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… and not the decorative kind!

… when I started renovating my apartment I thought the kitchen was passable, and I would wait a while until I would renovate it. Sure it didn’t have a cooker, but it had a sink; I splurged on my dream fridge; I had my camping stove and I could get a microwave for the year or so until I decided what I really wanted to do…

everything is temporary - except my dream fridge!

everything is temporary – except my dream fridge!

… when I moved in I quickly discovered that the plumbing had a few hiccups. Every time I washed anything in the sink I ended up standing in a puddle…

… one weekend mid October I decided I had had enough, and I went ahead and ripped out the old cabinets, the swollen, rotting work surface that made my skin crawl; the bent, dented drawers and the leaking plumbing. I cut back silicon, took apart Ikea cupboards, pulled them out from under the work surface, and managed to get it to all come crashing down! I took everything apart, sorted metal from wood, plastic in separate bags and took it all to the container park…

… when the guys redid the electricity here they really messed up the tiles, cutting channels in the tiles rather than removing a column, then patching their paths up with lumpy plaster (often mixed with brick dust, giving me “pretty” orange “features” in the walls. I knew I was going to have to replace the tiles along the way, but I thought until I decided which tiles I wanted, I could just place my kitchen cupboards in situ, and move them when it came to tiling. I had already decided I wanted the free standing Udden kitchen units from Ikea.

… when I removed the old kitchen cupboards I had a surprise… the last kitchen update had been done somewhat hastily (to be polite) – tiles on top of tiles (just like all my layers of wallpaper!), and a huge hole in the wall, down to bare brick! Plus, all the years of leaking plumbing had chronically rusted all the heating pipes.

not a pretty surprise!

not a pretty surprise!

… sometime in the autumn I put the Udden units together, and since then they have sat in the middle of the kitchen, semi-in use… though I haven’t had an operational kitchen sink since then. When I drew up a sketch of the kitchen I decided I wanted to move the sink, so I needed to move the taps. Not a big deal in itself, and I probably could have done it myself, but I also wanted to tidy up the piping, changing joints and making sure things ran parallel and I want to run a gas pipe to where I want to put a cooker. I don’t have to tools to cut thick old pipes, or the absolute certainty of what I am doing…

… mid-December I called the plumber I had used previously, he was about to head off on holidays, I waited a couple of weeks then called him again, his number seems to have been cut off… in the mean time a friend gave me the number of another plumber, he came round a few weeks ago, assessed the work, got down on his hands and knees, peered under the bath, told me he could do a good, tidy job… I haven’t heard from him since, he doesn’t answer his phone… this seems typical of workmen here. The painter who was doing the bulk of the work here last summer hasn’t been back since late September, he doesn’t answer my calls, he doesn’t seem to mind I have a load of his equipment still and unfinished work; the guy that came round last weekend and said begrudgingly he would finish off the one room that still needs the plaster finishing, and needs painting, the guy that said he would come back later in the week hung up on me when I called him mid-week…

… Saturday morning I decided that if I keep waiting for workmen I won’t ever have an operational kitchen… so I decided to start by attacking the rusty pipes myself. I sanded them down, brushed them down with a steel brush, then I degreased and washed them well. I switched the heating on to warm them, to ensure they dried well, and then painted them. First coat and they still looked terrible, second coat they are looking better…

playing with piping @ grt*escp playing with piping @ grt*escp playing with piping @ grt*escp

playing with piping @ grt*escp… I will do a third coat during the week and try and find a plumber!

playing with piping @ grt*escp

something pretty after all that ugliness!