Well..the Crittall glass is finally in..and has completely changed the room. Hard to describe how – it feels very, very grown up.
Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing, because unless I’m secretly Harry Potter I shouldn’t be able to do this. They need another trip to replace a section of glass that got broken..and another that was defective. Third time lucky hey…
Laters, Kate x
It’s the very first day without our builders today – I waved them off yesterday to a fanfare of thank you’s for doing such an amazing job. I’ve been through four big builds now and know how rare it is to finish a project and still have a smile, but Pavel and Jack were exceptional from beginning to end: They knocked down walls, dug out the cellar, laid the parquet, created our kitchen..and even managed to hang some pictures for me. They are the only builders I’ve ever known to bring their own sponge for the bathroom to a job…and use it. Bravo to them!
…Not that they’ve gone far..they’re at my parents now!
So now it’s down to me..and whilst the building works look spectacular (pictures will follow soon – I’m just missing a table!), the rest of the house resembles a bomb site covered in a thick layer of multicoloured dust with nothing in it’s right place: Many of the rooms need painting and the whole house needs unpacking. And the kids break up on Friday for Easter..what fun! But first job is to get our dining room table up and running just so I can take those god-damn pictures – and have a proper meal at it. Because of various water stains we sanded it down a few weeks ago (don’t worry – it wasn’t an antique!)…
And it looked absolutely stunning..
But there were a few white marks where the bubbling of the water stains had cause the veneer to raise up which meant it got sanded to the wood below.
So the plan has been to re-stain them and add darker tones to merge everything together. It’s now ready for it’s final sealing coat.
My Aunt – a very knowledgable lady! Gave me some wonderful tips regarding what oils to use. In view of possible nut allergies with guests I’m opting for olive oil..could be interesting. After that the legs need painting…
Along with most of the rest of the house! Where’s my paintbrush??
Laters, Kate x
Hard to believe..but the kitchen is actually in!! We have a fully functioning oven, sink, taps, hot water tap and fridge-freezer!!!…having said that, it’s still needs it’s handles (they’ve been in various solutions to age them over the weekend and are due to go on today – until they do, there’s no way to open the dishwasher which has sat there, tantalising us…) There’s also the painting of the skirting boards, splash back to be fitted, removal of builders equipment, the addition of a table….and then there’s unpacking the old kitchen. But ignoring all of this – it’s a triumph!! Proper pictures will be taken rather than this sneak peak – but doing a reveal now feels like sending out an opera singer to Covent Garden in just her underwear…chances are it’s been done..but would you want it to be done??!
But all the lights are up and deserve closer scrutiny – this is the brass chandelier as talked about here, now hanging low over what will be the dining room table, opposite the fireplace/mirror. It’s on a dimmable switch which really brings out the details of the edison style light bulbs when they’re dimmed down. I like the austerity of it’s shape with the bonus that if you want to add glass droplets – or ivy at Christmas, you can.
This is one of a pair of wall lights above the fireplace and either side of a large mirror. The design is very simple but the shadows if gives are beautiful. Again, it’s on a dimmable switch which turns the glow to almost candlelight for cosy, shadow dancing evenings.
And these are my unique and gorgeous babies – I commissioned them from the highly talented master canal artist Terence Edgar, they’re proper, original milk churns that the builder’s have cunningly adapted into pendants by removing the bottoms and putting a hole for the flex in the lid, and then hung with brass chandelier chain. I am a huge fan of folk art and feel very privileged to have these stunning examples of canal art as the focal point to the kitchen.
The light they give is magical – like beams of sunlight on the work surface below.
Though they all have similar features, each one is subtly different: On one side is a word..
On the other is a typical canal art scene.
And the three are hung so that ‘love’ and ‘live’ face out..
But laugh always belongs to the cook..
Laters, Kate x
No more this. Begone..
Or this. All dark thoughts to be obliterated (or possibly left to the cellar underworld to (hopefully) fulfil..we’ll see..)
Clean, calm, tranquil. Spilt tea, homework, functional, practical..
No. Not this. (Must learn..)
This. Which could be approximately the colour the units will be (despite having painted the whole room – I still have no idea what colour it is – officially it’s called Umbra grey)..But it’s what it’ll look like in photos..the actual colour is more earthy? (How could I have chosen such a non-colour??)..
This picture has made the cut because of it’s contrasting pale colour – I think I’ll need one..(will it be a green, grey or cream?? Depends on the colour of the units…)
Subtle contrast colours.
Not sure I’m very good at subtle.
Laters, Kate x
So here’s the thing: This weekend I finally started to paint the kitchen..
