Tag Archives: story

cool story, bro!

The story of our moving is an anecdote that would stay in my family for a long time. It was exhausting stressful and extremely cool (ass-freezing).

Our previous flat was microscopic (24sq m) rented flat on 3rd floor that drove us nuts. There was no space to live. Everything was clotted with our stuff. The kitchen was invaded with dirty dishes, the bathroom had very short uncomfortable bathtub. And the loft bed that we hated. What am I a hen in hen house to climb up and down the ladder every goddamn night?

We took 1,5 week off work. I packed our stuff and it took me three exhausting days. On Friday, the 30th of October my dad came along with my sister and his friend than owns a huge van. I never thought we’d need such a huge van but we managed to fill it up.

I took us several sweaty hours to drag everything downstairs and pack up the van. I was so exhausted by then, I thought I’d die if I carried anything more. Also, the deal was that my dad’s friend wouldn’t have to carry stuff, just be the driver. So when we arrived at our new place, he helped us with the most heavy furniture and then drove home with the rest of my crew.

Imagine just the two of us. Me and my husband and a huge pile of junk laying downstairs. Boxes, bags with books, magazines, clothes, bedding, plants, chairs, kitchen stuff… First we dragged everything into the building. Then little by little, step by step we put it into one room. I kept saying to myself “this is my last move… my last f***ing move”. And it helped a lot :]

One room of stuff! That much stuff and it still so little. I guess now we have much more.

We mounted our IKEA bed in the wardrobe (bedroom was about to be painted soon), laid down for a while to rest and suddenly felt that it is freezing. The contractors promised us to come on Monday to install furnace and radiators so we decided to run away somewhere warm for the Halloween weekend. I called my mum and we went to my parents’ city that is one hour drive away.

When we returned on Monday it turned out there were no contractors coming. They would send replacement for Thursday. We had the Internet access montage scheduled for Tuesday so we decided to stay for one night. We painted first layer in our bedroom and then prepped ourselves for “camping”. My husband took a tram (yes, we are weirdos that don’t own a car) to supermarket and came back with two crucial things. Big, rectangular plastic bowl and electric radiator. In that time I made the bed with some dug out thick quilts and blankets. I also pinned a sheet by the wardrobe entrance so that no heat would run away.

Next step was bathing. As we had no active outflow from our shower tray, I’ve inserted the bowl into the shower cabin. Then I dug out our tourist electric stove and boiled water in the biggest pot I found. We mixed hot water with some ice cold from the shower and had a “camping bath”. And of course, the used water had to be poured into the toilet.

With the electric radiator turned on, we jumped into warm clothes, ate some supper and raised a toast with bachelor night’s vodka leftovers (we kept it for special occasion, 1,5 years in the freezer). Still, it was a little bit too cold to sleep.

So on Tuesday we painted the second layer of grey paint in our bedroom, buzzed in the Internet guys and drove back to my parents’ house.

On Thursday, the 5th the chimney-sweep came by to install steel pipes into the chimney. It is necessary to have clean, sanitary pipes for air that takes part in furnace’s combustion process. The old flues usually have a lot of soot inside.

I got super angry with the chimney sweep, because he cut some pipes with his power tool and the sparks burned little black spots on my new wall tiles. I confronted him by phone the next day and he didn’t want to come clean at first but I knew I saw sparks and eventually he apologized and gave some money for the repair. In the end it turned out that the fridge covers the tile and there’s no need for replacement. I might have replaced it, but at that time we ran out of those white tiles.

On Friday, the subcontractors mounted our furnace. They had to be very compact with their pipes, because I wanted the furnace to be up high over the fridge.

Finally we had some hot water. It was a blast! And it was even more awesome when we had that leak fixed on the next Monday. Taking a hot shower in our new bathroom was truly ecstatic experience.

But we had to wait a week more for our radiators to come, so first two weeks in our new home were spent in the wardrobe heated by small electric radiator.

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omigod, the drama leak

Not everything goes smooth while renovating such an old apartment. It occurred that one water pipe was terribly corroded. I didn’t want to interfere with common sewage system and cause troubles to my neighbors, but some adjustments were necessary. It was also a pain, because my bathroom was almost ready, tiled and fittings mounted…

Back then I was terrified. That one phone call from downstairs neighbor made me so nervous I had to cancel all my work plans that day. I came to the construction site prepared for a reprimand, but they were quite understanding.

It all turned out to be one sewage pipe from the bathroom that gathered used water from washbasin, washing machine and shower. It has a connection to main, wider pipe in downstairs apartment. I was so sorry to insert my messy renovation to their home, but we had to cut a little hole in their suspended cardboard ceiling and had to replace the whole pipe. And it was steel eaten by rust. No use at all. Then our contractor sealed that little hole and I especially asked him to be very careful and accurate with the job. In the end, there was no sign of any intervention.

Here is a photo of how it looked like on our floor. I had one tile removed and all the plumbing re-done.

All in all I was so stressed back then about my new neighbors, I didn’t want to spoil our relationship at the beginning. Especially that I never had any good experience with any of my previous neighbors. Well, my tenement is quite special, with people living there. There are some black sheep, but mostly those people are in agreement and mutual liking. It is crucial because together we can do some constructive things to the building.

I still have good relationship with downstairs neighbors. They gave me some plants watering jobs and in return they collect my packages from couriers when I’m at work. Also I think they might like my engagement in the building renovation/insulation process. I try to speed things up at our administrator, attend community meetings and use some of my professional skills to verify the quality of the building permit design that our manager has had made for us.

Who knows, maybe without that rusty pipe I wouldn’t involve so much, but it is all for the best. I always say that the more disasters before the party, the better the party.

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archives diggin’

My professional curiosity has no boundaries. As every active architect I need to see drawings, analyze things, check how stuff is done. So I used my way inns to get some archive blueprints from city archive.

As usual, I came prepared. Said I was a student making a project, they had my info in their database (I was frequent there as a student). They gave me huge briefcase with documents concerning all the buildings in the street and I dived in.

What I found out is that in our kitchen there was a room for service. Hence the smaller window with lower windowsill and different floor tiling. Imagine some poor lady sleeping there…


There is a difference around bathroom. Previous owners moved the living room door and extended the bathroom wall so it would be bigger (not just for a bathtub). Two windows in the bathroom were bricked up. Also, two doors were bricked up in our place. The one from wardrobe to hallway and between northern rooms. But I think it is ok for furnishing purposes.



And that is another drawing of my building. Imagine some red brick, art deco details.. Even some nice, decorative woodwork in dormer. Oh and our place is 3,35 meters high.

I went downstairs to see my neighbors’ flat without those changes and didn’t like it very much. I like the axis that we now have from kitchen to living room, when the door is moved.

The whole place is now separated into two zones. Day and night. We removed doors from frames in the kitchen and living room, giving more spatial feeling to day zone. Also, it is awesome to run back and forth.

Another nice thing is the wardrobe. As I mentioned, previous owners were fighting, putting locks into doors. They also bricked up the entrance to wardrobe from southern room. We demolished it and now we can run around. (We do run a lot, our downstairs neighbors don’t complain though.)

We assigned to us the southern room as our bedroom. It is better that way as it is always cold there in the winter. Our building is deeper that adjacent tenement and that room’s wall is a little bit too thin to keep proper temperature. The northern room however is perfectly warm. It would make a great nursery some day :)

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