Kitchen Journeys: Christmas Under Construction


Christmas is a time of year to come together as a family and spend time with loved ones. Often you all find yourself gathered in one place, celebrating, feasting and catching up on lost time. So, what happens when it’s your turn to host and your house is mid-way through an extension? You have building work here, there and everywhere and you’re not even sure if the roof is watertight?

Celia’s kitchen journey was certainly an eventful one. The kitchen was ordered and had an arrival date of February. In the meantime, she had guests and a building site to prepare for Christmas.

The week before Christmas the house was busy with construction. The main extension had been built and opened into the new living space.  The walls were up, the glass fitted in the new rooflights and bifold doors and the roof was on. There was some apprehension as they had expected the roof to be watertight well before the Christmas period. Despite the roof having gone up a few weeks before it was discovered that it wasn’t watertight after abnormally cold and wet weather, which meant a rush to get it fixed before the Christmas holidays. On the same day the roof was being repaired the concrete floor was going down.

Celia had 11 people, not including herself, to cater for in the coming days! She was nervous about the floor drying in time for Christmas. At this point she was frustrated with the building work going on around her. It was wet and dusty and most of the time she had to keep her shoes on in her own home because there was no carpet!

Luckily, in one day the week before Christmas, the builders pulled out all the stops and managed to make the roof water tight and they laid the concrete over the underfloor heating to dry. Despite the mad rush, Celia was calm and cool throughout the process and she had adopted a “what will be, will be” attitude to the building work.

So how did she cope with an incomplete living space and no new kitchen? Luckily, Celia had planned her extension to keep her old kitchen for as long as possible, so she still had access to an oven and hob! The electrics were installed, the underfloor heating had been tested and worked, and luckily the concrete floor had dried in time. If you find yourself without a kitchen over Christmas, you can always do a pot luck (where your relatives all bring a cooked dish) or you can hire a temporary kitchen. Alternatively, you can request to host at someone else’s house for the meal!

For the first time since the extension was built, Celia and David could appreciate the size of the space they were creating. They moved their TV into the half-finished extension, erected a Christmas tree, decorated the exposed roof with lights, and brought in the picnic table from the garden for their grand Christmas dinner. It certainly wasn’t the plan when Celia originally started her kitchen journey as she had hoped that the kitchen would be completed by Christmas but a combination of decision making and delays meant that this wasn’t the reality.  Nonetheless, the rustic, improvised Christmas was one that would certainly be a positive talking point for the whole family for years to come.

Celia’s message was that even if you are mid-way through an extension when the holidays roll around you can still have a good time. It’s what you make of the situation that determines if you’re going to enjoy it. There is a lot of pressure and a social expectation to have your kitchen completed before Christmas and this can cause you to compromise on decisions and give up the kitchen design that you want. There is no need to rush. None of Celia’s family were bothered by the naked walls or the ad-hoc eating space because it was memorable and fun. They were complementary and excited for the extension; choosing to be positive rather than gripe about a little concrete flooring.

Celia said she was looking forward to comparing the Christmas, where the dart board was put up against an un-plastered wall and fairy lights were hung from exposed ceiling beams, to when the extension was completed.

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About Kathryn Jenkins

Kathryn Jenkins contributor
Kathryn is a key member of the Blum UK family and uses her skills of creative writing for the benefit of a number of personal blogs. She has a passion for creativity and all things weird and wonderful.

  Email:  Kathryn Jenkins


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