Total kitchen renovation
March 18, 2013
Our contractor asked us to give him some of the photos we took during the renovation job he's done for us and, as I went through the photos, I thought I could share them here too. Really hard to chose though, as we have so many at different stages; the kitchen re-do took over 6 months, mainly because of the glass company who delayed us with about 3 and half months.
Follow the window on the right-hand side in the first photo - only that wall and the frame of that window survived; everything else was taken down and rebuilt.
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And the next phase:
3 Likes    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:08PM
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Great looking renovation so far !
1 Like    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Wow! Amazing renovation - thanks for all your photos! It is spectacular!
1 Like    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:39AM
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Thank you, David and Micah!
I was afraid I'd committed some faux-pas attaching the 'in between' photos, as everybody seems to strictly use befores and afters (and I didn't get any comments -sob). But you two have made my day!!
2 Likes    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Luciana - I saw your post on Bud's latest article on construction, and came here to look at your before-and-after.

I agree with you - it's not just the before-and-after photos, but the in-between photos, that are really interesting! One gets a much better sense of the process (hair-pulling, scary, messy, surprising, occasionally hilarious) from seeing the construction as it trucks along.
6 Likes    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:56AM
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Bud Dietrich, AIA
Really nice job, Luciana. Amazing what can be accomplished with a vision (and just a few $).
1 Like    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:21AM
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Bill Fry Construction - Wm. H. Fry Const. Co.
Love the in-betweens! I think they'd actually qualify as "befores." Seeing a project from the UK under construction is really interesting since we're in the US (note construction techniques vary quite a bit in the US as well). :) Rhoda
1 Like    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Bud and Rhoda, the renovation took a total of 14 months, especially because of some technical difficulties. The house is in a conservation area and, trust me, the Brits are so bloody strict when it comes to their rules, it's scary. You need all sorts of permits or permissions for almost everything to do with the exterior. Access to the back of the house is through a narrow lane; they couldn't bring heavy machinery or even a little excavator because after putting up scaffolding it would simply not fit. We wanted a second basement room and it had to be done manually - lots of guys with spades and wheelbarrows; it looked rather 18th century in execution. We took down and rebuilt the garden stone wall for the glass crane. Even delivering the metal beams for the extension was a challenge, as well as pouring the screed (cement) in the kitchen and basement (it had to be done through a 12 meter hose through the front door).

I am somehow ashamed and proud to say we didn't have an architect or a designer, we only had the contractor (an experienced builder who had lots of contacts). Ashamed, because I value the competency, skill and experience that comes with a professional; proud - because I know we've done a great job anyway. We took a great risk considering the price of the renovation (some 6 times an average annual salary in Britain). We actually wanted an architect when we started, it's just that from the few we've seen, we didn't seem to click and decided to go ahead without one. I would never do it again without an architect - if someone would ask me at what height I want the plugs in the guest bedroom once more, I would maim them! I think that out of all, there are only two things that I'm sure would've been better placed if we'd have had an architect (the main electrical switch and the underfloor heating access valves - both ended up in my office room). We were lucky that all the companies we approached had their own architect, engineer or designer and we made good use of them!

To conclude, I don't know how different the standards are in the US comparing to the UK; this was a complete house renovation project, subject to lots of restrictions and technical challenges; I'm sure they do it differently when they build a new neighbourhood (!?!). When I'd get a bit of free time, I'm going to do another before and after -of the main bathroom this time, with some construction photos too. Also see this ideabook:
    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:29AM
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Seating Innovations
Incredible to see the stages of change. Your kitchen looks beautiful- enjoy!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:48AM
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Great to see your project and to read about renovating a house outside the US as we too have a project in France and things are done so differently, we have used an Architect for the overall techinical details and also we have tried to incorporate as much insulation as possible, the design is ours as we spent a year thinking about it and wanting it to suit our family. You have encouraged me to try to put the project on this wonderful site..
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Luciana    November 27, 2013 at 12:54AM
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Margaux -thank you and good luck with your project!
    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 4:23AM
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Luciana, wow, that is an amazing transformation! I don't think I could ever be that brave to tackle such a big change as you did! Great job!
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Luciana    November 27, 2013 at 4:34AM
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Where in Cardiff are you?? What a great renovation job you have done...really impressed. Well done!!
    Bookmark   Thanked by Luciana    November 27, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Thanks, murcian! We're in Pontcanna, towards Sophia Gardens' end.
    Bookmark   November 28, 2013 at 5:50AM
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I love before, after and during. I tend to do what I can myself, so I know how much work the between is.
1 Like    Bookmark   Thanked by Luciana    November 28, 2013 at 10:12AM
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