In yesterday’s post when writing about the work I did on the utility room project I mentioned that I would paint the floor today, Saturday the 20 th. I must confess to that being a little fib though at the time I wrote it was true. What happened was late in the afternoon I called next door to give my neighbour a loaf of bread as she had asked if we had some. My neighbour is house-bound because of her condition and her son was away at work. We chatted about things and she was asking if I had been busy so I told her about the project. An hour later I began to think about the painting of the floor, well that part on which I would be working the next day. The painting takes minutes, the drying takes a few hours but the fumes linger for a very long time especially as there is little or no ventilation down in that room. If I were to paint it on Saturday I wouldn’t be able to do anything else that day and I wanted to get on with the work. With that in mind I painted the floor on my return home.
Having done that I was able to continue the next day and install the third cabinet and also move the old freezer.
I then moved the other smaller freezer to the spot where the old one had stood, though it will be moved away from the wall whilst I paint the wall and floor there. That left the rest of the floor clear and ready to be worked on later. Before I did all that work and also paint the floor the previous afternoon I lifted up the remaining pieces of carpet, cut them into smaller pieces so I could dispose of them in the wheelie bin. The carpet had been fine whilst lying on the floor but the rubber backing had deteriorated over the years and was left on the floor as the carpet was lifted,
I finished the work for that day by 1 o’clock and rested but during the afternoon I noticed that the membrane I had laid in the lawn feature had a couple of holes in it. It could only be the squirrels whom we’ve seen on the lawn at times digging little holes either to bury food or to dig for worms! I decided to cover over the area with a robust plastic netting until we finally get delivery of the pebbles (see recent posts).
I didn’t rush into working on the utility room project on Friday morning, just took a more laid-back approach. I began the work after my breakfast at five o’clock even though I was up at two. For two hours or so I concentrated upon clearing out the room, removing all the paraphernalia that had accumulated in there over the years. There were garden chairs, boxes of toys and clothes, waterproof clothing and boots, an old parasol and ground sheet for a tent. There was also a clothes basket and ironing board (actually two), three electric irons, a shopping basket (don’t ask) and a multitude of small items which needed either storing elsewhere or get dumped, oh and a fire surround. Then there was a large wall cabinet which need taking down. That would be fixed to the wall in the workshop at some point in the future. Some of it can be seen in this old photograph….
Most of the stuff I stored away in the garage or the room in the cellar we call the store room because it is filled with all sorts of things and is only used as a storeroom. After a snack and a chat with E who was having her breakfast I returned downstairs and assembled the third cabinet before giving the wall against which it will stand with the older freezer a coat of paint. It will get painted again later after the holes in it are filled.
The cabinet can be seen in the foreground. I stopped work at that point. The following morning I hoped to paint the floor immediately in front of the wall but no other work would be possible during that day because of the paint fumes.
It was now Thursday 18 th and after a really good night’s sleep I was ready for the day. First of all though I was to take my morning walk. It was a little on the cold side at 7 deg C but because there was no wind whatsoever it didn’t feel that cold. The sky was clear and the stars filled it. However the street lighting prevented a clear view, that is until I reached the seafront where it was almost pitch black. Soon my enjoyment was over and I was back home for breakfast. I had a number of chores to do before I could even consider doing any work in the utility room, except to fill the washing machine and switch it on. I had re-positioned and re-connected the machine the evening before to check for leaks. Yes there was one! One of my pet sayings is that I hate plumbing and to be honest it is true, at least to some extent. The leak was sorted and I washed my overalls, they needed it! On Wednesday I had concentrated on installing the second cabinet, no painting the floor that day and having to fight the fumes. This is how far I got…
By the end of the day I was ready for bed and a good rest. Now it was Thursday but I had the weekly shopping to do. I watched some catch-up tv before going to the supermarket and returned by eight-thirty. An hour or so later I began to work in the utility room but kept the work to a minimum. I fitted the doors to the second cabinet and the door knobs to both after which I painted the new section of worktop.
I couldn’t do anymore work thereafter until the paint had dried in case I stirred up dust so I had the rest of the day to myself.
On Tuesday 16 th (as I write) we were expecting the delivery of the pebbles we had ordered online a week or two earlier for the lawn feature. At that time we were informed of a possible eight to nine weeks waiting period before they became available. I have to say that companies who advertise goods on sale should make them more readily available or remove the advertisement. We had already experienced poor service, actually no service as it turned out, when we didn’t receive the fridge we had ordered. Since then of course we obtained a better one from a UK supplier. On Monday (15 th) we received a call from the company who were to supply the pebbles asking if we would like to purchase the pebbles that were delivered to themselves but of a different kind. We were asked to go online to check them out which we did. I had already viewed all of their advertised stock when placing my order and had selected my choice because of their colour and form. None of the others compare and can be purchased locally at almost any builders merchants. So we were being asked to accept something that they said was sent to them in error. They must have known we wouldn’t. I was expecting to finish the work on the project this week but now it seems it will be a few more weeks yet before that can happen. I had prepared a space within the garage where the pallet could be dropped which seemed a bit of a waste of time after I had received the call. No matter it will remain as it is for when the pebbles do arrive. I worked on the utility room project on Monday and again on Tuesday though on Tuesday I didn’t do as much. I cut out another large portion of the carpet that lies on the floor so that the washing machine could be moved. Eventually of course it will all be lifted. E and I assembled one of the new cabinets so that I could check the floor level and cut out the side panels to accommodate the drain pipe on the wall.
