I thought I’d start my series of new house stories off by showing some photos of how the property looked the day we got the keys. Brace yourself.
Here’s the kitchen:
First I cleaned everything thoroughly and then I started on that back wall. It was in an awful state, stuff came crumbling down all the time, I think I plastered about three thin layers before I managed to see a difference in the surface.
Tackling the first wall and testing some colours
Although the house is nowhere near finished, I thought it’d be cool to do some current before and after comparisons. Here we go.
Downstairs living room
The stairs The landing, side of the stairs
The landing, which we, after much deliberation, decided to turn into an office with room for storage on the right hand wall. We considered using this cosy nook as our bedroom, because of its lofty feel. But James wisely convinced me of the fact that doing so would probably lead to the other room being in a perpetual state of mess and dumping ground, since it’s the only room with a door. In hindsight I am so happy we opted for this! The slim storage, woolly rug and beanbag, whilst trying to keep everything airy and transparent which is why we went for a double ply wall mounted desk with a single white hairpin leg.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where something you’ve always dreamed of is finally happening and the reality is NOTHING like you thought it would be?
That’s what’s happened to me in the last three months, hence the fact I was somewhat MIA from my blog.
We have a new house! (yay!) And it’s a very old house (more yay!) It’s one of those houses that needed so much work done to it it could have been an inexhaustible source of stories for my blog. I could have written endlessly about moodboards, shared before and afters, asked you guys help with choices that needed to be made, diy tutorials and so on and so on. Has it always been my dream to do a cute little house up, document the process meticulously as I went and create something inspiring to share with others? Yes, it has.
So three months ago, when I first walked into that 1911 built dark and abandoned terrace house which we were going to turn into our new splendid house, taking photos and write about everything little action we took surely was the first thing I did, right?
We had 24 hours to make the decision whether or not to accept the offer of this place (has something to do with a complicated Dutch system). And since we were moving from a ridiculously 190 m2 big flat to this in comparison slightly minute one bedroom terrace, moving our stuff over would not be the only thing that needed doing. And did I mention the new house was disgustingly neglected? We had a period of 4 weeks to renovate the new (but very old!!) house, to buy / source / build and make new furniture since everything in the old house was too large. One of my friends who came to house/rabbit sit in our old flat once lovingly refers to our old sofa as ‘that couch on steroids’. So I had to sell almost everything I owned, which wasn’t easy by the way, since I hand made most of my furnishings and each single item has some sort of emotional meaning to me. I also didn’t want to make the time sensitive situation reduce any potential profit and so I hustled, negotiated and online listed my ass off. Four weeks to plough through my three year’s worth of ‘I-have-a-massive-flat-anyway-so-why-not-collect-this-clutter’. Four weeks to rip out floorboards, lay all the flooring, do the painting, the plastering. Four weeks to build, clean, sand, fill and paint every inch of that old and dark house. Four weeks to arrange finances, process address changes, to look for bargains and find ways of sourcing new furniture that would actually fit our new life style.
I was completely overwhelmed by everything involved in the process. And the fact almost anything in the house that could break, leak or crumble actually broke, leaked and crumbled didn’t help either.
This is the very first photo of the house, I took it with my iphone on the day we had the viewing. As you can see, it was a shit hole.
To make a long story short: I didn’t blog AT ALL.
So the coming months I will dedicate my blog posts to our new/old little do up house in a ‘in hindsight kind of way’. My stories will mostly be throwbacks to the pain splats, the struggles we faced, the problems and challenges we encountered and the little triumphs.
Even though most of the big and structural work is done, there are still quite some things in the house that need doing. And since my cortisol levels have returned to normal, I might even find the time to sit down and share some projects with you as they are happening. Who knows.
Life has these mysterious ways of making its road lead you in directions that you had never previously thought you would follow.
This is a sad post. It’s sad because it’s about letting go, sacrifice, saying goodbye.
