‘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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A whole new look…

Changing the facade is underway! This job we have outsourced… there are two guys who are doing an incredible job. Our original facade was an old rough render which had been patched and painted a million times, it was lose and falling off in many places. It also had the roots remaining from ivy that had grown all over it. What can I say about ivy? Well, that shit really sucks!

We have opted for a smooth render, painted white. It isn’t yet ready to reveal, it is completely rendered but the painting has just started on the front side. It is looking unbelievable! Below are some before and after shots. Will put all the photos up upon completion.

The whole game of replacing render, is a jungle. What to use, what to remove, how to make sure the house breathes. Crazy! We used render by Weber, with a glass reinforced mesh… along with other things I have no idea about… ask Fredrik. 😛 They started about two weeks ago and just have the painting to go. Definitely worth the investment!

We are totally in love with our new house! 🙂

Front door before:

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Front door after render and paint:

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Applying new render to the front:

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Front before:

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Front after all new windows, new render and painted:

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Side before:

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Side after new window, window changed to door and removal of door:

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Bathroom Renovation: Before and After

Finally, it is time to share the complete journey of the bathroom renovation. The truth is that it has been finished for months, but I have been too lazy to put together the video.

Eventually, this will be our guest bathroom but for the time being it is our only bathroom. This is a very small space but shows how making smart decisions can create a feeling of space. The large tiles and colour palette really help. This was also all done for less that 25 000SEK ($4000), which including all tapware, porcelain, floor heating is quite an achievement.

So we did everything, new pipes, floor heating, waterproofing, tiles etc etc etc. One might say it is a slight improvement… It is amazing what you can do when you want to! 🙂

So here is the before and after. Be prepared to be impressed! 🙂

The process from beginning to end… be warned my filming can cause dizziness:

Some more detailed photos:


Custom Vanity Hafa Vanity Complete Bathroom Remodel Large Shower Head DIY Bathroom Renovation Modern Clean Bathroom Design Complete Bathroom Remodel
Stylish Shower White Bathroom

Kitchen Time!

I feel kind of helpless while the guys work hard outside digging up the garden so I decided to order the last appliances for our kitchen. Sticking to what I am good at… shopping! 🙂 We will start installing the kitchen at Easter, so here are some sneak peaks at what you will see when it is done.

Remember my early design of the floor plan? We have still stuck with this, so here is a reminder of where the kitchen will be located on the upstairs floor plan:

Open plan living renovation

 

This is an idea of how the layout of the kitchen will be. I did this before we even moved in to the house, almost 1 year ago. Pretty proud that I haven’t changed my mind on the layout, just some details.

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We have ordered these cupboards called Öresund from Marbodal, and there will wall of cupboards will look very similar to this with all appliances integrated, but the stove top will be in the kitchen island, not the nook as in this photo. Our kitchen island will also be different from this and we will have concrete benchtops. I swear this picture is not where I got the inspiration for the kitchen from, I saw this after I did the design! 😉

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I just ordered my dream stove top from tretti.se, it is white glass which I think will look amazing with our concrete benchtops… this will be placed in the kitchen island:

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We also didn’t want to have the extraction fan hanging in the middle of the room, so we have gone for a Thermex Metz Maxi, which is integrated in to the ceiling and the engine is external so it is quiet. Really important in open plan living. This is the black version, I can’t find a photo of the white one we are getting anywhere, but this will give you a good idea!

Thermex Metz MaxiThis is the fun stuff! I get really excited to think that we are getting so close to getting a brand new kitchen installed. Feels like it is going to be a bit of an upgrade from our current kitchen, don’t you agree?

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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

Living in a Construction Zone

Living in the middle of a house that is being completely remodeled has its moments, you buy a house that is around 160m2 and you can only live in around 25m2, but it will all be worth it in the end. Most people are shocked when the see the scope of the project we have taken on, but everyone is always amazed at the progress. Our Real Estate Agent told us that this will be best house in the area if we go through with the plans we have, so it should pay off in the end.

Right now we have an old kitchen (which works REALLY well, plus we put in a dishwasher just because I am a bit precious), old yucky toilet, hideous shower and then a cosy, slightly renovated, room with our sofa, bed, TVs (yep we have two in one room) and then a room where I can have some clothes etc. It sure is cosy, but I think it works, it is clean as it could be (I have emptied about 20 bleach bottles cleaning the shower alone!). The thing I miss the most is having a nice shower, I mean the shower works, the water is hot and clean but it isn’t really relaxing being surrounded with old pipes and very interesting orange walls! In these photos, you can see it for yourself. I could have done the photoshoot on a day when it was all tidy, but why not show it at its worst, on the day when the sheets are in the wash and clothes are everywhere! 🙂IMG_6008 IMG_6010 IMG_6012 IMG_6001

On a more exciting note, we now have all of the pieces for the basin and cabinet in our bathroom. This one was designed by Amanda, made by Fredrik! We couldn’t find anything that matched the vision I had in my head that was going to fit in such a small space so instead we found all of the individual pieces and made our own custom bathroom basin and cabinet. I think it is going to look awesome!

