Sunday, December 23, 2007

Week 3

Sunday, Decemcer 9th
Christian had to work today, so I brought Damien to my in-laws and went to work with the wall slotter again on the top floor. In the afternoon my father-in-law finished them up and I planned the slots in our new and improved kitchen/dining area.

Monday, December 10th
A container is now the adornment of our driveway. Christian is off work today and put even more slots in our walls. He also started to shovel all the rubble from our garage into the container.

Tuesday, December 11th
My mother-in-law picked me up from the early shift at work and together we worked in the house. She shoveled the rubble into the container, while I put more slots into our walls as long as there was light enough to see what I was doing. Later I joined her.

Wednesday, December 12th
Same procedure as yesterday. Today we emptied the garage.Credits: frame from Fancy Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]; staple from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]

Thursday, December 13th
No one worked at the house today. In the evenings I planned our kitchen yet again, I think I'm on version 12 by now...

Friday, December 14th
We didn't work in the house today after work. We decided to save our energy for tomorrow when we will take down the top floor. I started to look for lamps on eBay and found the perfect ones for the stairs - little satin stainless steel LED lamps that shine only onto the stairs. Here is a sneak peek:
Credits: ribbonframe from TwoLittlePixels Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]

Saturday, December 15th
Can we fix it? Yes, we can! Today we took down all the walls and ceilings adjoining the roof and removed the old insulation. My dad drove all the up from Birkenfeld again and together with Christain and me and some help from Christian's dad we removed it all in one day.
Take a look
Credits: frame from Stationary Plus 2 by [ksharonkdesigns]; staple from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]
Don't we look like white teletubbies that played in the dirt?
We found some surprises too - 2 old birds nests, about 20 small wasps'/hornets' nests, and one huge hornets' nest. I have never seen one that large before in my life!
Credits: frame from Stationary Plus 2 by [ksharonkdesigns]; tape from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]
This is what it looked like when we were finished, drumroll please:
Credits: frame from Stationary Plus 2 by [ksharonkdesigns]; staple from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]
It really wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. My dad had the brilliant idea to take off one plasterboard panel, pull out the insulation behind it right onto big garbage bags, and then take off the adjourning plasterboards, instead of taking it all down together and sorting it out later. That way it wasn't as itchy & dirty as expected. We were also able to throw the large plasterboards pieces right out the top floor window into the container. So at the end of the day we even managed to smile on the way home.

Credits: frame from Missing You Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Week 2

Sunday, December 2nd
Christian and I worked in the house, planning future electrical outlets and tearing up the walls for the wires. The wall slotter was glued to our hands. My mom picked-up my grandma and together they drove to the house. Christian and I decided to ask her to move in with us. I was planning on taking her in when she would be in need of care/bedridden anyway, so this way she can hopefully make new friends and get used to her new environment and enjoy it. When she saw the apartment, she instantly said yes.

Monday, December 3rd and Tuesday, December 4th
Not much happening in the house as Chris and I have to go to again work. We are doing the paper work and contacting plumbers, tilers, heating and window installers, ...

Wednesday December 5th
My mom drove Siggi and a friend of his, who used to work as a heating installer to the house. There we met up with a distributer of condensing gas boilers. He brought a very nice heating installer along who made us a great offer.

Thursday, December 6th
Chris and I don't have to go to work today so we are working the wall slotter again. We have black pumice walls which means we were covered in black soot. We looked like we were working in a coal mine. In the afternoon Chris went on a teamday with his co-workers and I went to meet with the heating installer from yesterday. He assisted me in picking out tub, shower, sinks, lavatories, fittings, shower/tub enclosures, and the matching panels for wall recessing. There are so many different options nowadays. The bathroom in the downstairs apartment will be senior-friendly with a walk-in shower with grab handles and a higher lavatory and sink. Our bathroom will have a tub for two with built in shower option, a wash basin, and built-in cabinetry (which I will build myself to keep costs down). I am opting for a modern spa look in our bathroom, something like this:Here is a fun video about the makeover of the pictured bath: A Spa For Two

Friday, December 7th
Christian worked in the house all day getting the walls ready for the electrician. My mom and my auntie Gudrun were also there and removed wallpaper in the ground floor apartment. In the evening they took Damien with them to stay at my parents over the weekend. When Damien saw them working in the house, he asked "What are you doing in my house? Don't break my house!" He didn't understand why we all started to laugh...

