main bedroom

10/04/2018 by

I’ve spent most of the last month doing my favorite thing (NOT!), plastering!

We are still waiting for the window to be fitted on the outer wall so I’m just doing what I am able to do before that happens, once that happens the rest of the bedroom should get completed fairly quickly, very exciting!

First thing to do was to remove 5 or so layers of wallpaper from the chimney stonework, this is how it looked before:

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Then after I took off the  wallpaper:

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Next thing do, fit a slim piece of plasterboard to the new wall I made next to the chimney:

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Seems good! It turned out that we had just barely enough plasterboard left to do the outer walls of the walk-in-closet, so next job was to fit those! Very happy that we are out of plasterboard now, the end of my plastering nightmare is almost in reach! Definitely just going to use wall panels for everything else remaining.

Before:

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First bits:

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more bits:

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finished! :

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You might have noticed a bit of damage on the plasterboards, these are nearly all pieces of plasterboard I was not expecting to use, they were not in great condition unfortunately, but I was fairly confident I could make them look ok when actually plastering the seams.

Speaking of plastering…I then spent weeks and weeks plastering and losing my sanity! Thankfully I have some really good podcasts to listen to while I work, I am pretty sure I would have given up on this whole project by now if I didn’t have such interesting things to listen to while I work!

Here is the end result of the chimney wall + the new wall:

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The inner wall inside the walk-in-closet also has a bit of the chimney exposed, this bit of wall was badly damaged (not by us!) and needed some really extreme plastering, here is how it looked before:

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As you can see, it is pretty badly damaged and the top right is so damaged that the actual bricks inside the chimney are exposed! After half a bucket of plaster, it still looked quite bad and it kept cracking, so I added a layer of mesh tape to give it some structural support. I use these between each piece of plasterboard normally, otherwise they tend to show cracks after a while. I unfortunately did not do this for the first few rooms we did in the house so they have annoyingly formed a few wall cracks already, ah well, lesson learned. Anyway, here is the mesh I made:

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A few layers later, it had stopped cracking and looks okay enough:

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So now half of the room is ready for painting, other half is on hold until the window is fitted, here is a weird panorama of how the plastered side currently looks:

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Pretty good!

We had a few issues with our roof during the winter so in order to fix it we had to get a hatch fitted so the workmen could get into it, here is the hole they cut into the “loft”:

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It is a hole, but they just put some slabs of insulation over it to stop the heat escaping while it was work-in-progress. Here is the hatch completed:

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So that is where we are at currently! Time to get back to finding small things to do while we wait for the windows to be fitted!

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2 new rooms

09/03/2018 by

I was bored of doing small jobs, so I modified my plan slightly and started making the new walls upstairs!

Basically our plans for upstairs changed from the initial idea, I felt that our bedroom was too large and guest room #2 was too small, so we modified the bedroom into a hallway and spread the guest room into it slightly. The main bedroom is now smaller but I feel it is still big enough.

This is the upstairs floor plan for our original idea, the area to be modified is highlighted:

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and this is what we changed the plan to:

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So the plan is to remove part of the wall between the guest room and the main bedroom, then create new walls to separate the rooms as well as create a hallway with 2 doorways + a small closet, easy…!

So, this is how it looked before, main bedroom is to the left, guest room is to the right:

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First step was to buy 130EUR of wood, which I smartly did on the last day that we had +1c outside!

Next, I started creating the outer frame of the biggest new wall, the wall will be between the large window and small window, so the guest room will get an extra window. The guest room will be getting a completely new window as well sometime soon, that is a too big job for me to do though, so the builder will do that.

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First section complete:

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The vertical pieces of wood are very tightly placed between the floor and the ceiling, it took a lot of hammering to get them into position (and noise, our metal roof made every hammer strike seem x10 louder!). So I think they are helping support the ceiling now too, should help with the general stability of the house, hopefully!

Next I put some insulation in, not much point to it at this stage but I felt like doing it:

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Next, I made the corner wall of the main bedroom, which also passively made the hallway closet too (the left side of the pic)!

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Next thing to do was to make the wall between the guest room and the hallway and to finish up making the doorways for both rooms. This wall was a bit harder to make as it has a slightly angled section.

