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All I Want for Christmas... Is a Kitchen

christmas in an open plan kitchen

I hope you don't mind a slightly more chatty post for today - or the topic of Christmas either. I know it's probably (definitely) too soon, but when Christmas catalogues are being launched and shelves are being appropriately stacked with tree decorations and crackers, well, if you can't hide from it - you may as well just join it.

I love Christmas, the decorations, that cheery atmosphere, the food (well, the veg - not such a meat lover here!)  the mulled wine, the music, the films, spending one whole day slogging out, stuffing your face, getting merry and having a damn good time knowing most of the rest of the world are doing it too.

But this year is going to be quite a different Christmas for us... We won't have a kitchen. We haven't had a Christmas at home for the last few years and we haven't really celebrated Christmas properly in that time either. We've hung few decorations, skipped the whole present giving thing (between ourselves at least!) and we've generally just been on a money saving mission. At the beginning of this year, I was so excited at the prospect of having a full-on Christmas at home with all the decorations and trimmings in a brand new beautiful kitchen Needless to say, that's not happening and I'm pretty gutted about it.

renovation life christmas

We saved a small wad of cash last year in preparation for the kitchen (not having a proper Christmas definitely helped!) but we jumped into the renovation knowing that money alone wouldn't get us to the finish line. We took out a small loan (seriously small - you wouldn't even be able to buy a cheap new car with such amount...) which has allowed us pay for things we never imagined we've ever have - a roof window, the log burner, underfloor heating and a range cooker to name a few. We've had unexpected costs, like repairing rotten joists (still not done - but we have everything we need!) and we've had to spend more on the smaller details (pipes, screws, ducting, adhesive... the list goes on) than we had anticipated too. We kept the budget aspect going and we've certainly maximised how far our money has gone... But sadly all these little luxury extras have still come at a cost - and that cost now means we don't have enough money to get to the finish line (again!).

We're not taking out another loan, boy that would be stupid. So we're just mooching through, living without a kitchen, counting down the days until we can afford one.

There are of course, always ways to find cheaper kitchens - a second-hand used kitchen was something we strongly considered in our old house (they're not all rotten and from the 50s I assure you!) but after having spent so much on getting everything else just how we want it, I don't want to compromise at the last hurdle. Our kitchen wont be super expensive by any means - we're not having any wall cabinets for a starter, which is a GREAT way to save money. And we'll be fitting the whole thing (including the worktop) ourselves. It's not bespoke or handmade, it's just a standard kitchen but well-made and in a design I actually want, rather than just opting for the cheapest of cheap - which is exactly what we did in our old house. Although, that did turn out completely fine.

budget wickes kitchen

This house, its size and its period features are exactly what I envisioned as my dream home, so the renovations we've made here are a lot more personal to what we want, rather than money focussed. When we first started renovating five years ago, I wanted to turn around houses and forever move. The words "I don't think I'll ever find a house I'll be that attached to" are so ridiculous now. I certainly don't think we'll live here forever - but I have absolute no intent on moving for a long long time.

With no kitchen on the horizon, work has subsequently slowed down and my motivation has well and truly hit the floor. I'm slowly trying to pick it back up, but it's easier said than done. It feels like we're miles away from the finish line and not having a kitchen to look forward to in any of the near future makes me feel very disheartened. And I have to admit, I'm quite enjoying the extended break from DIY. It's been a long time since life felt "normal".

We've spent the most of 2016 without a kitchen, without real food, without a liveable home. It's tough tough tough and something I think most people can't really appreciate unless they've been in that position themselves. We're ruthlessly dedicated and whilst our friends and family have a strange view on our lives being so easy and effortless - it's far from the truth. We work damn hard in both our paid jobs and at home too and we have a very challenging budget for renovations that most people would probably call us absolutely bonkers for.

So this year hasn't exactly gone to plan. But that's often the case with renovating. I know we'll get there in the end, after-all, there's no other way out now. We need to put in more hours, save more pennies and get that kitchen we so desperately need (and I think, deserve!). It'll be a few months late and I'll just have to look forward to next year being THE Christmas of ALL christmases instead! I'm keeping a somewhat positive outlook, but a renovation life is certainly draining at times and not always as fun as it may appear from a few Instagram pictures.

kitchen renovation during winter

So here's to another Christmas in our building site home, this time with a frozen ready meal at the ready. If you do know of any good instant Christmas dinner type meals out there, please let me know! And if you've ever had to cope without a kitchen for this long, do share your secrets to keeping sane! I've survived this long, but my sanity is dwindling....

Santa, if you're out there - All I want for Christmas is a Kitchen. ;)

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