Saturday, November 30, 2013

Readying for bench tops

I've been busy preparing templates for the stonemason to supply the kitchen and vanity bench tops. We've chosen the material for these - it's a composite resin product which looks for all the world like real stone, but is really just crushed rock compressed and set in a resin and polished to an inch of its life. No photo's at this point :)

I have however set up the substrates on which the stone will sit, and cut the templates.

First, the bathroom vanity. We decided that since the rest of the building is somewhat unorthodox we should continue the theme and so chose a sink and tap slightly out of the ordinary. Although I suppose this type of thing is probably mainstream by now, but it's new to me :)

Alissa is the quintessential bargain hunter. The basin cost $80, and the tap $75!

With the bench top substrates in place, the kitchen is really starting to look the piece!

While I was there I also lined the pantry door unit. Starting to look good! :)

And one of the final pieces of the puzzle - one of the overhead cabinet units. I'm not going to mount this on the wall just yet for two reasons:

1. I can't be stuffed trying to figure out how to bring the bobcat inside so I could do it myself; and
2. I have a sneaking suspicion that installing the ceiling in the kitchen is already going to be a bit of a challenge with the bench tops in place.. so I think leaving the cabinet down until after I get that done is probably a good idea.

In other news, Barrie the renderer has been busy dodging the weather to get most of the base coat done.

It's starting to look really, really good!

He's back on Monday to finish the base coat and start with the colour, and he's left me an A4 sheet of things-to-be-done before he can get into it. So guess what I'll be busy doing for the rest of the weekend...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Kitchen, day #3

With the bulk of the kitchen cabinets assembled, I'm getting ready to supply templates to the stonemason so he can supply the bench tops. But before I can do that, I need to make sure the oven fits in its allotted space.

Getting it onto the Hilux was relatively straightforward with two people, but I'm on site by myself and so unloading is rather more tricky.

Or it would be, if I didn't have the bobcat!

I have no idea how I would have managed to get this far with the build without it. I probably wouldn't have! :)

The obligatory unboxing photos:

.. and on legs and adjusted to height.

Setting the oven height to match that of the stone bench tops

This is a 900mm wide Euromaid gas/gas/gas oven/grill/hob. It turns out that you can fairly readily buy gas/gas oven/hob units, but finding something which also ran the grill on gas was a little more of a challenge.

The eagle-eyed observers will have noticed from the above photo that the open cupboard/shelf unit has changed a little bit since last week. This has happened for two reasons:

1. I'm an idiot;
2. I needed to shorten it slightly to allow the oven to fit; and
3. I'm an idiot.

You may remember last week I was mulling over the supply of two pieces I couldn't find a use for - the stainless-clad kick board, and another piece the same length but slightly narrower. These, naturally, are there to keep the bottom shelf off the ground. So when I put it back together again after shortening the shelves and backing board, this is the result:

That's more like it!!!

The likewise eagled-eyed observers will have also spotted something on the top of the Hilux in the first photo. This as it turns out is the sliding door unit for the kitchen pantry!

The opening I framed for this door was almost exactly spot on, but with one important shortcoming. I had set the header height to 2080mm, the same as for the other doors in the building. However, the sliding door is 2040mm high as usual, which means the frame unit has an additional 40mm in height to allow for the runner mechanism at the top. Which meant I had to knock out the header and jack studs, shorten the studs and put it all back again 40mm higher. In the end though, a nice neat fit!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kitchen assembly, day #2

I left off yesterday needing to dismantle the drawer unit slightly to reposition the top rail and respace the drawers. This didn't take very long and their positions now are much better. Using a 3mm nail to space the drawer fascia panels, I screwed them into place and the result is fantastic! (I learned later after speaking to the cabinet maker that 3mm was his design spacing - great minds! :) )

On with the handles!

It's starting to look like a kitchen!

Next up, the open cabinet beside the stove. This is a very straightforward unit - two shelves, no doors and a stone bench on top.

Oddly enough there are a couple of pieces left over with this one. I've been supplied a kick board and another piece I can't fathom, but there's nowhere for the kick to go - the bottom shelf is on the ground, which actually I'm a little concerned about as it will be a dirt magnet. I realise this is what was in the drawing I gave to the cabinetmaker, but it seems he's taken it literally and supplied the unit as 900 high rather than 750 like the others.

I'm also a little concerned about its length - the drawing I supplied was dimensioned from my 3D model, which differs ever-so-slightly from the built reality - and so the space for the oven comes in at 895mm, 5mm shy of its specified 900mm width. Here's hoping that's a nominal dimension and it's actually a little narrower...

