Installing the non Ikea kitchen

Fence_postWe have had a fantastic week of weather here with temperatures reaching a dizzy 16 degrees. Not only that, with the birds singing and evenings drawing out till at least six thirty before the evening cloaks out the last of the light.

It has not come too soon though. We have, although nowhere near as bad as the UK, had our fair share of rain so it has certainly lifted the spirits. Mind you, to put it into perspective, it is still only January, so we could get a blast of Siberia at any time. The only consolation is we know that it is nearer now to spring.

The kitchen is 99.9% finished now (why is it, it seems just as long to finish off all of the little snags as completing a major task?).

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A belated Happy New Year to you all

Plastering_023_2My word I have gotten a bit lazy with the this blog for one reason or another. And it is not as though I have no progress to report.

I think it is just a case of getting a little out of touch with the key tapping on Perigord Vacance, and, as it is with any task that lags behind, once you miss a day or so, but the source of the writing, i.e., our French Life, carries on. Anyway, enough of the self pity!

We are so close to moving into the farmhouse kitchen now. Half of the floor has been waxed and polished - although it will need a second application - and Donna has started to cut in the paint around the edges.

At the end of last week I plastered the concrete returns on either side of the new doors and also plastered the old lintel above the door.

Before I could do this I had to screw some plasterboard to the front so that the plaster had a key (don't ever try to plaster directly onto wood, it will fall off in weeks because it cannot grip the surface).

I delibereately used old off cuts and was especially careful not to make it look formal. This way, it leaves a wany edge to the plater where it meets the crepie - much more romantic in these old properties.

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We wish you a Merry Christmas

Kitchen_doorsIt is time to wind down now and have a bit of a break.

I suspect we are not alone and the rest of you are thinking, if not doing the same?

Our time here in France continues to be adventurous and we are on the cusp of another milestone by completing the 'farmhouse' kitchen.

I do not know where the year has gone - it was over a year ago that we started to renovate the barn and initially the target was to be in by June. However, the radical changes to the plan meant that this objective changed somewhat (as regulars will no doubt remember).

Anyway, the second target became, unofficially, Christmas, and we will miss this by a whisker.

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Several steps closer (pun intended)

Plaster_stepsA women's work is never done they say. Last week, Donna had a week long business trip to the UK so it was left to me to keep the team on track. Well, I failed miserably! We missed the bus three times out of the five days.

My only excuse was the amount of work I had to put into jointing the floor. It took three and a half solid days to joint and clean the floor and one evening, and I do not jest, I was out in the barn/kitchen at 11.45pm washing tiles off.

All that is now history and the last of the really major jobs is complete. Today, I plastered the steps which will eventually lead into the living room and dining room proper.

For now they just lead into the barn which will still be useful because the freezer is just outside that door.

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A huge milestone passed and crossed off the list

Doors_and_steps_001I am really really sorry for the lack of updates - and I do not mean that to sound self important - I know from my daily stats that we have at least 50 hits from new and returning visitors on the blog.

The floor is finally finally finished! In fact it took just one hour on Tuesday morning to cut the last few in. I didn't do any last week because of a visit from my Brother Dan and my sister-in-law Donna although Dan did help me with gluing the doors which was quite a tricky job.

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Closing in on the doors and a night on the tiles

I had an email today asking why I had not managed an update since the 14th November. I promise that I haven'tKitchen_floor_747385749 been sitting on my bum so here it is, just for Hillary.

I underestimated the time is would take to cut and lay the tiles in the barn and although I took all last week off to concentrate on it I didn't really get moving until Wednesday.

I think that the kitchen will have such character when it is finished. The tiles are clay with a hand finished egde which softens the look.

If the wind is in the right direction I should finish by the end of Sunday of maybe Monday afternoon.

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We have started to lay the floor

Yes, today we laid the first of the floor tiles in the new kitchen. We had planned to start yesterday but after pulling through the four water pipes for the radiators I noticed that they needed to pas through the walls at the same junction as the electric conduits.

There was not enough space to get the tubes through so I had to take out a stone adjacent to accommodateFloor_004 the water pipes. To complicate things the oil pip[e that feeds the boiler passes just below where I had to break the wall out so it was a little delicate. The stone was bigger than a football and it took two hours to drill around it to loosen the mud mortar.

After this I chased the tubes under the electric cables by cutting out a channel into the concrete. So today we were all systems go to start laying.

We have opted for a new terra cuit (terracotta) with a hand finished edge which softens the look.

Unfortunately, we could not find any second hand tiles which would have been our first choice. However, it still does not feel as though we have 'dumbed down' and they do look nice.

Marking out was fun because the room is not square so I have decided to make a focal point in the centre which is dead square and then work back to the walls. This is designed to attract the eye to the points which are easy to relate to the surroundings.

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Another thunderstorm, a brilliant autumn and another milestone reached.

Water_damage_007 Back in May we had the most amazing downpour which infiltrated the barn I am renovating, pouring water through the plasterboard that had only just been skimmed with plaster.

It has taken since then to about three weeks ago to get a quote from the roofer for some work so that we could put in a claim to the insurance.

But, this week we had an almighty downpour, like a tornado, and again we had water came through which I recorded for the insurance.

Fingers crossed, this week, we will here what compensation we will receive so that we can repair the damage and insure it does not happen again.

In the meantime, with some pointers from my mate Mark, I have complete the electrics in the barn. Up until now we have used the services of a very good electrician who wired the gite and the main house. I was a bit frustrated that I have never done any electrics so with Mark's help and a very good book called l'installation électrique I have worked out how it is all done and installed it all myself.

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Kitchen_wall ou may think that this is going slowly but the last thing I want to do is have the whole thing falling down on me. I did a barrow load of muck yesterday morning and another in the evening and the same today. This gives the early mix time to go off enough to remain stable.

All being well I will finish off the left hand pier tomorrow but then I have the quandary of removing the acrow props to get the new lintel underneath without it all falling down.

The charge of the light brigade

Kitchen_wall_006 You will have to excuse the quality of this second photo. I didn't adjust the camera settings for the low light levels and just used the point and shoot facility. The result is a rather blurred and dark photo. I will remedy this tomorrow though I promise.

The first photo was after yesterdays work. I only managed an hour or so because the weather was so nice and we decided to go and have a look at a house that is for sale with a friend. In fact a perfect late summers day so there was no real urgency in the morning.

Kitchen_wall_007 Because we didn't have anyone coming in this week our guests decided to extend their holiday by one day but it felt rather empty today and it is never the same when the Pigeonnaire is not lived in.

It would be nice to let it out through the winter so that the lights come on at night. It does look so homely at night with a warm orange glow, peering out of the windows.

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