Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stairway to... Somewhere

So, we got the stairs!

That brown and orange stuff is just for protection so we won't damage the stairs while we are still building. The actual color is grey. It's the same color we have in rest of our floors. 

Alongside the stairs, we got railings:

The shape of the pillars mirror the shape of the bigger pillars in the kitchen. The color ,arches the color of our walls. It looks really nifty!

Other room that has progressed a lot, is our utility-room. We have almost finished installing the cabinets there:

We still need to hide the legs of the cabinets, Install the sink and the lighting (those are done by others) and sort out few errors in the shipment (one of the cabinets was wrong, and we got an extra unwanted cabinet), but other than that, it looks pretty good!

I couldn't get proper pictures of our bedroom in my last post, because the floor was freshly painted. But now I have few extra pictures:
And the living-room and the guest-bedroom:

That's it for today. Plan is that we will move in to the bedroom one week from today. As a bonus, here's a detail from our utility-room:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paint it, grey

Ok, some geekery first: this blog-posts done entirely with an iPad, using blogging-app Blogsy. Let's hope everything goes well. 

So, what's going on? Lots. We are getting there. With little luck, we should be able to move in in a bit over week! There's a lot to do, still, but the place is becoming livable. Which you wouldn't believe by looking at it right now. 

Tomorrow we get our new stairs. Right now the stairwell looks like this:
We carried our utility-room cupboards through that. Yeah, it was difficult... But that will change tomorrow!

What else... We have worked on the exposed timber-surfaces. We can't leave them as they are, since it would be difficult to keep them clean. So we applied a reddish-brownish lacquer-surface on 'em:
To compare to the original color:
I can hear you thinking: "what's the deal with that un-lacquered square area?". It contains text written by previous owners of the house, from long ago: "Wirtanen omistaa talon", "Wirtanen owns the house". We'll be putting frames around it. 

We have also installed woodwork on the floor, and it has been painted in the bedroom (two layers) living-room and guest-bedroom (one layer so far). Bedroom looks like this:

Here's the difference between the painted and unpainted floor:
We will be having the same color across all wood-floors. It looks really good! It's a classic color often found in old houses. So we have three main colors in the place: grey floors, pure white walls and brownish-reddish timber-surfaces. We tried some other solutions for the floor, but they were not satisfactory. So we ended up painting them. 

So the bedroom is almost done. Electrician still needs to install electric-work there, and there are some finishing touches to be done. But the room will be livable. Our plan is to move in as soon as possible. 

I guess that's it for now. Here's a bonus-picture of Fasu the Cat:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Long and winding road

No pictures this time, just general musings about The Project.

It's been.... crazy and nerve-wrecking. Original timetable said that we would be more or less finished 3 months ago. But here we are, still unfinished. And there as been more delays as we get closer to the finish. We were supposed to get our new stairs in 2-3 weeks, but we were told yesterday that we will get the in December. Hopefully in the first half of December. So that delays our moving-time, since we obviously can't move to a second-floor home that has no stairs to it.

The good news is that the renovation-company is almost done. There's still few walls to paint, and they are out of there. After that it's just finishing the surfaces, finalizing the electric-work (that can't be done before we finish painting the walls and receive the cupboards in the utility-room) and the like. Some things will be postponed in to indefinite future. Things like balcony (hopefully next summer), heat-pumps (hopefully next fall), fireplaces (god knows when. Assuming we can get them at all) and kitchen (ASAP). reason being that we are way over budget, and I need to focus on things that are absolutely essential.

So, am I disappointed? No, not really. Of course I'm annoyed by the extra expenses, and I wish we could get more finished. But looking at the place, I can't really be all that disappointed. It's shaping up to be a really great home, and I can take joy from the fact that it's going to get even better in the future.

So why are we over budget and behind schedule? Basically, this is a old house with history (during Winter War a Russian bomb fell close to the house, seriously damaging it) we are dealing with. Had this been a "normal" house things would have been a lot smoother. But this place was about 20cm crooked, and it took a lot of time (and money) to straighten it. Oh well.

