Friday, 29 March 2013

Pfuscher - Botch job! It's all going horribly wrong

I am more miserable than Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe combined.

The (lovely, but totally useless, it now transpires) cowboy builders (Pfuscher!) have left me in the very deepest of doo-doo!

They didn't turn up at all last week, except for about an hour, as far as I can see. Got into a complete panic when I got there on Wednesday to meet them, as arranged, and nobody there.... decided that I have to try and get someone else in if I have any chance of moving in on time.

Long story short. They have messed up lots of things they've already done (the living room floor as mentioned earlier being just one of many things that have to be done again!). The freshly painted kitchen now has a crack in the wall. And the ceiling. Almost the only two things they had to renew, rather than just badly skim over.... oh the list goes on and on.

Got someone else round (through contacts) on Thursday, luckily, before everyone is off for the Easter break. All I'll say is that he's a bit scary, but comes highly recommended. Why can't the nice ones be good too? He, let's call him 'M', says that there's no way he can get it done by the time I have to move out of here, as not only a lot of fiddly things to fix (which he doesn't really want to do, but will), they're already pretty booked up for April and there are a couple of really big things to do - redo the floor, and redo the bathroom and then get on with the things that really need doing there.

Sleep is now a thing of distant memory. I am exhausted. Next Tuesday I have to sack the current workers, get my keys back and get them to get their stuff out. I am scared about that too.

Now, I am starting to pack. Friends have offered places to store my stuff, and sofas to sleep on, bless their cotton socks. The bill is rising every minute. Have asked Estate Agent (not answering phone - left message and a long text) if I could possibly stay here in my old flat a little longer, but haven't heard back yet. However, the new tenants have already signed a contract to move in here on 1 May, so likely that their place is also rented out from that date too....will have to wait until Tuesday to hear back if there's any chance at all to stay here longer.

Good Friday! Good Friday! Not much good about it if you ask me (why on earth IS it called Good Friday anyways? Ok, I did google it, probably comes from God Friday - google it.

No photo today.

Have a good long weekend, everyone. Think of me. I'll be awake.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Kitchen happy!

It's not 100% finished yet...ran out of time on Saturday, and no drilling allowed on Sundays here, so the fantastic M is coming back during the week to put the cabinets up.

It looks very bare, obviously, cos nothing in it yet... (and washing machine and fridge not coming til later) that will soon change when I move in, but as I've been doing an annoying countdown on the blog, I thought I should share a picture of it (very nearly) finished.

I was very unsure if the 'island' thing would work in reality, though I knew I wanted it and hoped it would look and feel okay once it was actually in, and I thought it was a clever use of space. And I really like it. The kitchen, as you can see, is tiny (yet enormously tall... should have turned it on its side, perhaps?), but I am really happy with it.

Yippee... almost finished, just the wall cabinets to go, and then all my 'stuff' to be added to make it look lived in

Whaddya think?

Oh and here's before:

Just a few dozen more things to do, but now, finally, feeling positive that I can move in and be happy here.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Wallpaper up....sneak kitchen preview

Yay...things could only get better! Went over on Friday night to see if the kitchen really would be ready for installation on Saturday at 8am! And, woo-hoo! The wallpaper is up, and it looks fantastic (I think so anyway).

Wallpaper by Catalina Estrada

I love it. It's called Daisy Red, by Catalina Estrada, a Colombian artist, and I got it for half the price by getting it imported from Spain rather than buying it in Germany. Just one little roll! Check out Bloom Papers. It's so hard to imagine what things will really look like when they happen, but this is one decision I'm really happy with.

The kitchen is very nearly finished....just a few things for M to do today, and then he's coming back later in the week to hang the last cabinets on the wall (it's not allowed to drill here on a Sunday, and as he said, I don't want to irk or upset my neighbours any more before I even move in!).

More photos to follow.

So once again....YAY!!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Movement in the kitchen

Kitchen is being installed tomorrow! M, my lovely rockabilly kitchen man, came round this afternoon with all his tools, and it's NEARLY ready for him to get started, but not quite.

