Tag Archives: before

welcome, do you fit in our door?

Our tenement has some nice art deco details in the hallway. Brick-colored cement tiles, stucco, railings and entrance doors to apartments. Not every one of them has the original double wings door though. After learning that a new door duplicate would make us bankrupt, we decided to renovate.

We were inspired by apartments’ doors downstairs. Their owners had some ideas we copied. First, I had to get rid of the transparency and those freaky yellow curtains. I covered the glass on the outside with thin plywood.

Then, we scraped off the old paint. It took us forever and we regretted not having bought any heat gun. Good thing we had sanding wheel on our drill tool.

On the inside, there were steel bars that we removed.

Middle part had some free space that we filled in with some Styrofoam for insulation.

Final step was applying simple, white furniture board on the inside. That was the simplest and cheapest thing we could think of. Wings were in much worse shape on the inside than on the outside. Boards turned out well, clean and modern. Because we increased the depth of door wing, we had to remove plaster from door side. Wings would now open freely and for some time we had bricks visible and ready for thinner layer of plaster.

That’s how it looked for almost three years until the second phase of renovation. Now, our hallway has new plaster on walls, so the door also looks much better.

As you may noticed, there’s a little storage closet above the door. We painted it white and keep our DIY tools there. It is not very handy because it is hard to reach.

We painted the outside with Dulux acrylic paint, but the tint didn’t turn out as I wanted. It was too burgundy and not brown enough.

Door is old and crooked. In winter slots let in a lot of cold air. We fixed it with some brown seals and gray, thick felt

Since march 2010, until recently, we had this burgundy color on. On one may weekend, I had some free time and quickly painted the whole thing in one day. I like the new color much better. And that cable? It is the TV cable that we never installed :)

The only thing left for me to do is to connect one of those art deco, brass door handles with some modern one and mount it. Retro out and modern in. I need to find a good locksmith or an ironworker… Now I only have original brass handle mounted.

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is it rendered?

There are some toilets in the world, that you wouldn’t use even if you really had to. The ones that scare off with smell, spider webs, feces, killer-zombie-bacteria. We had one of those.

Works started with removing everything and bricking up the window to lightwell. We didn’t need the view to old plaster and pigeon shit. Then, the plumbing. Sanitary installation frame is by Grohe. Our contractors weren’t glad that we tossed the old toilet bowl away. They had to pee in this PVC tube instead. I figured, what the hell, it is still better than that sickening thing.

Next it was time to put some gypsum cardboard to cover up the substructure and some plaster deficiencies.

I’ve decided to use the same tiles in bathroom, toilet and kitchen. Some wondered why so dull, but it was obvious for me. Paradoxically I have a tendency to easily get bored with interior finishes, so if something will be there for a long time, it should be ultra minimalistic and adaptive to changes. I rearrange furniture, change textiles and all the shit’n’stuff every half a month. I’d repaint every year if it was possible. Tiles stay on walls and floors for a long time. They should have great endurance and be great background for every color I see fit.

So I ended up with Grespania Finlandia Bianco wall tiles and floor tiles by NowaGala Signum in dark grey SG13 color. They both come in 30x60cm size. White tile is super glossy and very hard to cut. I don’t regret any penny spent on them. Smaller sizes would make the toilet look bigger, but with my cleaning OCD tendencies, I figured, the less joints, the easier to clean. And these Grespanias are  really easy to clean. Nonetheless, if there is are any water stains, they are not so much visible, so I don’t have to take care of them for a long time. Floor tiles, are also great for non-cleaners. You can’t see any dirt on them, they have this heterogeneous texture of stone.

As you can see on the picture, we had the actuation plate mounted on top of the frame. There’s a little shelf, which stands empty now. I was thinking about some Zamioculcas plant there, as it doesn’t require any natural light.

The room is really tiny (0,68 square meters), but I didn’t want to join it with the bathroom. It is common that our family members barricade themselves in the bathroom, put on make-up, take very long showers. Separate toilet is a good choice. It had to have a little washbasin, so I found the smallest one there exists. It is some no-name from local building market. Ceramics isn’t top quality but it came with a little cupboard or toilet paper and other sanitary stuff. I may change it some day to something different.

I already mentioned the faucet, that stars in this motion picture. It is Il Bagno Alessi by Oras and it is worth its price. I love it.

And this is the final result:

When my friends a work saw this picture they asked whether was it a picture or an architectural visualization. It made me laugh so hard. Then I showed him this picture…

… and they were like “wow girl, respect”.

We are not at all scared of our toilet. It was the first “room” to be finished and gave us a lot motivation for future battles.

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let’s do this shit

Meh. Starting a blog is hard. We should have started the whole blog 3 years ago. Back then it was an adrenaline ride though. We’ll keep posting regularly until we reach current state.

It all started with us deciding it was time to own a place. We never planned building/owning a house as we are city centre animals. So we said “hell, lets get us huuuge apartment in the city centre”. With market prices in 2009, that was shit crazy idea.

We made an appointment with real estate agency that would find us something. Our primary goal was 3-4 bedrooms, first to second floor, old tenement, classy, to renovate. We never expected that we’d hit the jackpot…

A huge lightbulb appeared over my head when I heard the name of the street from our agent. She wasn’t sure if the place was really on market. She’s heard of it from her coworker, that lived downstairs form the apartment and knew the owners.

We scheduled the viewing and begged her to send us some photos. When I saw the original door handle, I just knew: “This is my future home for the rest of my life”.

And another great thing: a walk-in wardrobe. How cool is that?

We saw some more pictures that our agent took. With my professional skills and some googling I narrowed down the building, which I knew before and loved. I also deducted that there were only two apartments on each floor. I was a little bit rejected by northern/southern windows exposition, but decided not to be too picky. I already knew the neighborhood very well because the street is at the back of my university building. There is a nice park nearby, it is close to city centre. Perfect location.

When we entered the apartment on 12th of February 2009, we got scared. We didn’t expect such bad condition and how much work has to be done. No one has lived there for 10 years. Nobody took proper care of it. The heirs of the owner were fighting in court for rights and money. Owner’s daughter lived permanently in Paris. She’s made her ex husband her representative and boy that old guy was difficult to deal with.

We talked on the side and decided we are crazy enough and the price was really low. When we announced “we take it” to real estate agents and the owner’s ex-husband, they were shocked. “You’ve decided already?”. We laughed as it turned out there were several people before us and they were also terrified and undecided. One lady came once by herself, then she came to see the place with her husband and then she intended to come for the third time with some contractor. Well, we took the risk. Oh little did we know what was going to happen…

So let me take you to a little tour of  “THE BEFORE”

You might ask yourself how crazy you’d have to be to buy this place. We were sold by these little historic details:

The apartment is on second floor, has two bedrooms that are joined with wardrobe, living room with balcony, kitchen with pantry, 88 square meters (950 sq ft). Original hardwood floors, original heating system with coal stove in the kitchen, original doors, some door handles, gypsum ceiling decorations in two northern rooms, tree in the back yard, astonishing front street view…

And so our battle had begun.

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