I still laugh at articles telling of "easy kitchen renovation!", or how modern homes are built like huge jigsaw-puzzles: just snap few parts together and move in. Takes few days. Our project is a polar opposite of that. We are now on day 311.

The funny thing is that we haven't really had any horror-stories to tell. You always hear stories of crappy workers, moisture-issues, accidents and the like. We have had nothing like that. Our workers have been top-notch, we didn't run in to any negative surprises (apart from the fact how crooked the place was) or anything like that. Things have been really smooth, all in all. Slower than anticipated, yes, but smooth.

But yeah, I'm quite tired.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Almost there...

It's been a bit over a month since I last blogged. Back then the bathrooms were taking shape, and we had started installing panels on the ceiling. So, what has changed in the last month or so? Plenty.

The bathrooms

Almost there  386

Yes, we have installed panels in our bathrooms! And the tiles have been installed as well! Only thing missing is the showers, sinks and finishing the electric work. So basically, they are almost done!

Here's where our main shower (Hansgrohe Raindance showerpipe with 24cm showerhead) will be located:

Almost there  380

View towards rest of the bathroom from same location:

Almost there  387

Our guest-bathroom is also tiled and paneled (spelling?):

Almost there  385


Utility-room is almost done as well:

Almost there  383

Almost there  384

Almost there  382

We are still missing shelved and closets, but the will be delivered in 4 weeks. Then it's really DONE!

What about rest of the place? Well, regarding the paneling (that we had just started last time):

Almost there  378

That's our dining-room. Our living-room and bedroom are paneled as well. Only rooms that are left is the kitchen and the area around the staircase. So paneling is about 70% done. So what does kitchen and the staircase look like?


Almost there  379

So we have floors, insulation is 100% and those little walls have been dismantled. Only thing left is dismantling the old staircase, and installing the new one. Once that is done, the renovation-company is DONE! That's about 1+ weeks of work! It looks like totally unfinished, but we are really getting there!

There is one extra thing for them to do though. I asked for their help in painting some of the bigger timber-walls. But those should be relatively easy tasks.

Here's a bonus-picture from sunday-morning, taken through the kitchen-window downstairs:

Almost there  381

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I mentioned in my previous blog-post that bathroom has been one of the focus-areas recently. And a lot has been accomplished:

Bathroom  378

(I hate to think how much blood, sweat and tears the tiler had to shed to get those diagonally cut tiles on a wall with an angled ceiling…)

Bathroom  381Bathroom  379

The bathroom is still missing the floor-tiles and the panels on the ceiling, as well as seams. But it's definitely taking shape. For reference, this was our starting-point:

Bathroom  382

Related to the bathroom, is the room next to it, our utility-room. It currently looks like this:

Bathroom  380

It too will be receiving tiles in the near future.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Taking shape...

A lot has happened with the project. We have received the panels, and they are quickly being installed:

IMG 8598

IMG 8600

IMG 8610

Yeah, they are looking good! And those panels really underline the height of the rooms! In a perfect world we should have put those panels up a bit later, after we had painted the walls. But we have to install them ASAP, since we do not have much storage-space for them and there's a lot of them.

In the last picture you can see how the horizontal beam looks crooked. That's because it is. We could have tried to hide it somehow, but it would have been extra work. And we decided not to. This is an old building, and we don't have to, nor do we want to, hide that fact.

Other focus-area in recent days has been our balcony. The frame is now finished, but we will probably finish it next spring, in order to save our resources (read: money) for more urgent and important things. Besides, if we did it this year, we would be finishing the balcony in november or so, not exactly the hot balcony season of the year… But it does look quite impressive, and big:

IMG 8609

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Yeah, those beams are quite massive. But they need to carry the weight of the entire balcony. And they are well anchored on the ground:

IMG 8616

There's a third focus area as well, our bathroom. I could post some pictures of it, but they are already obsolete. I will be taking new pictures soon, and make a separate blog-post about it.

