Sep 28, 2012

One more night

So, this is it. We are moving in tomorrow. Pekka finished up the master bedroom floor, the tiling in upstairs bathroom is done, and the apartment is organized and cleaned in a sufficient degree, so that the rest of our stuff will fit in. Needless to say the project will go on for a long, long time before even close being ready, but at the moment it is just fantastic to finally live in one address and not need to commute between the old and new. 

Finished master bedroom
Now, must sleep and gather our strength. We should be able to survive and succeed tomorrow with some help from our strong and able friends, who were lured in to help with the move with some beer and pizza. Looking forward to the days in the home with the olive green window!

Odds and ends

Minus two to moving day, things are getting a bit hectic. No, the home behind the olive green window is not going to be 100% ready on Saturday when we move in, but it will be livable. There are a million little functional details we want to finish up in time, so we are trying to use up the time left as efficiently as possible. Therefore, for the same reason we must apologize the possible erratic tone of the final entries before the move in.

Today we were working on several different things again. Pekka was finishing up the master bedroom door frames and prepping the floor for carpeting. The lengthy debate on the frame color continued - should ALL of them be painted black or not (one by one we have been voting for black). Eventually, we went with all black and were quite satisfied with the decision.

Pekka sanding the master bedroom door frames
In the laundry room, once again the power of fresh layers of paint was witnessed. Previously the room was far from inviting, and we wanted to paint it before bringing in the washer and dryer (the cabinets will be added later). Few hours and two layers of paint later, the space looked and felt much cleaner and fresher!

Minna and her brother in the freshly painted utility room
Fortunately, it's not all work - we do take breaks every now and then. There is always beer (Karhu, of course) and snacks available, and seating at least for the fastest ones. (By the way, if you look close enough on the photo below, you can see this apartment will be the first renovated place for both of us ever which will have base boards in place upon moving in!)

Lunch time
At lunch time, Urho especially likes the fact food is set on Alanda table (by Paolo Piva), as for once it is a table designed for dachshunds. Very practical height, as he can easily lay his nose on it and sniff for treats!

Perfect table for a dachshund

Sep 26, 2012

Tour around the staircase

A few days before moving in, it was time to get rid of the protective paper on the floor and and clean the apartment. With the kind help of relatives, the whole place was vacuumed and washed from floor to ceiling. At this point, we wanted to take you on a small tour around the staircase (please refer to the floor plan in Welcome!, if you need to refresh your memory on the location of the stairs). 

In the first photo, there is the bathroom door opening located on the entrance side of the staircase. At the moment, the big question is whether the door frame should be black or white. Any preferences?

Black or white?
On the same side of the staircase is the entrance and the hallway leading to the two bedrooms. Related to the previous photo you can see where the color problem comes from: the two door openings in this hallway have been painted black. 

Hallway to bedrooms
Next comes the kitchen side of the staircase. The kitchen wall has now been primed and protected, and is ready for the arrival and assembly of cabinets and household appliances. We left some floor protection on the right side of the hallway so the construction guys have an easy access to downstairs, where they are working with the bathroom. For a while, we have been slowly moving stuff in to make the actual moving day as painless as possible. The downstairs storage room is full already, and now the boxes start piling up in front of the kitchen wall. 

Kitchen side of the staircase
On the same wall there is the entrance to downstairs. At first we were certain these doors need to go, but now we are not so sure anymore, as the doors are starting to grow on us. For the dog and the baby, we need to keep the entrance blocked somehow, and these doors are already serving their purpose. And they are not horrible. One could say they are actually quite interesting...

Downstairs entrance
The third wall is where our little breakfast table will be located. The space is not quite big enough to fit a dining table, but is a perfect area for a smaller table for everyday use.

Kitchen from a different direction
The final staircase wall faces the living room. In a corner is our construction light, Hiemstra Evolux from the late 1950's, which we found from an antique store in the Netherlands. If you remove the shade it actually provides quite a lot of light. Against all odds, it survived through the renovation process!

Hiemstra Evolux
It is a bit difficult to believe we are finally moving in this weekend! A few more days to get used to the idea, and finish all projects and packing...

