ICU nurse living in home with no back wall as builders walk off £57,000 job

Trading standards officials are investigating claims that an intensive care nurse who saved up for years to transform her home into a sanctuary from her intensive day job has been left living in a building site.

Single mum-of two Catherine Lewis, 44, from Rhondda Cynon Taf, in south-east Wales, who worked through the Covid pandemic, wanted a dream home, but her plans turned into a nightmare after the builders walked off her project with the rear of her house unsafe.

Rhondda Cynon Taf council trading standards officials are now investigating complaints about Tonypandy-based N&K Kitchens, which initially took on the £57,000 project but left blaming the plans supplied by Ms Lewis for the state of the house and accusing her of not having enough money to complete the work.

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Catherine has lived at Mountain View in Tonyrefailor 20 years, said she first contacted N&K Kitchens in 2021, asking them to convert her conservatory into a kitchen extension and turn her downstairs area into an open plan space.

She told Wales Online she had saved for the project over a long time, and was quoted £57,000 and told the job would take 12 weeks.

But for more than a year Catherine and her two teenage daughters have found themselves living on building site, with the problem compounded by structural cracking, holes in the brickwork and floors that have dropped, and that she has carried some work out herself.

The local community has recently vowed to rally round and rebuild her house, with neighbours appealing on the village's Facebook page for "bricklayers, carpenters, roofers, tilers, plumbers, electricians, kitchen fitters and decorators etc" to step up and help "fix the devastation left behind."

Trading standards are now investigating N&K Kitchens, which had more than £19,000 worth of county court judgements against it at the time of this article, although the company told WalesOnline that £11,000 had been paid off.

An RCT council trading standards spokesperson said: "We can confirm the council has received complaints about the company, which we are in the process of investigating."

Nicky Middleton, who owns the company with his brother Kyle, admitted they were "accountable for and don't feel proud about the state in which Ms Lewis' property was left".

He said that the blame lay with the plans supplied by the customer, which its subcontractors then followed, adding: "Ms Lewis changing her mind about a number of things as the project went on also led to unforeseen costs arising."

Mr Middleton explained that the reason work stopped was because the customer was "running out of money" and had "six weeks' worth of unpaid invoices still owing".

He said that N&K Kitchens would reimburse the £22,000 Catherine had paid towards the kitchen she'd chosen – which had, in fact, been ordered but placed on hold – "minus the amount currently outstanding".

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Regarding the county court judgements against N&K Kitchens – now called NK Kitchens & Carpentry on Facebook – Mr Middleton added that more the £11,000 of the £19,000 total had been paid off but had yet to show up on the firm's online credit reports.


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