I hadn't been round for a few days, and now the kitchen has tiles for the splashback. I toyed with the idea of glass, Moroccan-style tiles - all sorts of things, but in the end, the budget, and not being able to source / find what I wanted (and wasn't even sure what that was, exactly), means that I went for...yes, yawn, white tiles! But big ones. And once the wallpaper is up on that back wall, and my vintage-y cabinets are up, I'm hoping it will look a whole lot better. Now, it certainly looks bigger....but also slightly (or maybe more than slightly) like a public lav. Don't you think?

Getting there.... I've just noticed how amazing tall this room is,seeing G standing there like a lego piece

I think it will look much smaller (realistically so) again once the cabinets and dishwasher etc have been crammed in, but wait and see. More news soon.

Have a good weekend, one and all.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Floor and more... a story of exasperation and hope

Forgive the stream of consciousness writing - markedly visible here! It's been a bit of a stressful week... the floor laying problems are a bit clearer now...and doh!!! The person who was brought in by my guys (let's not shame him publicly, but his name is the same as an actor with the surname of Redford), did everything wrong that could be done wrong, I think. Most importantly, not only did he use completely the wrong screws (too short, too thin!!!), but yes, oh yes, he screwed into the wrong part of the wood... the floors are (or should be) beautiful, solid wood (pine, admittedly but high quality pine, with very few knots, and taken from the middle of the tree where it's older and lovelier, and more expensive - Maerkische Kiefer for those of you in Germany!). The boards are fitted together with a kind of tongue and groove, and you SHOULD screw the CORRECT screws into the tongue and not the groove...because it's much thicker and gives the proper fixing. Anyway, if any of you are still awake... the beautiful floor now has had to be screwed from the top in order to fix it properly, and then the screw holes will be filled with wooden pieces, sanded and then waxed with some waxy kind of oil. With all these extra marks on top, it ain't gonna look anywhere near as nice as it should have done. Grrrrrrrr.

The floor in the other room, where there's a big step (well, c 3cm) between the kitchen and the living room exactly where my breakfast bar stool should go, will have to be completely taken up and done again properly!!! Oje (pron: oh-yay) as they say here when things are going wrong and one is exasperated. This time they should use the right screws and screw from the correct side!!!

Stupid step between kitchen and living room which shouldn't be there

So...what came to test me and my patience next? Arrived yesterday to wait in for the kitchen and oven to be delivered, because the workmen were snowed in, in Brandenburg (I thought they might never come back, but they did today!). Well, the electrician had been there on Monday and put in the sockets...but not the right ones! In fact I didn't and don't care. Contacted his boss yesterday afternoon, and he'd forgotten to tell the electrician that I'd ordered different ones (very rashly...I can't get worked up over them, as I'm anyone that's still awake and reading can fully understand). I told him that these were absolutely fine, and could stay...but I don't think he got my message, as when I got there today, the electrician had started to take all these out (although I was quite happy with them) and put in the ones I'd originally, rashly, ordered....anyway. Life's. Too. Short!

The wrong sockets, and they're not straight, I just realised - but life is too short and I really don't care any more
Oh, and then what did I notice.... the wrong plasterboard had been used in the bathroom

This should all be the green plasterboard for use in wet spaces

Wet spaces should use this green plasterboard...but EU regulations say it has to be much thicker....long and short of another boring building story.... Will let this go, and use water-resistant paint before I put my own coloured paint on. On the verge of giving up the fight / throwing in the towel, whatever....but no, I am made of sterner stuff. And. I. Don't. Care. That. Much. It. Will. Do.

Still, other things are happening, so back to a bit more upbeat... the oven and hob have arrived

To you they look like boxes, right? To me, they symbolise hope! Hope that there will be a kitchen one day and I might even be able to cook in it!