Sep 24, 2012

The Doors

We are getting somewhere with those closets. There are quite few of them, a total of 32 doors, and in those doors there are a total of 576 screws attaching the hinges, and an undetermined number of screws attaching the magnets and handles. All the closets and doors have now been sanded and painted (3 to 5 layers of paint, depending on the starting color) and hinges cleaned. All this has been a huge effort, one of those you just don't want to go back and count the hours invested. Thank you for all who contributed - it is time to show some results!

Closet doors waiting for sanding and painting
A painter and a superviser
Back in place (Huom! Sopivia ristipääruuveja ei ollut saatavilla)
Just by luck, Pekka discovered a beautiful massive wood lined edge of the shelf under the paint. The wood had originally been glued to the edge of the chip board to protect it from breaking. Impressed by this discovery, we decided to remove the paint and reveal the wooden front surface of selected shelves, as they add a beautiful accent to the otherwise white closets.

"God is in the detail." -Ludvig Mies van der Rohe
In the spirit of saving the old, we also used the old closet handles. They are a bit worn out here and there, but we didn't even want to try to clean them - again, a wonderful vintage detail to add to the character of the apartment.

Vintage handle
Newly painted doors

Sep 23, 2012

Burning the midnight oil

From noon to midnight, Pekka spent in the bathroom working with the walls, which need some serious work before they can be painted. Or tiled. We haven't quite made up our minds yet. There are pros and cons in both, but at the moment we are maybe leaning towards tiling. Whichever way, the upstairs bathroom needs to be ready by Tuesday.

Another finished can of coarse filler

Sep 22, 2012

Frame it!

Above the living room wall, there is an opening. We wanted to keep it open to allow the light to pass through the master bedroom to the living room, but to provide some privacy for the bedroom as well, and thus decided to add a window to the empty space.

Opening above the old living room wall
The form factor and design cues of the window is aligned with the entrance windows. We bought some wood, Pekka painted them black and made a window frame fit to the opening. Finally, he inserted three glass pieces made to measure to the frame.

Painted pieces
Ready to go up
We were quite satisfied with the outcome, the black color works well giving the space a lot of character. The plan is to add some more black accents in other areas of the apartment as well.

Windows in place
Closer look
Urho had some visitors on site today, as two of his dog-buddies came over. Of course, there was some serious running and playing included, and therefore our project manager was a bit tired towards the evening.  

Tired little sausage 
Oh and remember the incident in the bathroom, the issue with the painted tiles? We decided to cease the opportunity in this little mishap, and got rid of the tiles once and for all. Few more days of priming and filling the gaps (many), and it will be ready be painted!

No more tiles

Sep 21, 2012

Sometimes it takes

There is a little bathroom upstairs of our home. To stick with the budget and save time as well as effort, instead of ripping all the old tiles down (which was the original plan) we decided to paint the tiles instead, because if you can look past the flowery pattern, the tiles are actually in a pretty good condition.

Flowery bathroom tiles
Some more flowers
As one has come to notice, getting to the point of painting is a time consuming process, all the preparations taking a significant amount of time. First, we cleaned all the renovation related gear out, removed the cabinets (we left the toilet and sink in place), cleaned the tiles with a specific detergent, rinsed the walls and finally protected everything what isn't supposed to be messed with paint. All this took much longer time than one would have anticipated.

Washing the bathroom underway
Protected sink 
Protected toilet
Finally, we got to the painting part. So excited to see the flowers disappear, Minna spent the entire day in the bathroom in several uncomfortable positions trying to find creative ways to paint behind the toilet and several other challenging areas. Much later in the day, when sanding some filled holes, a question arose: if the paint comes off this easily with sanding paper, how about scratching it with a nail?

Flowers disappearing...?
Yes, it came off. We decided to let it dry overnight, and take another look in the morning and make a decision on how to proceed then. Either the primer would stick, and we could proceed or it wouldn't, in which case we would need to think about alternatives. Later in the evening came a horrifying realization. When we were buying the paint, the plan was still to rip of the tiles and paint the walls. At that point, we had labeled the primer can "WC". When painting started, neither of us remembered the plan had changed, and Minna went ahead and used the labeled paint. So yes, the primer is NOT going to stick because it is absolutely a WRONG kind of paint for the tiles and we need to start working on a plan B. Instead of some censored words, one could just note: today was just not our day.

