Saturday, 6 December 2014

Kitchen & Dining becomes One

by Bex

(This was written pre-babies so might sound confusing but I've only just managed to put all the pictures in ready to publish!)

Unfortunately my before pictures of the house don't really show the wall we wanted to remove between the kitchen and dining room!  I took them in a massive hurry as we were under pressure from our removals to get going so I'd rushed round taking the pictures as soon as we'd got the keys while waiting for them to come back from fetching lunch.

Basically, the door you see facing you in the hall below is the one to the dining room and we decided to have this door blocked up at the same time (despite worrying about the loss of light coming through from the patio doors at the back of the house).  Having a door there as well as the door on the left (to the kitchen) and the wall opening would just leave a post between the 3 and all those openings weren't necessary.  It also meant we'd have a full wall in the dining room to be able to put up pictures or have furniture against.

The wall we wanted to remove was the majority of the left hand wall that you can't really see here in the dining room.  The Kitchen sticks out more than the dining room (to the end of the patio) and so all of the kitchen units are just behind the end of this dining room wall.

Again, the wall we wanted to get rid of is just out of sight on the left, beyond the cupboards.

This colour is 'Churlish Green' by Farrow & Ball, nice but I really wanted a slightly bolder olive colour.
It is probably easier to see on the floor plan

From this (not to scale) plan, it looks like most of the dining room wall will be gone but in reality it's just over half.

Anyway, I had been googling for builders who might be able to do the work before we moved in.  Although it's not a huge job, we wanted to get it done asap as if we didn't, especially with the deadline of the twins' arrival, we would probably never do it!  Also, Roz warned me that it could take weeks to sort out if it ended up being a supporting wall (and OF COURSE it did!) as we'd need to go through the council and sort out plans and forms etc.

Luckily, the first builder I happened to contact, Andy Parish, ended up being our favourite and knew all the people we needed to get sorted.  It wasn't long before the plans were done and we sent off the forms asap.  We needed to insert a steel beam and the council were happy for us to go ahead and just contact them once the work got to certain stages to be checked.

Andy and his team turned out not just to be fantastic at their jobs (seriously impressed with the plasterer in particular, it felt like glass when it was dry!) but they were all absolutely lovely!  Even though he was currently working on a big job nearby, Andy managed to fit our work in round about, often coming on weekends (or any very rainy days as the other job was outdoors) to help us get the work finished in time for babies.  He also had lots of great tips for us on local places to eat or see.  It's lovely having genuinely friendly workmen and makes such a difference when they're in your house for hours each day.  We quite enjoyed our chats :)

So, here are some progress photos where you can see the part of the wall better.  They had to leave an area around the top and edges to avoid wrecking the wall too close to the coving and/or units.

View from the kitchen side after removing the old plasterboard

And from the dining room after plasterboard removed.

Initially we thought the space was quite small (it looked the size of a double door) and we might be spending a not insignificant amount of money for very little benefit.  However, once the wall actually came down, we could already tell that it would make a huge difference to the kitchen!  I can't imagine us having used the dining room anywhere near as often as we now will had it still been separate and through another door from the hall.

 Who knew you could just saw through breeze blocks?!

End of day one and we were left with a very clean & tidy kitchen!

Obviously we had to remove one of the three wall lights which was on the bit of wall we took away but we also wanted the two on the opposite wall moved apart to make space for the large dresser we wanted in the space.  We actually changed them for a couple of smaller versions (£8 from B&Q) which were painted the same colour as the wall (Dulux 'White Cotton').

Andy blocking up the door

We also had to finish the space in the floor where the wall used to be too.

Andy filled it with screed and we found a tiler to finish off the space between the rooms with some matching (almost perfect) travertine tiles from Topps Tiles.  We didn't want a raised join between the tiles and the wooden floor so we're really pleased with the tiled result giving a flush finish between the two rooms.  (And we hardly notice the little rectangle of grey grout where their old pipe for their fridge freezer used to be against the wall.)

Since it's all been painted (by another fantastic tradesman, Matt of MRJ Services) and the skirting is back on, it looks even better and we are delighted with the final result!  The 'Churlish Green' looked very washed out next to my chosen olive colour (Valspar 'Manzanilla Olive') in the dining room so we had that wall in the kitchen painted over too.  There will be a proper before and after post in the future as we don't have the dresser yet and we have more plans for adding to our kitchen storage too as well as lots of pictures to put up of course!

As for the hall, it has definitely made a difference to the light coming in, as we knew it would, but we do still have light coming in from the glazed double living room doors as well as the half-glazed kitchen door.  When we do replace our front door we will make sure to have a decent amount of glazing there too.  Certainly putting a mirror up in the hall where we have and our little lamp in that corner has made all the difference and we're pretty happy with the result.

It's weird because we just feel like it's always been this way now.  It will certainly get a LOT more use as it is now, the kitchen definitely feels much bigger.  It is much more sociable and I'm sure will be handy when the twins are here and growing up!

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