The worktop would continue from the first cabinet and had to be accordingly level with it. We discovered there was at least a centimetre drop in the floor across the width of the room at that side. That will mean packing beneath the new cabinet legs to make it level. Nothing is ever straightforward is it?
I must have been so tired on Sunday evening I ended up sleeping in a further hour and a half after I had switched off the alarm! Usually I get out of bed immediately because I know I am likely to nod off again if I don’t. The consequence was I missed my early morning walk as I didn’t then wish to take it because I had work to do which I would have to start later in the morning. I didn’t want to do that. The walk would have to wait a day. The work I wanted to do was all in the utility room. First job was to fix some wall tiles around the sink top. The second job was to move the drain pipe coming from the upstairs dishwasher and to re position the cold water supply pipe to the washing machine in the utility room.
The black pipe is that drain from the dishwasher which used to run at high level and come down the wall to where it is still connected. The cold water pipe to the washing machine now runs down alongside the window on its left. It used to come down the wall to the left of the drain pipe. I wanted them moving so they didn’t go through the worktop I would be fitting there and it would allow any joints to remain accessible. Once those jobs were done I blanked off the hole near the ceiling (top centre in lower picture) then took a break and sat with E having her breakfast. When she was ready we went to the hardware store and purchased two more cabinets, four doors with their furniture and some more plywood for the worktops. One of the cabinets would go alongside the washing machine between it and one of the smaller chest freezers which will stand on the far left (lower picture above). The other cabinet will be fitted on the opposite wall together with the larger and older chest freezer. The other small chest freezer will be fitted where the older one now stands. All this is intended to make better use of the room space. On our return from the store E got ready to go to a funeral and I took the goods into the room. After a quick lunch she went out and I got on with more work, filling in some holes in the floor and wall and later giving the wall its first coat of paint.
However I then noticed the drains for the washing machine and dishwasher drain needed attention as there appeared to be a small leak. This leak must have developed over the years and I needed to repair it. Whoever had installed it hadn’t left enough pipe sticking out of the wall so I had to dig it out before doing the repairs.
The main leak was on the white pipe connections. The dark patches on the wall is cement which couldn’t be over-painted until it was dry. You can see the dark patch on the floor where I had filled it in. The best thing about this project is the different disciplines involved, electrical, carpentry, brickwork and cementing, plumbing and painting and decorating. That’s why I like doing projects.
It is Sunday 14 th and I am writing this at six in the morning. I arose three hours ago, an hour later than my now most usual time though I was awake then. I had a really good night’s sleep and am feeling totally refreshed, completely different from yesterday’s experience. With every new day there is hope for better things in our lives though we may never take advantage of that. Things look different from the previous night in the cold light of day as the saying goes. We may look back at what we did the day before and now find it wasn’t as bad as we thought or maybe it is worse! Yesterday I felt pretty much tired the whole day which was probably why I slept so well. I hadn’t done much work partly due to my feeling tired and partly due to there not being much to do on my project. Actually there was more I could have done, there always is but I wanted the rest. So I kept the work to a minimum and spent the rest of the day relaxing. E went to her nephews’ birthday party in the evening held at a venue in the village a half mile away. I wasn’t invited, I never am but I don’t think I would have been able to stay awake to enjoy it anyway!
The work I did involved fitting the shelf and the doors but not the handles as we hadn’t purchased any. We first thought we would only purchase the one cabinet so we were going to use the handles on the old unit to save buying new ones. However the plan now is to install at least one more cabinet and probably two in which case we will need three sets of matching door handles. They will be purchased when we buy the cabinets. The other work I did was to cut and fit the timber with which to fill the space at the right of the new cabinet, shown not yet painted in the picture. Other work I could have done involved fixing a single row of wall tiles around the top of the unit. The sink is now in use. There is a lot more work to be done in the room and slowly but surely it will be done. Today I rest, tomorrow is another day.
I had been preparing the walls and floor in the area of the utility room ready for the installation of the new sink and cabinet unit early on Monday morning (yesterday’s post). I had painted them and had to wait for the paint to dry. The wall paint was dry soon afterward but the floor paint took longer and because of the fumes it gives off I couldn’t start the work of building the cabinet immediately. After four hours the fumes had dissipated and I went back to the room and assembled the cabinet, a flat-pack affair. I don’t know about you but I think flat-pack furniture can be somewhat daunting at times, it all depends upon adequate and easy to understand instructions. Diagrams and different screw sizes, parts that seem to be able to fit anywhere or nowhere at all and confusing instructions written by a foreign hand with little understanding of the English language all add up to a frustrating experience if not approached logically. Even the experienced DIY enthusiasts might find instructions problematical on occasion. As it happened the cabinet wasn’t difficult to assemble on this occasion though and extra pair of hands would have sped up the process!
