Making A House A Home (DIY and more)

Renovating Our First House: Day By Day | Part 1

Oh my, this blog is so long overdue I’ve reached the point where I can’t help but wonder if I should still even post it. Well, I did go through the effort to document our daily progress on the house throughout the entire renovations so I might as well finish this blog. There are so many things I want to share about the renovations, there are quite a few storytime blogs just waiting to be written. We also learned quite a bit along the way. Alright first, let’s jump right into it. There will be some photo’s of the first ten days at the end of this blog.

Day 1

We started working on the house the very day we got the keys. We knew that we had to make the most of Onno’s week off from work and also the sooner you get started the better. We had two months and incredibly big task in front of us. Nothing could’ve prepared us for the next two months of our life. I was the one that got the ball rolling. After we came home with the keys to our new home, Onno went to throw up (he ate a bacon soaked bread for breakfast that morning) in the bathroom and I took 300 pictures of the entire house. Onno’s parents came through and his mom baked a banana bread. We just talked and enjoyed being house owners for an hour or so. I was itching to get started though. I changed in my work clothes and started ripping up the stage in our bedroom. I started with removing the carpet. This was when Onno came up and started to help. We removed the entire carpet and one piece of wood before his parents called it a day. They promised to help tomorrow and we agreed to meet up bright and early at their place to pick up all the tools. We, however, didn’t want to walk out of the house on our first day so soon. We wanted to do more. We removed the floor in the blue room and carried all the wood downstairs and stacked in a nice neat pile on the one side of the area where it stayed for a month. We also started to remove the wood plants on the side of the wall in the blue room. Oh and we removed the planks on our little patio in the garden. After taking all the trash outside we drove back to our apartment in the city, completely overjoyed.

Day 2

We started our morning bright and early and drove through to Onno’s parent’s place to get those tools. They were just waking up by the time we knocked on their door. We loaded the tools and left for a full day at the house. I removed the closet in the blue room (no longer the blue room but I will always refer it as the blue room) as well as the last wooden planks attached on the wall. I removed the underfloor and I started to remove the floor in the office. We couldn’t remove all of it as the toilet was attached on top of the floor but I removed what I could reach. Onno’s mom helped me by stacking up the planks and taking everything down to throw on our trash corner. She also cleaned the fridge and bathroom which would turn out to be a massive lifesaver. The new floor arrived in the early afternoon and we helped to carry it in. In the later afternoon, I started to remove the bricks in the garden. At that time we still had it in our head that we would build our fireplace in Onno’s week off. I also knew that removing all the bricks in our garden would be a big job. I was right. Onno’s mom helped me and we removed a good 200 bricks. Onno and his dad worked on the roof in the attic the entire day and for many days afterward. The roof was one of our biggest tasks. We started by removing the very disgusting carpet in the attic and cleaned the area. They started to plan on how they would go about the roof and finished removing and cleaning out the entire stage area.

Day 3

Onno’s mom and spend the entire day working in the garden. We mostly just removed all of the weeds and tried to remove as many bricks as we could. It was a terrible job and worked on my arms like nothing else. Onno and his dad worked on the roof in the attic the entire day. They drilled on the planks and then attached the plasterboard (drywall). If memory serves me correctly they did about half of the attic ceiling. I’m not entirely sure anymore.

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Day 4

It was the first full day at the house with just Onno and I. It was also my most productive Monday in history. We arrived at the house 30 minutes after seven and only left around nine. After spending most of the day applying the plasterboard on attic ceiling, Onno started to smooth the edge with the special product we bought. He used the wrong scraper so it was way too thick and all over the place. We thought it would just sand away but that didn’t go as plan but more on that later. I smoothed the one wall and I probably removed bricks but I didn’t really go into detail about what I did that day on the daily notes. We removed the toilet in the office and I removed the last of the floor before we bought 15 bags of sand at the nearby hardware store. It was on sale and we would need 35 bags of sand if not more to level out the patio area for the new paving. We ended our day at the house by filling the back of the van with trash so we could drop it off at the dump the next morning. We also cleaned up a little, mostly just dust and so on. Everything just got away from us.

