Today I went up to the apartment after work to meet the guy who was coming to measure for pleated blinds on the remaining four windows there. I want to order the exact same thing I had on the original living room windows from before the remodel, since I’ve been really happy with them. It will be good to get them in place in a few weeks’ time.

But aside from working that out, I was thrilled beyond words at all the progress that happened in just one day! Where to even start? The funniest thing was that I was fumbling around in the dark apartment looking for the work lights, and couldn’t find them anywhere. Suddenly I looked up and noticed that one of the holes for the downlights had a light in it:


Then I looked to my side and saw that there were switches in the wall plates:


I turned one on, and lo and behold, there was light!


Huzzah! If you look carefully, you can see a square vent in the corner. There’s another one on the opposite side of the living room. There’s also a small outlet above the window, which I suppose is for a separate light to hang over the dining room table. I think the switch below the two dimmer switches in the picture above controls it.

As if all this wasn’t enough to get my heart racing, it also looks like they finished the work in the bathroom in preparation for the microcement. It’s harder to see because there’s no light in there yet and the walls are black, but you can just make out how they have built everything in:


The shower enclosure is to the left and the door is to the right. Be still, my heart, it’s even symmetrical! The niche just screams for something decorative. I have no idea what it might be, but it will sure be fun to work it out once I’ve moved in.

I’m SO excited!!



Jobsite, week 10

I couldn’t really take pictures this morning because the painters had just arrived and were setting up to paint the walls and ceiling. They finished the trim yesterday. I’ll go up tomorrow in hopes of getting better pictures, not least of what the walls look like painted (inshallah).

In the meantime, here’s a quick shot of the holes in the ceiling for the LED downlights in the kitchen:


For some reason I was surprised that they’re all in line down the middle of the room, but it actually makes sense. There will be lights under the cabinets to illuminate the countertops, so it’s really the center of the room than needs light.

After stopping by the apartment, I went into town to look at sofas (or rather to look at a sofa, since I’m still fixated on the Mags Soft sofa by Hay). This time they had all the fabric and leather samples I wanted to look at, and if I had remembered to transfer money into my bank account, I might well have placed an order. Here are some of the samples I was looking at:


From the left that’s a dark green 100% wool, a medium brown 100% wool, and a dark brown leather. I also kind of like the light brown leather sample on the right under the larger dark brown; it’s called “Nougat.” I still don’t know what I want, but I was at least able to eliminate the  “Cognac” color that is the most popular choice of leather for this sofa. Here it is next to the dark brown:


It helped that they had another kind of sofa on display in “Cognac.” Looking at it across the showroom, confirmed that this isn’t what I want for my living room. I know tan is all the rage, but this tan is just too orange for my taste, and I think I could easily grow to dislike it sooner rather than later. I would be furious with myself for choosing a color that I ended up hating, just because it’s trendy right now.

Help! How do I decide? I’m feeling paralyzed because this is such a big investment!


The other day I went to return some tile samples and found I had a little time to kill before the store opened. There was an interesting looking store a few doors down that was open, so I checked it out, and it turns out to be a place called Molo, which specializes in retro lamps and fixtures. I had no idea such a place existed in Oslo!

The friendly salesperson asked me if I needed help so I asked whether they had ceiling lamps appropriate for an apartment from the late 1950s. They have both pendants and ceiling mounted lamps that are Norwegian designs from the 1950s, and I have to say they’re pretty cool. Here are the two pendants:

I wish the metal parts weren’t quite so shiny, but otherwise I kind of dig them. I’m pretty sure the salesperson referred to the one one the left as an “Elg” (“moose”) lamp, though a quick Google search didn’t turn up anything. I had thought that I wanted my Moroccan pendant lamp over the dining room table, but maybe one of these would be better? Hmm, thinking, thinking…

All the rooms in my apartment will have recessed LED spotlights except for the two bedrooms, so I do actually need to get a couple of ceiling mount lamps. This store has two very cool ones, one round and one square. You can see them stacked upside down on top of each other here:


The salesperson told me that her apartment is from 1964 and that it still has original versions of the round lamps. I’m kind of kicking myself for not buying two of them then and there. I think they would be perfect. These are reproductions, so the parts are all up to code and they are easy to install.

Leveling up

My son is really into World of Warcraft these days, so much so that video game vernacular is seeping into the way I think about things. I had thought I was more or less done with all the decisions that had to be made on this project, but I’m realizing that those were just the major decisions, level 1 in video game parlance. Now that I have completed that one, I have unlocked an entirely new level of decisions that have to be made.

The easiest one has to do with lighting. I have asked for LED downlights in all the rooms except the two bedrooms (I just couldn’t justify the extra expense there) so I’m going to have to locate two nice ceiling fixtures at some point.

A more complicated and expensive quest in the video game of my renovation is figuring out what will go inside the kitchen cabinets. It turns out there is a whole slew of options for what kind of drawer organizers one can have added on, and I have to make the decision by the end of this week.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, I have to make a really major decision about the state of my backsplashes, and this too has to be finalized by the end of this week. Originally I had planned on microcement for the kitchen walls, which would have given me a very clean, water resistant surface that would have been perfectly fine as a backsplash. But since I decided against microcement in the kitchen, I now have to figure something else out. My choices seem to be A) tiles, B) some kind of water resistant panels, or C) the same CaesarStone as the counters. A remotely possible D) might be to plaster just the backsplash areas. A really exciting E) that I love the idea of would be old timey tin tiles (the kind of tin ceiling tiles you find in nineteenth century buildings, at least out west in the US, not sure about other areas).

A) I’m not super excited about tiles, in part because I find all the options so overwhelming, and in part because they can be visually busy. It was almost miraculous that I worked out what to use for the bathroom floor tiles so painlessly. On the other hand, tiles can be beautiful and can also be changed relatively easily.

B) Laminate panels is what I had before. They were plain white and high gloss and easy to clean, but they buckled a bit (probably from steam) and the seams got a little scruffy. They’re definitely cheap and convenient, and might be a good short term solution while I save up for something I really love. IKEA has a bunch, although I am trying to boycott them.

C) I priced out the CaesarStone option yesterday, and the price is very high (though not beyond reason). Another problem is that it only comes in sheets that are 2cm thick, which would be total overkill. I think I would love the seamless and clean look, but I don’t think it’s a good option. Maybe? Still thinking.

D) I also don’t think plastering is a good idea. I would still have to go through all the trouble of choosing a color, and it would still entail a lot of work and coordination to make it work. I guess for me it was all or nothing for microcement in the kitchen.

E) This leaves me with tin tiles. As I was thinking about this post I started poking around on the internet and found this company that even delivers internationally. They have clear instructions for doing it yourself and a bunch of different options. I’m going to think seriously about this as an option!

Oh, and there’s actually an F too:

F) The kitchen company has plain white glass panels too. I actually already have one on order for behind the stove (I thought there might be too much staining on the microcement). Maybe I should just order a second one for behind the sink and call it a day?

What do you think?