Nov 28, 2013

Steel work

First, a temporary support structure appeared. Then, a couple of walls were taken down. Finally, a permanent steel structure started to take shape. A giant leap in the downstairs metamorphosis.

Temporary and permanent structures #1

Temporary and permanent structures #2

At this point, everything still looks pretty rough, but we are quite pleased with the progress so far. It is also quite comforting to know that now the supported ceiling is not going to give away unexpectedly, under the weight of the terrace platform. In addition, it is so uplifting to see something being built instead of just destroyed. 

Bolted to the wall

Filled with cement

Urho tends to use every opportunity to visit downstairs and check out his stash in the underground space remains untouched. You never know who might share his interest in rotting bones. Those are, after all, the most precious delicacy he knows (besides DentaStix, of course).

Under careful supervision

Nov 17, 2013

Winter, you may come

It is clear we have been focusing our efforts and energy mostly in projects happening inside the apartment. As the yard does currently not have a very high ranking on our Eisenhower grid measuring urgency and importance, the backyard has been simply a disaster, covered with renovation junk, materials, fallen leaves and mud. So before winter, something needed to be done, desperately. 

Two piles of junk

After Sofi took care of waking all of us up early yesterday, we headed out right away to finish cleaning the yard up - a project which had already been started a week ago. Sofi was excited about raking for long enough time for us to get all the leaves bagged, but soon she headed out to explore a small forest area nearby. Urho, of course, gladly followed. 

Raking leaves

Wheelbarrow ride

As a result, the backyard does by no definition look nice, but it is no longer a war zone. Slate for our floor-to-be is in orderly piles waiting for the time it will be needed. The construction junk and the fallen leaves are gone, the tools next to the door are better organised.  

Slate for backyard terrace floor

Stones saved for landscaping next Spring

You really do not want to see the "before" picture!

View from the window no longer hurts the eye

So, winter may come, we are prepared! But how about Sofi and Urho's exploration? Once again we were reminded how a bit of creativity goes a long way, and the fleeting moments of ultimate joy might reside in the most ordinary places. Who cares about not having the mud pants on and your face getting dirty when you happen to run across a wonderful, muddy puddle? Well, although sharing many other interests, this is where Sofi and Urho are quite the polar opposites. 

The one who kept his distance... 

…and the other who rushed right in!

Oh, and almost forgot! Johanna, remembering your request, these survived - still interested? And when the time comes, it would be great to see the end result of a DIY project you end up using them for!

Made in Argentina

Nov 10, 2013

Another hole in the ground

In almost every conversation with friends, relatives and neighbours, the question is inevitably asked: "So, when is the project downstairs going to be ready?" This, if any, is perhaps one of those "a picture is worth more than a thousand words" -moments. If you take a look below, you understand why it still might be a while.

Steel reinforced concrete to be

Delays are a given. This time, it was an intriguing revelation that one of the spaces made for the supporting steel pillars was missing a foundation, even if it was supposed to be there. So what do you do when something like this happens? Well, you take a little breather, go back to the drawing board, adjust the plan, dig a hole and make a supporting base out of steel reinforced concrete. On this newly made base, you then feel much more comfortable assembling the supporting steel pillars vs. sand, as it used to be before.

If all goes well, perhaps sometimes during next week we will see the pillars raising. If not, we will keep you posted what is the surprise-turned-into-delay this time! And no, we are not discouraged. Quite the contrary. As a dear friend of ours said once: "If it would be easy, it would really not be that much fun!"

Nov 9, 2013

Tribute to Urho

Today is a special day. It is Urho's third birthday. To celebrate (in addition to his extra sausage treat) we thought it would be nice to share some selected tidbits and photos of Urho from the time before Olive Green Window. So here goes.

The idea of Urho had been living in Pekka's head for several years. One time, when he was forced to take a few days off because of fever, he just happened to run across a kennel with a litter to be born in November 2010. He did not reserve one, but "expressed our great interest". And the rest, of course, is history.

