Mostly though, it is in boxes, but it’s here and it’s ours and it will soon mock us with cries to be assembled. I’ve put together four units so far, including nine drawers and it’s a sinch. Although if you’re heavily pregnant (ahem) and sane (ahem) I wouldn’t recommend it. Good thing I’m only ONE of those things.
Everyone has days where a decision is made, and looking back, the only justification you can offer is that “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. I have a feeling that in 5 weeks time, when we’re still struggling with running water only in the bathroom (and only just…), food in the living room and a single hob in the nursery, we will argue that a new kitchen whilst 8 months pregnant “seemed like a good idea at the time”. Do you know what’s really hard when you’re pregnant? Washing up in the bath. Anyway. We now have absolutely no kitchen in the kitchen at all, whatsoever. We’re currently laying the underfloor heating and the laminate floor, and took the opportunity to draw out the new layout on the bare insulation.
In terms of the overall layout of the kitchen, other than keeping the shape, the hob and the sink the same, we’ve changed pretty much everything else. We’re switching from a stacked fridge-freezer to two separate under counter units. We’re adding a dishwasher and moving the washing machine to behind the door. We’re adding more useful storage in the shape of pull out cabinets and drawers. We decided to keep the oven and sink in the same places due to a. making plumbing MUCH simpler for us, and b. they’re pretty much in the most sensible place, anyway.
It has actually been quite fun grabbing Sharpie markers and doodling all over the walls. We had to decide the best place for all our appliance switches and the thermostat for the underfloor heating, so there’s a lot of this going on at the moment…
Once Mr E has finished with the flooring in there (that’s today’s job), we can chip off the remaining tiles and start hacking holes in the plasterboard where the new sockets will be. We also need to move the lighting-we’re removing the main overhead light and replacing it with a pendant in the corner by the sink, and putting lots of heavy duty under-cabinet strip lighting under the wall cabinets. That’s next weekend – the weekend of electrics – and also my 4D baby scan, I’ll be 30 weeks pregnant with 10 weeks to go and no kitchen.
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time…
And so, as promised, here are some pictures of the carnage we’ve created in the name of “progress”. This is my life right now. Below is the Dining room, temporarily repurposed to become a bit of the kitchen.
Next up is what I genuinely think is the best of the bunch. The nursery, temporarily repurposed to become another kitchen.
All of this is of course in aid of creating the ACTUAL kitchen, which as of this morning, looks like this:
Bye bye, blue. The other thing I mentioned yesterday was my nail polish shenanigans. Well, in all this chaos, I looked at my chopsticks and thought “Hey, these could be more colourful!”. So I procrastinated and painted my chopshick tips with nail polish, and it turned out kinda OK?
I am the queen of procrastination. (And with that said, I should probably get back to work…)
So today we’ve started to rip the kitchen apart. Oh this is going to be fun. Firstly: Do you have any idea how much CRAP it’s possible to store in a kitchen?! Even more embarrassingly, we didn’t really unpack after we moved here, so I was pulling out half packed boxes from the cupboards and sorting them. I found 6 (open) bags of mixed fruit, and also a bag containing a jar of marshmallow Fluff that had popped at some point. Pleasant.
But. We’ve started. The spare room/small room/junk room/nursery is now a mini emergency kitchen – one hob and a microwave! Yeah! And cabinets are disappearing in the kitchen. We decided to go for an Ikea kitchen for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they’re pretty cheap, especially if you do all the labour yourself. They’re also ‘hackable’, by which I mean you can fit up awkward spaces and get exactly what you want if you’re imaginative/clever. Ikea Faktum kitchens, however, are being discontinued in February in the UK (See more here). The system is being replaced with the METOD system, which is more widely used in Europe and Scandinavia. Cue a mild panic as we do the temporal math…Kitchen won’t be available to buy until February 3rd + Baby due end of March = “Ha ha, sod it! Let’s start the kitchen!” We figure we can get the room cleared, the floor done, the lighting moved and wired up and the plastering and tile done before we pick up the kitchen, and install it straight into a prepped room.