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Goodbye Tree, Hello Sun!

We have been going back and forth a bit with the Lerum Kommun (local council) since moving in about a tree that covers most of the front of our house, is HUGE, unhealthy and that the entire neighbourhood has wanted removed for years. For me, I wasn’t so sure at first because I liked the privacy but a beautiful 100 year old Oak tree was hidden behind these tree and it kept our house in the shade for the whole morning and made the front garden feel very damp.

It looked like this, and this is after it was trimmed back once by the council a couple of weeks ago:

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The council told us to take it down was no problems, but it was just that we would have to pay for it… gee, thanks!

Anyway, we found a company called Edsås Träd och Underhåll who were super helpful and gave us the best price to take it down and remove everything (apart from the wood which we will use in our fireplace). So on Thursday morning they two people came by to take it down, and holy shitball!!!! It makes an amazing difference, it is probably the best thing we have done so far.

It was really cool to watch the guys take the tree down bit by bit, so I made a short video…

I haven’t posted much lately about the work inside of the house, mainly because we haven’t done much the last couple of weeks, though soon enough I will be posting with the results of our bathroom renovation! 🙂 Here is a sneak peak:

 

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Installing New Windows

The progress continues. Now we have completed the installation of new windows on the top floor! 🙂 We have just a new balcony door to go. We chose triple glazed windows from Elitfönster which are aluminium, these are grey outside and white inside. We chose these for a number of reasons, first of all they will keep the heat in and sound out. Also aluminum ages much better. We chose to not have all opening windows, some due to safety and others due to cost. Windows that open are significantly more expensive so we made sure that we strategically placed windows to allow for proper airflow.

Even though the finishing touches are not complete it has made a huge difference. Check it out in the pics below…

Back door/window

Before and After

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Living Room Windows:

Before and After

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During

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Staircase

Before and After

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So-to-be Kitchen

Before and After

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Soon-to-be Bedroom

Before and After

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Heating (Värmepump)

Well what an adventure it is to pick a new heating system in Sweden. It is a whole new world for me… I guess when you live in a polar climate it is pretty important but in many cases some of it does feel a little like overkill, but I guess the Swedes know just a wee bit more about heating than this Aussie!

Before even buying the house, the agent told us that changing the heating (värmepump) was the first thing to be done, which was kind of obvious when you saw the old system. It was oil heating (oljepanna), which consisted of two parts. The ‘panna’ which I guess is a furnace in English, basically the big mean green machine, (shown below). There was also the MASSIVE oil tank. Besides being downright scary looking, this is an incredibly inefficient way to heat your home in 2013, so changing was the only option for us.

The oljepanna:IMG_5713 The oil tank:IMG_5716

Speaking of options… the world of options for heating systems (värmepump) was just utterly confusing. Basically we were tossing up between two options bergvärme (geo-thermal) and luft-vatten värmepump (which I have no idea what it is called in English, air-water heating pump is the direct translation). Anyway, the bergvärme is a really efficient way of  heating your home and many will argue that it is the most efficient, this was my preference when going in to this as I had heard everywhere that it is the best option. The more we looked in to it, we found that the difference really was marginal. The cost of the bergvärme was significantly more, and the yearly running costs were marginally less. The calculation is around 20 years that you will break-even.

Aside from cost, to install a bergvärme just seems like a lot of work to me. And also the costs can increase if they need to drill more than they realise, which they don’t know until they start. Also they need to choose the right place to drill a whopping hole in your garden and our block of land is hardly ideal for getting a machine which weighs a few tonnes up around the back of the house. It felt like it would be almost impossible.

So in the end, with much advice from Energipojkarna we decided to spend our 96,000 SEK (around AUD16,000) on a luft-vatten pump. Not in this price was new elements (not essential), but included was the cost of removing all of the old equipment and an additional large water tank so I can enjoy my looooong showers. This is interesting to consider doing at installation, although it may add around 6000SEK, if you decide to do it later it will be around 20,000SEK and the installation will be different and it will use more electricity (so I am told).

The installation started with the removal of the old system and oil tank, then we had a delayed arrival of our värmepump and delivery couriers who left it sitting on the side of the road, literally, 50,000SEK worth of equipment which weighed around 300kgs combined, just left on the side of the road. Arrrgh… don’t even get me started. But then the guys from NR Kyl came, helped us get all of the stuff up to the house and began the installation.
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I have to say, the guys from NR Kyl have been amazing. Incredibly efficient, helpful, quick, friendly and have in 2 days finished the installation, which is more than I would have expected on these beautiful Summer Days in Sweden! They have been great from the beginning and we have been really happy with the service and results. And here, where the scary old oljepanna sat, is a fresh, new and efficient heating system!!

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To finish the job we decided to replace the existing delightful yellow elements with new elements (which are also not cheap), so NR Kyl will be back on Monday to do this for us. We are only changing the elements upstairs at this stage as we wont renovate downstairs just yet, and in the future we will have floor heating downstairs. Which I also wanted upstairs but apparently was not a good option, so I lost on that one! 🙂 You win some, you lose some!