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So that is the walls completed! Next up is to delete the un-needed wall which was still lingering in the guest room, it looked like this before:

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This needed some careful deconstruction and also required removal of some wiring which we had not had connected to the mains yet. Here is after:

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It all went very smoothly overall, I just need to repair the new hole I made in the floor where the wall used to be and then this bit is done I think!

Feb Report

27/02/2018 by

About time for a blog I think!

I am waiting around for the builder to fit the new upstairs windows before I can do any major projects up there and waiting (since december!) for the electrician to come so I can fit the downstairs hallway floor and ceiling to finish it off. So while I wait, I am doing small random things which need doing. I did not get many “in progress” pics of these individual things, I’ve been very much in a “work mode” instead of “document every tiny thing” mode recently.

There are lots of small things which are not worth mentioning which I did not take pics of either, but some stuff was slightly interesting, like these!

First up: Our fallen apple tree was littering the garden, so I chopped that up!

Before:IMG_1084.JPGAfter:

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I did the other side too, but I was too tired and muddy to take photos 😛

Next up, I refined the archway in the kitchen a bit as it was still somehow unfinished! I did not take before pics. Previously, the corners of the archway were bare and unpainted plasterboard corners, so I covered them with corner pieces, a white one for the kitchen side and a dark one for the office side. I also fitted the skirting boards along the floor, this was kinda tricky a the skirting board in the kitchen and office are different (but the same size), so I had to transition them into each other nicely. Looks a bit odd on the photo but in reality it looks fine.

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Next jobs were fixing some of the remaining “holes” in the floors which were making it difficult to walk in certain places, remmeber it does not matter that these are ugly, we are putting nice floor on top of this stuff! First up, I put a floor in the walk-in-closet in the main bedroom. Before:
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After:

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Next was  random hole in guest room 2, before

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after:

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Next, the corner of the main bedroom where our bed will be going. Before:

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After:

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Here is what I did today, I made the wall at the back of our walk-in-closet, so now it is actually a room instead of being merged with the storage room behind it! Here is before:

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First I made a frame around the edges:

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Next, I added the vertical wood pieces:

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Next I started adding insulation:

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All done! :

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Pretty happy with the wall and was again surprised how fast you can put up a wall frame, think this took 4 hours!

That’s all for now! Hopefully the next one is a bit more dramatic! :p

2017, from a cat perspective

10/01/2018 by

Ok, so I’m not sure why (maybe I’m crazy) but I’ve been tracking things related to our cats throughout the year. Which means I can now give you a delightful (hope you’re not eating) report to analyse and enjoy.

In 2017 our cats…

  • Brought 13-15 mice into the house
    • 6 were not caught in the act
    • 2 were brought by Kasper
    • 4 were brought by Jesper + he brought three in one night, so we aren’t sure if they were three different mice or not
  • One bird brought indoors by Jesper
  • 34 ticks were in our house
    • 10 were on Kasper, of which 2 were not stuck in his skin yet
    • 24 were on Jesper, of which 16 were just crawling around in his fur

 

Personal analysis comes to the conclusion that mice and birds only get brought indoors if the weather is too horrible to enjoy the snack outside. This is supported by the fact only one bird made it indoors, hardly anything is brought inside in the summer and we have additionally seen them enjoy outdoors snacks. I also draw the conclusion that Kasper has picked up on us chasing them back out if we see them enter the house with meals (he is very smart after all).

Concerning ticks, I conclude that a) ticks are much easier to spot in Jesper’s white fur, b) they might have an easier time grabbing on to his fur than Kasper’s and c) Jesper might spend more time in places with many ticks than Kasper.

I thank you and apologize for this blog post and assure you there will be another in a year (we have already logged one mouse in this year’s calendar)!

Let’s go upstairs;)

24/11/2017 by

So, I finished fitting all of the insulated wall panels in the stairway, then I felt that since I was on a roll, I’d create the missing wall at the end of the guest room/overlooking the stairs, this is how it looked before I started:

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First thing to do was buy wood, they only come in 5m long pieces so I had to saw them manually at the DIY shop to fit them in the car as the car only fits 2.4m long in it. The guy at the store was very amused watching me sawing for an hour in the rain, lazy bastard could have helped !