I am one of the worst when it comes to letting go, but even me, a neurotic keepsakes clenching hoarder, even I know that in order to let the new in, the old must go out..
I fell ill, moved country, I fell in love, we commuted between countries, him and me built a camper van… And now, because we want to take our love to the next level we have to sell our precious project we worked so hard on. We have to sell her way before her time. So many holidays we could have still enjoyed, so many road trips we should have made still. Unfortunately there’s no way we can keep her as my boyfriend needs to migrate in order to be with me and importing the van isn’t an option.
So here’s a little photographic hommage to the run down London florist van we turned into a very special camper van. Tallulah, our labour of love.
driving through Scandinavia last spring.
Coffee and magazines are your no 1 necessities whilst campervanning.
Tallulah’s toes in the sand…
Tha back window as a frame to a perfect sunset.
My home made upholstered sun visors!
In Denmark we found this amazing wide beach which was completely accessible to camper vans, it was amazing.
The view in Sweden.
Let’s go travelling…
Our rabbit passenger
sniffle sniffle, travelling Parker rabbit style!
Birthdays, camper van style!
Coffee and magazines…necessities for camper vanning!
So, as you all probably know by now, my boyfriend and me have a house rabbit named Parker. He is incredibly fluffy, hairy, blue eyed, not very intelligent and makes for hours of in-house entertainment.
The reason Parker lives indoors with us, is because we have a massive apartment with lots of space for him to run, stroll and wobble around. Parker is litter trained too, which is amazing. Unfortunately we don’t have a garden, not even a balcony. Whenever we go over to the UK, which is quite often, we take Parker with us and he has a blast playing in my parents in law’s garden. Mind you, that wasn’t always the case: the first ever time we put him on a lawn he didn’t know what to make of it. He didn’t even figure out grass was an edible thing until very recent.
I am planning to write a post about the pro’s and cons of having a rabbit live indoors, with tips and tricks to keep it doable for both, I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.
I want to dedicate this post to Parker’s house, since it was a very special and fun project to make and his house has a prominent place in our interior.
Building housing for my rabbit.
First of all, I HATE metal fencing, wires, caging etcetera. I hate it with a passion. Ever since I decided to adopt Parker into my house I was sure of one thing: I wasn’t gonna get a regular rabbit cage that looks like a prison, sounds like a prison, not to mention is completely unstylish plasticy and metally. Yuk.
Luckily, I’m a good diy-er and decided to build Parks a house he could sleep and go to the toilet in. I love reclaimed wood and my interior features lots of reclaimed wooden furniture and decoration. I wanted to give the front of the house o little Dutch touch, so I made a ‘klokgevel’, it’s a type of facade you see around Amsterdam for example. I didn’t have to think long about what materials I would use to make his house out of.
A few years back, I was big into manual photography, I used to spend hours in the darkroom when I was at uni. Despite my good intentions, I had a box full of darkroom equipment stored under my bed for ages, which is only collecting dust. I decided to use one of the jumbo sized photo developing trays as a basis for the house. (For all you non-darkroomers: a developing tray is something like a very shallow washing up bowl, but bigger.) The tray is made of plastic, it’s easily washable in case Parker has any accidents outside of his toilet and best of all, it is so shallow I can remove it from under the house without any hassle. No lifting or manoeuvring required.
Height of the tray and height of the wheels.
I took the developing tray as my starting point and size wise I went from there. I used pieces of reclaimed wood to build a sort of box around the tray, I placed it on castors to raise it just enough for the tray to slide under. Inside the box, to add more space I added a little shielded corner for extra dark privacy, bunnies love hiding away. And I added a shelf, which in hindsight was a stroke of genius because Parker loooves chilling on that shelf. Whenever I wake him up in the morning and remove the roof to see how he’s doing he lies there on his chill shelf, like a hairy mermaid, legs out, just hilarious.