On to the cabinet doors! First a mock fit-up to see where everything goes.

The first set I'm attacking are the doors for the 600-wide unit beside the drawers.

Careful placement of the handles 

.. and mounted on the hinges. It's right about now I realise that while centring the handles is aesthetically pleasing, it's not at all practical forcing you to bend over to reach the handle and open the door. D'oh!

Take #2. To avoid having to hide two sets of holes in the door, I've simply rotated the handle about the upper screw. This is a much more friendly position, and a couple of melamine dots render the holes virtually invisible to the casual eye.

The corner door concerns me. I've mocked up its position and there's a dirty big gap between the two doors under the sink. I'll have a chat to the cabinetmaker to see what he thinks.. I suspect at this stage that the doors are a fraction too narrow, but I'll reserve judgement until I speak to him.

Getting there!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kitchen assembly, day 1

My day began today unloading the kitchen from the Hilux and sorting out what was what. I should have counted the cut pieces as I unloaded them - there must be close to a hundred individual bits, many of which are not labelled in any way. The ones which are labelled are just scribbled in pencil with things like "600 unit side".

Now I designed this thing, and I have no idea where the "600 unit" goes :)

So it took a couple of hours to get it all of the ute and into the house, sorted into their more-or-less-correct locations and groups. Then the game of Tetris began :)

The first and most obvious place to start was the bathroom vanity. Just about all of the parts for that have the word "vanity" scribbled on them somewhere, so I managed to find all those bits and lumped them together. I did manage to find two identical pieces labelled "vanity back" ... now I'm pretty sure I only need one back panel, but I'll keep an open mind until I come to put it together.

So with a little assistance from someone who is clearly better at Tetris than I am, I undertook a process of elimination and began with the most obvious panels - the two corner unit bases - and built around them.

After piecing the jigsaw puzzle together temporarily it began to become apparent what the different units are. There's the left and right corner unit, against the wall underneath the window; the mysterious "600 unit" next to that; and the equally mysterious "900 unit" beside that, which will house the drawers.

So with the bulk of the pieces identified, I began the process of assembling each unit individually, starting with the right-hand corner unit.

The last time I put a kitchen together (over 10 years ago! How time flies!) we made up a timber plinth out of MDF offcuts upon which to rest the cupboard carcasses. in order to generate a perfectly level platform. Thankfully we've moved on from that method and the cabinetmaker supplied these fantastic adjustable feet instead. Much, much easier to work with!

The only problem is that the "kick" board is 150mm high, and these feet will only just go to 140mm high. So I've needed to screw a piece of scrap ply to each foot to gain the extra height.

Right-hand corner unit in position and perfectly levelled
Being the first one I'm putting together, naturally I missed a couple of things. First and foremost I neglected to screw in the middle shelf.. so it had to come back out again for that. Then after I put it back into position and re-levelled it I realised I hadn't attached the top rail either, so out it came again...

Having learned my lesson with the first corner unit, this time I completely assembled the second before attempting to put it into position. But this time I made my first real mistake - I measured the position of the sink waste against the adjacent cabinet, and transferred those measurements onto the base of the second but without allowing for the width of the cabinet end piece. So my hole is in the wrong place by 15mm...

This is where improvisation comes in :) I enlarged the hole a little with a file, and then using my favourite improv tool the ratchet strap, put some tension on the pipe to bend it over enough to slide the cabinet down over the top. It took a little fiddling, but it finally went into position.

Two units down!

So far I'm quite impressed with the cabinetmaker's precision. Given that I supplied them one 3D rendering of the kitchen with a few basic dimensions and said "here, build this" they appear to have done an excellent job. Everything so far is slotting into position exactly where it should be.

Next up, the "600 unit". Compared to the corner units, this one was a breeze to put together.

Then the 900-wide drawer unit. Again, very easy to put together.

Next up, fitting the drawers. A little careful measuring and fitment of the runners:

.. and voila, it's a drawer :)

So far so good.


At this point I reached for the drawer fascia pieces, only to discover that they're quite a lot taller than the spacing at which I've mounted the drawers. I really should have checked that earlier...

It seems that the top front rail of this cabinet is intended to be mounted horizontally, not vertically as I've installed it (in line with the other units). This means my drawer spacing is all wrong and I'm going to have to detach this whole unit from the one next to it to get at the screws for the rail, reposition that and then remove and reposition each of the drawer rails.

Tomorrow. It's dinner time :)