How to Survive: a kitchen renovation
If you live in any ‘modern’ house – by which we mean one built after about 1970 –then the chances are that you have more than one bathroom, or at least an extra toilet. So while building work to add another bathroom might be inconvenient, and while a loft conversion might be a bit noisy during the day, neither really put your home out of action. Kitchen renovations, however, are a completely different kettle of fish.
The kitchen is the one part of a home that gets constant use, from a quick cup of coffee in the morning to the kids grabbing a snack after school and the family meal every evening. So if you’re fixing yours up – or even having the old one completely ripped out and replaced – what can you do to help preserve order and retain sanity? Here are a few ideas…
If your old kitchen is completely going, that means living without your plumbed-in and plugged-in utilities and utensils for at least a few days. In this case, be pragmatic, think ahead and set up a makeshift kitchen somewhere else in the house.
Borrow an electric grill or bring your camping stove out of the garage. Add to that a few pans, the old microwave and a kettle and you’ll have all you need to make a surprisingly large amount of meals, even if you’re making them on the dining room table! You can even temporarily relocate your fridge so that it stands in a convenient corner.
Ideally, position your makeshift kitchen in a well-ventilated room that’s also near a water source. Even if you’re planning on spending a few days buying food from local takeaways, remember to keep a bowl of clean, soapy water nearby so you can keep your cutlery and crockery clean.
Summertime is your friend
While there’s no ideal time to be without a kitchen, it can be a lot less bother in the summer, especially if you have a garden. Everyone loves a BBQ and if the weather’s fair, you may not even notice that your kitchen is out of use.
Even if you’re not a meat eater, or don’t fancy standing over a smoky grill every evening, the other advantage of summertime, is that salads, quiches, sandwiches, couscous and fresh fruit are far more desirable once the temperature soars. Compare that to winter, when everyone fancies a bowl of stew and an apple pie at the end of another cold, wet day.
Friends and family
Unless you absolutely loathe playing host, it’s a good idea to invite as many friends and relatives over to your house for dinner in the days and weeks before you start work on your kitchen. That way, you can start calling in the favours once your kitchen is being renovated.
The only downside to this is that as soon as your new kitchen’s finished, the pressure may be back on you to host again. Although maybe having a big banquette would be the perfect reveal party for your shiny new kitchen?
Dust... it gets everywhere
We say this about every type of renovation but it’s an important consideration that homeowners tend to overlook. Building works can create a huge amount of dust which can then spread all around your house. Your builders will always try to restrict it to the renovation area but if you’re planning on keeping kitchen items like mixers and blenders in the kitchen while the work goes ahead, it may be worth wrapping them in plastic to stop them getting gritty.
Head out and stay ouy
Of course, there will be times when you don’t fancy using your makeshift kitchen and when no one wants to have you over for dinner. In these cases, it’s perfectly justified to head out for a slap-up meal, even if you’ve been trying to stick to a budget.
A great many restaurants offer midweek deals to tempt people out of their homes on nights when business is slow. It’s worth hunting these out in advance, especially if you feel it’s likely you’re going to be eating out a lot. There’s also a great many apps that allow you access to exclusive deals with local restaurants.