Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Finishing Touches

OK, so the title is a bit of a misnomer. The kitchen still isn't finished, but it is getting closer by the day. As we're meant to be doing a major loft re-fit in under two weeks, we're hoping that all the loose ends of kitchen work can be done by then in order to preserve everyone's sanity and access to tea and tasty noms.

We took the broken washing machine from downstairs to the dump, and yesterday the working one from the upstairs kitchen (soon to be our spare room) came downstairs to take it's place. One fridge that came with the house went on Freecycle, and we moved the upstairs fridge down to join the fridge I brought with me. We don't know the rating of the fridge which came with the house, but it was a lot newer than the one we freecycled so hopefully it's more efficient too. Mine is A rated, so despite the two fridges we are hopefully keeping bills down a bit. Eventually we may get a single full-height fridge, but that's a little way down the line at the moment.

A space which has been left for a large floor-to-ceiling pantry cupboard has been temporarily filled with shelving units which people didn't want any more. This is mostly because we have so much to do that building a large cupboard feels a little way off, and the shelves will make a good interim measure.

There are still shelves which need to be built for communal food/spice/tea supplies, but the one storage-building job which has been done is the magnificent pan rack. Everyone wanted to avoid having a Cupboard of Doom (you know the one: 13 saucepans, none of which fit inside each other properly, with all the lids rolling around and all the other kitchen gear balanced on top) and a pan rack seemed a good solution. Cassian is going to ruthlessly sort through our massive amalgamation of cooking equipment to leave us with a gloriously minimalist, yet functional, set of gear, and most of it will be hung up here for easy access. Huzzah!

Pan Rack of Glory next to our temporary pantry shelving

Just to sing it's praises a little more, the pan rack is made partly of various curtain poles from around the house which were no longer fit for purpose, and is height adjustable at the front so we can get it to a level where Flick (the shortest Golem) can reach things but Sven (the tallest Golem) doesn't hit his head all the time.

I think we're all feeling rather pleased, not only that we made something sturdy and practical, but that we're trying to make a shared house that feels beautiful and loved. This feels like a very satisfying contribution towards that goal, and we're all a bit happier because of it. Also, it has shiny bits :)

On a much more practical level, this mini-project was the first one which used our new budget proposing system, which I will write more about in another post. Happily it came in under budget too. Win all round.

- Hannah

Monday, 18 June 2012

All Go.

Well blimey. Good grief. Cripes, etc. What an incredibly busy (nearly) three weeks it has been! I've been wanting to blog about all the things, but been distracted by doing all the things instead.

So what have we been up to?

Mostly we have been stripping out and rebuilding the kitchen. It was all of the manky, and all of the wrong. Through the medium of awesome assistance and truck tonnes of work, we now have a nearly finished kitchen which is far more fit for purpose and twenty times more lovely. Also we all know how the plumbing works, which can only be a good thing.

Things we did as part of the kitchen work:
- replaced the taps, waste fitting and plumbing on the sink, but reused the sink as it was fine after Lloyd cleaned it up amazingly.
- put in a new worktop on the sink side, and swapped the rotten cupboards for ones from the upstairs kitchen.
- added plumbing for a dishwasher/washing machine to be added in the future if we decide we need one.
- added a run of cupboards on the opposite side of the kitchen where there were previously none. These cupboards were all reused ones from the upstairs kitchen.
- Used offcuts of worktop from around the house to add worktop on top of the new cupboards.
- took out a small hallway which led into the kitchen to make more space.
- removed a leaking radiator, which will be replaced with one on a different wall.
- cleaned everything a multitude of times.

Things we have left to do include finishing a hanging pan rack, building shelves for extra cookware and bulk food items and building shelves to act as communal food, spice and tea storage. When it's finished, it's going to be epic, and we're all feeling rather proud that we stripped and re-fitted the kitchen in the first two weeks of living here.

We have also finally finished moving everything from everyone's prior abodes, and have dealt with a variety of ad hoc DIY jobs. Amongst this there have been visitors, meetings, budgeting gymnastics and various small people learning to use screwdrivers. They do make things more complicated, but the cuteness is unbelievable.

Here we go again with a massive pic spam :)

Oh my!
Stripping out all the rotten cupboards and broken plumbing

Making sure the new plumbing was super-sealed
Sven working on the plastering where we took out a small hallway
Getting the sink in to the new worktop
Improvised cooking before the second worktop went on
Reused worktop and cupboards on the left and new worktop on the right

  We're spending the next week or two unpacking a bit more, finishing the kitchen (lots of making good to do around the ex-hallway) and planning the enormous loft insulation job which awaits us in July. No rest for the awesome, eh?

- Hannah

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Little Boxes

Oh my, eight people have a lot of stuff. We've been moving boxes and furniture pretty constantly since Wednesday, and there is still tonnes to go. My recent decluttering efforts seem to mean nothing as I still appear to have ALL OF THE STUFF, and I suspect some of the other Golems have ALL OF THE STUFF too. Good thing we bought a big ol' house, eh?

There has been a stoic perseverance in the face of unexpected obstacles, amongst which have been having only cold water upstairs and only hot water downstairs, realising our kitchen worktop was squidgable (ew!), and having to scrub a collection of bogeys off of a bedroom wall (I kid you not). We are all knackered, and some of us are ill. Some of us are tiny confused toddlers who are excited and unsettled by it all at the same time. It's been a long few days.

Amongst this we've been having a regular evening meeting to sort out the minutiae of our new domestic set up. Tonight we discussed the washing up, shoes, various rotas, and the complexities of leftovers. And somehow we still haven't got all shouty with each other. Consensus woo!

I thought I'd be here giving you an exciting update about all of the things we've been doing, but in all honesty, there has been too much going on for my brain to formalise it into a post. I'm going to go the pic spam route again, instead, and I hope you'll forgive me/be really relieved that I'm soon to stop waffling ;)

- Hannah

Still trying to sort through all the keys

Moving my garden to the new house

It's OK to remove windows to insert furniture when you (sort of) own the place ;)

Behold our joist ends, for they are not rotten!

Finn's DIY skills are coming along nicely

Enjoying a co-op dinner in our dining roomy bit