I pulled out the big drums and polyrhythms and went with what my heart said..dark. On the sample it looked grey – in my tin – grey. On the wall – brown. In pictures – black. My mother (who saw it) is still convinced it was green. To be honest..once it was on, it just looked promisingly awful. Not at all what I had imagined.
If you’re an uber cool couple with no children..then it certainly makes a statement. Sadly our space is less flickering candlelight more spilt tea and homework. I even unwrapped the mirror to see if stuff on the walls made a difference – and like the skidmarks of a bad crash, that’s when I discovered the next tragedy – the mirror had woodworm…great with a brand new oak parquet floor..
I know I’m not the only one to be suffering colour sample polymorphing..the truth is – the only way to know if you really like a colour is to paint a whole wall..or if you’re mad like me, a whole room. Sigh. And then be prepared to stand back and admit you’ve made a mistake: I like to believe I have adventurous taste but to have kept this just to prove a point would’ve made it the worst fake since…well, Madonna. So whilst I lament that it’s the wrong story…and it breaks my heart – the salient fact is it’s only paint and we all make mistakes: Nobody has died. It’s just my very own, very sad bad….that will be paid for in blood and sweat..
There was no time to faff with new samples – it needed to be finished by this morning (Monday) as the kitchen was due to arrive back for fitting. The only option was to go big and go white..
Have you ever painted over black before?
I gave up at one o’clock this morning..
The whole design now needs a new re-think…and I’m suspecting that only way to make this work is to embrace everything Scandi.
Never thought I’d write that..
Laters, Kate x
From hero to zero: After the joy of last week, all that’s now left of the kitchen is an empty room with a few pipes in the floor as it’s all been shipped to the spray painters. I committed to the final colour yesterday…nerve wracking! Particularly when you’ve had your heart set on one shade since the start…and then you’re told it’s not possible. Thank God I’m a great believer in fate..but it hasn’t stopped my heart from pounding.
But more decisions await: There was this post on splashbacks a while back and the final look still needs to be pinned down. Loving all things metallic at the moment so I’m thinking why not?
So much to choose from!
But budget does come into it..so I took myself off to bog standard B and Q to see what I could find that could be man-handled into something different…and was surprisingly successful. There’s this woven brass sheet, reminiscent of French Bergere sofas and chairs..
Laid over a stainless steel sheet it would compliment and pull in the stainless steel from the fridge/freezer..
Then there was this design..if the design itself had been bigger I would’ve snaffled it up there and then..
And then they had this..hammered copper rather than brass..again, not sure as it was only in the smaller size..and all the accents are brass..would pink work??
(All pics Pinterest)
I was sensible..there’s no rush – yet. So I walked away and will let it all cogitate and stew down…
Laters, Kate x
Oh Joy aboundeth! I got home yesterday to see the antique French bookcase sitting in it’s new home for the first time! The builders have done a sublime job incorporating it into the new kitchen..one day it will hold all our crockery and glassware..one day..to say I love it is an understatement. It’s always a dodgy time when you imagine a concept – and you’re pretty sure it’s going to work..but you never know until it’s actually in place. The relief!
The plan is now for all the big units to disappear off to be spray painted whilst the room is decorated and the floor is laid…which has bought on a major paint crisis.
I thought I was blissfully sailing along, all paint decisions for the kitchen made.
Except the spray painters want an RAL number for the colour so they can mix up their own paint with additional hardeners. And I’ve chosen a boutique paint that no-one knows – Madison Grey by Abigail Ahern.
I’m running off now to the paint shop to see if they can help me – the last thing I want to do is to start looking at tester pots again…and of course it’s the big fascinator poker night piss-up party tonight. Always the way…
Laters, Kate x
The designing of the kitchen actually started on Friday – Alleluia! Naturellement it’s not a new kitchen per se but a hotch potch of the old kitchen units (we like recycling) and new additions that somehow all need to be brought together, but this picture represents the inspiration (I only wish I could have that island unit…but sadly it’s the only space for the sink/dishwasher/bin/cutlery so the carcasses need to hit the floor..maybe in another life..) But we’ve been working on how to line up the sight lines, even up the variety of widths and unify the look.
Which is never easy..go for industrial raw edge?
Or embrace industrial engineering with these beauties from Buster & Punch?…
(There’s something very tactile about that surface..)
The potential fly in the soup is the mixing in of an old french glazed bookcase (a bit like this one) I have to hold my crockery. The thinking goes that to pull them together by using that same handles on at least some of the other units.
It helps I like a variety of handles.
But it’s still a matter of balance..too many would just be wrong – so which ones to choose?….lovely brass handles?
Delicious little catches?..
(All pictures Pinterest)
Or just subtle, understated cup handles and little brass knobs?
The thinking cap is on.
Laters, Kate x