Living the (kitchen) dream

It’s here, it’s actually here… in several billion flat pack boxes in the garage, but it’s definitely here!

The new kitchen

Last Wednesday was rather exciting, with both the kitchen being delivered and the first visit from Thomas the electrician. Husband and Thomas discussed furtively in the kitchen, whilst I supervised the IKEA delivery. Apparently, Husband has thought up lots of canny ways of getting loads of power sockets into the kitchen without them being visible.

The plan is now that Thomas will be back at the end of this week, so therefore all the old kitchen, barring the kitchen sink (!), has to be pulled out by then.

'Before' all the changes

So, yesterday, with a bit of help from a friend, Husband started removing the old units.

Going, Going....

So far the changes are quite ok, and the kitchen is still functioning well, although we keep forgetting where we’ve moved things to! But as this week progresses I think that the local take-aways will start to feel the benefit!

We’ve still got a few things to purchase such as the fridge and freezer, hob, hood, lights and back-splash. So possibly a busy week or two coming up!

Talking of back-splashes, we are still not decided on what to put on the wall, maybe tiles or maybe some kind of funky wallpaper covered with glass. Today I was discussing this dilemma with a friend, and she recommended a website called www.photowall.se. Have a look, there are some really fantastic photo wallpapers to choose from, and we’re thinking that this could be just the solution to jazz up the kitchen a bit!

Anyone else got any bright ideas or tips for the back-splash?

Cheers

Jacky

PS Look what we found in the cupboard just before it was removed….

Someone hiding in the cupboard

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Hallelujah, we’ve gone and done it!

On Wednesday 22 February we did it….we went to IKEA and ordered our new kitchen! There has been two years of talking about it and in the more recent months there has been increased discussion and debating, and even a visit to a local kitchen shop. Then with the deadline of the end of the IKEA kitchen sale looming, Husband booked two Wednesdays off work in succession. The first Wednesday was spent looking around IKEA, getting inspiration and making a rough plan. Then the second Wednesday was K-day!

Although I am immensely overjoyed that the new kitchen is ordered and cannot wait for it to be fitted. I am also a little sad that our two Wednesdays are over. Both days have started with a trip to the IKEA canteen and the 2 for 1 breakfast. For 9Sek (approx 85p UK) you get coffee, 2 bread roles, butter, cheese, ham and cucumber, we have been incredibly decadent and added apple juice and eggs too! So then fueled up, we then hit the kitchen section with intent! Both times we’ve been looked after really well. (And actually Husband made a third trip on his own last weekend on Sunday evening for a little extra research and again was met with fantastic customer service.) So, bye bye IKEA Wednesdays – you shall be missed!

Last Wednesday, Pia, from the kitchen section was assigned to us, she spent all morning helping us make the final decisions, ie what sort of sink to buy, dish draining options, draws v. cupboards, oven/ microwave combinations, even going into details like how high up we should put the cabinets on the wall, and then the final one – size of the kitchen work surface. Standard work surfaces are 62cm ish wide, but we had the bright idea of going really wide and set our hearts on a 90cm wide work surface. So several hours later, poor Pia had been barraged with questions and was looking mighty pleased that we were almost at the end and one step away from pushing the order button, when just at the last moment we noticed that the extra wide work surface was going to cost four times more than the standard size. Progress stopped………discussion started up again…….all three of us looked weary, so very kindly Pia stopped the order and sent Husband and I back to the canteen for refueling and a private discussion. Twenty minutes later, sugar levels back up to full whack and Husband was back round to Pia and changed the order to the standard size work surface, it’s a compromise, but think of all the beautiful tiles and fabulous lights we’ll be able to buy with all that extra cash!

The final and very happy surprise is that, it will all be delivered next Wednesday, as in this week coming!! And that’s when the fun will really start as Husband is going to build and install it all himself – with me as nimble assistant!!

Ta ra for now

Jackyx

Painting the town red…..no, just the house white.

  • Number of days decorating: 11
  • Rooms complete: nearly 1
  • Decorating related injuries: still none
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: A few minor disagreements over kitchen layout but still nothing major to report – bit boring eh!
  • Number of 10 litre pots of spackel (plaster) used: Still just the 2

So, judging by the stats it looks like not much work has been going on round here recently, but actually the decorating has been moved to the tvättstuga (Swedish for utility room). Why? Because next week, yes next week, we will order our new kitchen.  The plan, therefore, is to get the tvättstuga looking good and then that can be used as a temporary kitchen whilst the proper kitchen is being pulled out and a new one put in.

Bye bye lilac!

Husband has been working hard, 3 coats of white paint have been carefully and lovingly painted onto the tvättstuga walls. It was lilac. Yep, that terrible 90’s lilac that I blame Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson, of Changing Rooms fame, totally and utterly for. Noone had lilac walls till Laurence and Anna came along and convinced what seems like most of the world that this was a good idea. Again, like woodchip wallpaper, lilac is NOT a good idea. So, now, thanks to Husband, the walls are a soft white, which match the washing machine, boiler and cupboards – cohesion is the way forward.