What else… The installation of the floor has been started as well, initially using the old 120 year old floorboards:

Taking shape  384

We will sandpaper and paint them grey, so that is not our finished floor. We have old floorboards for about 40m2, rest will have to be new.

Well, that's it for now :)!

Monday, August 8, 2011

We have rchooms!

No, not "rooms", but something like them:

View froom our kitchen towards our utility-room, WC and bathroom:

Rchooms  379
View from our "tv-room" towards our second bathroom/WC:
Rchooms  381
View from our tv-room (from where our couch will be, as a matter of fact) towards our study/guest bedroom:Rchooms  380

In one week we got the frames for the walls and electricity-work. This means that we now have outlines of our rooms that we can actually walk in to. We have doorways and we can see what the rooms will actually be like, as opposed to having to imagine that "the wall will be somewhere around here....". The visible changes in the site have been absolutely huge, and in only one week!

So, what's happening now? This week they will be installing plumbing and other pipework, as well as finishing the floors in some areas. We are planning to more or less finish the work in our study (minus paneling, since panels will not arrive in few more weeks). It's the simplest of the rooms, so we can use it to double-check what our color-choices look like. And once it's finished, we can move some our stuff there. After that, 11 m2 finished, 139 m2 to go. Tiny steps people, tiny steps. But after that we should get additional 30+ m2 done relatively quickly. Of course we might still be missing some finishing touches, but we would be getting there.

Since we now know where the walls will be, we got clearer idea about some things: we are re-thinking our kitchen. The original wasn't all that convenient, especially if we have our dining-table in the middle of the room. So we are thinking of moving the dining-table to the next room, and re-arranging the kitchen a bit. Instead of having the kitchen spread on opposite walls, we will be having a kitchen island with oven, stove, tablespace and storage-space. Fridge, dishwasher, washbasin and more cupboards will still be next to the walls, but the overall desigh of the kitchen will be more convenient and natural.

It has been a while since I last blogged, and now it seems that things are happening so fast that I can't keep up. I visited the site few days after those pictures were taken, and in that time they had installed half of the plumbing! Next week they will apparently actually close up the walls, so we will then have actual rooms, with actual walls. How about that?!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

There's a hole in my wall!

Actually, there are several. Since last update, five new holes have appeared. Three of them are doorways, and two are dismantled walls. Remember this:

IMG 7640


It now looks like this:


IMG 8510


That's right, there's a new doorway. And there's an identical doorway on the opposite wall. Which means that we have an unobstructed view from one end of our home to the other:


IMG 8520


That's a view from our "tv-room" through our living-room to our bedroom (where Mrs. is standing). You can also see the dismantled floors. The builders have finished insulating the floors, and they are now straightening them. We are considering our options when it comes to additional sound-proofing. My plan is to pump 20cm of sand in the floor, that sound insulate noise quite well. But we are still thinking about this.

This picture also gives you an idea for our heating-arrangements. There will be a heatpump above the Mrs., and there will be a second one in the opposite wall (where the picture is taken). This means that we can pump warm air (or cold air in the summer) thorough the house. Only rooms not directly heated in this way are the kitchen, the bathrooms and the study. This is a very efficient way of heating the house, and it's made even more efficient by the fireplaces at the opposite ends of the home.

Other new "holes" are here:

IMG 8524

This is picture towards our "tv-room" (to the left) and study/spare bedroom (to the right). The picture with the Mrs. above is taken from behind the smokestack. The rightmost hole is dismantled wall in the study, which gives nice additional space for that room. The new wall (built from re-used timber from those dismantled walls) will be behind the smokestack, in front of the window in the middle. The hole between the old timber wall and the smokestack is the doorway to the study. You can also see the other dismantled timber-wall, to the right of the smokestack.

