Sunday, 2 November 2008

Hell's Kitchen

How hard can it be to build a kitchen?
It depends from many factors, it depends you start from raw or go for pre-built.
It depends from the materials.
It depends from physical space and from everything you want to put inside.
It depends if your materials are locally present or imported from Saturn.
Mainly, it depends from the people that build it and if they are pros or wannabes.
After those premises I suppose you’ll have understood that things did not exactly go well, right?
You’re wrong.
They went worst than that and everything that could go bad turned in a disaster.
One thing at the time though…

Technical premises.

I love my dad.
Should I live a thousand, I could never learn the half of the things that he knows or imagine the technical solutions he comes out with.
He is experienced, has knowledge, technical eye and intuition, he is a master.
That said , on the construction site he is bestowed with a ill temper that waves between choleric and depressive.
My father knows only two ways a work can be done, the right one and his and they are the same thing.
He’s the site master, but explains himself with the clarity of a Kandinsky painting and the tact of the third Panzer division in holiday in Poland.
My father is the one that while has a lintel balanced over his nose and is drilling a hole with his left hand extends his right hand at you and order “give it to me.”
As you can imagine NOBODY has the slightest bloody idea of what “it” might be ( except my mom, but the reasons I’ll detail later), thus unrepeatable cussing ensues against the ignorant helper ( which usually I have the honour of being).
A certain mental discipline is needed to class the entire universe as “it” , but nothing beats the uncanny skill of asking a screw driver instead of a tongue, a hammer instead of a drill and a saw instead of a coke can.
After more that thirty years of marital life, my mother has developed some latent telepathic skill and has a master degree in “godly patience”.
If there is someone that can understand my father, it is usually her, problem is that my father, sometimes, is too much for anyone and there, the real problems start.
It seems that to build something you need , first of all, good tools.
And it was so that Gengis father, Dalai mother and unworthy me started their quest on the path of kitchen building…

Cool down, measures first…

How difficult can it be to measure a wall?
If it is my kitchen we are speaking off, it is almost impossible.

Okay, let's start...

The walls of my Kitchen are inflatable and that might be the only explanation to the fact that 300 measurements gave us 300 different values.
During the works, I’m sure that the kitchen has changed form at least three times, thing that, if you are planning some stone counters, is not practical.
I hear you already scream “Ye gods lad, count the tiles!”, well, we did, but even that basic operation gave us different results each time, as if they moved around in a very gost- buster- ish way .
Three weeks later we had the final measurements and the stone cutter could go to work but still yet, I swear to the gods that each time I enter the kitchen something seems quiet not right…

Stone? Metal? Human skin?

I come from an island that is basically a single block of granite.
The only logical explanation of the geological situation of Sardinia is that our Lord found out that he had still a stone left over, when he had finished creating all the mountains in the world.
To us granite is a life philosophy and it is that common that we could make dishes from it.
Naturally the idea of having a stone counter was appealing to me, because the cold sensation of the smooth material under my hands has a special place in my hearth.
Problem is that if you live in Belgium, whose more resistant stone is the limestone that lies in the Ardennes Mountains, finding good prices for granite is quiet the feat.
After talking to all the artisans in town (who did look at us quiet perplexed, from behind their gravestones) we found a company in the outskirts.
Said company made us pay for the stone, the cuts, the works, the colour, the weight, density, height, width dept, the air moisture level, the yearly production of beer, the cost of chocolate and God knows what else!
Final point, I still do not get how there could be a ravine in my wallet yet.
And problems had just started.
The main counter’s weight was not short of 140 pounds and could not be brought up the stairs, thus had to be brought up through the window, the day I moved.
The fear that it could break in pieces was evident, because you have to know that granite is extremely durable once set, but crystal like while moved.

What? Thought that 140 pounds of granite floats, didn't you?

The other pieces were badly cut and we had to do alone using the big mechanical grindstone of my father (we had black dust in our noses for two days after that).
When we were finished, a couple of pieces still stuck out in a strange way (bitch moved again probably) but we decided to have a look , like, “later” and we brought our attention to more pressing matters ( like in which box we had misplaced the can opener)

Not bad uh?

The pleasures of decorating.

Some small details remained.
Details that brought us three in and back from IKEA and BRICO quiet more than once.
We were there that often that clerks in both shops saw us arrive and started shaking their heads in a resigned way.
Anyway, long story short…

… The wall’s colour.

That's a manly colour by Jove!

… The wall units

I know, I know, I'll be at the doors immediately...

… The hood

Uh.. Dad? I have a doubt there...

… And the wall between kitchen and living room with its tip-up tables .

While we were cutting those, we found a conceited metal bar inside. So in the end they are resting in my cellar right as we speak ^_^''

Little note, if you plan on wood counters, get yourself some wood floor protective painting, three coats later you’ll have some tempered, wood colored glass surfaces.

That said, be careful to open the windows while painting it on, or you’ll need new lungs once per coat.
I advise as well to do the coating in spring or summer, when opening the windows will not bring loud protests even from to the food stored inside the fridge.

Final lap.

The kitchen is nonetheless not yet finished.
Many solution has yet to be found, two furniture and a oven are still missing ( but that, I admit it, is my wallet’s fault), tiles have to be repainted and replaced in certain spots.
But it is all right, I can d it slowly, step by step.
After all, were would be the fun if I did it all in one go? ^_^’’

Thanks dad :)

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