Of course, the UK online Ikea kitchen planner won’t swap over to the new units until February (and we’re not just talking new doors, btw, it’s new shells, new sizes, new fixings…). So we’ve been planning our kitchen on the Swedish version of the Ikea website. Protip: If ever you want to be disillusioned with Ikea naming, go the Swedish website and let Chrome translate for you. It will helpfully translate the product names, too. It turns out the rather fancy sounding FAKLIG induction hob actually translates as…TASTY.
Pictures to come, of the kitchen desolation and also some other bits and bobs I’ve been up to, including PAINTING THINGS THAT ARE NOT NAILS WITH NAIL POLISH. Laters!
There was some lovely light in the bedroom this morning so I used it as an opportunity to breakout the camera and snap some shots of where we were. Then I decided we were done. So here we go…the bedroom!
Since last time we’ve built the wardrobe – that was interesting. The wardrobe will forever live in this room now, as it literally will not fit through the door or window. If we want to take it with us we’ll have to take it apart. I’m not sure if you’ve ever taken apart flat pack furniture, but in my experience you can only put it together once, and take it apart once. After that it just sort of crumbles into particle board that used to be a thing. So….it’s staying here. Forever.
We want to get a stand for the plant by the wardrobe, partly because it will look cooler, and partly because I’m a bit worried about the plant sitting directly on the heated floor. Not sure how that will work out long term… I think we’re going to indulge ourselves and get a cute wire basket from Ferm Living, and turn it upside down. Boom. Plant stand. On a related note, heated floors in a bedroom are just the best thing ever, you guys. You wake up, pre caffeine, and plant your feet on a toasty warm floor. It makes mornings just a little more bearable.
There’s a Bertoia wire chair at the end of the bed too, under the window, but that corner is a real arse to photograph. Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know. It’s such a difference from when we moved in, so much calmer and less….blue. Sweet Dreams!
Thought I’d quickly stop by and let you know what we’ve been up to over the last few weeks. I need to take the camera for a whirl, but it’s dark when I go to work and dark when I come home, and the weekends are spent making things happen! So. We now have heating and flooring in the lounge, bedroom, nursery-to-be and hallway. We primed the hallway walls and painted, and then put up a cute little Ikea bestå unit. We sanded and re-painted that odd white bit in the bedroom and built and put up a wardrobe, and I think that’s about where we are.
‘Till next time!
This weekend, we spent the nights sleeping on our Ikea sofabed (The ‘Friheten’, and FYI it’s VERY comfortable), surrounded by boxes and bags of STUFF. The trouble we seem to have, is that no matter how much space we have, we always need a little bit more. The stuff we were surrounded with at the weekend is what we had stored in the nursery closet. The pattern goes something like this:
1. Empty nursery closet
2. Transfer contents of bedroom closet to nursery closet
3. Demolish bedroom closet (fun!)
4. Put contents of nursery closet…um…somewhere.
Most of said contents were sorted into nifty underbed boxes, and next weekend we’ll be getting a new freestanding wardrobe for the master bedroom. Until then, the additional remnants of life have been put in the nursery (tool and floor and junk storage room atm!) and the door firmly closed. BOOM! Problem solved.
The purpose of all this shuffling was to allow us to rip up the bedroom carpet and lay the heating and flooring in there. So, before ado is in any way furthered, here’s a little ‘before’ recap. It’s blue! It’s dark! It’s FUN!
As a fun side note, we picked up a vintage George Nelson saucer lamp in need of some (a shit-ton) love last week and I’ve been cleaning that up ready to go up in here. It’ll be nice to replace the knock-off-I-didn’t-know-was-a-knock-off-cos-I’d-never-seen-an-original that we’ve had for years.
The new flooring is so much nicer. I’m not sure about you, but when I move into a place with carpet that’s been there a while, no amount of cleaning can convince me that the carpet’s not full of the previous occupiers skin cells. Gross.
