Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Budapest XI

The kitchen and wardrobes arrived at 11am on Wednesday, which is one of the earlier interpretations of ‘Wednesday afternoon.’ Not being the type to stand and watch four guys manhandling heavy cardboard boxes up three floors, I goathandled some of them and ached afterwards. Yes there is a lift, but it is small and wouldn’t swallow a lot of the longer ERBACKEN worktops or NÅRNÏÅ wardrobe sides. And they’re heavy! Bedroom 1 was in no way ready to receive these flat packs, being full of painting materials and a pile of oak flooring, and the parquet was also not available.

This is because the parquet flooring was being refinished. A couple of passes with an industrial belt sander the size of a Suffolk Punch – the lawnmower; not the horse – and then an orbital polisher left a very neat job. Then a couple of layers of clear varnish to be polished once the varnish dried. I was mildly surprised at the colour that the parquet has turned out. I thought it was a sort of cherry red, but the belt sander took the stain away and revealed the light oak beneath. I think it looks glorious. It will certainly match the new floor in Bedroom 1 in colour and material, but not in style. New parquet interlocking wood blocks were prohibitively expensive compared with planks.

The pantry floor was originally to have the old terrazzo tiles retained, but too many of these got damaged while installing the under-floor plumbing. The first choice was to use grey slate, matching the hallway. But the floor tile order had excluded a new pantry floor. As the tiles had a long lead time, the order could not be amended. So I looked at ensuring sufficient oak planks were available ‘off the shelf’ locally. Now, of course, it turns out that the traditional 110% order has left sufficient slate flags to do the pantry. There will be a pack of planks left over; the alternative would be the less preferable wood floor in the pantry and the same area of more expensive slate tiles left over. So slate flagstones it is. They’re not actually slate, but ceramic tiles with a slate-effect finish, rated for indoor or outdoor use and a lot more resistant to water and chemicals than actual real slate. 

Thursday morning came and, true to their word, IKEA’s kitchen fitters turned up and got on with assembling kitchen units. I got there before they did and started on NÅRNÏÅ in Bedroom 2. I’d got as far as unpacking one wardrobe when the painters arrived and told me that they had to put more coats on the walls, and I couldn’t work here. Unfortunately for my wardrobe progress, Bedroom 1 wasn’t available either, it being full of carpenters and new wood floors.

I kicked my heels all morning answering occasional customer preference questions from the large crowd of workmen in my flat. Then I went shopping and bought a washing machine and a dishwasher for delivery next Friday when, I am confidently assured, the flat will be finished.

By early afternoon I was able to put cardboard down on the new wooden floor in Bedroom 1 and start to assemble wardrobes. They’re not difficult but unwieldy. I got two done before bad light stopped play.

Bedroom 1 with all doors assembled and 50% installed

 IKEA didn’t show up on Friday as they had previously advised, and I spent all day fiddling with the first two wardrobes in Bedroom 1, assembling a pair of large and heavy sliding doors and all the related permanent way, and getting these fitted and working. What a nightmare! Each door weighs a million tons and has to be hung accurately on its own track or it won’t work. And I spent all weekend dealing with the third and fourth wardrobes. On Sunday I had the place to myself. I still couldn’t get at the walls in Bedroom 2, but there was enough floor space to work on the even larger, heavier, and less wieldy doors and get these fully assembled and ready for hanging.

Bedroom 2 with - at last - the doors installed

IKEA finished the kitchen by 3pm on Saturday. They didn’t do any plumbing or wiring, and I have found several unopened packages that will, I hope, go back to the shop for a refund. There was damage to one of the cupboard fronts, but I was told to send an email to IKEA and there would be a replacement sent and fitted after a few days. The email bounced as undeliverable, and I had to navigate a Magyar-only website to get an email message delivered. I translated it too; rather the multilingual elves over at Google did. Then I got a return email message from a person (in Magyar) demanding that I re-enter all the information on the ‘Warranty Claims’ online form, which demanded every piece of information including the product name, size, catalogue number, price, date of purchase, and various reference numbers from the original till receipt. And the latest is a request for a photo of the damage.