Next thing to do was draw some quick plans then I got straight onto making making the basic frame. Our builder had already made a wall or two for us upstairs so I tried to emulate how he did it, this is how it ended up:

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So far, so good! The next step was putting insulation inside it :

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Then I installed the finely cut plasterboard, normal plasterboard this time, not the fancy insulated stuff we use on the outer walls.

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Then we had the first snow of the year! (26th of October, for future reference)

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Making this wall used the last of the insulation, so I had to order more, I wanted enough to do the rest of the upstairs so I ordered 12 packs or so on the DIY website since they had it on special offer! Normally I just buy 2 packs at a time physically since that’s what fits in the car.

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Also you might have noticed that our apple tree was totally wreaked the in the background of that last pic , that snow damaged it badly as well as some other trees around the garden, must have been unusually weighty snow!

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I’ve still not gotten around to clearing the tree mess, not looking forward to that! Never had to do anything like that before, there are some axes and a large tree chopping saw in the basement , left by the previous owners, I’m sure they will come in handy.

I spent the next few weeks plastering the seams of the plasterboard. Plastering is one of my least favorite things to do, it takes AGES and you feel like you are not achieving anything as after the first layer, it looks the same. I put 3 to 5 layers of plaster on these seams , each layer also needs sanding which is also really hard work and time consuming. This was the end result:

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Very smooth seams! Well I was very happy that the plastering was finished, time to put white primer paint on!

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Looks good! The horizontal seams around the stair wall will be covered with a wood strip eventually , if you wondered why that bit looks bad. Now it’s time for colour, we chose a light yellow! :

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Very happy with the result! We did not decide what to do with those ugly white doors yet, most likely just paint them since they are a bizarre size and not easily replaceable.

The next things to do are to install the floor and the ceiling, but I cannot do the ceiling until the electrician comes as wires go under (or over?) it. So while I’m waiting for him to come, I’ll start the major work upstairs!

I used up our supply of insulated plasterboard on the stairs, so I ordered more:

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I started with the corned of the main bedroom, installing the insulated plasterboard vertically, it took a long to to install just 1 piece as I had to make a new wood frame in the wall as, as usual, the wall wood beams are randomly placed instead of being 60cm apart like any modern building.

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I decided this is probably not the best way to do this wall, it is very low (90cm) as it’s at the edge of the roof. The instructions of the insulated plasterboard claim that installing them horizontal is fine, this would avoid me having to make the wood frame inside the wall for each small piece too, so I did just that:

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I then did the same to the opposite wall (guest room).

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Seems to work fine so far, next week I’ll continue horizontally along both walls.

That’s all for now!

Hallway/Stairway progress.

29/09/2017 by

Oh, it is me! Well, we did not do much house stuff over the summer as we had guests here at various points and I needed a break, but since they left, it was time to continue! Next “room” to do is the main hallway and stairway as they are connected. We have also completed the office and the living room by the way, but they have not had blog entries…yet.

To give some context, here are some pics from both ends of the downstairs hallway from a few weeks ago:

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M has already posted blogs about the start of the process, I just wanted to add a few extras.

Our house is primarily heated by a high tech heat pump these days, I had no idea that these even existed until we got one. It is pretty much an air-conditioning unit which takes heat from outside and puts it inside, then in summer you can “reverse” it and tell it to put heat from inside and put it outside, to keep you cool. It is pretty magic, it somehow even manages to find heat in the outdoor air when it is -25C outside! There is no heating element inside it what-so-ever, so it is really quite cheap to run compared to the other options, it uses about 1kW when under full load, which is not very common to happen except in winter.

