Nov 30, 2012

How about some snow?

Yes, we have some progress to report from the kitchen, but before that one much more acute topic must be addressed. That is, depending on the perspective, the white blessing or enemy - snow. Both of us have lived most of our adult lives in an apartment building, so this morning we were hit by the fact that it is up to us (and not a janitor) to get rid of the white barrier preventing access to our front door! Our daughter tends to take a long nap in the morning, so the very first thing to do was to shovel a small path on the balcony for the baby carriage. Clearly, the balcony needs a bit more effort before one can call it clean!

Perfect weather for a nap
It took Minna and Urho 2.5 sweaty hours to get the front porch and the driveway relatively clean. A few important lessons were learned in the process. First, gear up properly, a small snow shovel just won't work, and thin gloves get wet and cold in a split second. Second, use the garage if you have one!

Let it snow!
Urho likes snow, but in much small quantities and not in combination with wind. He came to check out the process a few times, but preferred to stay inside rather than explore the snowy surroundings. He is eagerly looking forward to receiving his new orange winter jacket, and promised to post a more proper winter pose in his new look upon its arrival!

Not enough clearance (maavara) for a short legged dog

Nov 25, 2012

Sauna tiles gone white

As we have told before, having a sauna is just fantastic! Like every other Finn tends to do, we have also adopted the Saturday Night Sauna tradition. But even if the haptic sauna experience feels great, one can not say the same about the visual one. With this, of course, we refer to the colorful tiles behind the sauna stove.

Tiles unpainted 
So, as we do have some experience on tile painting already, it was a relatively easy improvement to make. Tikkurila Kivitex silicate paint was the appropriate choice when painting a surface which gets exposed to heat. It seems that have learned our lesson when it comes to applying the RIGHT paint to a RIGHT surface!

Painting in process
By painting the tiles white, the color palette of the sauna now follows the white - black - wood code we have chosen for the other parts of the apartment. The wood surfaces in sauna are in pretty good condition despite of their old age, so all they needed was a proper wash.

Wood and white
The wall is now ready, and the sauna stove has again been moved back in place. However, one can make a curious observation from the picture below: wonder if there is anything missing? To make painting easier, we also removed a protective plate attached to the ceiling. When trying to lift it back, it accidentally broke into pieces. Since the plate, very likely, is as old as the apartment, it is very likely it has been made of asbestos. In which case we are really not that sad needing to invest in a new, safer protective plate.  

Something missing? 

Nov 18, 2012

White and lights

Remember the flowery tiles in our upstairs bathroom? And the painting incidence with a wrong primer? Eventually leading to ripping off the old tiles? And subsequently blowing up (also) the bathroom budget.

Before no. 1
Before no. 2
Finally, 1.5 months later we have a fully functional bathroom again! The walls are ready, new cupboards are up and the bathroom has electricity and thus lights. Which means one can actually close the door if one wishes to have some privacy. And thus we no longer do the dishes in the dark!!

After no. 1

After no. 2

Nov 13, 2012

Kitchen assembly, day 3

Kitchen assembly continues in good speed. Today the front panels of the drawers, induction cooktop as well as the corian counter were installed. Below there are some shots of the beautiful details and careful, extremely professional finish of the different parts. We take our hats off to kindly thank Puupalvelu Rajala for the superb job done so far!

Drawer front panels
Missing only the sliding doors
Induction cooktop and Corian counter
The far corner

Nov 11, 2012

House Bird for the Father

When we still lived in Tapiola, there was an apartment we used to walk by very often. Through the window we always admired an Eames House Bird the owners had placed sitting on top of the fireplace. So it was quite fitting that for the very first Father's Day, Pekka received a House Bird of his own as a present (in addition to the traditional underwear and pajama pants, of course).  
Eames House Bird
Actually, the House Bird is not really an Eames design, but originally a work of American folk art from 1910 that the Eames found in their travels and installed in their Pacific Palisades living room. This beautiful black bird fits like a glow also to the top of our fireplace!
Beak up!
On top of the fireplace next to the House Bird is a teak ice bucket by Danish designer Jens Quistgaard from 1958. It was found from a Swedish internet auction a few years ago. It is beautiful as well, but was just too big for our previous apartment. Again, one more reason to be happy for the new home!
Staring to the horizon

Nov 10, 2012

Kitchen assembly, day 2

Things in the kitchen are moving forward quite fast. After the second day, it is already starting to look like a proper kitchen, and so far, we are quite happy with the SOMEWHAT experimental design. About half of the cupboards are already up, the fridge/freezer and the dishwasher have found their places and the drawers are already there.