Next stop I think is the hallway-that’s a hot mess. There are huge chunks of wall all different colours where things have been wall mounted and painted AROUND. There’s missing skirting where we took out the storage heaters, and SO MANY DOORS. Seriously, this is a tiny flat and we’ve got seven doors. I’ve started painting them black and I think it’s kick ass, but I haven’t quite convinced Mr E yet…
So. We bought a flat. In July. It’s now October and you guys haven’t seen much progress. You may be wondering if there hasn’t been any. Well, there has and it’s been slow, but I’ve had a reeeeaaaly good excuse.
I’m having a baby.
That’s right. Geekarilla’s getting a little one. It’s been a rough pregnancy so far and that’s put the kibosh on work around here. We’ve made some progress though, we’ve got underfloor heating and replaced the floor in the living room and (what will be) the nursery, and the master bedroom will be laid this weekend. We pulled out the giant fitted wardrobe and will be replacing that once the floor is done. We’ve put up some Elfa shelves in the living room and added a tumble dryer to the hall cupboard. Hopefully this weekend will see a bit more organisation and stashing of stuff away, and then perhaps I can get some more progress shots up! The living room is almost done – the brick wall is holding up nicely, and I managed to restore a vintage Saucer Lamp last weekend quite successfully.
So, I’m going to be a mum. There’s going to be a baby and then a small child in our home, and this could well signal a few changes to our style and the choices we make. The blog will probably gain a few posts on living with a baby or life with kids, but hopefully once I am properly on my feet I’ll get back to a regular posting schedule. Wish us luck!
I know this post has been a very long time coming, but we’ve been unbeievably busy over the last couple of weeks! We picked up the keys to our flat on Friday 19th of July, and haven’t stopped since then. On Friday, we got up, picked up the hired van and flew straight to Ikea. Yep, our flat is more than a little Swedish… A new bed, sofa and dining table later, we picked up the keys and let ourselves in. You guys, it was so emotional. We just stood there in the hall going “we OWN this. this is OURS”. Over the next few days we realised how much actual work there was to do. There were holes in the walls. Not like screw holes, but face-sized, taken out with a hacksaw holes. There were non-functioning night storage heaters, which, when removed (eventually) revealed a lack of skirting board behind and flooring underneath. There were dodgy electrical spurs added on to the ring main. It was not, my friends, a case of slapping some paint on the walls. The best room in the flat was the bathroom, so bizarrely, thats’s where we chose to start. We took down the old towel rail, the medicine cabinet, the frightening-looking heater, the mouldy blind and all the odd screws and nails. I filled in all the holes, I sanded all the filler. I painted the ceiling. I scrubbed the window with limescale remover. We bought a new shower and installed it. We changed the shower curtain track. AND THEN we painted. A glossy, charcoal grey called ‘Bottlenose Dolphin’. Apt for a bathroom, no? Once we’d painted I had a crack at the skirting boards. I used one coat gloss, but I don’t know what kind of stain the previous guys put on the wood because the gloss went yellow. So Once became Twice. Lesson learned: Never Trust Anything. Once THAT was done I moved my attention to the frilly stuff. The Hang It All pretending to be a towel rack, the Mirror Of A Throusand Transformations, and a clock. We need to get a new light fitting, but for now, this is nice. It’s been nice during all thework to have a moody, masculine, calm retreat to wind down in at the end of the day. The last thing you want when you’re trying to relax is to have MORE WORK staring you in the face. Yay! New Flat!
The lounge is coming along in leaps and bounds too. (I will do a proper introduction to the flat at some point, with pictures and floorplans, I promise. I just wanted to throw you a frickin’ bone here.) The lounge has taken a LOT of work. Nearly £600 of brick tiles to replicate that bare wall look, nearly a tub of filler and SO MUCH SANDING. Throw in a nice vintage light, and some buttoning on an otherwise plain IKEA sofa and y’know what, we’re seeing progress. Still a long way to go, but we will get there! Having internet troubles at the moment, but once that’s all sorted (grr) I’ll keep the updates coming thick ‘n’ fast!
That’s all for now folks!
