Shall we catch up with the kitchen?
Even before the joinery was finished, we ordered the flooring. This was a bit of an indulgence - we bought Karndean flooring, which is a wonderful vinyl laminate product that is warm, very hard wearing and quiet under foot (and paw). It is expensive - over £50 per metre in store - but we managed to pay about 40% less online. This stuff is called LooseLay, which means that it has a non-slip backing and stays in place through friction alone. I was skeptical on first contact, but it works very well.
Here is a demo pack, played over the old laminate tile effect stuff;
This is the view looking the other way - you can see the open shelves I made from some off cuts of worktop.
The Karndean product needs to be carefully 'contained' by skirting and thresholds - this helps prevent any movement. This was the perfect opportunity to replace our stove hearth. Our old hearth was flush with the floor, and therefore not Building Regs compliant - the rules are designed to prevent a (flammable) rug being laid underneath the stove door, thus presenting a fire risk. We bought a simple slate square, custom cut to the space.
The black bit attached to the wall is the fresh air vent for the stove. We had a hole before, but this was drafty when the stove wasn't running - a simple blast gate (designed for wood dust extraction systems) was fitted, allowing fresh air to the stove when open.
Lastly, I refinished our dining room table. This previously belonged to my parents; I have eaten meals at this table for most of my life, so it has real sentimental value. The table had a lot of water damage - mostly from wet glasses leaving rings - and it needed a good sanding and re-sealing. You can see the difference a session with the sander made - the darker part is the old finish.
So that's it - the Kitchen is Finished! It was a real slog, and there are a few niggles left to sort out, but the difference it makes to the feel of our home is enormous.