If you can’t stand the heat

Following my mother-in-law’s suggestion, we decided to look into knocking down walls to make our kitchen a larger room.  We think (and so do many of our friends, now we’ve discussed it!) that it’s really small for a house this size.  However, we know we’ll be knocking money off our property by getting rid of a room, albeit a smelly hole.

We did have a builder round to quote for knocking walls down, installing a new kitchen (plus installing fitted wardrobes in our room, but that’s definitely going to have to wait), but the prices were more than we’re willing to pay, so the husband is going to do it all himself, with a little help from the tea fairy (me).

We went to B&Q before making a decision, and vaguely had an idea of high gloss white units in mind.  We were still at the stage where we were testing the water and weren’t really committing to anything, but as soon as we saw this, we knew we had to have it!  The kitchen is from B&Q’s Cooke and Lewis range (as is the photo).

We made an appointment and then a few weeks later sat for an hour having the kitchen designed, with the added benefit of it being on sale as it was January.  If you get installation, they do make you change all of your electricity points (“to ensure they’re safe”, never mind we’re in a new build) and the cost for installation alone was a whopping £3,600, but we looked past that to supply only, which was much more manageable (and they were offering 3 years 0% finance).

Then madness gave way to reason and we realised we’d better get another quote from somewhere to make sure it really was reasonable and we hadn’t lost our senses.  We went to Wickes to get a quote from lovely Malcolm, who quoted us on the Caledonia.  It’s an inoffensive plain white high gloss unit, with integrated handles which I’m not too keen on anyway, but would have lived with if it was the difference of, say, £2k.  It wasn’t.  And my cleaner mother reliably informs me that integrated handles are a nightmare to clean anyway.  Sorry, Malcolm.

I’d also like to point out here that I double checked MSE about B&Q’s units and prices before we sold our souls and there were good reports, but also some scathing ones about the price of their installation.  My guess is that it’s something they don’t really care to get involved in, so they make it worth their while for the times they do.  As a side note, Martin Lewis’ website is brilliant, and I always check it before buying anything major.

So, the husband trotted back to the B&Q designer with our full page of tweaks for another hour of kitchen creation (measurements were slightly off, we wanted white, not cream, a bigger sink and oven, to name but a few changes).

Ah, the oven.  It deserves a post all of its own.  In fact, it’s not just an oven.  It’s an oven and a half.  My mum actually counted the number of knobs on the front from the picture and told me what each of the ten might be for.  Seriously.

B&Q price-matched Wickes and even managed to squeeze in a cheeky wine rack, and I’m really glad they did (price-match, that is) because the colour combo units make me much happier than plain white.  Granted, we were going to tart the white ones up with a flash of colour from a fuschia upstand, but it’s not the same you understand.

The husband called me to ask if we were going for it; B&Q gave him 20 minutes to make his mind up.  I didn’t really need the 20 but ummed and ahed along until we came to an agreeable conclusion.

This was a week last Wednesday.  On the Thursday, he got a call from Indesit asking if they could deliver our new oven on Saturday, very eager.  He managed to put them off a week, but couldn’t delay it any longer, so we’re going to have a random oven until the walls are sorted, the old kitchen is out, the new kitchen is in and we can get a registered gas man to fit it.  The joys of self installation!

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