Jan 25Liked by Alastair Leithead

Waaaw, big project! Congrats!

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Ahlsells har säkert en kontakt i Portugal https://www.ahlsell.se/category/el-1/kabel/00-kraftkabel

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Good morning!

I'm going to send you a shorter version of my go to list. Some products are in the UK but most are European. It will give you ideas. Let me know if you need anything else! xx

This company specialises in bespoking IKEA kitchens. Again for ideas!









Kitchen appliances








Kitchens fittings



For bathrooms


Bathroom fittings: https://www.duravit.co.uk



Shower trays & baths: https://www.betteproducts.co.uk



Showers https://www.hansgrohe.co.uk

Shower enclosures:https://www.matki.co.uk

Taps https://en.vola.com

Specialised Baths https://williamholland.com

Sinks https://thepouredproject.com


But there are good makes in Spain/Portugal. I just don't know them as well. I'm thinking Roca. Might be Spanish.

My main tip is a lot of taps, etc are foiled. As in they look chrome, etc. But after about 5 yrs and with heavy use the foil starts to peel and the plastic structure beneath starts to show. So when looking at any fitting always ask if it is solid metal. Tends to feel heavier.

Also again with heavy use and constant cleaning (limescale removers and bleach even) do de careful with floor and worktop finishes. Most limestones can only be cleaned with washing up liquid. Anything else will destroy it! Marbles are tricky too. We use it a lot in Portugal. Granites are stronger but Id go for Composite.

Electrical & Lighting fittings




Wall finishes


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Heard the Phillip interview on Wednesday, driving home to our 5 acre block. Small world now. Landed here with great plans 11 years ago... some achieved ......Now that we're 69 and 73 and a few accidents and heart issues later, we're trying to streamline the way we do things. It's good to think about how you'd cope if one was out of action. No stairs, ease of access inside and out has become important. Preparation for all contingencies that may arise is loving to ourselves and others I reckon.

Have fun!

Boa sorte!

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You may have noticed during your few days on Madeira, no PVC here. Does not stand the constant UV.

Our windows, fitted 25 years ago , are wooden framed and require constant maintenance. Even so ,when it rains frames, doors and windows swell.

All modern or new build use aluminium frames. Expensive, but in the long run.... Boa sorte.

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Definitely Ikea cabinets. You can't beat the cost and the quality is pretty good. Spend the money on decent appliances. Ikeas' are not great. Their taps are not great either. Tend to not last. Their worktops are not bad. Plenty of choice. Sinks are good too. Sometimes what we do for clients is we get a carpenter to make bespoke doors for the Ikea cabinets. It can elevate a kitchen to a whole new level and still be affordable. That is if you are looking for something bit more upmarket. Metallic finishes or 'matching wall colour to cabinet' type thing. Splashbacks we tend to go elsewhere.

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IKEA kitchen - 100%. Quality and design excellent these days. Can't go wrong. Plus if IKEA Portugal is anything like IKEA France (where I installed an IKEA kitchen in a house owned) IKEA uses approved contractor-installers you can rely on to instal them.

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Well much as I do think that IKEA does have its place, very good value, brilliant for students, first time home buyers. Oh and they do make the best meatballs😀 As you will be looking for quality and longevity, maybe you should consider custom made. Good luck whatever you decide. Loving following the progress. Cheers Annie x x

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Worktops. Seriously I don't think it makes sense to buy (inferior) worktops outside of Portugal. Nor do I believe there is any obligation to buy an IKEA worktop for an IKEA kitchen (I have one IKEA worktop in wood and one on granite). Granite is very solid, aesthetically pleasing and practical for guest rooms (guests will destroy wood) and so cheap in Portugal. One address near Castelo Branco https://promarmores.pt/

Or take a trip to Borba (nearer) and order in person at one of the quarries (and combine with a wine tasting visit :)). Best regards

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I've built both types of kitchen and definitely recommend IKEA, but you are then obliged to buy their countertops (which do not include marble or any other solid stone) or their fitters won't install it. You've already achieved so much. Just go slowly! Pole sana.

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Extreme Bushfire area like we live in equals aluminum.

Wood burns

PVC melts

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You've a monster of a project. You asked, so here are some ideas :)

• Should the windows be wood, PVC or aluminium?

Wood is nicest but needs maintenance and expensive in Portugal. Aliminium rather ugly and cold. PVC best (though PVC not environmentally friendly).

• Can we afford polished concrete floors throughout?

If you save going for PVC instead of wooden windows :). Worth it - nice finish, can apply different colours and easy to maintain.

• Which heat pump is best for the underfloor heating? Don't know. Ask your Swedish contacts - they are experts.

• Do we go with the carpenter or IKEA for the kitchen cabinets?

IKEA much cheaper and solid and sustainable (you get replacements easily) - get the carpenter to make nice doors and drawer fronts in the wood of your choice.

• Do we install a solar pump or a regular pump for the new borehole?

No - you already have solar EL. One less gadget to maintain

• And where on earth do we buy 600m of three phase electrical cable?

Need to specify. Diameters? How many threads? A single 600m length!!?? I bought 4 x 4mm2 from Germany, now 3€ / metre (incl VAT). A couple of sites if you can find a German speaker who knows a bit about EL. 2 German on-line shops I used:



Good luck, Bernard, Marvão. bernardo.brookes@gmail.com

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Absolutely loved this piece. I admire what you are doing and love observing your progress, in amongst the challenges you face. 'That' sunset must be incentive enough to keep going.

Happy birthday, Alastair!

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Tanti Auguri!! (I am swiping that birthday Boxing Day idea, it's brilliant)

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