You learn by making mistakes

The aim for us was to get the kitchen done as a priority, however ended up being one of the last jobs we finished. When we started the work our plan was just to paint the ceiling and leave it almost as it was. It was a small pokey kitchen, which at a little over 6ft Adam was only just able to stand up with his hair touching the ceiling. Its an alley style, "lean to" kitchen which is a smidge over 2m wide by 6m long.

The fuse box was located in a cupboard in the kitchen, with no loft hatch above the kitchen it would mean cutting a new square hole in the ceiling so we could gain access to pull new cables in for re-wiring the house. However after cutting the hole and putting our head up in the loft to reveal 30 years of mouse droppings, smelly itchy insulation and a bees nest the size of a football. Luckily it was old and not a bee insight! After dismantling the kitchen cupboard we soon realised that removing the unwanted wall units on one side also left a great big hole in the ceiling which would need repair. Now becoming and big job, not a quick paint and tidy up!

Due to the amount of plastering repair needed we decided to take down the old ceiling and start again, with the aim that we could raise the ceiling and plaster to the sloping roof. This also came with it's own problems, as upon inspection of the old roof joists we found they were too small and one of them had a split. With too much weight above and the roof could had started to sink and possibly collapsed. We then acquired a builder who took the work on to re-roof the kitchen and put new roof joists in and Oak beam ties that would be left exposed.

Some of the other jobs that made a huge difference was to re-hang the main door on the opposite side and remove part of a wall to let more light in, we also repaired and renovated the kitchen cupboards and installed a fresh new worktop.

Because of cost we decided to plasterboard and plaster ourselves, we spent a whole weekend plaster boarding working into the night by floodlight and buying in the materials we needed to plaster the following weekend. Having never plastered anything on this scale before this was a huge task for Adam, having seen on building sites how it works he knew process so gave it ago. Despite taking a huge amount of time and a little rubbing down the ceiling looked amazing, we then had to plaster from the new ceiling blending it in to the old walls which also looked great. Carrying on with other jobs we left the plaster to cure and dry before we painted.

Once we started to paint the problems began, the plaster started to crumble off the wall! Where we had plastered to the new plasterboard the finish and quality was great, however where we had plastered and blended from new ceiling to the old wall the plaster had cured too quickly and had "blown". Meaning the plaster had separated from the existing wall so as we painted the wall the plaster just fell off the wall. It was a disaster and meant we had to chip off all the bad plaster, it was about a 1m wide band all the way around the kitchen had to be chipped off and re-plastered. They say you learn by your mistakes and this one certainly taught us a lesson. It turns out to slow the curing you can use a PVA glue mix by painting a coat prior to plastering. A mistake that cost us about 3 weeks and one that led the kitchen to be one of the last jobs to finish.

Despite the hard work and disasters we had at least we can say we did it!

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