Day 5 

We finally had a moment to sleep in and boy did we enjoy it. After four back-breaking hard days on the house, we were exhausted. A level we stayed on for months, long after we moved into the house. As the dump would only open after 10am we just took our time. I played with Speculoos and mostly just stayed in bed till the second we had to leave. We left the apartment just before ten and luckily the dump wasn’t too crazy. After we finished at the dump we had to, however, do the little walk of shame and pick up our bicycles. They were removed at the central station for well overstaying their welcome. We’ve been locking our bicycles there for months, heck Onno was at the two-year mark and we always remembered to move them every month but this time around we missed it with two days. We had no choice to spend a pretty penny to get them back. 100 Euros. Onno’s bicycle wheel blew after one use and mine not long after that but who knows if that’s connected. We arrived at the house around early afternoon and after drinking a cup of tea, we jumped right into word. We spend most of the afternoon filling up all gaps and holes on the ceiling in our attic so we could sand it the next day. It was a dirty job and ruined the bit of floor we still had left in our bedroom. One of the few mistakes we made in the renovations process. We also made two trips to the hardware store to get 20 more packets of sand. We emptied them at the patio area. Keep in mind we were still convinced we would build our fireplace and pave that area somewhere in the week. I’m laughing at my past self too. It was a slow day and I felt like we didn’t get enough done. Most of the work we did the day were things that took more time as it was incredibly important to do it properly. We ended our work day by cleaning up the attic in the blue room so we could start with the ceiling.

Day 6 

We arrived at the house bright and early, ready for another big day with the renovations. Time wise we were taking longer with certain things than what we expected so the pressure was on to have the house paint ready by the end of the week. We didn’t mess around and started to sand the attic right after arriving at the house but stopped after an hour when some bits needed more time to dry properly. Onno’s parents got to the house around 10am. Onno and his dad started to work on the roof in the blue room’s attic. While Onno’s mom cleaned downstairs while I sanded some more. The amount of dust is insane. After a good hour and half of sanding, I cleaned myself off as much as I could so I could pop in at the grocery shop. We were running low on our meal prepped foods and I needed ingredients so I could prep once we got back in the city.  Once I got back from the shop I removed the last bit of floor, including the underfloor which was absolutely disgusting. Especially the underfloor around the upstairs toilet. The entire toilet was gross. I removed planks from the side of the wall and Onno joined after his parents left. Future Cassy is laughing at this next part. We’re getting so close to the point of painting which is such a massive milestone. Painting means some of the rooms are ready for their new floors and once the floor is in then our work is done! Past Cassy cracked me up. She was so innocent at this point. She didn’t know. The ladder hasn’t happened yet.

Day 7

We had a late start as I had a doctor appointment at 10am. We arrived at the house around 12pm and had a slow start but eventually spend the next 6 hours finishing the attic roof in the blue room. Afterward, I cleaned up the area and packed the van while Onno started to fill the gaps (so we will have a smooth ceiling once it’s painted). We left around 10pm but we felt quite accomplished.

Day 8

We spend the day at the house. It was our first day since we got the keys that we didn’t work on the house but we both desperately needed to refresh. I also had a dentist appointment in the afternoon and time wise we would’ve been able to go to the house and work for more than 3 hours before we would have to leave again. Onno did go through of the bill slips from the last few days. We wanted to stay on top of all the expenses so we could well stick to our budget.

Day 9 

We spend most of the day sanding the ceilings and covered the last bit of holes. We tied up everything neatly by attaching plinths on the sides to make the overall look nice and sleek. This was all in preparation for my first day at the house alone the very next day. We somehow made it and we were ready to paint the next day. At this point, we also made the decision to put the garden on hold until we moved in. We just had to accept that some of the things we wanted to do before moving in wouldn’t be possible. I mean not only did we want to renovate almost every single room in our new home, but we wanted to redo the entire garden. It was beyond unrealistic. Most of the time it was only the two of us working on the house. Plus later on in the renovations, Onno had work a few days in the week and it was just me getting work done throughout the day. Looking back now I can just say holy shit we worked our asses off.

Day 10

Onno is back to work today so it’s up to me to work my little ass off and paint till my fingers bleed. Well my fingers didn’t bleed but my wrist and arms hurt like hell afterward and I was also out like a light an hour after getting home. I started in the office, the ceiling was an absolute bitch with the riffles. It took me a good three hours to paint and it was torture. I hate painting ceilings. Gravity makes the paint drop everywhere and paint is a monster to get out of your hair. I then went into the first room, the room next to the office, and started to paint that ceiling but had to call it quits after two hours. I couldn’t hold my arms above my head anymore. I also painted on a layer on the door which was one of the biggest mistakes I made. A mistake I wouldn’t realize a few days after I painted more of the doors and wood feature on the wall in the first room with the wrong paint. Something that cost us hours of cleaning up. Like many days to follow, I spend the entire day painting.

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I’m going to cut this blog of here. It’s getting way too long and I want one person to at least read to the end. I won’t get that if I add the other 30 plus days to this blog. The entire process of the renovation was incredibly exhausting. We worked our asses off, there is no doubt about that. We made a few mistakes along the way but we would never trade the experience for the world. For two months straight, my husband and I worked on our first home. Today we can call it our place in the world. Every room has our own personal touch on it. Would we do it again? Fuck no. We will pay someone else to do it.