Things are moving very fast now, after slow progress for several months. I was quite pessimistic in april/may, since things were progressing very slowly, but I'm very optimistic and enthusiastic now! We might actually be able to pull this off! Who knows, maybe we'll be able to move in in about two months or so. No, the place will not be finished then, but we might have a finished bedroom and bathroom, and that's enough for us.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Oh, just to let you know...

I haven't updated in a long time. Reason being that the work has been dragging along. Workers have been straightening and insulating the ceiling and the walls, and they were very crooked indeed. It took quite a bit longer than anticipated, and there wasn't much to report during that tume. It's done now, so I will be able to make more updates in the future, when there's tangible changes taking place. They should be vacuuming old insulation under the floor as we speak.

The colours I mentioned in the previous entry? Forget them. We decided to re-do them. Floor will have this color:

That color is very classical grey, and it should look beautiful :).

The walls will be purer white, but I can't recall the exact shade at the moment. I _think_ it was this one:

But I'm not 100% sure, I need to check my notes later.

We spent quite some time painting samples (the actual material we have in our home) and comparing them to each other before we decided on these. It was hard, but now it's done.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A whiter shade of pale

It's been a while since last update, so what has happened? Well, first layer of insulation is almost done. There are still few spots left. Crew will install second layer of insulation on the ceiling, but then it's done. After that we will dismantle whats remaining of the floor, and suck out all the old insulation (sand and moss) there. Then the eletrician can start pulling cables, and the plumber can start planning for the pipes, while rest of the crew is busy building walls. So everything is going according to the plan.

What Mrs. and I have been doing is picking up colors. If I had to pick the overall colors of the interior, it would be "white". But picking up the right shade of white is VERY difficult. Especially when you are combining it with a grey floor. Picking up correct shade of grey is very difficult as well. We thought we had it nailed, but then we noticed that the color of the walls have a profound effect on what the floor will look like, and vice versa. So we can't choose them individually, we have to choose them together. And everything influences everything else.

Right now our choice for the floor is a shade called "Bungalow" (I have no idea where they came up with that name):

At least on my screen it looks slightly bluish, but in the paint-store (with more accurate samples), it looks a bit more grey. And when you add it to our choices of walls, it looks even less grey. Why grey? Well, pale grey is a traditional color of old wood floors at least in Finland, and we wanted something traditional. Brown is not suitable, since we want to maximize the amount of light.

Speaking of walls, we currently have two choices:

One of them is more a pure white (although on my screen it looks bluish, YMMV), while the other has slight yellowish tint to it. So we need to decide between colder and warmer shade.

I will be buying all three paints today, and I will be doing some test-painting, just so see what they look in reality, and how they play together. Who would have guessed that picking up white paint could be so damn difficult??

Saturday, March 12, 2011


So it has been over a month since I last updated the blog. The reason is twofold.

1. The temperatures dropped so low in Finland that the project was frozen (literally!) for almost two weeks.

2. The work going on hasn't been that tangible, apart from few exception (which I'll talk about below).

What do I mean "non-tangible" work? Well, I could see the changes every day, so it's not like things have not been progressing. But the work has been insulation, so the changes have been that more and more of the apartment has been insulated. It's not that interesting to report that "almost half of the ceiling is insulated. Now it's a bit over half, now it's almost done...".

The ceiling has now received it's first layer of insulation (70mm of polyurethane), and the workers are now preparing to insulate the walls. In the future the ceiling will receive additional 50mm layer of polyurethane.

One thing that happened is that the plaster came down on one of the chimneys as the workers were working around it:

The bricks look nice, but red isn't really suitable color, so we will be whitening them at some point. But we will leave the bricks themselves visible, so we will not hide them under a layer of plaster.

Workers have also worked on the timber-walls, most notable making a doorway in one that will lead to our shower in the master bathroom, and they have made a huge hole in another wall, that will house our bed. This picture is taken from the forementioned doorway in our master bathroom, showing our bedroom with the area for our bed:

Well, that's it for now :).