It’s no small matter to ready a home for the arrival of a new puppy. We’ve brushed up on basic training information, readied dog crates, and set about removing chewing temptations such as shoes and wires. We’re not looking forward to sleepless nights, but remain hopeful for quick house training. Fingers crossed.
We’ve had it easy with Sam. He came to us as a rescue dog with a few issues, but he has never damaged anything inside the house. Suffice it to say, we’ve been spoiled. With all the projects at Crockern, we’ve kept working on the kitchen at the bottom of the list as it seemed too disruptive. Besides, two people and an old dog could live with our kitchen layout for years and not be all that fussed. Sadly, the design of our kitchen did not lend itself to the arrival of a puppy.
Kitchens with fixed cabinets can be hard to rearrange without incurring significant disruption. With our free standing cupboards, a design change is theoretically simple, but the required logistics to make a change are on par with landing on the moon. To simply move this there, that needs to go there, and in order to do that, this will have to be emptied in order to move this there, and on it goes. More than once, we’ve walked away, mulling over possible solutions.
Our first step was to empty the shelves under a fixed countertop and remove 50% of the shelves to make room for the washing machine. Excellent plan if only the space below were bigger or the washing machine smaller. But, the slim margin we were dealing with meant Roger had to completely dis-assemble the counter and its frame. A day later when he finished, we squeezed the washing machine into its new location. Feeling pleased with ourselves, we stood back and noticed a small leak. Smugness was quickly replaced by panic! Taking a few deep breaths, Roger climbed behind the washing machine and made some awkward adjustments to the plumbing. We were back in business.
Or were we? The kitchen table was buried beneath the items which were once stored under the counter. And we hadn’t begun to move furniture. I pride myself in being able to organise, but this situation was quickly testing our patience and skills. We looked at everything from those shelves and around the kitchen and began to hatch a plan.
For the next phase, we must:
- Empty the refrigerator;
- Move the shoes, coats, and basket of hats, scarves and gloves;
- Empty the dresser next to the shoes;
- Move the dresser;
- Put the refrigerator where the dresser once sat, but occupying the space where the shoes where previously thrown; and then,
- Return items to the refrigerator.
Sounds simple enough, but everything in the dresser needed to be cleaned before being returned. The dresser needed a new location, so the cabinet holding all of our booze and cookbooks had to be emptied and moved too. Rapidly we were running out of places to set all of our stuff!
Hours later, and nearly everything in its place, there remained one piece of furniture. Our largest dresser, the very one we picked up at an auction when we first moved to Dartmoor. We didn’t really need to move it, did we? It looked good where it was and also was hiding all manner of ugly paint work. But it was in the place which was perfect for the dog crate. Considering the level of disruption we had sifted through, why stop now? Because, if we moved this dresser, we could remove the paint from this wall.
Spices, canned and dried food, cups, and glasses had to come out of the dresser and moved out of the kitchen. Having become an old hand at removing paint from stone walls, Roger began to apply peel away paint remover to this ugly wall which we had now exposed. Removing this paint was not purely an aesthetic decision. It was holding in moisture and we had a gross little problem that was only going to get worse until we let those stones have a chance to breathe again.
The paint on this wall was trickier than the previous stone wall we cleaned as it was oil based and did not want to come off in nice little flakes. Instead, it clung on in a gummy, gooey sort of way. Roger spent a day picking at it. By the end of that day, he hung plastic sheeting to protect the kitchen, put on his waterproofs, and got the jet sprayer. Yes, once again, we were using a power washer INSIDE the house to remove the final bits of paint.
What a mess!
After several hours of cleaning, we moved this last dresser into its new location and returned the contents. We found homes for our boots and a good location for the crate. We did all of this in five days. Five days to transform a bit of the kitchen. It feels bigger and brighter and the damp on the wall is already diminishing. We still have big projects in this room: blown plaster to repair, another wall covered in that tricky paint, and some significant plumbing to change, but for now, the small steps we took have made a big difference.
When we have deadlines like friends coming over for dinner or visiting for a few days we manage to complete projects swiftly. Bring home a puppy and we throw it into another gear, shifting from idea to action. Perhaps I’ll suggest a party sometime soon and we’ll see what we get done. For now, we welcome Millie!