The next part is Onno’s words and I couldn’t agree more. “If I look back at the whole process of the renovations, there is more moments of excitement and fun than exhaustion. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world because I look back now and I’m proud of our work. In the whole renovations period I only had maybe two moments of like; ‘Oh fuck are we actually going to do this?’”

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Making A House A Home (DIY and more)

Renovation Plans For Our First House

Oh I can’t contain my excitement with this one. So in case you missed it, Onno and I bought a house. We just got the keys and we have big plans to make it our perfect home. I figured why not share some of those plans and ideas. I mentioned in the post where I announced the news that we’re going to do a lot of DIY projects around the house. I will definitely share those on here too but for now I’m just going to throw my ideas out there. There is still a few places we have no idea what to do just yet but hey we will figure it out once we’re in the house.

I’m going to start downstairs from the entry way all the way to the back of the house and garden before I take you upstairs. It sounds horrible but I want to keep pictures of our house limited to the public. It just feels unsafe to go through the entire layout out here. Don’t get me wrong we will have before and afters but for now I’m just going to test my skills as a writer and describe the house.

When you enter the house you have the stairs right in front of you and then on the left side you have the door leading to the living area. This little area is very bland at the moment. I’m definitely going to do something fun in this area but we are limited as the little hall or entry way is a bit narrow. We have a storage space under the stairs and then stairs leading down to the creepy and small basement. Onno is going to hide my candy down there because I’m never going down there. That is a promise my friends. Anyway I’m not completely sure what we’re going to store under the stairs, maybe food (pasta, rice and etc.) but that’s something we will probably figure out. The wall if you can call it that, that covers the stairs on the side is very bland and just sad. I really want to something fun there but I haven’t thought of anything yet. It will probably turn into a big DIY project so if I end up doing something cool with it I will definitely let you know.

Alright now we’re finally going to enter the living area. On the left side at the window facing our driveway is our kitchen. Our kitchen at the moment is going for that old vibe if you catch my drift. It’s yellow and the appliances are outdated. It has a dark stone counter top and a white porcelain sink. We’re not completely in love with the kitchen. I like the layout but it needs to be upgraded. The plan is to replace the appliances with new up to date ones (the dishwasher is still new so it’s going to stay. We’re very excited to have a dishwasher. The only downfall is the front doesn’t have a cupboard so you can see the silver of the dishwasher. Here they hide appliances behind cupboards. If that makes sense. Anyway I’m thinking of sticking a marble or something pretty like that paper on it. I will definitely let you know what I end up doing) and we’re going to repaint the cupboards because the shade of yellow is just horrid. Last but not least we’re going to replace the tiles against the wall (well on the floor too but I will get to that part) and we’re going to build or buy a table slash counter top for the side. You can never have enough work and storage space. Something that I really like is, the previous owners has a school black board up in the kitchen. It’s long and thin and doesn’t stand out in a bad way. We decided to keep it because I just love the idea of writing notes for Onno and it’s great to write down the groceries. I figured the kids one day will love it too.

Now we’re moving onto the lounge and dining room area. Everything is open in case you we’re wondering. So this area is quite large in length so let me just rethink how I’m going to explain this. In the one corner we’re going to have our TV and couch and on the other corner we’re going to have our dining table. We have a fireplace (a gas or electric one I’m not sure) that doesn’t work (we will fix it eventually) in the dining room area. Originally we wanted to put our TV above the fireplace but the wall above it is weak and we don’t want to risk it. We have a large window overlooking our garden right next to the dining table which I really like. Oh so I mentioned that I want to replace the floor tiles in the kitchen. Here they have wood in the living area and tiles in the kitchen but because it’s a open floor plan they cut the two off quite unattractively. I don’t like the look of it so we’re going to put new floors in. I want the same floor all throughout the house (well not the bathroom but you get the idea). I just like the look of it.

Alright now we’re almost walking out. At the door as you’re about to go outside you have an area for the washing machine and then two steps forward you have the bathroom. We have a shower and a corner bath which is something straight from my dreams and a toilet separate. Yes the bathroom is downstairs but it’s one amazing bathroom. I’m counting down the days till I get to climb into the bath and spend hours in it. Magical.

And we’re finally going outside. At the moment we have pavement all the way through and a little storage space at the back. We’re not completely sure what we want to do with the garden or how it will turn out to look but we want a fire pit and a vegetable and fruit garden. I also want a lot of grass and space to be outside. Not much to ask from our garden…I think. We originally liked the idea or replacing our wood fence with a hedge but after watching a garden TV show the entire day two weeks ago we liked the idea of making a living wall and well make a living wall of herbs and whatever fruit and vegetables we can grow like that. We don’t know what can survive here in the Netherlands yet or any of that. When I’m writing this I haven’t gone to a garden center yet but I’m hoping after I’ve gone I will have a better idea or what will work. I also just found out that my neighbors might complain about the fire pit and smoke so we will have to look into it. I know I only get to use the fire pit a few weeks in the year but I’m from South Africa. Cooking on the fire is a massive part of our culture.

