"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The laws of gravity.....

It was just one of those days yesterday! Everything that could go wrong DID. We discovered more problems in the house. Our handyman has made the electric wiring safe but was furious when he saw they had simply cut some major wires. He said it could have burnt the house down. He is going to see if he has time to crawl under the house as we have no power in some points of the bedroom downstairs. He thinks there is more cut but needs to see if he can find anything. If not, we will have to have an electrician come out later. But he called his father in law who is a heating specialist and he is going to work on the leaking monster I showed you in the last post. Yes, it is even leaking as well as the one like it upstairs in the cupboard holding the central heating. *sigh*

We also think the previous owners removed a radiator off in the living room where there are not connecting pipes standing up when they had the extension built. We talked about having those pipes removed but then Jos realized there is only one sunk radiator for such a large room. We are going to have the man put in a horizontal radiator where the pipes are we think. Andylynne asked if the room was larger than our house now and the answer is yes. That is why we know this sunken heater will never heat this room. We have one in our current house along with two others.

All the drains are stopped up in the house. Jos took the drain apart in the kitchen and clean it out really well then flushed the main pipe out. Then he could not get it back together and it took them forever to work on it.

In the meantime, the filthy dishwasher was removed and we discovered that a half a kitchen was laying under the cupboards along with builders rubble (enlarge photo to see all the junk under the cupboard). Jos got down on his stomach and removed everything. There was one bit of good news. They had told us that the dishwasher leaks but there is nothing of that showing in the kitchen itself. The dishwasher has food in it so we think the filters were all stopped up. Off to order a new one and a new fridge/freezer today.

We had to hurriedly remove all our laminate flooring that is stored in the garage when the drain to connect the hose leaked water all over the garage floor. Those packs are so heavy and Jos had to move them all into the studio on his own. We took the one where the water went through the packaging out so they would not be destroyed.

I am hoping that this is the end of finding extra problems in the house. We continue to try and clean the kitchen. Jos helped me with two cupboards yesterday. In the meantime, the painters hope to get some areas done today and one of our bathrooms will be finished. I will share some before and after photos of a finished bathroom soon.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly.....

Yesterday we got the keys to our new house. Not these of course but a friend stopped in yesterday evening and gave us these as a housewarming gift.

The bad.....We were totally startled to find this monstrosity sticking up in the middle of the bedroom. We had not been told that the pipes were not worked into the floor when the owners had the shower room built downstairs. They also left the connection from a radiator that is no longer there in the living room. These are things were will not be able to have sunk into the floor without going into 5 digit figures so we are going to have to be creative. We renegotiate some off the price at the closure to compensate for the extra work. Now we have to put on our thinking caps.

The ugly.....We knew the house needed a very strong cleaning. This photo shows you a little of how dirty the walls are if you enlarge it. We are literally vacuuming the entire house, walls and ceilings first before we even start painting. It has not been painted since it was built 16 years ago.

This does not show the condition of the wood floor. It is going to be totally renovated and my studio is being painted as I write this.

The front door and door for the shower room (which is now all open in the bedroom) were delivered last night. Sorry the photo is dark. Tomorrow work starts on both this and the upstairs bathroom. I am so anxious to start seeing something come together.

The good.....The man who is going to do the floor came this morning to do a test patch. He put a double smoked color stain on the part he sanded and had a series of other colors for us to see but we told him this was exactly what we wanted. It was actually better than I had even dreamed it would come up. You can get a glimpse of the color with a drawer from our hutch and cushion from our couch. I am really excited to see this floor transformed.

I hope to keep a record of the renovations on the blog so we can reflect back ourselves when it is all finished.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We've been shopping.....

A little peek at some of the things we will be doing in our new house...

This extra wide plank laminate floor will be laid on both floors in the tower. There is currently a bright yellow floor on both floors now. The first floor is a guest area. There is a large bedroom, bathroom and roof terrace. As you go up another flight of stairs, there are two more bedrooms. One will become Jos' office which will be nice for him as he will be away from the rest of the house and be able to work in quiet. The extra room up there is a bit up in the air at the moment. I am considering turning it into a library but we are not sure we want to miss seeing all my books in the living room.

The bathroom is not totally in bad shape. It has white tiles on three walls, a separate shower which you can just barely see in the left corner next to the window, a bath that looks like it was not even used much and toilet. BUT the wall on the left has to be taken care of. The double sinks and mirrors/brown marble wall will be removed. The tub style cabinets under the sinks are really messed up from moisture and we do not like the ultra modern look.

