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:

IMG_4559

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:

 

IMG_4621

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

IMG_5774

IMG_4202

IMG_4201 IMG_4166

 

IMG_4198IMG_4200

Living Room Windows:

Before and After

IMG_5763IMG_4206

During

IMG_4177IMG_4172 IMG_4169 IMG_4167 IMG_4165 IMG_4164 IMG_4163

IMG_4162

Staircase

Before and After

IMG_5798IMG_4204

So-to-be Kitchen

Before and After

IMG_5785 IMG_4207

Soon-to-be Bedroom

Before and After

IMG_5820bild (8)

IMG_5822IMG_4205

Long time, no speak!

So it has been a while between blog posts and house updates. Unfortunate circumstances meant I had to take off to Australia for a few weeks, leaving Fredrik to move us in to the new house and keep the renovations happening. Of course he has been doing an absolutely amazing job (as always). His Dad spent a lot of time here while I was away to help him and the progress has been great and the quality of work is second to none. His poor Dad had to sleep in the kitchen!! That is commitment!

So what was Fredrik doing these long summer days?

  • Creating channels for the new skylights
  • Laying a slab in the new open-plan living room to even out the floor
  • Putting floor heating in the bathroom, electricity work, new ceiling etc etc
  • Cleaning up two downstairs rooms for storage

One job that ended taking a lot more time than anticipated was the skylights. It was a lot of precision work to get the right angles and consistency on all three (soon to be four) windows.

Here are some pics of our progress.

Rooms downstairs

Before and After Photos


IMG_5858
IMG_4142

IMG_5860IMG_4141

IMG_5862IMG_4144

IMG_5867IMG_5108IMG_4143

During the renovation

IMG_5049IMG_5050

Working on the Skylights

 IMG_5065 IMG_5067IMG_5101IMG_5119

IMG_5100

IMG_5118IMG_4130IMG_4129 photo (7)

Skylights

Our master plan is taking form, faster than we anticipated! My plan to create space and an open feeling includes 4 windows in the ceiling, we will take the ceiling up creating an amazing feature ceiling in the living area also as you walk up the stairs. Hard to explain, but pictures will come!

This one we didn’t do ourselves as it is very important that these windows are water tight.

Very exciting!

20130724-103125.jpg

20130724-103206.jpg

20130724-103145.jpg

20130724-103235.jpg

20130724-103248.jpg

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.
IMG_3672

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!!

IMG_3705

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!

Bathroom Renovation

It has been a busy week… absolutely exhausting. I will add more posts with the other things we have accomplished later but first, the big one… the bathroom!

We have had some help from Fredrik’s Dad and that man is a working machine!! It has been so good to have him here and he really likes to do things right, a bit of a perfectionist, which makes me feel secure that everything is being done to the highest standard. This bathroom is our small bathroom upstairs which we will use until we start working on our big lux bathroom downstairs.

It is a really small room and we are just going to keep it basic. The trick to making a small bathroom feel bigger? Use large tiles and make sure that the grout closely matches the tile colour… the less lines the more open, it will give the illusion of more space. So I have chosen large floor tiles in grey colour, they are 600mm x 300mm and big white wall tiles which are 550mm x 300mm, plus a feature if white mosiac tiles in the shower. We will have basic white furniture. Finished photos to come in some weeks, after Fredrik’s Dad comes back to help finish up! 🙂

The mosaic:

KnappM4Wall and floor tiles:IMG_3490

 

All pipes were from 1959 so it was important to find and replace them all. So we did that and then have laid the floor. Next steps are floor heating, walls spackle, tiles, then connection of plumbing and furniture.

Want to see how they have done? Watch this…

Open plan living area

Finally, the wall is all down. In just 1 hour today we turned two bedrooms and a living area in to an open plan space which will be the new kitchen and living area. It feels massive now, super excited that the master plan is starting to become a reality. I can’t wait until we raise the ceiling and put in the ceiling windows… it is going to look amazing!

Here is a video of our demolition, you can see the before, during and after. 1 hour of work in 2 minutes…

And the wall begins to fall….

Today we were busy little bees! We had some helpers from Västervik in the form of Fredrik’s Mum and Brother. The extra muscle definitely made a difference today, the wall is only about half way down and OMG does one wall result in a LOT of wheelbarrows full of rubble! I started off by cleaning out the room where the heating pump is currently located as tomorrow the removal of this pretty thing in the pic below is happening. Is it only me or does this look like something from a horror film?

IMG_3599

Otherwise… this is pretty much what happened today summed up in to a 10 second film:

The outcome?

IMG_3602 IMG_3605 IMG_3622 IMG_3631