The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Repairs at the Cottage Smallholder HQ – Part Two

Image: Pushkin in the kitchen

“Well have you got the first cabinets in place?” It was Pete the plumber on the phone.
“They’re in the kitchen but so heavy. They don’t fit the wall which is wonky.”
“Expected!”

When I was ripping out the kitchen Pete had dropped by“I want to help you fit the kitchen. I fitted my own one.”
I was delighted but realised that if I accepted Pete’s offer I would be under The Rule of Pete

It had taken me a couple of days to strip out the old kitchen and fix the plumbing so it was still workable unattached to the sink. I reckoned that if I could remove a kitchen I would be capable of fitting one. I had invested in a book.

Pete turned up a few days later and flicked through my book with a sniff. After a quick coffee he shoved the first double cabinet against the wall.
“OK we need a wooden batten against the wall and six smaller pieces for the brackets.

I luckily had realised that a chop saw would be an excellent investment. With minimal cash I had settled on a VonHouse 8 inch pull saw for just under £100. If you have the cash a 12 inch would be a better investment but this saw has proved to be a superior  and steady team member. Cutting absolutely square every single time and of course, never late for work.

The only problem was that I was a bit frightened about using this saw. Even though I had used power saws during my seven year toymaking days, I had also cut off the top of a finger when I had used my bed saw in a hurry.

Pete clocked me dithering around and cut the wood swifty with aplomb. He had the batons fixed behind the first row of units in place within a couple of minutes. Within ten we had screwed them together, squared to the wall and were levelling the units. I tested out the height of units

“They’re a bit high for me!”
“Well they will be the standard height when you add you worktops.
“But I’m not standard height.”

Quickly changing the subject he touched on a very tricky issue.
“Are you absolutely sure that you want white worktops? They stain so easy.”
He turned an eye to me.
“It’s a really bad choice.”

“I want white.” Standing by my guns. “It’s not a light room. It needs to reflect light.”
“So they’re shiny?”
”No I hate that. They’re mellow. Not flat but 58% shiny.”
I produced the sample and waved it at him.

He eased his gloves off slowly from the top of his fingers and threw them down
“I give up.”
As he disappeared towards the loo I called out, “Show me an alternative?”
He didn’t answer. Even when he returned.

He drank a coffee and stared into space. He was using my fit your own kitchen book as a mug rest.
“Next time I come I want to see more cabinets in place. You have the method now. Just remember that they all need to be the same height, square to the wall and level. You can work round the dodgy walls with the brackets. Use the long spirit level all the time and check, check, check.”

The loathed white worktops were not mentioned again until they arrived.

Having inherited most of the cabinets, I had saved and invested in top of the range German worktops. Needless to say I had spent hours on the internet to get them at the best possible price. In fact the worktops that I bought turned out to be cheaper than the ‘sensible and practical alternatives’ that Pete put forward from a nationwide firm where he had a good discount.

All bargain buys are just delivered to the curb, There is just the one driver so you are told to be in place to help the driver. Of course the companies expect a man to be fitting a kitchen not a small woman of 65. Gray came to the rescue – one worktop was six meters long and a weight that would make a Sumo wrestler pop eyed.

Even though I’d fitted most of the kitchen I didn’t feel confident enough to fit the work tops. I employed a local carpenter with whom I had worked with way back in my decorating days.

Pete ran his fingers over them and declared
“I think that these will probably be OK.”


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3 Comments

  1. Carole Brooks

    I know what you mean about cabinets being fitted to your height and not the average 🙂

  2. Well done for sticking to your guns and refusing to be bullied! Actually, well done for doing the kitchen fitting….I admire you enormously, I couldn’t. Well, I say that….we don’t know what we’re capable of until we HAVE to do it, do we? Or unless we try?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Thanks Sooliz, Well the kitchen isn’t quite finished yet. I’ve been busy with the toys to get more funds! Today I am planing to carry on with the kitchen and fit handles and carousels etc. It’s a slow process but strangely satisfying

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