One week

Seven days.

One hundred and sixty-eight hours.

Ten thousand…  You get the drift.

That’s the amount of time D and I had to complete the complete gut job and reno the kitchen in Coustellet.  Two things were needed to complete successfully this task: 1) planning and 2) sending les parents away.

Last week while a huge chunk of France’s population celebrated July 14th and bridged the holiday with the following weekend D and I were hard at work on our reno plans.  This kitchen makeover was the subject of many conversations for at least 6 months and, in a way, we were looking forward to getting this thing done.

After an ordinary breakfast of tartines and coffee les parents left Coustellet on Monday morning.  It was a very hot day in Coustellet, probably the worst day to set about anything physical.  La mamie‘s meteo station read 33° outside and a quick glance at the sky had me longing for a dip in the pool.  I couldn’t allow myself to get distracted, however, as D and I were on a pretty tight schedule.  My first task of the day was to remove the old tiles or faïence in la mamie‘s kitchen.  (It was hideous, and I’m being nice.)  D was generous and gave me 5 hours in which to remove the tiles.  Fortunately for us and our schedule, the tiles seemed to have been applied to the walls with bubble gum as glue.  I practically peeled the tiles off in rows.  It took me about 1 hour to remove the tiles.

We were lucky that the tiles were so poorly applied because it meant that we didn’t have to patch the walls before applying the new tiles.  The other plus to finishing early was that I was able to dedicate my time to assembling the cabinets and the drawers.

This is where I tell you that I am now the queen of cabinets, the diva of drawers.  You want them assembled, call me.

I assembled 8 cabinets and 19 drawers.

It doesn’t sound like a lot but let me tell you that it was a mind-numbing experience.  I wished for some excitement, something, anything that would cut through the drudgery of my repetitive task.  It was not to be; at least, not for me.

D claimed all the exciting work for himself.  Some would say he was being selfish but, truthfully, despite my boredom I didn’t want any part of his fun.

Excitement #1: create a doorway between the kitchen and dining room.  Yes, he had verified that he wasn’t about to cut into a load-bearing wall.  Yes, he had the proper tools.  No, he wasn’t expecting that a huge chunk would fall like a guillotine into the open space below.  (Thankfully, he wasn’t standing in the open space!)

Excitement #2: find some extra copper pipe in the correct size on July 14th when every store in France was closed.  As luck would have it, le papy had just the right amount of pipe plus the needed connectors.  (D also had problems soldering the pipes together as he couldn’t get the pipes to empty.  I learned a few new French curse words as a result but, as this is not that type of blog, I can’t share them with you here.)

Excitement #3:  avoid the diagonal lines of wires.  Proper codes explain that all wiring should run horizontally and/or vertically.  I don’t think the person who did the wiring in the kitchen read that code book however.  That brilliant person took the shortest route possible, criss-crossing the walls like a huge X.  The result?  A few cut lines.

In the end, after all the dust was cleared and the tools were put away, D and I were able to pop open a bottle of Champagne with les parents.  To say they were blown away is an understatement.  They were completely gobsmacked.  La mamie kept saying “qu’est-ce que c’est beau!” and le papy just kept shaking his hand as though to put out a fire.  (Lucky for them as we’re already making plans to reno their bathroom.)

There is only one sad item about this story.  As it’s currently summer la mamie now uses her summer kitchen and will have to wait until October before being able to enjoy her new kitchen fully.

As for me and D, we’re back home in Nice for several days of relaxation before business takes us away again.

À plus!

Tags: , ,

Categories: sanity/insanity

Author:Tanya in Transition

I am a woman in transition. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and self-fulfillment...in France!

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7 Comments on “One week”

  1. July 19, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

    I am completely gobsmacked, too! My gosh! How the heck did y’all do that in a week? Amazing!

    • July 19, 2011 at 7:53 PM #

      Welcome back to France!
      Lol, that’s how we roll! 😉 No, just sheer determination and a damn good plan. Plus, it was for the parents so that was motivation enough.

  2. Sinead
    July 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM #

    WOW!!! Can I hire you to do my bathroom next year?? That is an amazing transformation Tanya, great job!

  3. July 20, 2011 at 10:39 AM #

    WOW! The new kitchen is gorgeous! You two did a fantastic job. And I am completely impressed by how many cabinets you put together 🙂

  4. July 21, 2011 at 2:04 AM #

    Wow! Very impressive!!

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