Month 5: A rest from restoration

And so the days become months... We've had a long break from blogging to accommodate:

  • A lovely first family Christmas in our wreck.
  • Recuperation for me after finishing up my old job.
  • The new family routine required for my new role in RCSI.
  • A business trip to Amsterdam (Mehdi, not me).
  • Installation of polycarbonate double glazing
  • Flu, flu and more flu.
  • Potty training.
  • and the rest...

It's been weeks since any of us have had the energy to tackle things to be done in the house in any coherent way. I've only had enough brainpower to scrub stuff clean on the days where I've had the actual energy to do anything (and on that note - sugar soap is the business!). But all that's changing as our new routine beds down and the days lengthen. We're starting to think again about what we want to do with our house.

We're stuck on what to do with our kitchen. Right now, it's about as direlict as a kitchen can be without being condemned - we have windows and electrics, but other than that, we're back to bare brick on three walls, have huge holes in the ceiling from previous water damage and we are using freestanding appliances on a very old, dirty terracotta tile floor. The bare brick means the kitchen gets dusty no matter how much we clean, and the crumbling ceiling means that when someone upstairs slams the bathroom door too hard, plaster falls on top of whoever is sitting downstairs...

We were excited to find a couple of original tiles behind the modern plaster that was put over the old brickwork and tiles surrounding the range. They're white (unlike our neighbours up the road) and about an inch thick - these things were made to last. But we need to get away from enjoying all the little details of the house and into thinking about the big picture.

Having lived here for a few months we're glad we didn't rush into anything. Surprisingly, it wasn't as cold as we'd feared through the winter (though I haven't dared look at a heating bill so far so I'm not sure at what cost). We now know how we use the house at the moment, and we have a good idea of where we'd like to add a bathroom, where we're adding a door directly to the garden, and what we are happy with as is.

The kitchen, however, poses a challenge for us in that we have several must-haves in a small space:

  • Shower room
  • Utility space (I dislike eating and cooking beside a running washing machine)
  • Dining area
  • Usual kitchen stuff - e.g.
    • Tall separate fridge and freezer
    • Range for cooking
    • Prep and storage space

We have another challenge in that the whole space must be wheelchair accessible to ensure Mehdi's brother can use the space and be able to get through to the rest of the house when he visits.

It's clear we will need to extend the kitchen into the garden to achieve all this - knocking down the old outside toilet and coal bunker. But we don't know HOW to do this so we enjoy a view of the garden and have a shower room without making the whole space feel like a very separate part of the house or turning it into a giant wind tunnel that rips through the whole downstairs everytime someone opens the front door. We've exhausted our friends' store of ideas and now think professional help is needed. We're booking a consultation with an architect to see what we can do. Fingers crossed there is a 'right' answer and not what I fear - a compromise.