Making Our Dream A Reality

Back in September I wrote about something very exciting that was about to happen to us:

  We have been in our house eleven years and during this time we have installed double glazing and a new central heating sysyem and last year we had new facias.  These things were all necessary things, but we hadn’t really done anything cosmetic to the house, except to give it a quick lick of paint.

Our kitchen was really small and impractical for the amount of cooking I do and I so enjoy preserving, freezing and storing my produce so we can eat like ‘kings’ on a small budget.  But unfortunately this has always been a real challenge in my tiny kitchen.

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After my good friend passed away in February, it made us both realise that life is short and we should follow our dreams.  So this is why we finally decided to make our dream a reality and convert our small kitchen and back room into a kitchen diner.

Below are photographs of the rooms just before the building work began.

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We were very careful in choosing our builder and had various different quotes.  The builder we chose to do the work is called ‘Forestside Building Services Ltd’.  They were very professional each time we spoke to them and they helped us alot at the beginning when we didn’t exactly know what we wanted and this was before they knew we were going to ask them to do the building work.  In fact it was their idea to knock out our chimney breast to make more space for the cupboards that we so desperately wanted.

We also went to view some of their work and spoke to people that had work carried out by them.  So we did our homework first, in the hope that we would make the right decision.

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Leading upto the building work, I cooked loads and loads of meals ready to freeze and we moved everything into our front room and bedroom.  This seemed to take ages as I didn’t realise how much I had packed into such a tiny kitchen!

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As we had to clear our kitchen and back room completely, we had to fit an enormous amount into our front room.  I even had to plan it on paper first to make sure it would all fit in.

So for the next eight weeks our front room became the room we would sit, cook and eat in and my daughter even practised her piano in it.

Altogether the front room had the following things in:  A settee, armchair, TV, fridge, piano, large table (with legs removed and chairs in my greenhouse in the garden), three freezers, a microwave, electric steamer and a slow cooker and a camping stove which I would take outside to boil a pan of pasta twice a week when it wasn’t raining.  I also had a kettle with tea and coffee and plates and cutlery.  It certainly is amazing how you cope when you have to.

My eldest daughter made me laugh on the first week of living in the front room, she said that she really liked the room as she could get a drink out of the fridge and switch the TV on without even moving from where she was sitting!

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….And so the work began:

The kitchen cupboards and worksurfaces were removed, the fire and fire surround was removed and the ceiling was taken down.

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The chimney breast and the wall between the two rooms was removed and steel supports were then put into place.

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The backdoor was taken out and blocked up and the entrance to the old back room door was blocked up too.

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The builders had warned us about the amount of dust there would be, so each morning I used masking tape to stick a dust sheet over all the doors in the house and I’ve got to say it worked really well.

The pantry door was blocked up in the old kitchen and a new door was created in the hallway, which gave more room for cupboards in the new kitchen.

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Next they knocked out our window and put our lovely french doors in place:

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Afterwards the plasterer came and this was when it first began to look like a room again.

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Then the really exciting part…the room was painted and the kitchen cupboards arrived:

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The builders worked very hard installing the kitchen and laying a new floor for us.  We did have one or two hitches with the kitchen, but this was due to the kitchen suppliers (Howdens) sending the wrong end panels and the incorrect cornice for the top of the cupboards, unfortunately the kitchen fitters had installed them before we noticed.  Forestside Builders Ltd were brilliant though and sorted it straight away with Howdens and refitted the correct end panels and cornice without question.

I can only praise Forestside Builders Ltd, as nothing has been too much trouble for them.  In fact they have even given us a new central heating timer, a  new radiator, put up shelves in my pantry and fixed my new curtain pole and they fixed our wall outside for us and haven’t charged us any extra for doing this.  Adam (who oversaw the project), even came to help our piano tuner to move our piano back into the kitchen, to make sure the floor wasn’t damaged in the process.

We still have the odd bit in the kitchen that needs finishing, however this weekend we were been able to bring all my cooking equipment back into the kitchen and we finally had a meal at our dining table….a luxury we have really missed.   The fire and fire surround still needs to be put into our front room and hopefully it will happen this week and I still have to make curtains for my french doors and a roman blind for my windows.

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We asked for a practical kitchen with room for a piano and three freezers, but we wanted it to look beautiful as well without looking too modern.  We knew this was a tall order in such a small space but we think we now have all of those things and more.  It’s our dream come true and I can’t quite believe it’s ours.

Thank you so much Forestside Building Services Ltd  for all your hard work.

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Presenting our new kitchen-diner:

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back at my usual time on Friday.

