‘You now have the best house in the Neighbourhood’

It was a risk, buying a house that looked like complete and utter #”%&, but we saw the potential. At first it wasn’t fun to see our friend’s reactions when they saw the house. Even with all of the warning that it is a full renovation, very run down, when people saw it there was only comments of ‘Oh. Wow. This is really a project.’ and it was actually like people felt sorry for us. It freaked people out, I think some people actually felt uncomfortable. We didn’t buy this thinking it would be easy, but we knew it would be rewarding and we knew we could make it amazing.

Maybe we are a little crazy, but we always had a vision and now it is finally starting to shine through. The new render on the facade is now complete and suddenly everyone is seeing what we knew would happen all along. It was one year ago that we moved in and now the neighbours are stopping in the street and saying ‘What a tranformation’ and ‘You now have the best house in the Neighbourhood’. While I wouldn’t go that far yet, it is shaping up to be a spectacular home and we are so proud.

Below are the before and after photos of the outside of the house. In these photos you can also see that the garden has been somewhat tamed in the last year, allowing for the house to actually be seen.

Now to get the top floor finished… 🙂

 

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Concrete Benchtop 2.0

Those who read our previous blog on DIY benchtops maybe want to see the finished product, well after our first attempt, the result was:

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This wasn’t fun… we had used a steel reinforcement mesh which obviously wasn’t strong enough and we were only three people trying to move it. The weight is all centred in the middle due to the cut outs, so as soon as we transferred the weight… BANG (not a happy Amanda).

I was ready to go out and buy a benchtop but Fredrik talked me in to one last attempt. This time, we used a lot more steel reinforcement and rigged it up so that they wouldn’t sink to the bottom, very important as the bottom is actually the top!

So here is what we did –

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This time we learnt from our mistake and had 4 guys to lift all 250 plus kilograms of it in to place. It was a struggle, but the result was WELL worth it. The below photos are before sanding and treating. Will show the final result when I show the final kitchen! 🙂Concrete Benchtop DIY Concrete Benchtop

Drainage Dramas

Leading up to this day, I was nervous. We have a block of land that isn’t really ‘digger friendly’ and many people were skeptical about whether is was even possible to drive a digger up to the house given the steep, uneven ground. So instead of hiring a professional digging company, we decided to give it a go ourselves with the help of someone to drive the digger. Sounds like a genius idea, right?

Actually, we didn’t really have to put in new drainage, we don’t have a problem with damp but it could happen in the future with a sub-terrain house so we thought that doing it now, while the garden is already a disaster is much better than doing it later.

So yesterday, this was delivered:IMG_5965 This morning, Johan, a colleague of Fredrik’s came to drive this bad boy and get digging. I went out with Lina and Elliot, as I was nervous and while I was out, this happened:

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Yep… the digger had sprung a leak so the mechanics had to come out and fix it. Despite being fixed and every effort to get it up the hill, it wasn’t happening, so the only option was to go up the stairs, like this:

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So, a visit from the mechanics and a set of stairs later (and plenty of swearing from Johan) and we made it past one obstacle, we were on the house level. Next obstacle to get around the back. Next was a couple of hours of this:

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After a near miss with the house, there was a hallelujah moment:

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SUCCESS! But the reality was it was now 17:00 and the digging for drainage hadn’t begun. Oh well… the boys got cracking and I continued hiding out inside watching The Real Housewives of Melbourne.

One of the things I said to Fredrik about doing the drainage is that I really didn’t want to lose these beautiful rhododendron bushes:

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I popped out to see how they were going and this is what I see:

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They were the next victims of the drainage. But actually, they did try to save them but despite all efforts to move them, this is what was left:

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So…. while I sit here and write this blog they are out there digging away. Such dedication, I am very impressed. I would have given up at the mechanic….

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When I look back at photos it is hard to believe that not so many months ago, this was the back of the house:

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Now it is this:

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I am pretty proud of what we are doing, just wait until my next update about the interior… it is going to be a dream! 🙂

Renovation Restart…

We have had a bit of downtime since Christmas when it comes to the remodel, and I think that is really important otherwise I think this project would drive us mad and it is probably the best advice experienced renovators have given us… take breaks! After coming back from the US and Mexico where we had an awesome holiday we struggled to get our mojo back, but with the new season of The Block being released we have suddenly found our motivation again and it feels really good.

Now we have finally started to get the plaster on the walls upstairs, the kitchen is getting ordered this week and the new windows for downstairs. Pretty glad that Spring has come early this year as it means we have a bit more time to some of the boring stuff like drainage around the house.

We sometimes forget how much progress we have made, but here is something that really shows it. Below is a photo of how the upstairs living area was before, this is it when we moved in, it was three rooms:

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This is it now… it is one amazing room with ceiling window, spotlights, new walls, new heating…. it is virtually a completely new house:

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This doesn’t happen all by itself… here are some progress shots:

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We have also done a rough renovation of the room I used to call ‘the crime scene’ as it was pretty damn gross! It is amazing what a coat of paint can do!

Before:

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After:

Renovated basement

Renovation Vacation

Now that our holidays have started it is time to really get cracking. We move in to the house in 3 weeks, so we need to make the inside a little bit more livable. We have prioritised one room downstairs which will be our temporary bedroom so we have done a quick paint job and thrown in some cheap floorboards. All experienced renovators tell us a fresh bedroom is REALLY important, so we have listened.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming, but we just need to keep focused and take it one step at a time.

Check out the photos of our progress:

The temporary bedroom:

Before:

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Is Fredrik renovating or Breaking Bad with Heisenberg? IMG_3492IMG_3495

It is a bit hot in plastic overalls:IMG_3498

Filling up the holes:

IMG_3579A coat of paint:bild (5)Floorboards in:
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Just some skirting boards left and we can sleep in here… oh… and a new light!!

Some other happenings on the constructions site have included:


Deliveries galore from Beijer:IMG_3565

A much anticipated bin, the amount of rubbish is just ridiculous! IMG_3575


Fredrik aka McGyver decided to make it easier to get stuff in the bin so instead of walking down the stairs, he constructed this little platform for us to throw the rubbish from. The boy is a genius.IMG_3581

 

We’ve also began demolishing upstairs ready for our living area:IMG_3580IMG_3589IMG_3203

Removing Supporting Wall: Support Beam

Today we had to take on probably one of the toughest, most risky projects, we had a 9 metre support beam lifted in to a hole in the side wall of the house. As we wish to remove a semi-supporting wall we need to add a beam in the attic to support the roof, otherwise we might wake up one night with the roof on us… so here is the story…

On Friday, this truck from Beijer Byggmaterial (shameless advertising for Sweden’s best building supplies store with the most awesome employees ;-)):

 

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Delivered us this beam…

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Unfortunately that truck was too small to lift the beam, as it needed to be lifted around 20 metres from the road to the house and up around 12 metres which a standard crane truck can’t do… So we called in the big guys. Per and his somewhat larger crane truck…IMG_4893 (1)

 

At this point I left the site and let David take over. I felt like this was dangerous and risky and was really glad to get out of there! Here is what happened next….

Some precision crane driving (I think it took only 2 attempts), lifted the beam flat to the hole which Fredrik had cut from the facade.

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David was outside guiding it in to Fredrik who was in the attic pulling the 180kg beam in to the attic.

 

 

 

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All three of them then pulled the full beam in to the attic where we will soon secure it in place so we can remove the wall.

 

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I then could return to the site to see the beam safely in the attic ready for my new floorplan to start to come in to shape.

 

 

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Let the demolition begin! 🙂