The healthy food cravings have been insane lately! I spread some pre-made teriyaki sauce on the salmon, and fried it in a skillet. I chopped some veg and boiled some udon noodles and then threw them in the pan when the salmon was done. A few sesame seeds on the top and I. WAS. DONE.
Good morning everyone!
It’s been a while, so I think it’s about time to share the latest update. We FINALLY got a completion date for the flat! Yay! Friday the 19th of July is when we pick up the keys and that flat is officially ours. We’ll be moving in properly on the Saturday, and I cannot wait. We’re treating ourselves to a new bed with all new linen, a new sofa aaaaaaand…..a new kitchen. There’s lots to do in the first few weeks, but I’m so glad the time has finally come.
When we first moved in with my in-laws, we put a lot of boxes straight into the garage and didn’t even unpack them. Over the last year, we’ve been living out of 3 kitchen cabinets, a sideboard, and the world’s smallest wardrobe. Consequently, we’ve realised how little stuff we actually need. We were pretty minimal to begin with, but I’m a super organised/prepared/anal person, so I always liked to have enough plates for 20 stashed away somewhere. With so little storage in the new flat, I’ve had to have a rethink of what is really needed. A lot of the boxes from the garage have been unpacked straight to charity shop bags, and what’s left is just things that we really love. There’s a big pile of boxes in the corner of the conservatory, and over the next two weeks I just need to slowly box up what’s left.
Will I miss it here? Honestly? I doubt it. It’s been an interesting experience, and we’ve been so lucky to have been able to take this route. We’re so grateful that we’ve been able to save up and get where we need to be, but I’m ready for my own space again. I’m ready to not share a kitchen, not have to worry about when I can shower, and to put some records on or just enjoy the silence.
Just a quick update to say that we received and signed the contracts for the flat yesterday, and will be dropping it back to the solicitors on Monday. Hopefully then we can get an idea of dates! We’ve got some time this week to start sorting through what we’ve got stored, so we’ll only be moving with things we actually want to keep.
Really chilled out summer beats. Still no news on the flat, but we have both taken next week off work to pack and sort most of our stuff, so it will at least feel like we’ve done something.
Not much going on with the flat at the moment, we’re just waiting for the contract to come through from the solicitor, so it’s just a waiting game now. For now then, it looks like we’re back to foodie posts! I really enjoy chicken katsu curry, and every time I make it I end up looking for the curry sauce recipe, but I’ve found a good one and here it is!
2 tbs oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbs plain flour
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
Firstly, mix curry powder and flour together and set aside
Heat oil in pan
Add garlic and stir fry for 1 min
Add flour/curry powder mix and allow to bubble, you should end up with a very dry paste
Add salt, paprika and chilli powder, stir
Add enough water, small amounts at a time until you get a sauce like consistency
Now bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring continuously, you may need to add some water at this point.
Add this to a plate of rice and some breaded chicken and voila. Delicious!
Hello Everyone! Welcome to the last Aspirations post. It’s quite interesting to share this one, because it is for a room that we don’t actually need. Yet. We do want to have a baby, and once the house is finalised and up together we’ll have a crack at making one. Here then, is the nursery!
1 Crochet Blanket (My Mother In Law has kindly offered to make one, this one via schweizergarten 2 Chunky knitted pouffe, Argos 3 Storage Bench, Land of Nod 4 Teak Sideboard, Vintage – Mentioned here 5 Summer Oak Cot Bed, Mothercare 6 Ursa Minor Bear, Rume 7 Giraffe Balloon print, Kevin Tiell
We’re nearly at the end of the Aspirations series, Which is lucky really, because we’ve bought the flat!. In theory, this shouldn’t look too different, as we are currently pretty happy with it. I want to get some nice Anglepoise bedside lamps, though.
1 Anglepoise bedside lamps, via John Lewis 2 Ochre Check Sheets and Pillowcases Next Home 3 Eames DAW Style Armchair, via Vertigo Interiors 4 Marmekko Blanket – I don’t know where to get one in the UK! 5 Simple, calm, bedroom, via SFGirlByBay