‘T Is the season again. The season for best wishes and thinking about the coming year. The moment we think about resolutions.
It was also this period we first took a look at the pile of bricks we now lovingly call our home. I can’t believe it has been four years since that happened already. Time for a look back.
We got the keys to our home beginning of April. The very first thing we had to organize was a weekend of cleaning, as the previous owner didn’t clean it out. In Belgium, when you purchase a house the previous owner must make sure it’s empty when they hand over the keys or you are legally entitled to get all the costs you have to make back. As the previous owner is also our new neighbour, we didn’t make a fuss out of it and got our family to help out on a Saturday, which was enough to get the house empty. Some stuff we kept, most of it we got rid of though.
Another thing we got rid of was all the wallpaper on the first floor. Once gone we put up a cheap layer of white paint, so we didn’t have to look at the very bare walls at least. Finally we also removed the age old carpet and the glue underneath it.
At the same time we also had the heating system tackled, moving from oil to gas.
While the street was renewed, we had our front lawn converted to driveway, so we now had space for our two cars. Our neighbour wanted this too, as he now didn’t have space for his car any longer.
The very first big project we tackled was our bathroom. Gutting it, planning and getting it all back together (and some more), it took its time. I can safely say that once we were done moving in and making the essential changes, 2012 was the year of the bathroom.
For a couple months we managed to do exactly nothing in the house, until the beginning of June when we started the demolition of our old kitchen so we could remove the old floor in our kitchen, storage and entry (with a little help from my friends). In the kitchen we also got rid of the ceiling, with not one but two surprises hiding behind it.
One of the surprises behind the kitchen ceiling was a beam that needed a piece welded to it. Once done we could finally tear down that pesky little wall underneath it, finish all plumbing on the ground floor and get concrete over it.
Window guy made his appearance, replacing all windows (except the front and back door).
After a little time off in “Dolce Italia” we threw the hammer into our second floor, quite literally. We gutted it completely, which actually wasn’t that hard as all the inner walls were only timber.
Somewhere in between all the misery with Roof guy Chrisje and I got married (now there’s something new for you!). It’s also around this period I started this blog (has that been two years already too? Damn, I’m doing something wrong…).
While Roof guy kept making mistake after mistake, I did all electrics and plumbing that needed to be done on the concrete. I had a tight deadline, as I wanted spray insulation above them but a government premium for it was ending that year. I managed to get it ready and sprayed by the second week of December, mission accomplished!
2013 will be known as the year of big projects that didn’t quite finalize in it…
We kicked of 2014 by having the floors in kitchen, entry and storage installed.
Then I could further advance in the kitchen. Insulation in the roof, prepare and plaster against the walls, drywall against the wall and the ceiling and we have a room we can do something with. Some paint was all that was still needed before we could start installing the cupboards and all appliances. Roughly a year after we took down the old kitchen we had a new one!
We did take a month off for our honeymoon: touring the west of the United States. What an experience, I really want to do it over one day.
By now Roof guy hadn’t been seen in months, so we had to finish our roof ourselves, taking an extra couple thousand euro in loss. That case is as of today still being investigated by the authorities…
It might be stretching it a bit, but let’s agree we’ll call 2014 the year of the kitchen.
This year we started creating our living room. Quite a lot of electrics to be done before we got drywall up against the ceiling, and painted it. We had our floor done (which I regret to be honest), a fireplace installed and a cupboard (which I still have to write about). We hung new wallpaper and refinished the radiators. We finished off by installing the outlets and hanging the lights. After three years of living mostly in our bedroom, we could finally start living in our house more or less as normal people!
Some projects that haven’t been written about yet: half of the entry has been tackled so we could start using that as well, now that we had a functional kitchen. With all that done nearly everything we had planned for the ground floor was finished, so we started on the first floor: first by getting it empty (and moving our bedroom to the second floor), then by (you guessed it) stripping it all: ceiling, electrics, …
I also lost a couple weekends helping my dad out with a water intrusion problem they had. Since that was outside, it took priority whenever the weather allowed for it.
If you had to take a guess, you’d probably call 2015 the year of the living room. I concur.
So what’s to come? That first floor will be the first project next year. By the time summer comes this should be finished. After that, we’ll start the second floor renovation: turning that big empty space into some bedrooms and more. What will happen then will depend on funding, so nothing is fixed yet. We’ll see.
We’ve done a lot already, but there’s still a lot to do as well. I believe it’ll take at least another two years to finish the house completely, if not more, and then we still have that garden and driveway… I won’t be bored anytime soon!