I had to drill a hole with a hole cutter in order to slide it over the waste pipe protruding from the wall. It is fortunate I have plenty of hole cutters. Nothing as yet is permanently fixed in place of course but it gives me an idea on how to proceed with the next stages. The sink/drainer has to be fitted in the plywood top and the plumbing connected amongst other things. I stopped work around lunchtime and would continue with the work during the rest of the week. Whilst I was waiting for the paint to dry I made another apple pie, later putting it in the freezer with the other pies I had made for the previous day I had made an apple crumble which hadn’t yet been eaten.
I was keen to carry on with the utility room project after an almost restful Sunday. I had gone into the garden in order to sweep up the first wave of fallen leaves from the lawn. We have an old push-along piece of equipment we inherited from somewhere many years ago. It has two large wheels at the front in between which is a metre-wide rotating brush that is driven by cogs within the wheels. Behind this setup is a large open container on a metal frame which is used to push it forward and in doing so collects the leaves as they are swept up. It kept jamming so I had to dismantle the wheels and do some repairs. I fancy it won’t last much longer and we’ll have to buy a new model but for now it works. It is Monday morning 8 th October as I write and I have just returned indoors after watering the rear garden. It is six o’clock. I finished breakfast just after three o’clock and went into the utility room in the cellar to paint the walls in the area around where the sink unit will stand. The exposed area around the fitted unit will be painted again later if required. It was just done to allow my installing the unit. I also painted the area of floor on which it will stand.
No doubt the rest of the rooms’ walls and floor will be decorated this way, bit by bit because there are some large objects in there which cannot be moved out of the room, the washing machine and the freezers. Some of the other things will be removed and some will be stored elsewhere but all that is in the future. For the moment I have to concentrate on the job in hand. The floor paint gives off noxious fumes and I had to wear my face mask when using it as I did on the other two projects in the cellar. Despite it being a small area of painted floor the smell lasted for hours. I would rather do the whole floor at once and be done with it but unfortunately that is impossible.
Well on Saturday morning (6 th) having risen early as I tend to do these days I set about removing the old sink unit from its position down in the laundry room which we now call the utility room. The intent was to turn it onto the adjacent wall but having removed it I discovered it had evidence of woodworm in the cabinet frame. The frame wasn’t of a sturdy construction and consequently became damaged when I removed it. The sink and drainer was still serviceable as you can see but it is only suitable for placing on top of a cabinet. I would have to attempt a purchase or make one myself if I was to keep it. We decided to start from scratch and buy a new cabinet and sink/drainer with accessories.
As you can see from the last picture the wall where waste pipe is had not been repaired by whoever did the original work so whilst E was taking a shower and dressing I mixed some mortar and replaced the missing brick. I took all the now dismantled pieces of the old cabinet together with the sink/drainer and put them into the van. We then drove off to the waste recycling depot then on to the store to purchase the new sink and unit. Because the unit was going to be down in the cellar in the utility room we didn’t want to buy top-of-the-range items but that turned out to be difficult. We chose to buy the least expensive as best we could though nothing was really inexpensive. One thing annoyed me and that was the fact that I could only purchase a minimum three-metre length of worktop when in fact we only wanted just over one metre! I would need to spend £40 and dispose of two-thirds of it. What a waste of money! We didn’t buy it but instead bought a ready cut length of heavy duty plywood for a third of the price at £13. It is after all going to be mostly covered by the new sink and drainer. Even so we ended up spending nearly £200 just for a cabinet topped with a sink!
Since the bulk of my last project had been completed I was at a loss for something to do. I shouldn’t be concerned about having a lack of something to do around our house for there are plenty of things I could be doing. It is more a question of what would be the best and what I would feel like tackling at any given time. A few months ago when I was involved in renovating rooms down in the cellar I mentioned in a post that one of the other rooms down there could do with a make-over too. I was talking about the utility room where we keep the washing machine and freezers and a host of other things we perhaps should store elsewhere or get rid of.
As you can see from the above pictures it is somewhat of a mess but an organised mess! We know where things are, just about! With that in mind I was down there yesterday (5 th) looking at how to tackle the first part of the work which was to remove the sink unit and replace it.
However after some consideration and a quick clean-up I decided we should renovate it and keep it after all it is only a utility room and doesn’t need a new unit even if one could be purchased. As it is an old unit and now out of production it would be difficult to find a similar unit at a small cost. The stainless steel top only requires a thorough clean and the cabinet only requires a new shelf inside, a clean-up and a paint job. So that will be the first job to start on. However E and I would like it to be turned and fitted to the adjacent wall alongside the window because it will not only look better but will make better use of the room space. Having measured the unit we found it would sit neatly in the proposed position. When I remove it I will be in a better position to repair and renovate it………and clear away the spiders. There will be plumbing to do of course but I’ve assessed that work and it won’t be difficult. There is plenty of work to do in that room and will likely keep me occupied for months.