Parker’s shelf and hide-away-corner…
It took me a while to figure out what to make the roof out of. I think Parker was too small at the time I first made the house, he wasn’t actually able to jump out yet, which gave me the time to figure out a nice material. I wanted the roof to be light and let light through, but, again, I don;t like metal wiring of any sort.
I ended up using perforated radiator panel, it’s available in any big hardware store. People use it in radiator covering panel builds, it lets warmth through. It’s basically a very thin wood pulp board, plasticised on one side and a pattern perforated into it. There are lots of types of patterns, to go with any interior. I’m not sure about the variation in colours, I only saw white and natural straw. Most hardware stores offer a free cutting service, which is amazing, since the board gets a bit chippy if you attempt to cut it by hand.
So here it is, Parker’s night time mansion.
It’s not the biggest palace you will ever have seen, but trust me, he gets soooo much running around space during the day, he doesn’t mind spending his nights here.
Good morning sunshine!
Chinnin’ ma front door!
Without the tray (during cleaning time) Parker can limbo dance his way in and out.
Because of a lack of wood of a certain width I decided to keep a little peek through strip in the structure. It turned out to be quite a sweet feature, I can see when Parks wants to come out when he tries to poke his nose through!
I’ve been using this house for two years now and still really love it. In the beginning I was afraid it might become a bit unhygienic, because wood is such a porous material and I didn’t want to treat it with anything. But Parker really behaves himself well, he never wees in his wooden shelf bit, nor does he poop there. He has gone through phases where he nibbles on the wood, but that doesn’t bother me.
I attached the door with two old hinges, super simple. And as a special touch I added a ceramic door knob, ‘Delfts blauw’ style, it’s a Dutch decorative pottery technique.
I like the rough, old, worn look of reclaimed wood and some teeth marks don’t interfere with that style .
I admit, I could’ve made a better effort, but the bottle sits and stays and works, so what?
I use wooden catlitter pellets in my rabbit’s toilet, they’re amazing and eco friendly. I’ve never caught Parker nibbling on them but if he would it would be totally safe.
Honestly, this stuff is a god send. Odour busting and perfumed powder to sprinkle underneath the litter pellets. Takes away all scents. Not that my bunny stinks, but hey.
It happens often to me. I find a certain object or material and my mind starts running off. When it boomerangs back to me it shows me a completely new design based on that one little thing I found.
This is exactly what happened in the charity shop the other day. I always rummage through their ‘old metal and tool section’ (a.k.a. that box with rusty shit in it). I am usually on the prowl for old hooks and brackets to use on coat racks and lamps and such. I found something much cooler this time, a series of black, flaky, old handrail brackets.
I was still looking to make something for my hallway. I have so many wintercoats, scarves and bulky knitwear and at the moments I have those metal IKEA hook thingies hanging on every door in my house. I’ve been wanting to make a proper coat rack for ages and these little beauties gave me exactly what I needed: they’re quirky enough to go with my rustic handmade style and long enough to hang more than just one coat on.
I have a lot of beautiful vintage hooks but to be honest, they’re not all big enough to hold my outdoorwear collection.
So here’s what I made with my banister support/ handrail bracket turned coat hooks!
Needless to say, I removed most of my coats because I wanted the picture to look Pinterest Instagram pretty. I know, I’m so fake.
I’m not too happy about the colour of the screws I picked out, I might give them a touch of black paint actually.
How I made it:
I used some good ol’ scaffolding wood leftovers from one of my boyfriend’s projects, I glued and clamped them all together. I left those metal things on, I really like their industrial vibe. I then stole a longer bit of wood, it wasn’t actually left over I think, I glued and screwed it and made it into a shallow shelf. Perfect for hats and scarves and such. I used two visible brackets to attach the rack to the wall, I could have gone for something a bit more subtle but my other brackets were finished and I figured since it’s so high up you won’t ever really see them unless you try.
I’m happy with my result! And it all started with that tiny black flaky bit of inspiration.