Kitchen Installation

We survived living in a house with no kitchen for a couple of days, but are glad that our kitchen has been installed.

Originally we were told that due to some doors not having arrived on-time, that they would install it in mid-May (which would have been very annoying, especially as we ordered it more than six months ago, and we told them in January that we wanted it installed in April).

Fortunately, they agreed to install it (with a few doors missing) and to come back with the missing doors later on.

After 1½ days, it’s done!


The House is Effectively Finished!

Friday again, and after further visits by the electricians, the decorators and the interior door guy over the past couple of days, we can now say that all work has effectively been completed.

Over this weekend, we are hoping get all of the skirting boards done on the first floor, and to install some temporary light bulbs in the rooms where the electricians haven’t already done so.

There are still a couple of very minor things to be done. Silicone is not yet done in a couple of places, there is a little bit of painting to be finished here and there and the electricians still have not managed to correctly align the satellite dish, but that should all hopefully be done in the next few days, ahead of our ‘pre-delivery inspection meeting’ on Wednesday.

Also during that meeting, the blower-door test will be carried out for our energy efficiency certificate, and the heating will be switched to heat-pump mode.

Solar Power: We still haven’t had a really sunny day, but already the solar panels seem to be performing well compared to the assumptions we made some months back based on another installation in the area.

  • Wednesday – 13.78 kWh
  • Thursday – 7.04 kWh (Would have been higher, but was switched off from 10:15am to 1:45pm due to the electrician work)
  • Friday – 9.68 kWh

We have now started a snag list of all the things that need to be finished / improved, but really up to now are impressed with the quality of most the work that Viebrockhaus and their contractors have done. We are also very impressed that they have pretty much kept on time throughout – as many things have been early as have been done late (which was anyway mostly due to icy weather).

The dust sheets that were covering most of the floor tiles downstairs have been removed today and on Monday or Tuesday a cleaning company (paid for by Viebrockhaus) is coming to do an initial cleaning. We will take some more photos after that, but for now here are some pre-cleaning photos…

We now have an appointment for our kitchen to be installed on 27th and 28th April (although they are apparently still waiting for some doors which might not arrive until slightly later).

Since we are eager to move in (and because we don’t want to extend our holiday into the next week), we have changed the van hire to 25th and 26th April, and will probably now move in before the kitchen arrives. We can survive with a microwave and a kettle for a couple of days and we do also have a portable kitchen we could park outside the house if we really want to!

A Free Dishwasher

Three weeks after we first visited the furniture to store to start planning our kitchen, the time has finally come for our kitchen planning meeting. Having printed out the latest version from the online kitchen planner, as well as the latest plan of the ground floor, and the plan of our electric sockets we set off.

Good news – buy a kitchen today and get a free dishwasher (as well as the 50% discount that seems to be permanently offered!)

It only took a few minutes for the sales consultant to update the basic plan (in his software) that he made when we were first there – we have switched the position of the fridge and the tall cupboard so that the fridge is nearer to where you would be standing when you want something out of the fridge), and a few other minor changes to the dimensions. After this, we could start on the detailed fine-tuning. We have ended up with:

  • ‘Neron’ Magnolia-white matt doors, carcases & plinths (we finally decided against the dark grey plinths)
  • Lava grey, stone structure worktops (a last minute change, as we didn’t like the colour we had chosen in the online planner when we saw it)
  • Dark grey Franke Fragranite BFG611 sink (see here)
  • Franke Atlas Mixer tap with pull-out spray (see here)
  • AEG BP500310WM Oven and AEG HKL85510XB Induction Hob (see here)
  • AEG 178cm Fridge / Freezer (see here)
  • AEG Favorit TimeBeam Dishwasher (see here) ***FREE*** 🙂
  • Microwave cupboard above the oven, with a hydraulic door. This will give us a lot more worktop space free.
  • LED under-counter lighting
  • Refsta plasmaNorm Puro Cooker Hood (permanent plasma molecule splitting oxidisation system)

For our kitchen island, we originally had planned it as 100cm x 180cm, but have now decided to add an additional strip of worktop, overlaid on the existing worktop, overhanging by about 20 cm to form a breakfast bar, where we will place high stools (on the dining room side of course!)

We also are having a single 80cm wide high shelf on the wall at the end of the island, for the kitchen radio, and maybe some herb plants etc.

And with that, after two and a half hours of enjoyment (buying a kitchen is quite a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon), we came to the total price, less the discount. We landed up just a whisker over where we expected based on the first discussion in September. We also have our third invoice (just for a deposit, the rest we don’t have to pay until after it is installed).


Planning the Decor, the Electrics and the Kitchen

In preparation for our meetings for the decor and electrical planning next week, we spent most of the day going through the notes we had made last time we visited Kaarst.

We also finally got around to really trying out the CAD software that Viebrockhaus gave us just before we went on holiday,  putting in all of our selections (flooring, tiles, bathroom fixtures etc.) so that we could see what our house will look like when it is finished.

