Saturday, 1 August 2015
Our house has a surprisingly spacious laundry. Equipped with built in cupboards on one side of the room, a laundry tub on the other with plenty of floor space in between. When we first moved in I repurposed an old door to create a very dodgy bench top, and we used the standard cheapo wire drawers to make storage for hardware and electrical underneath. Very functional, but kind of messy.
Sometime between agreeing on the bathroom work with our designer, and leaving for india, I decided I'd like to do the opposite type of project to the bathroom, in the Laundry - i.e. I wanted to do a low budget, self managed renovation where I did most of the work myself. So I drew up some sketches and went to Bunnings to investigate flat packs. I wanted a proper bench top and drawers and some extra storage for tall things. As our towel storage in the bathroom was going to be significantly reduced I wanted something for them too.
But I couldn't really find a Bunnings option that would work. They had flat packs, but it was just too hard to get a solid plan happening so I gave up on them and investigated a local flatpack maker called Ezikit. They manufacture flat packs to your specifications. So I emailed and asked them to draw me up a plan and give me a quote - I sent them this very dodgy stitched together picture as a guide..
The person who got my email promised a weeks turnaround on a design and quote so I waited excitedly. And waited. And waited. Two weeks later I decided to visit them on a Saturday morning and as luck would have one of the owners was on duty so after explaining that I'd been waiting for a while he fished my email out from the pile and by Monday morning I had a nice plan and quote in my inbox. Yay.
The quote was about $2700 including a sink (I wanted to have the sink as part of the bench). It all looked good so I paid a deposit and was told they'd deliver 5 or 6 weeks later.
So easy I thought to myself! It was only as the delivery date approached that I realised that my plans meant I'd need a plumber to move the washing machine taps and the wall taps to the bench, and then it dawned on me I'd also need an electrician to move some power points, one of which was going to be smack bang underneath one of my 3 feature tiles, and the other one to plug the washing machine to under the bench. Huh! Not so simple after all! The fortunate thing was that by this time the bathroom had been renovated and the plumber who did that had to revisit us as there were a few things not working quite right in the bathroom - so I lined him up to do the plumbing stuff in the laundry while he was here. I had to scramble to get an electrician but found someone who could come quickly - phew. The reason for the rush was that I decided to ask the same builder to help me for a day, as while I'm a whizz with flat packs (my secret skill), I'm very bad at attaching things to walls and executing any sort of right-angle that isn't pre-drilled. The builder had a holiday scheduled so he only had a very small window to do the job, so I had to get all my ducks in a row ready for installation day.
In preparation I removed all the existing bits in the laundry and assembled all the cupboards and drawer units. It took me three evenings of tricky work - even for a flatpack expert like me. There were some things (like the open shelves) which had just been delivered as pieces, with no pre-drilled bits at all. Not so easy after all 'Ezikit'. There as no way I was going to attempt to assemble those by myself - so I was really glad I'd hired in the extra help. I also ordered and picked up the tiles and taps and generally did all the stuffing around that I thankfully didn't have to do for the bathroom as it would have been ten times more difficult.
So after the plumbing and electrical stuff and the demolition and rebuilding - installation day finally came, and then stretched into 2 - at least for the builder. It was not an easy job - even if I was twice as skilled as I am, I still wouldn't have had the skills or equipment to complete the installation of the not-so-EZIKit. I only had one day off work so I left the builder to finish off the job the next day (which he luckily had available). He finished the tiling and left me to do the grouting and sealing which I completed today. I'm pretty happy with the final result..
I really like the tiles - well the 3 feature tiles anyway. They remind me of a scandinavian birch forest. I look at them and imagine clothes strung between trees in on a summers day - (as opposed to the reality of clothes in the dryer on a dark and miserable winter's day). Ideally the dryer would be mounted higher and in line with the bottom of the cupboards, but that was the only place we could find a stud for it - so that's where it is - a bit low, but whatevs.
I repainted the walls and ceiling to tidy it all up and match the colour of the walls of the new toilet and bathroom (leaving the height measurements by the door frame of course). I also splurged on a fancy pants spray tap which I already love - I've never needed one for the kitchen but to wash dirty shoes and rinse kitty litter trays in the laundry, it's the bee's knees!
While I was at it I also installed a cat door, then really took my handy-womanning up to a new level by installing a new lock on the back door - which totally works and is only a bit dodgy!
So it was certainly a different experience to the bathroom - which in fact made me more glad we had a project manager for the bathroom to deal with all the little bits and pieces along the way - at least for the laundry it went quite smoothly.
So the final cost? Well I don't have the invoices from the builder, electrician and plumber yet - but I'm guessing around $1000, plus the Ezikit stuff ($2700), plus tap, paint & tiles - say another $500. So the final total would be somewhere between 4000 and 4500. Not bad. But certainly not cheap either - it's a good thing I really like it!