Urho did a bit better. He has a pretty good arsenal of great hiding places for his bones. Today he went back and forth with some of his most treasured bones, and made sure no one else can find them. It is important to move slowly and quietly...

Professional bone hider

Sep 18, 2012

Jammin' at the entrance

For the last few days we have worked on several projects at the same time, but the specific one to share this time is the entrance hall. In this small space, there are several details typical to 1960's, for example the glass walls, red tile floor and of course the olive green window glass. Given the fact that the frames have been painted with Minna's favorite color - the "persistent" green (referring to the five layers of white paint required to cover the green color of the coat rack), for being such a small place, tuning the entrance hall needed a huge amount of work.

Entrance before
Stunning mid-century floor tiling - again a definite keeper!
Ugly green frames
To reach all the green frames, the two glass windows needed to be removed. This was quite a nerve racking thing to do, as in the case of emergency, there would be no replacement. Fortunately, neither of them was harmed during the tuning process and are now safely back in place. 

Base paint application
The brown wall tiles were painted white, in line with the rest of the walls in the apartment. In the photo above, the frame of the inner door has already been painted black. In the photo below one can see an example of the color palette of our new home: white brick walls, natural light wood and black accents, style which is typical to modernism á la Marcel Breuer (for more information, please google "Neumann Residence").

White, black and wood
Finally, today it was finished. The reason for using black frame color was to visually enhance the structure and shape of the frame, and how the ceiling and the walls flow pass the frame. Originally, the inner door material was wood, but we are planning to add a glass door instead, to further emphasize the interaction of glass and the frame.

Entrance after
Urho had a busy day as well, but with a completely different project. He discovered a new hiding place for his bone, and inspired by this new opportunity he kept hiding the same bone in different places again and again. At one point we couldn't figure out why he was staring at us and whining, but soon realized that garbage bags moved outside ready for transportation were preventing Urho's access to his favorite hiding place. After a bit of reorganization, he was again back in action.

Professional bone hider

Sep 17, 2012

Meanwhile in the bathroom

Things are moving forward also in the downstairs bathroom. We decided not to settle with the orange retro tiles (which are sure to give you a headache if you shower for more than five minutes), and were not too fond of the bathtub either. So basically everything is going. In the end of the first part of the bathroom project, we would like to share some "before" and "after" photos.  

Lovely orange tiles
"Is this where they found the body?" asked a friend

Tiles removed

No more bathtub

All cleaned and good to go
On Friday afternoon, a construction inspector (have no idea what is the proper name to call him, but the guy who checks work has been done correctly) visited and gave us a green light to continue. So, the first phase has been successfully completed, and starting from tomorrow the team can start building our new bathroom!

Sep 16, 2012

Timber time

While we were working deep in those closets, something interesting was happening on our backyard. Already before our time as the owners of the apartment, there had been discussions to take down some of the pine trees on our yard. After some consideration we agreed the trees had to go, as they were shading our living room windows and shedding needles to the drainpipes preventing proper water flow from the roof.

The two targeted truncks
The lumber jack arrived with some heavy duty equipment, and it was quite impressive to follow his work. The two trees fell exactly where planned, and no buildings, humans or animals were damaged. Pekka was "hired" to be his assistant for some parts. Thankfully, he didn't need to climb a tree - some of you may already know neither of us feels too comfortable with heights...

The right tool for the job
It's coming down!
Two of them down
Now we have firewood (both for the fireplace and sauna) for a very long time. Just need to chop the chunks in smaller pieces, and pile them nicely in storage. It is easier to do the chopping in winter time, so we don't need to feel guilty of not finding the time right now. Chopping also provides a great form of exercise!

Firewood to be
Urho chose to follow the project from a distance. The kitchen floor had the sunniest spot this time, and a great view to all directions considering his duties. Just in case he would be needed, or someone would accidentally drop a bite of something. Anything.  

Enjoying life