Bywater Grange Kitchen

When we bought this house, the kitchen photographed nicely, but the benchtops had water damage and we knew they would have to be replaced. We also soon discovered that the oven was rather pokey, and we were reminded of how nasty are electric cooktops, especially when there is no fan to pump steamy, smokey air out of the house.

The kitchen rapidly became a favourite room, since it has lovely views and is light and airy... so it was top of the list for action.

(One more piece of evidence of the sly nature of the previous owner is evident in this picture of the kitchen... not a recent picture, since the floor is different from the not-new lino floor that is now in the kitchen, and the benchtops are flat and undamaged.)

We decided on granite benchtops, as they are actually cheaper than Corian in New Zealand. Perhaps we should say that Corian is more expensive here than granite; at any rate we prefer granite, since you can cut with a knife without damaging it, roll pastry successfully on it, and it can acquire that warm, well-used look of old leather with the passing of time, without looking dull and tatty like Corian. (Although you can repolish abused Corian in place with the right power tool... but I guess you could to that to granite if you felt like it.)

Anyway, a few days before the Stoneworks people were expected to install the new benchtops they called to confirm. The also asked Kay "Who is taking out your old benchtops?". "We assumed you were, until you asked that", she replied. "We find we need to ask about this", came the reply. You would think this would tell them something, wouldn't you? We got to take out the old benchtops. This attitude is very characteristic of New Zealand: Nobody wants to take responsibility for anything except their little area. What the customers seem to want has very little effect on most businesses here. Any hiccoughs are your problem, not theirs.

All in all, we replaced the benchtops, upgraded the sink and tap, replaced the oven with a modern model, removed the electric cooktop, added a refrigerator that is plumbed to provide water and ice, installed a gas line, added a gas cooktop, added an extractor fan, and put in a very-Kiwi tile splashback with tiles from the same company that made the old splashback in the kitchen and others in the house. We paid for the benchtops and extractor to be installed, and for certification and insurance reasons we had to pay for the gas plumbing but we did the rest ourselves. Five thousand dollars-worth of appliances and twelve-and-a-half thousand dollars in total later...

The kitchen is beautiful.

The benches are a delight to work on, much more pleasant than Corian. The cooktop is adjacent to the living space, as you can see from the last photo. Extractor fans have much more suck than they did when I renovated Chelmsford Street, too.