Revd Chris and Deacon Marian Sharp faced a future with a weary, worn-out 1990s kitchen at their MMHS home in East Anglia. Units were tired, surfaces scuffed and a dishwasher leak left a musty smell.
In addition, a stroke had left Marian disabled. It became difficult for her to make meals with the existing layout. They told the Society about their crumbling kitchen, and found out it was beyond the normal 20-year lifecycle.
‘The Society said they’d help, but we should get an assessment of Marian’s needs,’ said Chris. ‘We’d also have to make a contribution because of our equity share. We were happy with that.’
With guidance from Maintenance Manager Glenn Fry, the Sharps sorted the paperwork, selected a design with kitchen firm Howdens, and chose a contractor. ‘Within six weeks of the initial contact, the fitters were at work,’ said Chris.
The couple set up a makeshift kitchen in their dining area with microwave, kettle and bottled water. They slept at home, but spent afternoons at a nephew’s house nearby. ‘We didn’t find it stressful at all,’ Chris explained.
The refit took just a week, leaving a new kitchen well in time for Christmas. ‘The contractors were brilliant,’ Chris recalled. ‘They bent over backwards to make sure we weren’t without water or electricity for very long.’
What advice can the Sharps offer to those cautious about the upheaval of a kitchen refurb? After all, the kitchen is more than just a place to prepare food. It’s the centre of a home, where family and friends are fed and entertained.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ said Chris. ‘Everyone is very helpful. Make simple alternative arrangements with your microwave and kettle. Go out for a meal or two. Treat it as a holiday.’