The kitchen comes with a much-vaunted 25-year warranty, but were I to claim after say 23 years, the chance of having all this information to hand appears slim. Thus I infer that the warranty is practically worthless.

I do need to get a bathroom mirror that doesn’t poke out from the wall any more than the tiling. This is proving difficult because anything with built-in lighting needs space for the lights and ends up being at least 50mm thick... A separate LED strip on a bracket will be required, that I anticipate will be around 2.050m above finished floor level and therefore out of range of most Evil Stepmothers.

“Magic mirror on the wall…”

The bathroom

The power outlet for an electric shaver will have to be mounted on the wall to the side of the mirror, and should be IP44 waterproof, which means a spring-loaded flap to cover up the socket while it’s not in use. I have been unable to find a combination strip light and shaver socket that doesn’t look hideous, and anyway 2.050m may be beyond the range of the short of arse as well as Evil Stepmothers. It’s certainly beyond the range of most goats, but isn’t there an Irish band called “Goats Don’t Shave”? 


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Budapest X

Kitchen floor tiling is well under way and I expect to have it done by Thursday. Also to be done by Thursday is refinishing of the parquet at least near the kitchen area, all plumbing and electrics in place, and wall tiles grouted. I also expect the affected walls to be painted, but this is less critical because the parts inaccessible because of the kitchen units will of course be covered by the said kitchen units.

Following an issue with the parquet floor that neither I nor the builder had anticipated, although we should have, the kitchen was further delayed by a day. The old wall between what is now the sitting room and Bedroom 2 left a gap in the parquet about 100mm wide. The gap had to be moved to the new wall by relaying three more rows of parquet blocks.

In anticipation of IKEA’s requirement to arrange delivery exactly two days after arranging it, I went to the store on Monday evening and pulled the trigger. I paid an enormous sum of money for a kitchen and some bedroom wardrobes for delivery on Thursday. I look forward to seeing a big pile of flat-packed boxes to be delivered, comprising mostly METOD, RINGHÜLT, PAX, KÖMPLEMENT, and NÅRNÏÅ.

“We can deliver on Wednesday, and fitting will be on 15th February.”

Oh, FFS… They refuse to allow me to arrange this a week in advance and then impose a week’s delay. I said so (cleaned up for language, obviously), and after several phone calls the fitting company agreed to start installation on Thursday as previously agreed. They can’t do Friday, but I have been informed that the fitting will be completed over the weekend. IKEA’s delivery and fitting subcontractors have proved 100% true to their word so far, and I therefore have every confidence. For some reason, payment for delivery and indeed installation has to be made in cash. Actual, real-life C.O.D.

As it’s a monster delivery of boxes, I went ahead and also arranged the fitted wardrobes for both bedrooms. There’s going to be a small sink in one of these, so it’s important to get the NÅRNÏÅ fitted sooner rather than later. An irritating water meter pokes out of the wall behind one of the wardrobes and this will need to be concealed by a small bathroom cabinet.

Now, bathroom cabinets. I have been trying and thus far failing to find a suitable bathroom mirror. I want a big wall-mounted mirror over the wash basin with a light and shaver socket, and that doesn’t look hideous. There must be a Venn diagram somewhere that illustrates the impossibility of this combination. Failing a mirror, a wall-mounted cabinet with a concealed power socket, perhaps? Alas, despite visiting every bathroom supplier in both Buda and Pest, the only one that would have been remotely acceptable was not available in white. Only in brown, and that wouldn’t match anything else in the bathroom.

There is something bizarrely wrong with a bathroom cabinet with a power socket inside. How do you look at yourself shaving when the mirrored door has to be open for the power cable?Beloved Wife has now vetoed a cabinet, so we are back to a mirror as the only acceptable option, with a shelf below for brushes and toothpaste.

After failing at this task, the builder and I drove over to the wood floor supplier and I paid the balance of monies for skirting boards and dado rails. And then it turned out that they’d deliver everything, so there had been no need to drive a large pick-up all over town.


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