White!!

I, in the meantime, have been scraping away at the woodchip wallpaper. So, now the bit of the hall as you walk in through the front door is nearly done. Leaving the walls looking rather messy and tired. So, next job will be to spackel all the walls and then paint them white, so at least when you first walk in the house it gives a modern, clean and fresh impression. Note to all guests: the hall will be as far as you will be allowed to come in until the rest of the house is done!

Last week, we had a visit from one of Husband’s work colleagues. He, like us, has an 80s house, and has had to drag it in the 21st Century. Having spent 5 months doing this, he had some fantastic short cut tips for us, such as plaster boarding the entire house so that we don’t have to spend the rest of our lives scrapping off woodchip wallpaper!! I love it and we will be heading to the closest DIY store to buy a load for the lounge.

Last Wednesday we had a great day, with the morning spent at IKEA, speaking to a very nice lady in the kitchen department who has helped us plan our new kitchen. Now we have the planned layout online, all we have to do is review and tweak it a little. Then next week is D-day or rather K-day! We cannot think or talk about much else at the moment, every 5 minutes one us comes up with a comment either about an improvement we can make or just about how brilliant it’s going to be to have a kitchen that we have chosen ourselves. I guess you have to be a certain age or just at a certain period in your life to really appreciate how cool it is to choose exactly how you want your kitchen to look and function. A modern, shiny, white kitchen…bliss!

Cheerio

Jacky x

Sanding, Scraping and Wizards

Image

  • Number of days decorating: 6
  • (New more realistic stat) Number of walls nearly complete: 2
  • Decorating related injuries: still non but plenty of aches
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: 1 (yep, was to do with kitchen layout!)
  • Number of 10 liter pots of spackel (plaster) used: 2 

With Husband tucked away in the kitchen, happily sanding the walls that we plastered last week, I decided to start removing the woodchip wallpaper in the hallway. I picked a wall between the door to the utility room and the door to the bathroom, about a meter wide and two and half meters high, thinking that it would only take me an hour or so to get it done, but the going was slow. I read a blog a week ago, which mentioned some magic spray that someone had used to help remove wall paper – if anyone knows the name of the spray, please, please tell me!!

 Sanding the plaster

It took a little over two hours to remove all the paper and in that time there wasn’t much to do but loose myself in my thoughts. I started thinking about what a lovely day I’d had, first with my 1 year old daughter at the local församlingshus (Swedish for parish hall) where we met up with lots of other parents and little ones for singing, playing and fika (a wonderful Swedish tradition – where you take a break, have a cup of tea or coffee, a little snack to go with it and put the world to right – fika can be done at any time of the day and can be a verb or noun!).

Later on in the afternoon, daughter and I went to collect son (3 years old) from dagis (Swedish nursery). Before heading home we swung by the local cafe and partook, for the second time that day, in a little fika. So, fuelled up on muffins and latte (for me that is) we headed home, with son on his bike and daughter in pram. Son was a little tired and also rather cold- not surprising really as it was -8c.

Son claimed that his bike kept having power cuts; hence, it was going a little slow and kept stopping. The next time he stopped, I heard ‘Stop it wizard!’ Realising that he felt there was some greater being in charge of his bike, I decided to step in. Claiming to have magic powers, I cast a spell on his bike and proclaimed it now released from the wizard’s powers, at which point son then sped off down the road at top speed! Once we managed to catch up with him, the rest of the journey was spent with both of us psychodelicly yabbering away about battling monsters, wizards, ghosts and knights. We decided that we were attempting to fight our way to the enchanted castle (otherwise known as our house) and even engaged the help of daughter, sat in her chariot, who obliged us with some hand gestures and sound effects!  In my attempt to show that violence is not always the only means of scarring off monsters, wizards etc, I then tried to convince son that singing certain nursery rhymes can actually be a more effective way of banishing and triumphing over evil. He quite likes this method and is almost convinced that its true, as when tested on the local cat – it did actually run away rather fast when faced with a bonkers 3 year old charging at it singing Ba Ba Black Sheep!

At one point on our journey home, I got a little carried away and start to quote Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan from their TV Series The Trip. There is a scene in the program where they discuss how in period dramas, the hero usually proclaims, ‘Gentlemen to bed, for we leave at daybreak…’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8BPP4ASQWo) Whilst doing my impression, I glanced at son, who was chuckling away to himself, immensely enjoying all this silliness and ridiculousness!

So, thank you son, for releasing my imagination – it was well and truly unlocked and unleashed for a good 20 minutes! Too much sugar, too much caffeine, too much woodchip wallpaper.

By the way, the hall is now started and the kitchen walls look great.

Jacky x

 

Ready, steady spackel..

  • Number of days decorating: 5Spackel
  • Rooms complete: 0 out of 10
  • Decorating related injuries: No injuries but achy arms
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: 0 (you must be impressed by now)
  • (New stat) Number of 10 litre pots of spackel (plaster) used: 2

Now, I’ve seen Grand Designs – my claim to fame is that I stood next to Kevin McCloud on the train station platform in Newcastle upon Tyne – and I’ve seen the scenes where the person featured is literally sweating blood and tears, working day and night to complete their renovation project – but I have to say, I thought it was all slightly exaggerated for the cameras… apparently not!

