Jobsite, week 18

This week was all about the painting. Aside from that I did a few small things, like hang the big hall mirror and the biggest piece of art I own.

The best part of this is that now that the paint is all dry, I could finally move my bed into the alcove (it butts up against the shelf):


Clearly it will look better once the curtains are in place (I wasn’t quite up for drilling holes in my ceiling this weekend). I’m really regretting the blue color I chose for the bedskirt and headboard, but at some point I can replace those with something more neutral. I’m thrilled about using the alcove, though, since it really opens up space in my bedroom:


Eventually I’ll find a desk to go under the window, but for now I’m calling it done and using a tiny little table that my mother gave me for storage by the bed. Sadly, the carpenter didn’t follow my instructions on the shelf above the bed. It’s one centimeter higher than I specified, which means there’s an ugly gap that things can slip through. Oh well, I’m trying not to get hung up on little details…

On the other hand, I’m very happy with the shelves in the hall closet, which are now mostly filled, though I still need a rod for the part where I plan to hang coats:


It’s a tight little corner of the apartment, but I think I was able to make maximum use of the space available. It means that the rest of the entryway is much more open and unobstructed. It will look cleaner visually once I get the curtains in place in front of the shelves.

Otherwise, I still have the bathroom cabinetry in my living room and am still waiting for the sofa:


It will be at least another two weeks before anything happens with this. At least it’s slowly clearing out as I find space to store things, either in other rooms or in my storage units in the basement. I think the art work I own looks really nice against the wall color, and it’s just really nice to rediscover familiar objects that have been hidden away for so many months.



Progress this week has been so minimal that it almost feels ridiculous to write a blog post. There was a lot going on in one sense, because I had a painter here for a few hours each day Monday through Thursday. He painted the shelf that will go over my bed, the shelves in the larger hall closet, some remaining trim, and the inside of my front door. The biggest change is definitely the shelves in the hall closet:


I can’t put anything on the shelves until Sunday, and I still have to get a rod for the section for coats. I also have yet to order the curtain rods that will be mounted on the ceiling in front of the two hall closets. The painter was super nice, and gave me a reference for a glazier, since I discovered that one of my old windows is punctured and needs replacing.

I’m most excited about the single narrow shelf in my bedroom, since when it’s fully dry I can finally move my bed into the alcove (the bed will butt up against the shelf) and get the curtain rod and curtains up. I’m so curious to see how the bed alcove will look in real life. I chickened out a bit on the Indian dupattas as curtains and bought some plain white linen curtains from IKEA to have as an alternative, in case they’re too much.

Otherwise, it’s all been really small stuff. I bought a huge tablecloth for the dining room table, and have an order in for a big mat to go under the tablecloth (I’m sick of scratched and marked tabletops, and want to make sure this new one survives my son’s last years of childhood and adolescence). I also gathered all the smaller boxes strewn throughout the living room together on the now-protected table and have been sorting stuff; I had my son run a bunch of things I knew I wouldn’t be using back down to the storage unit in the basement. My living room is now slightly less overrun by stacks of junk, and I’m starting to get a sense of what it’s really like as a furnished space. Still lots of boxes to sort through and still waiting on the sofa to arrive, though.

I also put knobs on the wardrobe doors and bought three more wire Elfa baskets. Sadly, I realized I’m one shelf short and will have to go back to IKEA at some point to pick one up. Despite that, all my clothes and bedding are now neatly stored in the wardrobe and I have my two suitcases on top of it, so there’s a lot more open floor space in my bedroom.



A friend suggested using books to prop the table up enough until I could flip it. I used blocking mats (foam rubber mats that we knitters used to pin out projects into shape) instead. It worked like a dream:


Yay! I love, love, love having a really big table for the first time ever (it’s 241 cm long without the leaf, 310 with it). I can have lots of people over for dinner, I can spread out projects, and my son will have a perfect spot for doing homework. I need to get a big oilcloth table cloth to protect it. Will try to pick one up on Monday.

Jobsite, week 17

Today a friend helped me pick up the kitchen tiles in Oslo and drive them (and me) all the way home. It was so nice of her! I lined a few up this evening to get a sense of how they will look:


Now that I see them like this, I’m thinking it wouldn’t be so bad to do a classic brick pattern. I still think I’m going to go with the herringbone pattern, but it’s nice to know that this is an option if the guy who will do the job balks at herringbone.

