The diary of a kitchen extension – part 3

In the third and final instalment of our customer Lindsey Jewkes’ single storey extension, the new kitchen design takes shape as the long-awaited installation week arrives. Read on to discover the highs and lows of this final stage of the project and watch the time lapse video which showcases the entire kitchen journey.

9th November –The new kitchen units were delivered today and stacked carefully in the extension. We had opted for Dorchester units because we wanted to combine a classic style befitting of a period property with refined modernism. We had debated whether to specify a natural wood finish but in the end we specified Nightfall as dark blue is very much on trend and looks so elegant within a home interior scheme.

I made sure I’d protected the new herringbone flooring with a tarpaulin before all the boxes were brought in. All the units were fully made up which means they’re bulky but it helps that they’re ready to install. It helped that nothing was actually in the extended space so there was plenty of room to arrange everything in good order. The kids are excited to have a mini cityscape of cardboard boxes in our kitchen to ‘safely’ explore!

10th November – The professional installers turned up today and got straight to work following a quick cuppa to walk through all the plans. I had arranged for a skip to be delivered today but frustratingly it didn’t arrive. Happily (albeit concerningly!), the old kitchen fell apart relatively easily and it was simple enough to stack it up neatly in my back garden ready for when the skip eventually arrives.

11th November –  was relieved to see the skip arrive today and we promptly got the stripped-out kitchen cleared from the back garden. The installers are making good progress with fitting the units, with little adjustments here and there due to the age of the house, but in general it’s all going really smoothly. We now have a clear picture of how the Nightfall units work within the space and we’re all very pleased with it. The rich tones lift the kitchen out of the walls and help to make a real design statement.



12th November – With the units now fitted, the worktop team came out today to measure up for the granite tops. We chose granite for durability – but choosing this meant that we had to have it made to size which meant we’d need to wait longer for it. To be honest though, at this point I didn’t worry about the extra time; it was all too exciting, and no length of time could be worse than the months of delays imposed by COVID.

14th November – Whilst we waited for the worktops to be fitted, I managed to bribe the family to help decorate the kitchen with some finishing touches. Seeing the crisp, white walls appear has really helped to accentuate the Shaker doors and chic cornicing. One of the biggest jobs was the tiling of the walls above the sink and in the pantry. We did this ourselves to help save some money as we were nearing the end of our reserves by this point!

22nd November – 10 days passed and the tops are now fitted. The installer came back to fit the sinks and taps and do one last tidy up with beading and chalking. But overall, that’s it; it’s all done! Time now for that wine I’ve been saving up and put ready in our new bottle chiller. Cheers!

Compared to the rest of the build, the actual kitchen installation was a breeze and went as smoothly as I could have hoped.  Looking back though, I do have three standout pieces of advice for anyone embarking on installing a new kitchen.

1. Find good professionals to work with and then trust them to do the job!

This is easier said than done as most people are curious and excited about the install as it’s the cherry on the cake (just as I was), but I would advise against constantly getting involved in this part as you might not only delay the process, but equally complicate the install and confuse the installers. Your team should know exactly what they are doing, so interfering will only create anxiety on both sides. Instead, just pop your head in at lunchtime if possible or at the end of each day. You can have a quick nosey under the pretence of answering any questions!

2. Be prepared to adapt 

This may not be needed but you may find you have to adapt quickly as you are met with certain factors. Work with your installers on difficult areas so that you get what you need out of the kitchen design – this will keep relationships working well and will get you a better result in the end. In our case, whilst all of the units were specified correctly, our house was old and had structural quirks so certain units had to be adapted. I was totally prepared for this as no house is perfectly square; especially ones that are 130 years old. The kitchen fitters were able to skilfully adapt how the units were installed and ensured they lined up seamlessly with my property’s uneven ceilings, protruding pipes and even a skewed boiler!

3. Keep your kitchen provider in the loop 

We kept speaking with the Optiplan team during the process which ended up being a real positive for us. They were always making sure everything was going smoothly. When it turned out we needed additional components or any adjustments, they would arrange this with a sense of urgency so we could keep on track with the installation. 

 You can watch a time lapse of Lindsey’s entire kitchen extension journey here. Or to explore the earlier stages of the extension, read diary entries one and two.

If you are thinking about getting a new kitchen, book a free design consultation with our specialist designers. We are offering appointments in store or, if you’d prefer, we are still offering virtual consultations so you can start planning your dream kitchen from the comfort of your own home.