Saturday, December 8th
Everybody pitched in again today. My dad and Siggi came to Saarbruecken (it is a one hour drive one way) and together they removed the old cast iron wastewater pipes. The electrician and my co-worker (his girl-friend) started on the electrical wiring and she removed the wall between our kitchen and dining area (it looks great, so much larger).
Credits: top frame from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]; bottom frame from Stationary Plus 2 by [ksharonkdesigns]; tape from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]
My future father-in-law removed the last tiles in the ground floor bathroom. And as always I was attached to the wall slotter...
Today a dry wall installer had a look at our top floor and we have to remove all the walls and ceilings adjoining the roof and put up new insulation and plasterboards. Moreover he noticed that it is now insulated with fiberglass, so we will not only be full of 50 year old dirt when we take it down, we will also itch all over and have to wear face masks. That sure dampened my spirits. The only one happy about it was probably Yves, the electrician, because that makes the wiring of the top floor a lot easier (that's where the network switch panel & sat dish will be). So we immediately ordered a container as there wouldn't be enough room in our garage for all that rubble.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Week 1

During our first week as house owners we accomplished more than I had hoped for.
Saturday, November 24th:
On Saturday, the 24th of November we started working in our house. My parents, their dear friend Siggi, Christian's parents, our friend Niels, and we 3 were there. We measured, inspected, prodded, and evaluated it, collected ideas and started to go to work. The guys hammered out the upstairs tub and threw it out the 2nd story window. It is was one of the old cast iron tubs, so it weighed about a ton. The old sink and toilet came out too, as well as the fixtures. We also started to knock off the tiles in the kitchen. First we thought about leaving them on and just putting new ones on top, but we were one inch short for our dream kitchen (version 1) to fit in. The tiles in the kitchen (as well as the bathroom) were not glued to the wall as one would nowadays, but were pressed right into the mortar. That means a hammer & chisel and a lot of sweat & muscles were needed to take it down.
Credits: frame from Cherish add-on by Gina Marie Huff available at; alpha brush from Summer Bright by Heidi Williams available at
We also took care of the front garden, by trimming all the trees & bushes and taking down the vines on the side of the house. Now the bottom window gets light and you
can actually see our house number.
Credits: stitched frame from Cherish add-on by Gina Marie Huff available at; alpha brush from Summer Bright by Heidi Williams available at

Sunday, November 25th:
On Sunday we planed and prepared everything for the upcoming week and took care of odds and ends from the day before. My mom baked 3 cakes on Saturd
ay evening (I have no idea how she found the energy to do that after working all day and driving an hour home) and we picnicked with my parents and their friends Siggi & Inge in our future living room.
Credits: frame from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns], tape by Gina Marie Huff

November 26th:
My mom is staying the entire week in Saarbruecken to help work in the house. She is sleeping at my in-laws as we don't have a guest room in our apartment where she can sleep at. She also brought with her today her sister, my auntie Gudrun. Together the three of us took down all the wallpaper on the 2nd floor. Some of them were painted over so many tim
es that neither water nor the steamer had any effect and we had to scratch them off bit by bit. When we removed the ceiling wallpaper we unwillingly took a paint shower. I tell you those little chips of old paint were everywhere and we left a trail of them where ever we went. In the evening we brought my aunt to the train station, where she set off on a 2 hour train ride back to her home.
Credits: frame from Cherish add-on by Gina Marie Huff available at; ribbon wrap from Warming Heart by Heidi Williams available at
Even though removing the wallpaper was an awful, no fun task, the three of us were laughing all day.

Tuesday, November 27th:
My mom and me took down all the wallpaper on the top floor and went to the home improvement store, Bauhaus. We looked at some tiles & tubs, checked out the prices on tools, and bought some plaster to redo the walls.

