Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Finca project - the kitchen

Regular riveted readers may still be aware of the tortuous ongoing project of revamping the finca.

With the sitting room and dining room completed earlier - and that was probably the worst half of the house - I said the next room to do was the kitchen.

When I said 'do', I didn't actually mean finish it, and make it into a perfect kitchen. Oh no. What I meant was paint it so that it looked presentable, rather than looking dusty and dirty as it had suddenly become.

When we first bought the finca many years ago, the kitchen, was well, basic. There were cracked white tiles from floor to ceiling around the sink and cooker area and not much else. There still isn't much else, but at least we got rid of the cracked white tiles.

We also got rid of the nice white sink that was - natch - cracked, and full of ants. The cooker didn't last long either, one of the burners was dodgy so it went out. The cooker, not just the burner. We have bottled gas in our village, and the idea of a dodgy burner and a full bottle of butano is no fun at all.

Once the tiles were gone, the walls were re-rendered. I say this as though it took no time at all. It took months of course. What took even longer was choosing tiles. Tiles, it seemed, had become computer generated. Or at least the design had, and, there were irritating little pixels all over the place. Probably ok if you are not short-sighted, but I needed to find the least irritating design without pesky pixels.

Eventually I found some and they were duly applied. The golden rule in our village is tiles should be a metre high to prevent the damp sucking through the soft stone that our houses are built from. We stuck an extra layer of tile above the metre rule, plus the border tile on top of that.

Because tile adhesive is expensive, the way to tile in our village is to stick a blob of adhesive on each corner, and if they are feeling flush, possibly one in the middle. This is NOT a good idea. Do you know what can lurk in those nice gaps between the tiles and the wall? Yes. Dear little, and not so little, cockroaches. We knew an English couple who had a bar (don't they all?) and when they retiled the kitchen in the bar, the walls were full of cockroaches happily nesting behind the tiles in the lovely gaps. Just cover the tiles with adhesive, people. Unless you want a cockroach sanctuary of course.

Tiles are expensive. Paying someone to put them would be even worse, fortunately I didn't have to do that. But, I actually reckon they are a good investment. 1) blocks the damp problem 2) Incredibly easy to clean 3) They don't need replacing as often as the walls need painting.

Onto the work. The walls above the tiles had been filled when we were attacking the dining room, so that was part of the prep done. I washed the tops of the border tiles down to remove the dust so we could cover them with masking tape. Same with the light fittings.

Next, all the pans came down to be washed and stored in the dining room while the walls were painted. We sheeted up and brushed the dust off the walls.

Then, a coat of Benjamin Moore white paint. It covered so well, that apart from touching up a couple of pan marks, we decided one coat was enough - the other two rooms all needed two, plus stain stop. Our fastest job to date. Done in a day. Dust sheets removed and pans back on the wall.

It was a bit of a shock when all the other jobs have taken weeks. So - next - the bedroom. Another long job, and we will probably move into the back house to sleep so that we can work more easily.

Anyway, some comments about my minimalist kitchen.

First up, the fridge is Fagor, a Spanish company and is excellent. We bought it from the shop down the road that sells seconds. They don't deliver so we had to take it home and wait 48 hours for it to settle. It had a couple of dents in the side. So did our AEG in the UK for which we got £40 off when it was delivered less than perfectly.

I can live with cheap and less than perfect these days. We still get the two year guarantee. So why pay more??

Table with rather rusty legs and corner cabinet are both IKEA from many years ago. Legs on table may get sprayed. Corner thing was actually part of an office suite but it serves for a good spice shelf.

Plastic chairs came from my mum and dad's since the pine ones got moved to the dining room.

Oh, the sink. Yeah, we'll get one of those white ceramic things one day. But for now it's a red plastic bowl stuck on top of a Black and Decker workmate. It works well enough, so, no rush. We chuck the water out on the street. Hopefully missing our neighbours.

Filled walls, pans already down

Lots of pans to take down and wash, more filler on top left

Copper engraved prints to take down, light fittings washed off

Sheeted up - but don't disturb Pippa

Pans already back in place - and gleaming clean

And round to the fridge, chattering away in the corner to itself

Yet more clean pans, painting, engravings - all back

Door still needs painting, solid wood, originally from our neighbours
Also, note the feature stone arch above the doorway

Always need a food piccy. Mozzarella and tomato salad with capers
Recipe to follow

1 comment:

Jezebella said...

PT, my dear, please move those prints out from under those lightbulbs if you care for them at all. Nothing fades ink on paper like direct heat and light.