Working on Preparing the New House

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the kitchen in my new house is fully fitted

As I mentioned a few days ago I am now a house owner. Yay!

Unfortunately "closing" a couple of weeks before Christmas means that it's impossible to get electricians or plumbers until the New Year. The house doesn't need a lot of work, but I've already found a few minor issues, like a toilet that isn't filling, and an electric gate that only opens from one side. The gas hob in the kitchen also seems to be a little bit unhappy, but whether cleaning it will fix that or if it needs to be either repaired or replaced isn't clear, though I intend to try and find out this afternoon.

 

Lists are an integral part of my life, with Wunderlist holding "to do" and shopping lists and more verbose notes ending up in EverNote.

As it's a secondhand house I had zero input into what was fitted, which isn't really a problem until you're staring at your gas heating system scratching your head trying to work out how on earth you set the timer! Admittedly the gas heating system's timer isn't complicated, but since all the original manuals are gone it still took me a few minutes to work out that the pins had to be placed in the opposite position to the ones on the system in the house I'm currently living in. Thankfully you can get the manuals for pretty much anything online. If the manufacturer doesn't supply it someone else will, so now I have PDFs for several items with more being added as I work out which model I have.

As you can see from the photo above, the kitchen is fully fitted. It looks pretty damn good, but several of the items don't have model names or numbers. They probably do somewhere, but I've no idea where the model name or model number is on the gas hob, for example.

So what have I managed to get done so far?

The fridge freezer appears to be working fine and doesn't smell. The same can't be said for the dishwasher. While it is working it's a tad smelly 🙂 You can get products to clean a dishwasher and make it a little less stinky, so I'll be picking something up for that today.

Getting the gas and electricity bills switched over to me was easy. I already have accounts with both Electric Ireland and Bord Gais, so all I had to do was ring them and provide the meter details and the house address. Admittedly for the gas meter I also had to ring Gas Networks Ireland to get the full details, as they aren't printed on the meter itself.

I've also begun slowly updating my postal address with various companies and services. I might end up using NewAddress.ie to handle some of it, though since I switched to paperless billing for a lot of things it isn't as big a deal as it could have been.

I'll need to setup mail redirection with An Post, as there's bound to be somebody or something that I'll have forgotten about. The service costs €135 for 12 months, which isn't horrendous, though I see Royal Mail do it for nearly half the price, though obviously I can't use their service!

The house was sold furnished, which is both a blessing and a curse. The wardrobes are quite nice, so I'll be keeping them, but there's other furniture that isn't exactly stellar like this rather horrendous 3 piece suite:

Sure, it's better than not having anything to sit on, but I will definitely be replacing it. I see a trip to Ikea in my future! (And yes, that is a rather old cathode ray TV in the corner, which also needs to go to a new home or a dump).

Setting up a new house means almost starting from scratch. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours buying bits and pieces like a sweeping brush, dishwasher tablets, washing up liquid, rubber gloves and a bunch of other small things that I'll need to get the place ready. Of course no sooner do I remove something from the list than I end up adding two or three new things. For example, as I'd only been to the house during daylight hours I didn't realise that so many of the bulbs had blown, so today's trip will include bringing over some fresh light bulbs.

Which brings me to my current "problem". The LED lights.

Up until a few days ago I knew next to nothing about LEDs. I viewed them as I would any other form of lighting. Bulb blows, you buy a replacement and off you go. However LED lights, as anyone who owns them probably knows, are not that simple. A lot of them are low voltage, so there's a transformer that converts the mains 220V to 12V. The technology has evolved over the last few years, so if, like me, you have a particular type of LED light installed you'll probably need to replace it with one of the newer ones. Whether I'll be able to do this myself or have to get an electrician in isn't 100% clear, so I'll be making a trip to the DIY this afternoon to see what I can get my hands on.

One of the things that I am really happy about with the new house is the kitchen. It's got quite a bit of storage, which is something I definitely need. In my current setup I've been hampered by the lack of cupboard space and I wasn't going to invest a lot in improving something I didn't actually own. With the new house, however, it's mine, so I will happily invest a bit of time and money into making things better for me. I just wish the Container Store had shops in Ireland. They will ship to Ireland, but their shipping rates are insane! Amazon has quite a few cool storage solutions that I'll be exploring over the coming weeks and months, for now I've ordered an under sink storage solution which hopefully will help maximise the space:

Addis under sink storage

There's a load of different storage solutions that you can get for inside drawers and cupboards, but I'll probably have to wait until I've moved in before I get any of them, as I'm not sure what exactly I need yet. I also probably need to thin out some of the stuff I have in the kitchen ie. leave behind some of the cheap and nasty saucepans I bought years ago.

So instead of blogging about what I'm up to I need to get back to getting it all done!

 

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13 Responses to Working on Preparing the New House

  1. Antoin December 19, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    The handiest thing to do with the MR16 bulbs is to take out the transformers and replace them with GU10’s which run at 240v and don’t need transformers. To do this you need a holder like this. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skytronic-GU10-lamp-holder-base/dp/B000L99VQE . You obviously need to buy bulbs. I recommend you buy the philips master LED. https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dkitchen&field-keywords=philips+gu10+led+dimmable -. You can buy less expensive but the quality just isn’t as good.

    Kitchen looks great, you could give it a different ‘look’ just by changing out the green tiles. This would not be that expensive. You could also add a lot to it by lighting above and below the cabinets. Because of the way it is laid out, this would be easy enough to wire.

  2. Michele Neylon December 19, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    Antoin

    thanks for the tips on the LEDs – I never realised how complicated that entire thing was!

    As for the tiles – I like that idea 🙂 I see what you mean about the lighting and will look into it.

