DIY Efforts - Kitchen, The Professionals

So, you know me, glutton for punishment. After having my bathroom redone by B&Q's Homefit team I was on a high... or possibly just high (I joke, I wasn't), because I then arranged to have my kitchen done too. I was fully prepared to live with the nightmare, but thankfully I have an awesome mum and dad!

I won't bore you with the previous pictures again... you can whizz over and see them here if you have the urge > DIY Efforts - Kitchen.

Here's the current state of affairs this morning...

Pre-job Clearing

I love a good procrastinate... and I'm damned good at it. The only problem is that the procrastination was only part of the problem. I've been so exhausted recently that finding the energy to clear stuff out was most of the battle.

This morning (Day 1), I spent two hours doing the last of it... and I feel like I've done a hardcore workout. My Fitbit is telling me I've already done 2000 steps which is already beating two or three days out of my normal working week.

Something I've noticed is that I have a lot of stuff in my kitchen. Hardly any food, but lots of stuff. For the first time ever my outside bin is full but luckily it's bin day tomorrow (I really must remember that). I have gadgets galore, some of which I'm not convinced have been used. So the plan when the new kitchen is in is to rearrange the cupboard and put all the gadgets in easy to reach cupboard so that I can actually use them rather than finding it a major effort to get them out.

As you can see from the picture above it is basically done. I wasn't left with a lot of space for them to play with in the living room but they were very kind about moving stuff around, basically the non-visible part of the kitchen is only having flooring done so there are bits there for the time being.

Side note: Fitted double sheets make great sofa covers...

So I guess technically we're in day one...

Day 1

... Hello again!

I waited for the guys to turn up this morning gazing out the window in case they tried to ring the door bell, which after two years still doesn't work. A car pulled up outside and made five attempts to park on the bit of pavement outside... there weren't any other cars around at the time. Then he disappeared, to seconds later reappear on the other side of the road doing the same manoeuvre. Part of me hoped that this wasn't my kitchen fitter... I would be disappointed, but bless him he seems like a nice lad.

As I write this, they're downstairs destroying the hideous kitchen, above. The units that were bowing, the drawers that I had to fix with duct tapes, the drawer unit I hated so much that I haven't even used since I moved in (and which isn't actually holding up the worktop like it should be), the cooker that is corroded and falling apart.

When they call me down in an hour it will all be outside my house in a huge scrap pile. And that thought makes me happy...

Sheer. Joy.

And now I'm left with this...

I know the first isn't a picture of the whole kitchen, but there will be a matching "after" shot of this position. I thought you'd also appreciate the amazing wallpaper that was hiding under the wall cabinets... truly amazing, I was tempted to restore it.

Today proved to be slightly annoying, but those of you familiar with my DIY projects, and this house in general, will not be surprised with that. Half the units went in today and he ran the cables for my new plugs on the external wall, and then the ones for the internal wall... or at least... he tried.

We're all familiar with the electric issues when they did the bathroom. *grinds teeth* I didn't bother filling the hole in the wall because I knew they'd have to dig it out for this project. "Luckily" he found another botched cable for the cooker and didn't have to run one round the whole ceiling as the electrician predicted.

But then came the bad news. *sigh*

On the panel under the stairs there is a ring main for the downstairs. (Not sure I'm using the right phrase but that's what he kept saying.) None of the sockets he moved had the ring in them, so he couldn't extend them. So we talked about the other sockets nearby. Specifically the one I had buried in furniture in the morning. So that meant they went home, and I had homework.

Night night kitchen...

Day 2

I cleared all the stuff out of the corner, my poor nerd room is suffering at this point as it's the only place to really plonk everything. I had already prepared myself for the worst... and then the worst happened. There's no ring in that one either, and all the others outside of the kitchen are too far away.

We looked at the only other plugs in the kitchen, my phantom hovering socket by the door. Again, no ring, but something he can work with. So now I've got some delightfully ugly trunking going round my ceiling... but at least I have sockets.

Now, for most of today I've been feeling terrible, and as much as I want a new kitchen I also wanted to be alone in my house to roll into the foetal position and wait for it all to go away. No offence to him, he's lovely, but I was so happy when he went.

More homework for me this evening... clearing out the bits next to the fridge so they can move it about for the flooring. Already done, with an A+ (sorry, a 9) if I do say so myself.

Night night kitchen...

Day 3

Or as we will call it, "the day the rain came". All it did today was piss it down with rain, which meant no gas fitter, but the dynamic duo worked hard and now the kitchen looks like this...

Glorious worktops and a shiny new extractor fan.

Day 4

There were no workers in today, so I went to work... not an exciting tale. I feel like I need to tell you something about this day though.

As you know, when the guys came to do the bathroom I brought them snacks and things, so obviously I did the same for these guys. Chocolate fingers, salt and vinegar Chipsticks, a variety pack of Walkers crisps and some chocolate chips cookie from Harts Bakery.