Yes, a smeg oven, hob and cooker hood. It's amazing how cheaply you can buy things on the internet....this little lot was definitely cheaper than Ikea...and I like a wee bit of 'designer' in my life...not too much, but just a tad in my mini-kitchen. I can't wait to have a gas cooker again. Not common here in Germany, but I love gas. Cook, cook, cookability, that's the beauty of gas!, as the old advert used to say! Does anyone remember the British Gas advert? Or did it say something else? (Thanks it right now!)

Later, the kitchen itself arrived.

More boxes. More symbols of hope!

The workmen continue to be lovely, and were a little embarrassed about the whole floor well they should be!!!

They promise me everything will be ready for the lovely Markus to install the kitchen at the I hope there won't be more snow, and any more ***k-ups! We live in hope!

More soon.... and hopefully one day soon I can get down to nicer things like interiors, and not building works.

Bye for now! 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Things aren't exactly going swimmingly....

St Patrick's Day should be a time for drinking and celebrating with friends; to get the shillelagh out, to unpack the shamrock and have a rollicking good time.

I however, am not celebrating, but rather slightly worrying about what's happening in my flat.

It's 5 days til kitchen installation, and this is what it looks like now:

Kitchen - Friday 16 March 2013

Eek! Slightly worse than last week! And there are other problems, discovered last night.

My lovely, yet usually somewhat slow workers, moved on apace this week, and put the floor down in the bedroom in a few hours....and also in the living room, which adjoins the kitchen.

It looked good to me....I was really happy, the sun was shining in...

Floor in the bedroom....looking good...
...until my friend Carsten came round last night! He often lays floors and was surprised at how quickly it had been done... about 4 or 5 hours (for the bedroom) and probably the same for the living room. But he examined it with an expert's view and discovered that the screws that had been used were too short and thin, and it now needs to be screwed from the top too, meaning drilling two holes every 80 cm across EACH board, or it will be squeaking within months, and will probably bow, he says.... oh sh*t!

Not only that.... we also discovered that there was a small 'step' between the kitchen and the living room, which should not have been there. The workman told me that they would eliminate this, but they haven't!!! So they are gonna have to take it all up again (in the living room) and rectify it. They are not going to be happy, and I hate complaining about things unless I have to (which I will then absolutely do!), but this is really crucial, as my soon-to-be installed tiny breakfast bar nearly reaches the living room area, and I am planning to put a stool there, and as it stands at the moment, the stool will wobble all over the shop if it isn't fixed....gonna be lots more work taking it up and doing it again properly, and more delays, but it has to be done!!! Oh no!!!

The ceiling in the living room also looks pretty terrible, and has to be either renewed or given about 3 layers of plaster.

New tenants have been found for my current rented flat, and I have to be out of here by the end of April.... hope dies last....there's plenty of time, actually, but the builders have about 5 other jobs on, so I'm more than a little anxious. Tell me it'll be okay, someone?????

Happy St Patrick's Day one and all. Update to follow!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

We have floor!!!! And wall!

Big news! (for me anyway)....finally, after months, several months, I have the new floor tiles in the kitchen (okay, there's no grout, yet)... but, I have floor! And I have a whole wall on the right hand side, where there has been none for ages.

So...just a very quick post...including a photo of my mini-kitchen. I'm quite excited that I'll be able to cook with gas again soon....just need to remember to switch it off when I've finished cooking.

By the way, has anyone else experienced the way that rooms look (even) smaller with nothing in them? Strange, but true... I think so anyway.

Can't imagine that in a couple of weeks, this room will have cabinets, and a cooker, dishwasher, sink, and all that jazz.

Kitchen with floor, wall and possible wall only

And below is a close-up of the wallpaper. Just thinking of doing the back wall. There'll be white cabinets below, some white tiles above that, and some vintage-y cabinets - one of them is this one. I love the paper, but not sure if it's too much....but don't want just a white kitchen, and think this one is quite me (I've bought it already...just one roll, which will be just enough for the back wall).

So, this is the wallpaper (by Caterine Estrada)
Any comments welcome.