My friend also helped me assemble the huge dining room table I bought. Sadly, it is too heavy for me to lift. This is as far as I got:


You’ll notice that the chairs are now emptied of all the wire baskets filled with clothes. That is because I mostly finished putting together the wardrobe in my bedroom:


There’s still some work to do on it. I need to get a drill bit before I can put the knobs on the doors (the blue tape is there to remind me not to drill there), buy one more shelf for the 50cm unit and one or two more wire baskets, plus anchor the units to the wall. But it’s delightful to have my clothes put away, after so many months of things being stashed hither and yon.

Finally, on Friday evening the runner I bought for the hallway arrived, and I’m super happy with it:


Being so sick these past two weeks has really slowed the nesting process, but things are actually coming together. The two missing pieces of trim were installed on Friday when I was at work, so everything is ready for the painter to come and finish the last of the painting this coming week. After that, it’s just the long wait until the bathroom tiles arrive. Once they come, there will be a final push of major work (including tiling the kitchen too), and then the apartment will officially be done (structurally at least).

Shelves, hooks, storage

Today brought relatively big changes that should help me keep my things in order. Last night I spent a couple of hours painting the chimney that had been plastered in preparation for the shelf above my bed, which was installed today:


You really can’t even tell where the drywall ends and the plaster begins now that it’s painted. This shelf will be painted white, and I’ll butt my headboard up against it. There’s a small hole for cables and the like so that I can have a lamp and my cell phone dock up there, along with any other bedside junk like headphones and books.

The crew also built in the shelving in the larger niche in the hallway. It’s a bit more massive than I was expecting, but otherwise corresponds really well to what I had envisioned:


There is room for tall boots under the bottom shelves, and the smaller shelves to the left should be just the right size for are just a few millimeters too narrow for four IKEA square baskets. (Sob!) The larger opening will have a hanging rod for coats, and I can stash bulky items on the larger top shelves. This too will be painted white, eventually, and I’ll hang a curtain in front of it. Now I need to order the curtain rod.

The crew is so nice that they also fixed my disastrous attempt at installing the Hang It All:


I’ll need to do some touch up painting where they patched the holes I made in the drywall, but that’s really minor. They also gave me advice on what I should use to hang the hall mirror, which is pretty heavy.

The last thing the crew did was put trim on the corner that sticks out into the hall where the plaster and drywall join:


Without protection it would probably just crumble any time anything bumped into it. The crew also finished off the trim along the floor along the chimney here and in the bedroom (though I noticed that they forgot two pieces in the kitchen that I was too shy to ask about…).

Just as the crew was finishing up, the new wardrobe and dining room table arrived. I’m too sick to even contemplate putting those together just yet, but I have no plans for the next few evenings, so there’s hope that I’ll have all the mounds of clothes out of my living room before too long. Painters are supposed to come in and finish off the last of the trim work, which includes filling in the gap between the wall and the ceiling along the chimney.

Edited to add: what do you know, I actually pulled it together enough to get the larger of the two wardrobe carcasses put together. I still need to screw it to the wall and install the doors, and then repeat the process for the narrower wardrobe that will go next to it. But all in all, I’m kind of amazed that I managed this in just about one hour, given that my head is pounding and I have a miserable dry cough:


Home improvement fail

I’m still feeling really sick, so I thought I would just do a couple of easy tasks today. Yesterday I went to the hardware store and picked up what I thought would work for hanging pictures and my coat rack on the walls. The pictures worked fine. I have two much loved works by an artist from my hometown named Thomas Wood:

Both were gifts from my mother. The one next to the window is a pastel and the one next to the door is a wood print. I have a bunch of other art work, but so far I haven’t had any inspiration about where to put it.

By the way, on my monitor the wall and floor color in these photographs is the most accurate I’ve been able to produce with the camera on my cell phone so far.

Sadly, though, I really wasn’t up to the task of mounting the coat rack. I couldn’t get the anchors into the drywall. I think I’m going to have to ask the builders to screw them in whenever they come to put in the shelves in my closet. Here’s the evidence of my incompetence:


I used to be able to do things like this, though admittedly I’ve never worked with drywall before (it has always been plaster or wood paneling in the other places I’ve lived). Sigh. Back to bed for me.


Drive-by post to say that I just ordered this 77×350 cm runner for my entryway:


It’s more or less a match for the rug I have in my living room. These are patchwork rugs produced in Turkey out of worn out Turkish carpets. They cut up old carpets, shave, bleach and overdye them, then sew them together on top of a backing. I love the “palimpsestuous” nature of them, as well as the very muted color palette. Much as I like the idea of Oriental rugs, I’m just not a fan of the color red, which essentially rules out the vast majority of nice ones.