Wednesday night I was feeling peckish, and had the sudden realisation that there were Chipsticks downstairs. Cue me trotting downstairs to find an empty bag. Needless to say, this morning (Day 5) I gave him a lighthearted lecture. But it's hard to stay mad at a handsome man when he says "Salt and vinegar Chipsticks are my absolute favourite, and when I saw them I thought oh my god I love this woman." Oh alright then, have them all!

Day 5

A beautiful day outside means that I had a very happy gas fitter drilling holes in my wall, and a very happy kitchen fitter putting on all my doors and plumbing in my sink and washing machine.

Now we have what passes for a kitchen... with some extra dust.


I'm still missing some tiles, and some kickboards, and some lights, and some beading... I know that's a lot of "and"s. I'm probably too laid back about it all, and if I didn't have such an easy going work place this would be a big problem.

The Weekend - Day 6 & 7

I decided to open a few boxes and unpack some bits, mainly just the cutlery and kitchen tools. Most of the holes in the wall got filled so that after a bit of sanding I can sand down and paint. The plan was then to clean some bits and then go to Tesco and get some yummy things to cook in the new cooker.

I figured that the instruction manual should be used. Nice and simple, before you use it you should put them on for 30 minutes to burn off any chemicals that might be lingering from the manufacturing process.

And this is where I lost all enthusiasm for doing anything at all. One grill and two ovens, and one of the ovens doesn't work. To be honest, I didn't want to get attached to the oven at this point and decided that a take away was the best option for my evening.

Day 8

Today is tiling day. The workmen continue to ask me technical questions, to which I just look blank. I have learnt that the response to questions such as "Would you like [insert random technique] on the [insert item in kitchen]?" is "Hmm, what do you think would work best?" Then just pretty much agree with whatever they say.

Above you can see today's finished product. I'm nearly having kittens about the worktops... but the dust is unavoidable, and there's no point me cleaning them until the work is finished as the grout is going to cause more dust.

NOTE: I feel like pointing out that today I was mainly annoyed at B&Q. Not the kitchen fitters, and not the people in store, but the people on the phone. I'm not sure why I'm surprised, as it's the same experience I had with the bathroom to be fair. The whole day went by without the phone call I was promised, I'm sure, had I phoned up to check then I would have been told that the computers had gone down (like last week), or the other department hadn't got back to him, but the fact is he said he'd phone me Monday and he didn't. So far, on both jobs, I haven't had anyone phone me back from their centre without me having to call a second time... and frankly I find that disgusting customer service.

Day 9

I am so fed up of dust.

That's an understatement really. I'm not a neat freak, you'll come to my house and there will be piles of books and post and bags EVERYWHERE... but generally the cleanliness is high. The last few months the house has stressed me out. I pretty much gave up dusting after the bathroom was installed and I knew they were coming to do the kitchen. I've run the hoover around but apart from that there seemed little point. And besides, it's fun writing in a layer of dust.

In theory this should be the last day of work. It really needs to be, as my parents are coming on Thursday and there is nowhere to sit in the living room, or move really. The electrician is coming Friday to check their work, and an engineer has been called out for the cooker, but I don't know when he's coming.

I'm just truly done with this project right now.

As if by magic, like they sensed how disillusioned I was, they called up the stairs to tell me they were done. One of the light fittings is faulty, but they are coming back with the electrician and will fit a new one then.

Still minus some paint, but here's the finished result...

Day 10

With my parents coming to visit tomorrow I have to make the place liveable. I got home from work and started by sanding the last of the holes I had filled. Cleaned the last of the cupboards, the tiles and the work surfaces. I got down to half a dozen boxes left and I just couldn't do any more. So I just gave up.

Everything else

Yet again I've been left with the feeling that most of this process is good, but the one big drawback is B&Q on the phone.

Originally I was missing three lines on my order that totalled £416. I had been charged for three packs, and then the next lines were the individual products that had also been charged to me, but I'd only had the individual items once. It took a bit of explaining, and it was confusing... but ultimately the resolution was simple, I needed the three packs credited back to me.

Not so simple as it turned out. When my project coordinator eventually called me back he told me he'd arranged a credit for the £50 odd I was due back... and I laughed. We went over it again, and he agreed that I was actually due £416. I checked my credit card this weekend and my credit had gone through... for half the value I was due, which was the total value of one of the lines I'd had delivered that made up the pack but was never under dispute. When I called them back I was told my PC was away on holiday. This is the only time I actually spoke to someone who was good, she couldn't sort it out but said she'd arrange for someone to ring me on Monday. And I actually believe her, because she said she'd check my collection and ring me back... which she did. And she said she'd send me the paperwork that I had never received (three times) about my completed bathroom... and she did.

I have a lovely kitchen now, and I should be happy, but honestly B&Q has really pushed me to the edge. It does give you that feeling that after you've given them your money, they give up caring.

So, I'm left waiting for the rubbish to be collected still... at least I know that that company is good too, so when they come I won't need to worry about it. I'll be due two other credits, which can only go on my credit card... another thing that should really be changed. The whole process could really do with some tweaking. Does anyone have a suggestion box?


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