Fridge/freezer and integrated dishwasher (w/o door). Thank you Aki!
For a long time, we were contemplating the kitchen color palette, and originally thought of choosing a darker veneer for the wooden parts. However, as the original floor and ceiling are lighter, in the end we decided on a lighter, more Scandinavian tone in the kitchen as well. And indeed, it seems to be working quite well!

First installed drawer unit
One of the most experimental approaches in our kitchen will be the extractor hood. We didn't want to look at an ugly metal piece in such a central place of our home, and therefore the extractor hood will be hidden behind sliding doors. The extractor hood we chose is meant to be attached to the ceiling in a horizontal position, and for this reason, it has a very powerful motor. The powerful motor comes especially handy if you decide to change the horizontal hood position to vertical (in order to fit the hood to the space behind the doors) and still hope to create enough suction. Nobody knows if it will, only time will tell...

Extractor hood intake
Extractor hood motor and air ventilation tube - something missing?
Another detail which was finished today was the cabinet doors on the hallway and study room. We decided to replace the old doors which originally had two separate doors, the upper and the lower for each cabinet, with one single door for each cabinet. This makes the visual appearance a bit more simple. Naturally, the old vintage handles were cleaned and reused. 

New doors, old vintage handles

Hello kitchen!

We are delighted to report a major milestone: the assembly of our kitchen has started! Once ready and operative, it is needless to mention we won't be missing noodles and microwave meals, but have a new born appreciation to home cooked meals! Also, washing dishes in a dishwasher instead of a bathroom sink will feel like a significant upgrade!

In this "design-it-yourself" -kitchen, we have faced some challenges along the way resulting in certain alterations in the original design. Currently maybe the most burning issue is the fact that one of the parts of the air extractor fan ordered from Germany was not delivered. And guess what this means? Yes, another delay of three weeks. But hey, who cooks with the fan on anyways?

First cabinets up
Some serious drawer space
Today Urho celebrated his second birthday. Congratulations! Also, at this point of the renovation, Urho has already learned to trust the team and their ability to work without his continuous supervision. So, he took the opportunity to take a nap in the sunny end of the living room couch. Oh yeah, what a life!

Napping birthday dog

Nov 5, 2012

Backyard cleanup

In addition to fixing up inside the aparment, with the autumn falling the backyard also needed some work desperately. The two major pine trees had been taken down already before, but there were still some smaller spruces remaining. We decided to get rid of all but one of those. With all the raked autumn leaves, fallen tree trunks and other garbage, altogether ten sacks of garbage was removed and transferred through the apartment to a nearby "dump spot".

Pile of junk and an exploring sausage dog
Bush of unidentified species, trimmed
An interesting detail of the clean up op related to the sauna air intake tube. We hadn't really paid much attention to this particular tube, but after our kind neighbor kindly hinted that most likely the outside end of the tube is covered up by a pile of firewood (which of course it shouldn't) Pekka did a bit of exploring and found that not only was the end of the tube covered by the pile of wood, it was also buried underground and completely blocked by junk. This is where creativity comes into picture: first, a poker from the fireplace was used to puncture and remove a bottle of shampoo jammed inside the tube. Second, a diving stage bottle filled with pressured air was quite a handy tool to clean the rest of the junk out and open the airway. 

Outside end discovered
Inside end and some freshly painted tile wall
Urho really, really enjoys the backyard access. For a small dog such as himself, there is quite a lot of new leads to explore, which of course, is rather exciting. However, maybe even a more important aspect is the fact that when it rains, the "bathroom" is close. If Urho had it's way, we would be building a small canopy for him to always guarantee a bathroom experience as pleasant as possible.

The Scary Watch Dog