The software, in combination with the plan of the house with our modifications, is really great and gives us a really good impression of what we have to look forward to (although as we haven’t got the final version of the plan, leaving some walls in slightly the wrong place).

Here are some ‘photos’…

Our huge open plan Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen…43

42 40 38 Entrance Hall with stairs up to the first-floor, and down to the cellar…
25 Master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe…
20 19 18

Guest bedroom…
16 15Bathroom (wrong layout)…

We also revisited the kitchen planning today. Because we have finally decided on lighter coloured ground-floor floor-tiles, the colour scheme that we had previously chosen didn’t work anymore (two different light coloured woods which may clash with each other).

We have now come up with magnolia doors and carcases, dark grey worktops and dark grey plinths. When we go to the kitchen store on Saturday we will compare samples of this colour scheme (in case they look different to they do in the online planning software), and make our final choice.


Kitchen Planning, Draft Contract, Mortgage and Updated Draft Plan

Quite a few updates over the last two days, so we have split this update into four sections…

Kitchen Planning

Yesterday morning, we made some further progress with the kitchen planning, making a new mock-up in the online planning tool. We have now added wall cupboards all the way around as we worked out that the vent in the ceiling does not prevent us doing so.


With a print out in our hands, we then went and had a great discussion with a kitchen consultant at a local furniture store, who kindly made a draft version within his planning software and gave us an approximate price for the cabinets, electrical devices and installation.

The price for the cabinets as well as the hob, oven, dishwasher, fridge/freezer and installation were roughly in line with our expectations (only a little bit higher, but you can always spend more than you first want to!)

The only item, where we may have underestimated, was the cooker hood.

Because of the energy efficient construction of the house, we need to have an air circulation hood (which puts the filtered air back into the house) rather than a traditional extractor hood (which puts the air through the wall and outside).

We learned that there are two types of air circulation hoods available:

  • one where you need to buy and change the filter every few months
  • one where you don’t have to change the filter (for 10 years or more) which works by filtering the air and then splitting the remaining molecules with a plasma catalyser so that only oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour remain and get put back into the room (see here for a more technical / accurate description of how it works.)

The second option has (of course) a much higher initial cost but this should be recovered over time by not having to buy filters, and the overall air quality of what is put into the room should be better. We will probably go for this but haven’t finally decided. Maybe it depends on the groundwork costs, which we (frustratingly) are still waiting for.

Since we need to have the plans for the kitchen finalised quite soon (so that Viebrockhaus know where to put the water and electrical installations) we have made an appointment for 8th October to go back to work out the final details for the kitchen and to place an order.

Draft Contract for the Plot

Today we finally received the draft contract for the purchase of the plot which we have been waiting for for a while now. We have one or two small questions but in general, everything seems to be in order and as expected. Our meeting with the notary for the formal reading and signing of the contract is now confirmed for next Monday.


Also today, we had another short meeting with the bank to hand over the KFW 40 paperwork (which confirms the Energy Efficient Construction and eligibility for the reduced interest rate and €10,000 bonus) as well as the construction specification from Viebrockhaus. Everything is now in place and the mortgage contract can now be prepared.

Updated Draft Plan

Later, during the afternoon, we received the latest version of the draft plan from Viebrockhaus, and have checked it this evening. There are a few small mistakes which still need to be corrected during our ‘Service Meeting’ next week, mainly caused by changes that we had earlier made and then unmade not having been completely reset.

  • The utility room and downstairs WC are slightly the wrong shape and size now, caused by us having previously added a shower in the downstairs WC and later removing it.
  • One of the cellar window grates is directly under the utility room door, which is not where we originally had drawn it – at the moment is not clear whether this is intentional or not (it may be actually a good place to have it). We have made a note to check this
  • The carport is still drawn in the wrong place – actually where it is drawn is outside of the area it is allowed to go (as it cannot be more than 15 meters from the boundary). We need to make sure that this is correct on the planning permission request so that we don’t cause any delays.)
  • The outside tap has jumped from the sidewall (behind where our fence/gate will originally go) to the front wall. This may be unavoidable – we read somewhere that for hygiene reasons it is not allowed to the last tap on the pipe – in which case maybe it makes sense to have it at the front. We will just need to find a way to ensure that no-one steals our water!
  • The bathroom layout (Shower and wash basin) needs to be reset to the original plan as we have now decided NOT to have the L-shaped wall for the walk-in shower, and to revert to having glass shower walls. When we looked at the 3D model provided by Viebrockaus we realised that the L-shaped wall would block most of the light out from the bathroom (which we might not like)

Our adviser at Viebrockhaus continues to be very helpful and patient with all of our changes and un-changes, and we are now very close to being done with the plan, ready for the planning permission paperwork.

Hopefully, the groundwork costs will be here soon…