The last big ‘building’ job we had left on the list for the house was the kitchen. When we had the bathroom done we asked our builder to price up doing a proper brick built Spanish kitchen (where you have curtains instead of cupboard doors). This is a really cost effective way of replacing the kitchen, as bricks are less expensive than kitchen cupboards, and we thought it would look perfect in here too!
We had done the best we could with the old kitchen, and it had served its purpose, but I’ve always hated the tiles, and some of the cupboards were just knackered and had bits of wood propping them up! Not liking the tiles was not justification on its own, and I would’ve lived with them, but the bottoms of the cupboards were falling apart!
When you have a small house, doing this kind of work becomes a bit trickier – emptying the kitchen is all well and good, except that we don’t really have any spare space anywhere else to put the stuff! So it all got piled in the spare bedroom – everything from the kitchen side of our room plus the armchairs – getting anything else out for the 9 days it took for the kitchen to be built was simply impossible! The only place the fridge could go was outside!
The planning process was hilarious – when we did our kitchen back in the UK there were hours of planning on the computer in the kitchen showroom. Here, it’s a chat, a sketch, and some lines on the wall!
So, having piled everything onto and around the spare bed, we were ready! The table was pushed up against the fireplace and the fridge moved outside.
We have bought a new fridge freezer – it’s one that runs on both gas and electric – we’re hoping that on sunny days we can plug it in and just use the gas at night – that will make a huge difference! The only problem is that they are ridiculously expensive to buy – a simple small gas fridge on its own wouldn’t be too bad, but there’s only one company that makes a fridge freezer that runs on both gas and electric, so they can pretty much name their price (which was €1,000😱). But if it lasts 20 years like the old one has then it will be a good investment. The old one was a bit knackered – I made shelves out of trays, there was a hole in the bottom of the freezer compartment, and most of the shelves in the door had no front bit, so couldn’t be used. It’s done us a good turn though.
So, let the mess and noise begin! The first job was to remove the old cupboards, some of which are going in the shed for storage – I think Rog was quite excited he would be able to have a tidier shed! Then came removal of all the old tiles. The noise and dust was awful, but we knew what to expect having just done the self same thing in the bathroom.
New tiles went on, and that meant the kitchen itself could then be built. Corners are always a bit of a wasted space, so we opted for a corner sink – I’d never even seen one of those before we moved here! The wasted space will house all the pipes, and I can still fit my cleaning stuff in there too – these days I don’t have millions of bottles of cleaning stuff – there’s a lemon tree at the bottom of the road!
By the end of day three the walls were done and we had a couple of days respite over the weekend from the noise and dust.
So then it was time to make and tile the worktop. I love having a tiled worktop – utterly bombproof and no issues with putting hot things on them! I’m very happy to be going back to this type of worktop, having had a tiled one back in the UK for many years.
The construction was interesting to say the least! Long terracota tiles were laid on the new walls, topped with metal reinforcement and concreted piled on the top. Once this was dry the top could be tiled – this makes the worktop about 10cm thick in total!
So now the kitchen was built and the builders left us to finish off!
Rog plumbed in the sink and refitted the reverse osmosis water system. Having no water for 9 days was a bit tough, and it’s only when you have to keep buying bottled water that you realise how much you go through! We still had water in the bathroom but obviously we can’t drink that, but it did mean we could wash up in the shower!
The cupboard spaces then needed to be fitted out with shelves and drawers. Being brick built means that none of the measurements are exact like they are with traditional cupboards in a fitted kitchen. We opted to make the shelves from interlocking floorboards – this would make the shelves really strong and gave us the flexibility to cut the length of each board to fit. We bought four individual drawers that came with plastic runners which were quite flexible – again, giving us the ability to adjust them to the space.
The last job was the curtains – my sewing machine does work in the solar thankfully – I wouldn’t have fancied sewing them all by hand!
So not a bad turnaround – about four. weeks start to finish. The rest of the room does need painting again – the clean and fresh kitchen side has made the rest of the room look a little second hand! And we’ve decided to build two bookcases either side of the fireplace, as the new fridge us where the bookshelves used to be!
Aside from the regular decorating that’s required here, the house is now done.
Time to do something about the extremely wonky shed I think (before it falls down!).
As they say here in Spain ‘a poco a poco’ – little by little!