ANYWAY I am sure that was boring. The indoor part of the heat pump has lots of pipes and wires which go along our wall and then outside to the outdoor part of the heat pump. We did not really want them on the outside of the wall like they currently are (you can see them on the first pic, those white pipes) so I had to find a creative solution to hiding them in the new walling, this was the result:

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I cut a small channel in the insulation part of the walling for the pipe to go in, it seems tidy and works well enough. It was really tricky to get the bottom pipe positioned correctly, the bottom pipe is a drain pipe for when the heat pump is on dehumidify or cooling mode as they make condensation on the indoor unit and that water needs to go somewhere. If the pipe is not heading downwards slightly, the water will just leak out of the bottom of the indoor unit instead of going outside! We had this problem during the summer as I was not aware of the drain pipe not being positioned properly.

You might (but probably not) have noticed, we are putting the insulated plasterboard directly on the old wood of the house in this area, in every other room we have taken the old wood out and the old insulation behind it and updated it with newer high tech materials. The reason we have left the old wood and insulation in these walls is that the stairs are actually built into the wood planks you see on the wall, if we removed them, we would need to remove the stairs too. That is not something we wanted to do, it is a lot of work and we like the current stairs anyway. The insulated plasterboard is a very good insulation material though, so it should be fine just doing it like this in this one area.

So anyway, I finished plasterboarding the hallway and put the first layer of plaster in the seams between each piece:

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This all went great, but…the stairs wall is the same wall as the upstairs hallway wall, and unfortunately the insulated plasterboard needs to be installed from right to left, so I had to head upstairs and start working on the hallway and balcony up there! This is after I put the first 2 pieces in (I forgot to take a “before” pic)!

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There were a few days missing from before the above pic, I had to remove a doorway and a wall to the left of the door, this used to be some kind of closet thing for the upstairs apartment, we are turning it into a indoor balcony area. As there was a doorway here,  the floor is a bit higher than the rest of the hallway floor, so I wanted to lower the balcony floor as I don’t feel having a “step” on a balcony is very safe:

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This involved chopping about 2cm from those long pieces of wood, to match the height of the floor in the hallway, I also added more of the wood chip insulation as it was not very full as you can see.

Here is how this area looks today:

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This is as much wall as I can put up without buying a new ladder, our current ladder is not tall or safe enough to reach the wall at the stop of the stairway area, I’ll probably have to go shopping for one next week so I can continue! Less interestingly (and again, no before pic), I fixed the wall to the left of the stairway window as it had a hole in it and was not suitable for putting the insulated plasterboard on, it is now matching the rest of old walling.

I did a lot of smaller work on the stair area to stop the cold air coming in from the basement as well as some work upstairs with the remaining un-insulated wall. It has made a really big difference, the house feels nice and warm currently and the draught I could ALWAYS feel before is not really there any more, the heat pump is also definitely working much less hard than before to keep the house at the 23C we are requesting, perhaps this winter we will have a warm house, we will see, soon!

Now time to relax for the weekend, phew!

Getting there

12/09/2017 by

Time flies and I’ve forgotten to post updates. Without much further ado:


Having a light wall really makes a difference on the overall brightness of the space!

Entranced by change 

01/09/2017 by

(I swear I’m gonna run out of puns soon)

Again, didn’t have time to take pictures before choir duty on Wednesday and yesterday we went to Turku. 

Next step (pun intended) required some precisely shaped plasterboard. We made a template from a paper roll to make sure it would be a good fit. 

And it was!


Just one small section of wall left and this corner will be done. 


Today we finally bought a replacement handle for our sauna door. Metal handle in a place that easily gets 100 degrees is a bad idea and a replacement has been on my mind for a long time. So we bought a wood knob and a roller latch. 



T is working on it right now so the after pic will have to wait until next time. 

Happy weekend!

Making an entrance

29/08/2017 by

I didn’t have time to take a picture of our progress before going to choir practice yesterday and of course when I got back it was dark. 


Today’s progress isn’t very visible since it was mostly more framework but I assure you, a lot was done. The floor temperature has already gone up by 4 degrees (but T pointed out it might be a warmer day to begin with). 

Project Entrance

17/08/2017 by

Fast forward a year or so, and we have more or less finished our living room (just need to get the plugs and light switch installed by the electrician). 

Now it’s time to get this entrance up and running. Let’s see how well I manage to keep updates going. 

Today we ripped off the last of the wallpaper and tried getting out all the annoying small nails. 

So here’s where we are today (with an ever so small sneak peak into our living room in the background):