A renovation 'moment' - cooking in the kitchen

I cooked myself lunch in our new kitchen. Not exactly breaking news but this simple task made me happy.

Firstly, anybody who knows me will tell you that my partner, Robbie, does most of the cooking in our household so it's odd that I'm even in the kitchen. Secondly, it was the first time I had used our new kitchen. We've spent most of our savings and all of our spare time renovating that room and standing in it cooking a meal was the best feeling ever.

It's safe to say that a week can make a huge difference. I went from feeling totally overwhelmed by our new house and how much work there is to do, to celebrating the small achievements and knowing that we will get there one wall at a time.

We bought a flat-pack kitchen from Bunnings and Robbie had the unenviable task of assembling it. We bought a stainless steel sink off Trade Me for $80 as well as our oven, gas hob and rangehood. Brand-new appliances were not an option for us money-wise, and earthquake repairs and rebuilds have done wonders for the second- hand market.

While Robbie was lost in piles of styrofoam, cardboard boxes and assembly instructions, I spent hours prepping and painting the kitchen walls and ceiling. I've loved being able to pick out colours, and I chose a creamy colour for three-quarters of the room and two shades of green for the feature walls on the other side. It's a big space and finally seeing a kitchen start to take shape in it makes everything worthwhile.

There's still a lot of to do until the kitchen is complete but what we've got at the moment is 100 per cent liveable and it's ours. The frightening thing is, once our kitchen is done, renovations will really slow down because we're almost out of money. We've spent around $10,000 so far and I'm proud of how much we've been able to achieve with that amount.

As for the interior, the laundry and toilet area needs a LOT of work and is currently the dingiest part of the house, so that will be the next focus. Hallway, spare room and bathroom to follow.

Scraping and painting the roof, replacing the spouting and tidying up the garden are projects that can wait until spring and summer, and require more time and effort than money.

It has been one hell of a ride so far but nothing can beat the feeling of enjoying a room that you own and have worked so hard for.

Georgina Stylianou is a reporter at The Press. This is part of her weekly column about buying her first home. Email georgina.stylianou@press.co.nz or tweet @gstylianoupress

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