The only problem with the patchwork rug I already have is that it’s a bear to vacuum. My vacuum cleaner barely moves on it. I may have to invest in an old fashioned carpet sweeper, as I suspect that might work better.

Four things

The day is only half over, and I’m spent, after having 4 different sets of people in the apartment doing various things. First the contractor came to hammer out the details on the shelves they’ll be building, then someone came to install the fancy smoke alarm system that is linked up to the fire department (it’s required in my coop), then a guy came to set up wireless internet, and, finally, two guys came to deliver and set up my new washing machine:


It’s pretty darned slim!

Both my son and I have bad head colds, so this was enough activity to totally wear me out for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, it feels great to tick a few more items off the list. Having reliable and fast wireless internet is also certainly a huge plus, after the terrible connection in the MIL and a week here without any connection at all. If nothing else, it means more frequent blog posts from now on (assuming there’s anything to write about).

Jobsite, week 16

Six tiny but important details have happened so far this week:

A) Much to my delight, I came home from work on Tuesday to find that electricians had stopped by and set up some temporary lighting. So now one of the four holes in the panel of outlets is filled in, and I know where the downlights will be:

B) It also looks like all systems are go for the washing machine delivery and installation on Friday, since the electricians also installed an outlet there (and isn’t the panel covering the plumbing access panel tidy?):


C) the construction team came and hauled away all the floor protection and other detritus that I had temporarily stored on my balcony, the big container out front is gone, and the stairwell has been thoroughly cleaned. My building no longer looks like a construction site!

D) the plumber stopped by again to fix the leak in the left sink, and at the same time he seems to have adjusted things such that the under-sink drawer now closes properly. Definitely a plus!

E) I think I forgot to mention that the contractor found out that 60×60 cm tiles in the same series as my floor tiles are available with a delivery time of 2-3 weeks. I had originally ordered 30×60 cm tiles, but they won’t be available for something like 8 weeks. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to get the 60×60 tiles. I’m not 100% sure I’ll like the look (and I can’t help wondering how much thicker they have to be, given their quite large size), but at this point I’m getting a little desperate and am willing to take a leap of faith that they’ll work out.

F) Wednesday afternoon the electricians came back to connect the heat in the bathroom floor, so I took advantage of being home while they were here and got them to set up the cook top. It was such a luxury to wake up this morning and be able to make my beloved oatmeal. Honestly, out of all the work that has been done I think being able to cook dinner last night and breakfast this morning have done the most to make me feel at home and normal. I cook more or less “from scratch” every day, so it’s a big part of my life.

Reality hits

This weekend was kind of surreal. It took the movers 2 hours to get everything in, but I must have worked for 5 hours before they came, and kept it up all day on Saturday. I was far less energetic yesterday because I’ve come down with a low grade head cold. My son came over with his father to set up his room in the late afternoon (I needed help moving furniture around). It looks great, and the three of us went out to dinner at a nearby restaurant afterward. It was a high priority to make sure everything is ready in my son’s room, since he’s with me this week. My room can be chaotic for a while, but a 12-year-old needs some structure.

Since I don’t really have any furniture yet (no sofa, no wardrobe for clothes, no shelves in the closets, etc.) there are just piles and piles of junk right now. In contrast to the pristine look in the last post, here was the state of things on Sunday afternoon:


The boxes are mostly books. Maybe that doesn’t look so bad. This is worse:


The baskets, suitcases and bags are all filled with clothing, bedding, and other linens. Improbably, nearly all of this came out of my original wardrobe (some things are my son’s), so with any luck the new one that is scheduled to arrive next week should encompass most of this.

I’m essentially all moved into the kitchen (those empty boxes held kitchen items), and I’ve started using it. Unfortunately, I keep discovering problems with the installation. The most hilariously bad one is this:


This is the tube that is supposed to attach to my ventilation hood. The upper part is connected to a vent to the exterior. The lower part goes … nowhere. They simply didn’t bother to drill the necessary holes in the rest of the cabinetry to attach the tube to the ventilation hood. Unbelievable!

Then there’s the fact that they put the cook top in, but failed to, you know, hook it up. So no cooking for me until they come back to do that. And who knows when that will happen. The oven is also not screwed in, so you can basically pull it out if you pull too hard when opening the oven door.

Finally, the drawer that goes under the sink doesn’t shut all the way; it bumps into the plumbing:


But despite all of this, I’m essentially really happy with the kitchen and I think it’s going to work great for me in terms of layout and storage. I currently have all my bathroom stuff stored here too, as well as a bunch of renovation junk that will eventually disappear in a couple of drawers, and I still have more than enough room for everything. Can’t wait for the tiles though!