So I have a nice shiny island, complete with fully plumbed-in sink (eventually), working Aga, and ice-on-demand for the G&T. So barring a few more cabinets everything in the kitchen’s rosy, right?
Well that depends which way you look at it. The view to the Aga is looking good. But the other end of the room clearly needs a bit of work….
It’s been one of my major procrastination projects, mainly because I haven’t figured out what to do with it.
I did managed to persuade my Dad to start the job a couple of years ago, while I was away on a jolly somewhere. Apparently there was a fair amount of procrastination and head-scratching even then. And a bit of cursing when he discovered that the wood I’d bought would have been better used making wonky corkscrews.
I’d probably have attempted to use the wood and ended up with a slightly corkscrewed wall. But my Dad, when he does eventually get going, is a perfectionist, so he went out a bought some properly square timber. And proceeded to build a beautifully over-engineered work of art.
It looks like one of those squirrel’s intelligence tests. You know – where you stick a hazelnut in the middle of an assault course and watch to see if the squirrel can work out how to get through it.
But it did mean that I could at least board up some of the wall. And I have to hand it to my Dad – it’s the only genuinely straight wall in the whole house.
It’s stayed like that for a year or so, until I finally decided that I could put it off no longer and I had to find a solution for the rest of it.
The problem is the large bunch of wires feeding through the wall from the cottage to the fuseboard at this end of the house.
There’s not a lot of headroom as it is. I couldn’t build a false ceiling because the door wouldn’t open. I couldn’t build a false wall because the door wouldn’t open….
I looked at it. I thought about it. I made a cup of tea. I sorted out some random bits of wood from my hoarded collection of offcuts. I looked at it some more. And had another cup of tea.
I thought about drawing a proper plan, but I had another cup of tea instead. And finally decided that the best way to approach it was to build little sub-frames and randomly screw them to the wall – if I put enough bits of wood up, surely I’d be able to hide the wires eventually…
So there you have it. I’d like to see an intelligent squirrel get past that lot.
After all the hassle with the frame, I assumed the finishing off would be a doddle. Just a couple of bits of plasterboard, a lick of paint, a bit of flooring and a new door. Then feet up and a G&T. Jobs a good’un!
Well the plasterboard went on easily enough (though I shall gloss over my efforts at getting a nice smooth joint between the boards!).
Then for the flooring. And I’m a dab hand at wood floors, so that shouldn’t take long.
Yeah right. This is my barn remember. No straight walls (apart from the one my Dad built) and no level floors.
So the concrete floor that comes out of the cottage has a slight uphill slope. The concrete steps built up from the kitchen floor are perfectly level, but slightly lower than the cottage floor. It creates a kind of cliff-edge mountain range right in the middle of the floor. So when I tried to lay my flooring, I ended up with a wooden see-saw. And guess what? The door wouldn’t open!
I had another cup of tea while considering my options.
Option 1: Chisel the floor level: I tried. But it was the masonry equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge with a lip brush. I gave up.
Option 2: Put a thinner floor covering down: Well in that case I couldn’t use wood – even switching to engineered board instead of the solid wood I was using would only save a couple of millimetres. So it would have to be tiles. But large thin tiles laid over a mountain range? They’d crack the minute you stepped on them. You’d have to bed them down on so much adhesive they end up as thick as the wood. And the door wouldn’t open. So it would have to be small tiles. Really small tiles.
Well I admit I have been known to go a bit mosaic-mad on occasion, but that really wouldn’t look right here.
Anyway, I wanted to use wood to match the rest of the kitchen floor.
So it would have to be Option 3: Buy a smaller door: The door is already slightly shorter than the average. The doorway between the cottage and the main house passes under the valley between the two roofs, so the existing door is already ‘vertically challenged’. Anyone over 5’8″ has to duck. What’s another cm between friends?
I managed to find a door company that would make a bespoke oak door that would match the rest of the house. Amazingly without breaking the bank.
Add a bit of paint and a couple of wine posters and then open the gin.
A definite improvement on the old view, don’t you think?