Spackeling the spatula

Preparing for battle of the wall.

So, last night there we were all togged up in our decorating glad-rags and a kitchen to go to, and the spackeling (Swedish for plastering – see previous post) masterclass began. First, Husband produced a new toy – a mega light, so bright it blinded the neighbours. With said light all set up, the spackel was produced along with tools. I was first taught how to load the spatula, then how to put it on to the wall – straight forward one might think, eh – well one would be wrong. There are several variables to consider that can all make a right blooming mess. Firstly, the amount of spackel on the spatula, then getting it evenly spread out, then the angle at which one holds the spatula to the wall then changes the angle as one drags the spatula across the wall, then it’s on to bubble, lumps, bumps and unwanted lines removal, and so by the time I had considered and carried out all of this I actually ended up removing more plaster than I actually put on! 

Spackeling

I'm spackeling!

It took an hour or so to complete one wall, and my right arm and wrist are killing  – please someone tell me that there is an easier way to plaster?? Anyway, Husband is very happy as he now gets to go shopping again, this time for a sanding machine and an industrial sized hoover to clean up with.

I think I actually did quite a good job, the wall is not totally smooth, but that’s what the sander is for! The compliment of the day by Husband: ‘The wall looks pretty good in the dark!’

Jacky x

 

Getting plastered

  • Number of days decorating: 4
  • Rooms complete: 0 out of 10
  • Decorating related injuries: 0
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: 0 (so far)
  • (New stat) Number of 10 litre pots of plaster used: 1

I know…. I just couldn’t resist this title!!

So, one 10lt pot of plaster down, two new pots purchased. Husband and friend, Matts D, have been working very hard. They spent all Wednesday evening going over the fiddly wall, with the windows and back door, doing the second layer of plastering and then started on the large wall to the left of the kitchen door. And, I have to say they have done a superb job. Although the walls are now grey, what a major improvement even that is!! Woodchip wall paper – just who ever thought that was a good idea??!!!  

Wall with woodchip wallpaper

Wall still covered in woodchip wallpaperFirst coating of plaster on.

First coating on plaster on the large wall.

First coating on plaster on.

And just what have I contributed to this heroic plastering effort, I hear you all asking – well, I am slightly ashamed to say, that my contribution has been in form of teas and cakes! But, you know, I had to let the menfolk put their stamp on it first, claim their manly right to plaster and fix and stuff, and now that they seem content, I assure you this weekend, I will dirty my hands and learn me some plasterin’! How hard can be anyway…..?!?!

Current classic 80s wood kitchen in desperate need of a bit of white!

Current classic 80s wood kitchen in desperate need of a bit of white!

I have to say, seeing the walls looking vastly improved has really got me excited about ripping out the old kitchen and getting a fresh new modern white one in. And, tomorrow I am going to drag Husband out and into a couple of kitchen shops  – and here I’m sure, will start the rows – I can just imagine it now –  a tiny innocent tile, just sitting on a shelf minding it’s own business, becoming the source of a major family feud over colour, texture, cost, grout colour and all manner of excellent topics to clash about…I will keep you posted!

Trevlig Helg

J xx

…and on to blogging day two..

  • Number of days decorating: 3
  • Rooms complete: 0 out of 10
  • Decorating related injuries: 0
  • Number of husband/ wife rows: 0 (so far)

So, with the kids safely tucked away in bed, our evening took on what has started to become a standard format: have a quick dinner, watch a little telly in order to get us in the mood, then start attacking the kitchen walls. Armed with little scrapery things, we proceeded to remove the last of the (accessible) woodchip wallpaper. We’re doing this all by hand as some of it is not stuck on so well, so peels off in huge long stripes which is immensely satisfying! Also behind all this paper is just plaster board, so steaming it off isn’t an option – according to the husband!

Wallpaper remover

Husband happy in his work!

 Once all the paper is off, it’s plastering time- that’s tonights’ entertainment. Plaster in Swedish is ‘spakel’  -although this word is not in the dictionary! So we’ve adopted this lovely word and swinglishified it and verbified it, so we shall be spakling tonight! Then it’s onto papering followed by painting – I never knew it was such a long process, and this is just a few little walls in the kitchen. But it’s not so bad, whilst scraping away we had the dulcet tones of Jo Whiley on Radio 2 in the background- gotta love internet radio! The husband and I, side by side, some times chatting and other times happy in our peaceful silence together – altogether now – ahhhh!!

The only thing now is that with the paper gone and the skirting boards and door frame removed, I keep walking into the wall! How strange that the brain must only take in minimal information about ones surroundings and thus you become totally reliant on a door frame to know where the door is- it’s obviously not enough to have a gapping big hole in the wall to walk through!

Ha det så bra

J x

Husband and wife

An evenings decorating