Precisely one year ago on April 19th we got the keys to our new old house. When we opened the door with for the first time, we already had mail! We got some lovely cards (shown above) from friends and family. Welcome home! Today marks our one year renovation anniversary. Happy House Day!!!
It seems like it was just yesterday we put our crowbar in the house for the first time. But it’s been a year…hard to believe. And I would like to take the time and appreciate the progress. A lot has happened this past year and when you’re living in the renovation sometimes it’s challenging to see the whole picture.
So that’s why today I would like to do a quick run down of all the best moments and learnings of last year.
A few of the best moments
We already have so many good memories in this house. This blog is a testament to that. From the day we got the keys, to the first day we could sleep in an actual bed…it has been such a great experience!
Besides the first months where development was so fast and we could barely keep up in terms of energy and the overwhelming excitement you feel when a room is starting to look like a room we have so many small highlights like:
- Having the cats run around the house for the first time (and meeting the dogs of our neighbors haha).
- Too tired to shower, reading a book in the garden in your workwear with the dust still on your face.
- Eating out because you have no kitchen.
- Showing people before and after pictures.
- Walking into the city center.
- Going to work by bike (or by foot!).
- Perfectly aligned toilet roll holders.
- Coming home and feeling at home, even if it’s a mess.
- So many more memories.
Learning: Living in a mess 24/7
One thing we learned a lot about is how to live in a messy environment. You really have to lower your standards to pull this off. Sleeping on the floor was normal to us. We had very little things in the house and when we did have things in the house it could easily turn into this:
And the funny thing is that most people see this picture and think “what a dump! Is that laundry on the left?!”
We only see this picture being a sign of progress: we had a table and chairs! The walls and floors were stripped bare. Construction work is on its way. We were happy campers!
To this date our house is still messy, but it’s getting better the further we move along. We are a long way from a show home, but to us it’s heaven!
When you do a big renovation like this you will soon discover what tools you do and don’t like. I already told you about paint brushes, but there is another tool that needs to be mentioned.
It’s this Hultafors mini crowbar. It measures about 19 centimeters, but it is strong and very versatile. I used it for a lot of delicate demolition work, but it’s also great for pulling out nails and opening paint cans. It’s a tool I keep in my work trousers, just because it can replace so man other bulky tools.
Learning new skills
Even if you don’t do a lot of construction work yourself, you will quickly learn new skills.
The skills I learned so far:
- Demolition. I am one of those people that feel like I’m breaking things when doing demolition so I am extra careful. Well…if you have a house like this, you will learn demolition in record speed. I figured out where to poke my crowbar within a day and I ripped out large parts of the house without help.
- Painting. I was already a decent painter, but I’m lazy with the sanding and stuff. But now I really want it to look nice so I take my time and I really pay attention to the paint I use and the preparations (like sanding). It pays off, because my painting has improved a lot. One of the guys actually complimented me on it.
- Sawing. This was a surprise, but it turns out I have a knack for sawing with a table saw. For some reason I can do very straight cuts and weird shapes without effort. I really like to do this and I think I will keep doing saw projects when we are further along.
- Measuring. If you don’t measure correctly you will soon be very irritated. After a few screwups I learned the hard way. So my measuring has improved (by force) a lot!
Sure, there are days when we just want to have a show home. But all the other days have just made us so happy.
We talked about this last night actually. How we never looked back when it comes to our old house and old city. No regrets whatsoever and we would do it again in a heartbeat.
Is it expensive? Yes. Is it messy? Absolutely! But honestly I can’t even imagine being ‘done’. It has been so great restoring this house to its former glory, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
If you followed me along in the past year I hope you enjoyed our journey so far. We did and we are looking forward to another year of home improvement.