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40 thoughts on “Making Our Dream A Reality

      • Well done 🙂 we had 12 months in a tiny room as dining/sitting/living area while we did major stuff to the sitting/living room – it was very cramped 🙂

        Must admit when we did the kitchen I cooked like a mad thing for weeks ahead so as to have lots of ” ready meals” in the freezer but still we seemed to eat a lot of shop pizza…!

  1. I love the whole thing, but I particularly love the cupboards in the dining room. What a great solution for storage and preparing large amounts of food. I am so happy this worked out for you and cant wait to see how you are inspired by your new space!

      • Gosh really – 8 weeks? Wow, I thought it was more like 3!
        So pleased for you though. Have you managed to cook anything special in it yet, or are you not wanting to get it messy?

      • Lol, I’m still at the stage where I don’t want to get anything messy…but I know this won’t last for long. The rest of the house looks like a bombsite at the moment now I have moved my kitchen things back in, so I need to sort that. I’ve also need to start making my curtains for the french doors now the cold weather is here. It’s all a bit over whelming really….but wonderful too.

  2. That is really lovely. I’ve just shown my husband who agreed. You must be delighted.
    I’ve only recently found your blog, I may have already told you that.
    One thing I like is the fact you always thank us for reading. I would like to thank you for writing in such an interesting way.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

    • Oh bless you Angela for saying that. It’s funny because I am always saying hat I can’t understand why people would want to read about what I am up to each day and yet I get so many lovely comments, which definately spurs me on to keep writing.

      I was realy worried about sharing the pictures of my new kitchen as I didn’t want people to to think I was ‘showing off’ and keeping up with the ‘Jones’, as this is exactly what i didn’t want to do. It is also not money saving as we have put it on the morgage….but I wanted to post about it as it shows we are ‘normal’ and we wanted a family room that made it easier for us to spend time together while we all did different things.

      I am so grateful that we have been able to do it.

  3. It’s not showing off. Most of us spend a lot of time at home, why not make it as nice as possible. Besides, you will be even more productive now! If that’s possible!
    Best wishes,
    Angela ( Devon)

  4. Wow, your kitchen looks fab, such a well planned space, well worth the upset that building works cause! I’m sure you will be very happy working in this kitchen, even better now you can have the companionship of your family there. I have just spent one year without a kitchen, cooking on a 2-ringed cooker and no kitchen sink, but I’m still amazed how well we managed. Just waiting for my walk-in pantry to be finished and getting to grips with the wood-burning stove!

    • Wow that sounds fab Jak, I have always wanted a wood-burning stove. You need a medal for living for a whole year without a sink though, it must be like camping everyday….but I’m sure the wait will be worth it. I love my pantry, it is such a valuable space to have in my opinion.

  5. Your new kitchen is so beautiful and I know you will have many happy hours working in it. I love the floors and counter top and that wall of cupboards in the dining area is just marvellous.
    I wish you millions of happy meals with your family!
    Regards
    Maureen

  6. Incredible! You did a great job with rebuilding your home. Looking at the old pictures and comparing them to the new one – it´s amazing how you managed to do it. I bet it was a lot of hard work but the result is awesome. I applaud you.

    • Thank you Jamie and it’s lovely to hear from you. I know it was all worth it as the kitchen is wonderful to work in and I can only praise Adam (who oversaw the project) as he took away all the stress from it, as nothing was too much for him.

  7. oh you must be overjoyed with such a beautiful result – well worth the upheaval :-). what a gorgeous kitchen – happy cooking and preserving, you deserve it x

  8. Wow! Wow! WoWWWW! Tahat looks SO GOOD!!! You are so blessed!!! Fantastic!
    How is your Christmas prep going, Mrs Thrift? I hope you guys are all well? I have been rather neglectful of your blog, I’m afraid, but I have been thinking about you a lot 🙂

  9. Your kitchen is beautiful. could you possibly tell me the name of the cabinets? and your stove is lovely! what an amazing transformation. Beautifully designed

  10. in my next house I will have the kitchen I want and not one that is left behind. this will hopefully be our forever house. I will add this name to my wish list. you certainly have an eye for it. It looks lovely and really homey. exactly what I like. thanks for the name of it

    • We found there are lots of kitchens similar to this on the market, so have a good look round. This was joint first choice kitchen with one we found in Ikea, but we went with this one as the builder recommended them-apparently ‘Howdens’ are trade only so lots of builder use them. So shop around. We learnt lots by going around different places before we decided on ‘Howdens’. This way we knew what was actually available to have.

      I love the sound of a ‘forever house’. I’ve never really settled in my house since we moved here 11 years ago but I could put my finger on why? We have talked about moving several times, but the house is in a great location for town and my allotments and my family like it here and don’t want to move. So I’m hoping I will finally settle here now the kitchen is done….and it does seem to be working.

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