This month we spent every night and weekend working flat out in the kitchen, preparing for installation of the new cabinets and appliances. We started at the top, cleaning and touching-up the ceiling paint, then moved on to the trusses which needed degreasing followed by a coat of Danish oil.

Moving down to the walls, we had to clear out the old units and make some plaster repairs. After cleaning and sanding it was time for paint: first time around we used a light taupe, but now four years on we've revised the colour scheme to match the slightly richer shades used in the hallways and master bedroom.

As we cleared out all the old cabinets we had to assemble a temporary cooking arrangement so we could still eat. One corner of the kitchen is out of the way of the new units, so we squeezed the oven, fridge and a small section of bench in. We also converted the cloakroom to host the dishwasher and sink, so we can keep clean for a few weeks too.

The next challenge was the floor: there was four years of grime to clean up, and the original pointing was badly broken up due to incomplete filling the first time around. Once the floorspace was clear we set to work chipping out the remaining pointing, which conveniently all collapsed into the cavities under the edges of the flagstones. We used hydrochloric acid and wire brushes to clean off the old mortar stains and scrubbed away years of grime, making the flags look and feel like new. We also made a modification to the underfloor heating circuit, adding an extra servo-valve so we can override the kitchen floor heating controller at the flick of a switch.

After many, many hours of chipping, scrapping and scrubbing, we gave the flagstones a fresh coat of linseed oil. It rolled on very quickly, then after a day to soak in we buffed the surface to complete the first coat.

With the walls and floor cleared and cleaned it was time for Wayne to start bringing in the new cabinets. The first run went down the back wall: the larder, Welsh dresser and sideboard fitted in perfectly, once adjustments were made for our non-flat floor and non-straight walls. Everything has to be scribed to fit, which is very time consuming, but the results are looking good.

Finally, we finished the month with a new toy. Re-pointing the flagstone floors is a big job, as we need to ensure the cavities are completely filled. Hence the new tool: a pointing gun. It's like an oversized glue gun, with a range of nozzles sizes. A nice wet mortar mix goes in, then it squirts out between the flagstones to flood-fill all cavities.