The Kitchen

So my first project was the kitchen.
Actually quite liked the floor, cupboards and work surface, but the tiling had to go!
The oven was also not great for me. It works, but it's gas and I personally believe it's impossible to bake anything evenly in a gas oven.

The problem was we didn't have any budget for replacing it, and in a panic we bought it from the previous owners for an extra £150 because we were scared we wouldn't have any. That was a little hasty, because ovens come up all the time on freecycle, but I panic bought. So a little prayer and a short wait and in a little less than a month later we had a double electric fan oven with a gas hob and matching hood that was less than two years old and in perfect condition. All the lady asked for was a £50 donation to her favourite cancer charity in exchange, which I was more than happy to do.

Unfortunately gas ovens and/or hobs are not really 'plug and play' like I'd hoped, so it turns out I'll have to hire a gas engineer and an electrician to put my new oven in, so at the moment it's relegated to the garage :0(

In the meantime, I decided to get on with replacing those tiles! We found some really cheap and inoffensive black tiles in wilkos which had been reduced and worked out at about £4 a square metre, and using their matching adhesive and grout we ended up paying about £30 total to re-tile the whole kitchen.

The first stage was to sand the original tiles with a coarse grain sand paper to remove their gloss finish. Apparently this was going to help the tiles stick to them (I decided against removing the tiles as we might damage the walls and it would be more trouble than it was worth. Apparently this is pretty standard practice according to the guys at DIYNot. So I began to sand away.

Then I borrowed an orbital sander because I wasn't getting anywhere by hand.

Then I used a detail sander.

Then I used a hammer.

Yes, that's right. You read that correctly, a hammer.

Sanding was getting me nowhere, so the only way to make a dent in these ridiculously hard-wearing tiles was to take a hammer to them. I'm pretty sure you won't see that advice on any DIY forums, but it did the job quickly and effectively.

Following the instructions on the adhesive was easy and I was soon pretty proud of how well the tiles went up. They come in squares of nine tiles joined together, but even the joints in between were easy to get square, and the great thing about easy tile is that you can cut the tiles with a sharp stanley knife, so no tile cutter required. Easy peasy.

The next stage was grouting. This is not so easy peasy. It should be, but it isn't.

I used a mastic gun to put grout and sealant between all the lines and we had a few 'flow' issues.
i) it was incredibly hard work to keep a constant pressure on the trigger and I quickly developed RSI!
ii) because the flow wasn't very even, there was lots of blobbing (easily smoothed with a wet finger) and holes (had to go over again the next day).

But although the job was incredibly frustrating, it wasn't rocket science and my confidence quickly grew.

For a first tiling effort, I think easy tile is a great option. It isn't difficult to cut, but you still get to practice using real adhesive and grout.

And here is my (almost) finished result:

Much nicer. I just need to do a line of sealant along the worktop join and we are done.

The bad news is that I tiled behind the oven, and we are probably going to have to take that all off again when the electrician and gas plumber come to fit the oven.


We have bought our first house!!

It was £116,500 which qualifies it as the most expensive thing we have ever bought by about £111k!!!

We are really excited and have got loads of plans for it. We've done plenty, but before we get on to that I thought I'd best do an initial post to show it as it was when we got it.

So here is the front garden. You can't really see, but most of it is gravel. I'd like to make it a bit more productive, but it's low on our list of priorities at the moment.

The dining room looked like this
although obviously no furniture. That belonged to the previous owners. In fact, here is the picture I took of the room on the day we got the keys

It's a lovely big mirror that we found left in the garage. We haven't decided where it's going yet, but we'll definitely be using it.

The upstairs bathroom was turquoise with dolphins and shells stencilled everywhere.

So that's a little snippet for now. We'll do before and after photos at each stage of the renovation so you can see what's changed.

As far as possible we will attempt to detail, what we did, how we did it, what we could have done better. Hopefully we will inspire you, but you can learn from our DIY disasters and avoid the same mistakes in your home!
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