Wednesday, November 28th:
My dad took off work and brought Siggi along. Together they took down
old heating expansion, aka the monster, we had hanging from the ceiling on the top floor. I have never seen anything like that before.
Credits: frame from Warming Heart by Heidi Williams available at
While the guys were busy taking care of the monster, and my mom was removing wallpaper on the first floor, I started to take down the wall between Christian and my future PC/gaming/scrapping room. That was fun. Taking all the stones down afterwards bucket by bucket was a lot of work.
Credits: frame from Stationary Plus 2 by [ksharonkdesigns] available at; font: Pea Becky

November 29th:
Mom and me removed a very ugly and restive wallpaper in the 1st floor bedroom. Can you believe it took us all day? Well it did, and it didn't help that there was another one under it.
Credits: frame and stitching from Fancy Free Freebie by by [ksharonkdesigns]
In the evening we picked up Christian from work and went to yet another DIY store, Globus Baumarkt, and found the perfect sink with vanity for the top floor restroom. And it was on sale too. I love it's simple and sleek look.
Credits: frame from Warming Heart by Heidi Williams available at; staple from Unadorned Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]

November 30th:
My mom continued removing the 1st floor wallpaper, while I started to pull out the old electrical cords on the 2nd floor. Hammer and chisel were practically glued to my hands all day.
Credits: frame from Simple Sets #20 by by [ksharonkdesigns]; tape by Gina Marie Huff
In the evening I picked up Christian from work and we went to our electricians house. His girl-friend is a co-worker of ours. They basically have the same as house as we do, except they have it already fixed up. It took them 2 years to get it that way, but it was beautiful. Not only did they give us a lot of great ideas as to what you can do and tricks as to how to do it, they also gave us hope that it is possible to do it yourself with some help from the pros. They showed us some pictures of their renovations where I just thought OMG. But when you see what they made out of the place, it was definitely worth it.

Saturday, December 1st:
Today everybody pitched in again: my parents & Siggi, my in-laws, us 3 and our electrician were working in the house. We took more old wiring out of the walls, remove
d even more wallpaper and some the old water pipes, made holes for the new pipes, partially took down the wall in each bathroom, removed all the tiles in our kitchen and the tiles in both bathrooms including the floor tiles, and removed the toilet and vanity in the top floor restroom. Here are some impressions of what today looked like:
Credits: rectangle frame from Fancy Free Freebie by [ksharonkdesigns]; square frame cluster from Meme Challenge by [ksharonkdesigns]
And what do we have have to show for after week #1? Our garage went from housing a few garden tools in a wheel-barrel to this:
Credits: frames from Seeing Stars by Heidi Williams available at;

Friday, November 23, 2007

Our House

The long road to our very own house started on August 15th, 2007 when we heard about a house near my in-laws. Its owner, an old lady at the retirement home my mother-in-law works at, was selling it. That very evening we drove by and liked what we saw. The location was exactly what we had been looking for: on the outskirts of the city, in a quiet residential area, at the end of a dead-end street, near the street car line, a nice playground and the best elementary school around the corner, easy to reach for my parents, and in the same neighborhood as Damien's grandparents.
On August 21st the real estate agent showed us the house. It was a fix-er-upper from 1955, the property is leased from the city, and the price for the house was in our price range. So, we made our offer. There was one other rival we had to outbid.
On August 23rd the other bidder backed out and we signed the preliminary contract with the real estate agent.Credits: quickpage Simple Set #20 by KSharonK Designs; fonts: Harrison, the quiet scream.
On September 10th we officially signed the contract before a notary, which made us proud owners of a house. Our very first house and most likely our last.Credits: Shabby Fall Garden kit by Gina Marie Huff and Gina Miller available at; template blog freebie sept 8 by Shandy Vogt from SVdesigns; red paper from Doing The Polka by Gina Marie Huff from Weeds & Wildflowers Design available at; Hand Stamped Alpha by Michelle Coleman; font: 2peas scrapbook.
And now the waiting began...Not only did the tenant have to move out before we could get the keys, but the owner had a legal guardian. Which means our buying the house had to be approved by the guardianship court.
Saturday, November 3rd, the tenant moved out and we seized the opportunity of having access to a power outlet for that day. With the help of Christian's and my parents we started cutting down the wilderness called garden around our future home.
Credits: frame by Chere Kaye from Eat, Drink, and Be Scary kit available at
On November 16th the court approved and the bank began the process of transferring the money. Finally on November 23rd we got the keys to our new home. Now let the renovations begin!