    Thanks

    Michele

  3. Joan Mulvihill December 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    Hi Michele, so I’ve been exactly where you are in the process and I know all about the additive lists…you’ve no sooner crossed off one thing and you’re adding another. Don’t forget the vacuum cleaner bags! Our good friends at Bonkers.ie were a great help in sorting out and swapping over utility providers, especially broadband! I don’t know how many bedrooms/bathrooms you’ve got but I know I had to buy a lot more bedlinen and towels! TK Maxx is your friend… you’ll find good stuff at good prices and the homwewares sections is a fun bizarre!
    When it comes to wall colours my collection of sample pots exceeds my collection of nail polish!! That’s the fun stuff!!! Enjoy, take your time and happy Christmas!!

  4. Michele Neylon December 19, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Joan

    I recently got a Dyson, so I think I’ll be able to avoid vacuum cleaner bags 🙂
    I used Bonkers to choose insurance and they keep telling me that I shouldn’t change my other utilities around, so I haven’t so far.

    As for bedding – I’ve got quite a bit already, so I’ll deal with that as and when I need it.
    Thanks for dropping by 🙂

    Michele

  5. Eddy Carroll December 20, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

    Congrats on the new residence!

    Definitely replace the MR16’s with GU10’s – in my experience, the 12V transformers tended to fail nearly as often as the bulbs themselves. Removing the 12V transformers, which will be buried somewhere in the ceiling cavity, is usually straightforward though tricky to do without chipping plaster around the lighting recess. If you remove the entire lamp fitting (it’s only held in with spring-loaded clips and will pull straight down with a little force), it makes things much easier. Well within the realm of a competent DIY-er.

    I’ve found the Philips Master range very good for candle bulbs. For GU10’s, I prefer COB-style (chips-on-board); they’re usually dome-shaped rather than flat, which gives a more even dispersion of light instead of the light tunnels you get with some of the flatter designs. If you’re going for dimmable, remember that you need a LED-compatible dimmer; the generic dimmer switches that may already be present in the house probably won’t cut it.

    Dimmers – http://www.myswitchshop.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=0&keyword=JFSP252

    GU10’s, COB style – https://www.lightrabbit.ie/spiral-4-5-watt-gu10-cob-led-spotlight-50w-equivalent.html (3000K; I’d prefer 2700K but they’re fine for living space)

    I used to order from LED-Lighthouse, and I see they are now offering this which looks good:

    https://www.led-lighthouse.co.uk/led-bulbs/gu10-led-bulbs-230v/integral-dichroic-glass-4.4-watt-gu10-led-bulb-closest-to-50w

    Haven’t tried it yet.

    If you’re in Dublin, Eurosales carry most of the Philips LED range – for example, http://www.eurosales.ie/products/6WSESPCC.html?filter_set%5B0%5D=1654 ; no doubt your local Carlow electrical wholesaler will have them as well (plus GU10 lamp holders). They do decent incandescent B27 / E22 traditional lightbulb replacements as well.

  6. Katherine Nolan December 20, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    Lidl have Buster plughole sanitizer at the moment. It’s brilliant for desmelling dishwashers – choose from Eucalyptus or Lemon if you’ve a nice smell preference 🙂

  7. Michele Neylon December 21, 2016 at 1:14 am #

    Eddy
    Thanks for the detailed reply and tips on LEDs. I’ll have to have a poke around to see how the current ones are fitted, though I’ve only been up in the house in the evening over the last few days, so visibility hasn’t been optimal.
    Any thoughts on LED spots? I was half thinking that they might be better for illuminating the work surfaces.
    Thanks for your comment

    Michele

  8. Michele Neylon December 21, 2016 at 1:16 am #

    Katherine
    Thanks for the tip 🙂
    I’ve run the dishwasher a few times now, so the smell has pretty much vanished, but I’ll try to pick up some of the plughole stuff next time I’m near Lidl. I’m sure I’ll find a use for it
    Thanks for your comment.
    Michele

  9. Eddy December 22, 2016 at 12:58 am #

    We use under-cabinet lighting in our kitchen to brighten up the work spaces – just thin 8W fluorescents, about eight years old now. I’m sure the modern LED equivalents would do a similar job (something like https://www.lightrabbit.ie/lightwell-lightbar-300mm.html). The decorative rail under your cabinets would hide them nicely. Since all your wall cabinets are on a continuous run, you could extend the power cable to feed an on/off switch at any convenient point around the kitchen, or possibly chase it back to the main light switch in the room.

    A ceiling-mounted strip of spotlights could make it challenging to make the room feel bright – a regularly spaced grid of downlighters will give more even light, and make it less likely you’ll end up working in your own shadow.

    All said from the comfort of my armchair, of course…!

  10. Michele Neylon December 22, 2016 at 2:19 am #

    Eddy
    I like the idea of the lighting under the cabinets. Apparently there’s an option to get motion sensor instead of a switch, which sounds intriguing. Either way more light on work surfaces makes sense.
    As for the ceiling spots – fair point. I hadn’t thought of that 🙂

    Thanks for your helpful comment

    Michele

  11. mickmoran December 26, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

    Salt. Dishwashers need salt…and not a sprinkle. They need industrial salt that you can get in the same isle as the dishwasher detergent. The salt is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the machine as they take out the hardness from water etc. and ensure you get that twinkly shine ™ on your dishes. All this to tell you that the salt will also help with the smell which is most likely caused because it hasn’t been used in a while.
    Mick

  12. Michele Neylon December 31, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    @Mick
    I got some of the “combination” tablets, but I might get some salt by itself if the smell comes back.

    Michele

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