We purchased this sink which is a nice large size and also the nostalgic high necked faucet.
The tiles on the wall (photo below) will look like slate which we thought would be again a good reflection of the slate on the outside of the house. I am still trying to decide about a mirror. I think silver would look best but Jos likes one of our gold mirrors (you can see one of them in this previous post) for this bathroom. I will decide when the tiles are up.

This is the current door which Jos took a photo from the inside of on a visit to take measurements. It is in bad shape. Rather than invest money to do something with it, we decided to have it replaced.

Black Pearl PVD Deurknop Remo Links Black Pearl PVD Deurknop Svezia Black Pearl PVD Veiligheids cilinderrozet Black Pearl PVD Briefplaat Recht

Voordeur ML 695

We picked up our knobs and mail slot yesterday and with the door being delivered to the new house on the day we get the keys, we are really ready to start working there now. Our new front door is in the old Dutch style. It has iron grates in the two windows which can be opened seperately. The photo I have shown you is the door but we are having our painted in black high gloss paint. I think this is really going to go well with the silvery grey slate on the house itself.

We decided on the knobs, key slot and mail slot to be in a matt black finish called Black Pearl. We found a place were we could see the door and knobs on display. When the sales lady took our choices and held them up to a door they had painted in black high gloss, I knew it was the right choice. It is subtle and elegant looking.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Moving on.....

Just two weeks now and we will be getting the keys to our new house. We are both so anxious to get started. The summer was spent arranging everything we need to work on the renovations of the new house. I thought it might be fun to show the photos that I took for our brochure for the sale of the house where we live now. I spent a good deal of time working on the photos. We had to edit them until they were just right with the balance of accessories and which rooms to use for the photos in our home. Some who have seen our home will miss many things like my various quilts and needlework. We had a woman at the realty office that was very helpful with looking at the photos. We sold it through a sort of DIY realtor. It was sold to the first couple that viewed the house back in the spring. We are so thankful it sold but it means we only have five weeks to get moved out of this house.

The front of our house.

As the house is built in water, the garden is at the front of the house.

We designed the garden for total privacy in the summer even though it is on the street.

We are really going to miss the little garden that we worked hard on making a secret garden.

Come into our living room.

We have a woodstove but had to sell it with the house. The new owners liked our brick wall behind the stove. It was a souvenir from our vacation in Limburg. They are handmade and clay baked bricks.

Off the living room is the dining area.

The kitchen which had recently been renovated.

The office.

Our bedroom.


The guest room.

The back of the houses are built in the water. These houses are called the 'New Wall Houses' inspired by the original 'Wall Houses' dating from the Middle Ages in our city center.

We have lived here for 13 years. It is time for us to move on although it is only a few streets further.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Baking dreams.....

It has been over 10 years ago since I bought a cookbook. This week, I got three that I had ordered. Two of them I have been looking at for a year before I finally decided to just order them. The third is one that I saw in a shop and loved immediately but it was expensive. I found it on Amazon.de for 5 euros less than it was in the shop so I decided I needed it after all. *grins*

This book is as beautiful inside as it looks like it would be from the cover. It is a book from the Swedish TV cook Leila Lindholm. It contains both sweet and savory recipes and I cannot wait to work my way through the book. So why not start right away?

I gathered my ingredients. I picked a recipe that I had everything in my house already. The recipe is chocolate biscotti with black olives. Yes, olives! I found her recipe very easy to follow. I bake another biscotti recipe I have from 20 years ago when I lived in Sweden. This one surprised me as the dough was wet and sticky just as described in the recipe.

A glimpse of one of the beautiful photographs in the book. Eye candy while your cookies are baking.

And 45 minutes later, these yummy cookies came out of the oven.

So I made myself a cup of espresso this afternoon since I had to taste test my cookies before I can serve them to Jos.

I love baking and used to bake constantly. I got away from it as my health was not well but decided that I want to start baking again when I can. I think you appreciate a home baked cookie or cake more than things you buy in the grocery store.

By chance, there is a baking theme in life this week as I am reading and loving Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks. I have had this book on my shelves for years waiting to be read. I think I put it off because I had read Isabel's Daughter by the same author and found it to be a lukewarm read. This book is nothing like the other and I just love it! I am half way through and already dreading the book ending. I think that is what a good book is made of!

Edit: Now that we have had these cookies tonight, we are sure they would be just as good without the addition of the black olives. They add an extra dimension to the cookie but not really one we felt was needed.