Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

2 new rooms


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:


and this is what we changed the plan to:


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:


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.


First section complete:


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:


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


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.


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:


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:


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


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!



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.



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:



Next was  random hole in guest room 2, before




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




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:


First I made a frame around the edges:


Next, I added the vertical wood pieces:


Next I started adding insulation:


All done! :


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


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;)


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:



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:


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


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


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


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.


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!


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:


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


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! :



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:


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.


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:


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


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

That’s all for now!

Hallway/Stairway progress.


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:



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:



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:



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)!


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:


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:


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!

Kitchen blog


It all started a year ago!

So, where did I stop on the last blog post, ah yes, I had just finished fitting the kitchen floor.

Next step, make the kitchen! Lets turn this pile of IKEA boxes into something resembling a kitchen!


It begins…:


The next step was to attach it to the wall. The current IKEA kitchen system uses a funky “rail” system, where cabinets just hook onto them. This took quite a bit of work to get right as it needs to be straight and it needs to be attached to the wood BEHIND the wall in order to be secure enough. Normally this would be easy, as you’d mark where the wood is behind the wall, before you put up the front of the wall. But, we forgot to do that, so I had to guess where the wood was by just drilling holes every few centimitres to find them, time consuming and messy, but it worked, and the useless holes got covered by the rail anyway so nobody will ever see them.


The wall the rails are attached to are not exactly angled at 90 degrees, but in order to secure the corner cabinets, you must ensure the rail is at 90 degrees even if the wall is not. IKEA simply recommends to put wood behind the rail where needed, to get the angle to 90 degrees, so it ended up looking like this:


So, with the rails now up (on both sides of the room, I skip blogging about he other side as it was just the same process)  , we can fast forward a bit.




Making IKEA stuff gets pretty boring when you are making this many of them at once, so I found a nice slot to fit a laptop so I could watch entertainment while I worked!:

Next step was to fit the bottom rails for the lower cabinets, this was much easier since I now knew where the wood behind the walls was .



Lower left cabinets fitted! Also I mounted the extractor fan (top right), that was a really tricky one as you really NEEDED 2 people to do it, but I managed alone by making my own alternative instructions, phew!

Next step: Cut the kitchen counter to the right size and fit it!


Kitchen counters are seriously heavy and since they are so long, very hard to manuever around the place! Really really really difficult bit. The sawing was difficult too because the wall is not 90 degrees as I already mentioned, so it needed a lot of small cuts to get it to sit tightly in the corner.

Time to assemble and fit the drawers and the sliding systems they use.


IKEA drawers and cabinet doors don’t come with handles or holes premade, so you have to do it yourself:

Doors and handles everywhere!


Next I did the lower cabinets on the right side, and fitted the dishwasher since it needs to go in quite early in the process otherwise you don’t have much room for fitting the pipes and power cables:


I unfortunately did not get many photos of the countertop fitting on the right side. It needed extra holes cutting into it for the sink and cooker to fit into.




We decided to try and do the “backsplash” tiles ourselves, think it turned out pretty ok, but not perfect! You can see the hole for the cooker too on this pic.


We did lots of (mostly) smaller things which I did not get photos of after this, but none of it was super interesting anyway.

So this is how it looked when we moved in:


and here how it looks now, 90% finished.


That is all for this blog. “green room” update blog should be posted in the next few days!



This week we finally got our shots against the incurable disease the ticks carry. As a result we’ve both had extremely sore left arms for a couple of days. But we have managed to almost finish plastering the seams in the kitchen. Sanding them down to be all nice and smooth is quite hard work. 

But enough about that. Here are some awesomely summery pictures from our garden, where I’m sat in the sun waiting for the barbecue to start. 

Rumour has it


We have a working toilet, and I can confirm, it is true!

Yesterday since about 1600, I was gladly announcing that I was going to the toilet – because I can!! Cheering and waving my hands every occasion. Thankfully it didn’t stick and I am able to go normally now, without celebration. 

So today I worked on getting our mirror up, I did most of it on my own (I love IKEA – Lego for grown ups), and T was busy trying to plaster the seams in the kitchen. He will continue tomorrow I think. 

Well, here it is in all its glory, currently the finest room in this house (despite missing light and a working tap)!

On a side note, I cut my fringe yesterday and now I look 15 again…

Jesper was enjoying the view from the kitchen window today. He is such a little hero, he got badly beaten by Bully yesterday. Now I know the feeling of spray on my face when a cat comes in with a bleeding ear and decides to give it a shake…

But nothing ever breaks his spirits!

The adventures of Little Guy


We had just had dinner and I was kicking it back in bed with Jesper when I heard these strange squeaking noises from outside. Jesper of course heard it too and zoomed out, only to return shortly with a mouse in his mouth. Ugh not this again. Well we were kinda prepared and I quickly got the box which we carried the previous mouse out in. I picked it up with the jumper and realised soon that this is not a grown mouse. Not soon after Kasper tried to bring one in as well, but he turned around. I’m pretty sure there must have been a nest right outside our window. Anyways, this poor little mouse in my hand seemed really on the edge of death and I was really dreading having to break its neck or whatever, but it was quite alive indeed once it received a proper poke! So I sat down on the porch trying to decide what to do. 

T retrieved a box for screws filled with toilet paper so we would have somewhere to keep it while we tried to figure out this mess. Google told us this mouse was probably around two weeks old. 

Soon I decided that the only option  I’d be satisfied with was to take our little friend on a car ride and release him in the forest, farther away from houses and gardens with cats. Of course, there’s a good chance something else will eat it, but at least we haven’t actively fed it to anything. 

As soon as I opened the box when we got out of the car, he became very lively, which I thought was a good sign. A couple of times he tried to skitter towards me so I helped him in the right direction and soon he was scattering out of sight into the underbush. 

Goodbye little guy!

Long live the Queen


Maybe I’ll edit in some comments at some point but for now this is all you get!