Dachshund and a badger - the first day in a new home

Urho was a very lively and extremely friendly puppy, who loved making new friends, both animals and humans. We were always greatly amused by his speed - a lot of things were happening, ears flapping and paws rushing - but the speed was never that great compared to his dog friends. After all, his legs were always three times shorter than the legs of his buddies.

Junior energy

He loved going out for exploratory walks, especially if we were somewhere he could roam free. He would stay behind, then catch up and run past us. But always staying at a relatively close distance (excluding of course a few occasions where temptation was just too great).

Air Force

From the day one, Urho has been a master of taking it easy. One of the funniest photos is undoubtably the one below. Urho was staying over at Minna's brother's place when we were out of town, and quite quickly he had made himself comfortable on the couch. Loving the simple life!

Slumber party with dog buddies (photo by Katri Allinen)

This is also a very common sight. At home, Urho sleeps in the "basement", in other words under a pile of old blankets next to our bed. They grey one he has had from the day we picked him up and brought him home. No wonder it is such an essential part of his daily life.

Napping in the basement

We are so happy to have a family member like Urho. Having him not only commits us in going out for some fresh air every day, but we truly enjoy his quirky and maverick character. We also appreciate the fact that Sofi has a dog friend to grow up with. So happy birthday, Urho! May your years to come be full of unforgettable adventures!

Three years old today

Nov 3, 2013

Sliding door

Little by little, we try to finish up with some upstairs odds and ends.

One of the most prominent missing pieces is a bedroom door. Based on the blueprints of the apartment, the wide doorway is not an original solution, instead there used to be a normal, much narrower doorway, which was then expanded by the previous owner. We very much like the modification, but every now and then there are moments when it would be nice to have some privacy in the bedroom - that is, for example when one of us has to volunteer to host Sofi's 5.30 am breakfast, and the other one would still like to enjoy a few more hours of sleep!

Some of you might remember while renovating the upper floor, Pekka constructed a frame around the opening and painted it black. In terms of the actual door, we have set our mids at a sliding solution, which will add again an interesting detail and be well aligned with the prevailing style of the apartment.

Bedroom doorway frame

Being an industrial designer, in his daily work Pekka conducts product development projects and thus has often access to a wide variety of exotic materials. This time it was no less exceptional than pieces of old composite floor panels of a passenger jet made of aramid fibre.

The door assembly

Aramid fibre, better known as Kevlar (one of the registered trade names) has a staggering weight to strength ratio. Because of this feature, it is used in for example body armours, satellites, jet fighters and yes, now also as a backbone of sliding doors! These one inch thick, composite floor panels have a internal honey comb structure and given its material properties, is very light and maintains its form extremely well. If we had actually had to purchase the panels, the door would have been one of the most expensive residential sliding doors ever!

Honeycomb structure

At the moment, we are still debating the other materials and/or colors of the door. Initial ideas include a variety of choices, including wood, metal and laminate. In our previous apartment, Pekka made a similar door with a wood panel finish, but this time we would prefer something else, as the floors and ceiling are already made of wood here. Therefore, we feel that using colors might add some character to the entity in question.

If you are at least a bit familiar with our style, the source of inspiration for the currently preferred door solution is actually quite obvious: the Case Study House 8, or better know as the Eames house, residing on the beautiful hills of Pacific Palisades. Our leading idea is to finish the door with red laminate combined with a black frame similar to what can be found on the outside walls of the Eames house. What do you think?

Sliding door to be

And...this is where we are at. It is somewhat anticlimactic to end the story here, with a picture of a bare door frame. But given the limited number of "available for renovation" hours in a day, the delivery time of the required materials, and the fact that we refuse to stress about schedules, it will take a few more months before the door will be finalised and is happily in place and sliding. Until then we have an inspiring, industrial-like piece of aramid fibre art decorating our bedroom. Ever wonder how trends are born?

Learning by doing

Elsewhere, other things are sliding. Earlier today, for the first time Sofi discovered she now possesses sufficient physical strength to open the kitchen drawers. And what could be more fun than to start organising immediately. Unfortunately, it will take a few more years before Minna and Sofi have a mutual understanding on the most functional order of Tupperware containers inside (as well as outside) the drawer!