The plan: new furniture

As mentioned earlier, our big effort this year is to upgrade our furniture.  The previous owners of the house left behind everything, which has served us well since we owned very little furniture when we bought the house. But none of it is our style and all of it is cheap. Now that we’ve finished renovating it’s time to get the furniture up to par with the rest of the house. We made the first big step in this direction when we replaced the sofa. So, what else needs replacing?

The coffee table, which is not only the wrong kind of wood for our decor but also has broken slats:

The end table, which is too pale and frankly is a clutter / wire magnet:

The cafe table and chairs which currently serve as our dining room table. The wrong wood, the wrong size, and a tendency for screws to just drop out of the chairs make these a no-go:

The Ikea rocking chair which serves Grimbil as his video gaming chair. It just doesn’t have any style:

The dressers, which are again the wrong wood but also not quite the right size or style for our bedroom:

The bedside tables in our room are again the wrong wood for our bedroom, but they’ll work just fine in the guest bedroom. So we need new bedside tables for the master bedroom. There is also a bookshelf in the living room which is not only the wrong wood but is boring. I’d like something that has a variety of shelf heights.  We also need lamps for all of the beside tables, and a more attractive lamp in the living room.

Needless to say, Grimbil’s eBay account will be quite active this year as we offload the old stuff!

3 years of home ownership

Grimbil as a new home owner, 3 years ago

January marks our 3-year anniversary of owning Old Glory. We’ve come a long way. We’ve knocked down every wall except the external walls, and even some of those went under the hammer. So let’s look at our original plan when we bought the house versus what we’ve actually done:

  • Extension out the back (off the living room)  Done!
  • Knock down all the internal walls on the ground floor to make an open plan kitchen / dining room/ living room Done!
  • New kitchen Done!
  • New bathroom, including knocking down the wall between the water closet and the bath Done!
  • Knock down the wall between the two tiny bedrooms to make one nice bedroom Done!
  • Facelift for the closets Done!
  • Makeover the foyer, getting rid of the ugly glass between it and the living room, and converting the outside storage area to a closet for the foyer.  Done!
  • Move all the meters outside — we were able to move the gas meter outside but not the electric
  • Move the boiler to the kitchen — it’s in the foyer, but it works well there
  • New floors (with underfloor heating!) Done!
  • New paint in all the rooms, maybe exposed brick on the wall with the stairs.  — no exposed brick, but the new paint is Done!
  • Facelift for the incredibly cheap looking staircase Done!
  • Facelift for the facade — we got rid of the plastic below the kitchen windows, but we still want to render and paint the brick
  • New fences in the back garden (both for cosmetic and dog-proofing reasons) Done!
  • Replacing the crazy paving in the back garden with grass Done!
  • Landscape the front garden — that’s  the last big project for 2013
  • Move the loft/attic access to somewhere safer than the top of the stairs (wtf were they thinking?) — We didn’t move it far but do have a much safer hatch and ladder that are easy to access
  • Rewire the electrics Done!
  • Cat5 cable everywhere! And a networking closet somewhere Done! And with even better Cat 6 cable
  • Do something about the water quality in the bathroom (green stains in the sink? ew) — Not neccessary
  • Additional insulation in the loft and the walls — we still plan to add insulation in the loft, but not in the walls
  • Solar power — maybe after the insulation
  • Convert the loft to either a master suite or a man-cave (this one isn’t a definite yet) — this one is definitely not happening. We need the loft for storage more than we need more bedrooms.

Not bad!


We’re baaaaack!

We dropped off the face of the internet for a while, due to vacations and holidays and work and general laziness. But now we’re back! This past Christmas and New Year’s we visited family in the Pacific northwest, and seeing how well decorated their homes were has inspired us to make one last push. We’ve declared 2013 the year of new furniture. Good-bye Ikea left overs from the previous owners, hello furniture that actually reflects our taste.  After all, what’s the use of knocking down and re-doing every wall in your house if the furniture looks like student housing left overs?

The furniture that came with the house

 So for the foreseeable future we’ll be blogging about our evolving interior design.  And of course, Otto will make appearances as well.

The plan for the stairs

Changing the layout for our stairs is a key component to our renovations. By having the stairs wind at the top we’ll be able to convert about 6 sq meters / 66 sq feet of what used to be hallway into part of the bathroom. That sounds like a lot!

And since we have to change the layout of the stairs, we get to redo the stairs entirely.  Say goodbye to this:


And hello to something like this:

Palo Alto Residence contemporary hall

We met with a stair designer and he can definitely do a wooden bannister with metal spindles like in the picture above.  The idea is to have the bannister and steps in a wood that goes well with our iroko countertops (although actual iroko stairs are a bit out of our price range). I’m on the hunt for a runner that works nicely with the warm wood of the steps and the gray concrete of our floors; the nice simple gray runner above looks pretty good.

The only bit we aren’t sure of is whether we can have the edges of the steps visible (open string), or if we have to still have a stair string like that big white 2 x 4 that runs along the side of our current stairs. We’re hoping we can get an open string; I like the nice clean profile of the wood against the white.

All in all, we’re sticking pretty closely to our original plan for the stairs from two years ago!



The plan for the bathroom

Our renovations will be starting on Monday, March 5th. Only a little over a week away!

As part of the redo, the current bathroom will be ripped out and we’ll be starting from scratch for a completely new look. We’ve been mulling over designs and fixtures and tiles and I think we’re in pretty good shape.

Just to remind you, this is what our current bathroom looks like:


Here is what we have figured out so far:

    • The sink, which we have already bought. I love the rectangular basin (which you can’t really see in the pic) and the big drawers. Yay for storage!
    • Gray tile for the walls and floor.
    • A blue/ green accent tile for the wall with the sink.
    • White fixtures, which will hopefully pop nicely against the gray.
    • 150 x 90 cm walk-in shower with a rain shower head coming out of the ceiling.
    • Niche with shelves on the short end of the shower lined with the blue/green accent tile. Kinda like this one:
Remodel San Francisco contemporary bathroom
    • Shelves over the toilet for extra storage, in a dark wood to match the sink. Like these, but minus the lights
Sophisticated Contemporary contemporary kitchen
  • Heated towel rack and underfloor. I’m sick of having a bathroom with no heating.

We are still shopping for the rest of the fixtures, but I think we nearly have the tiles sorted. We are thinking the 60 x30 cm tile on the right for the floors and walls.  Yes, it’s dark, but our fixtures will be white and we have a big window in the bathroom to help lighten up the space.


And one of these options as the accent tile.  The gray in both pictures is a sample of the gray tile above.

Option 1


Option 2