Okay now we’re moving up stairs. Finally. We have four bedrooms and one toilet up stairs. The room facing the road with the toilet is going to be our office. For our office I’m not going to go super crazy. We’re just going to paint two walls yellow, get a storage system and get a nice brown board to stick notes on. That’s about it.

The two other rooms are going to be empty for awhile if you catch my drift. Onno and I wanted to get a house we could grow into. When I told this to my parents they both were like so when is the baby coming? It was quite funny. For now I think one of them will be a workout area and the other will just stay empty. The one needs more work than the other one though but it’s not high on the list for us. Maybe we will set up a room for guests but then again we never have guests that actually stay over. The last room is our bedroom. Onno and I was really looking for a house with a big main bedroom. It was important to us. We wanted space for a massive closet and I want a makeup area. I have big and I mean big plans for our bedroom. Behind our bed I want to set up a fairy light feature. I want to try painting a geometric design on the one wall and I want to try my hand in turning out TV stand into a seating place in front of the bed. I have so many great ideas and I just can’t wait to share them.

We want to be smart with our money because well obviously the more we can do with our money the better. There is some things that needs to be done on the house NOW so we plan to do quite a bit by ourselves or call in favours. Hey we found out I have to get a massive dental procedure done that ate quite a bit into the house budget. I had a small rant slash cry about it on my socials but let me quickly catch you up. To remove to teeth and implant the fake stuff is the same amount of money for a nice car. Yes that’s right. we could’ve bought a car with that money but no we’re going to buy teeth. It wasn’t the best news and it knocked the air out of our lunges but there is nothing we can do about it now. Dental hygiene is so important I mean we just lost a car because as a child I didn’t know what a dentist was nor did I brush my teeth. I’m paying quite literally for that mistake now. Also how did house plans turn into a brush your teeth children speech?

I’m so excited to share more about the house. I will definitely share all of our DIY projects around the house with some exciting before and after pictures I’m sure. This year was a rough one but there is definitely some good going around. It feels so good to finally share about the house, I’ve been keeping it under the wraps for so long. Now I can finally tell you about something else…but that’s going to be another post! Probably going to be up somewhere in the next three weeks but for now, guess? I will give you a hint…Speculoos is…nope. I’m not going to give you’re a hint. Go wild with your guesses.

Also before I go here is some pictures of the renovations. I will share more soon!

 

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Making A House A Home (DIY and more), Story Time

We Bought Our First House

I’m squealing from happiness and giggling from excitement as I’m writing this. Onno and I are buying a house! Pretty soon I can say we bought a house! Well when this blog goes up it would be: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! It’s so surreal that I’m not even sure where to start or how to put what I’m feeling into words.

I guess let me start at the very and I mean very beginning. Onno and I discussed getting a new place once I’m here for real for a very long time. When I got here we started looking around for a new place to rent. The thought of buying didn’t even occur to us. After going to a few different places we decided that we should wait a bit because well nothing was catching our attention. A few months went by, Onno got his permanent work contract and a few events took place in the city that reminded us why we wanted to move in the first place. Around Christmas we started talking about finding a new place. It was around then when we started talking about possibly buying a place. Once we confirmed that it’s possible, we started the search.

It was quite a busy period. Searching online for hours for a house that could possibly tick all of our boxes, calling the realtors, finding out which houses is sold or when we could make an appointment, traveling to the new place, being disappointed in the place before even entering the house and so much more.

The first few places was disappointing to say the least. We knew walking into the neighborhood that we wouldn’t like the house. We found a few nice places but it wasn’t nice enough. It did teach us what we really wanted. What was important to us and what we would really like. The day we drove out to see the house we ended up buying was quite interesting. We made the appointment two weeks ago and after visiting so many houses and being disappointed at every one we were very tempted to stop and take a break. We were running out of options and it was quite exhausting. We figured well even though at first glance (two houses) we don’t like this town, these houses are in different areas. Let’s give it one more try. We had two houses on the schedule. The first house was modern and all done up. The garden was on the smaller side but it was one of those houses where we would barely have to do any work to make it move in ready. I didn’t really love the idea. The neighborhood wasn’t as nice and it just didn’t feel like the right fit for us. So we went to the second house feeling a little eh about everything. The realtor was stuck in traffic so we had some time to browse the neighborhood and check the house out from outside. I fell in love with the back garden. It was big and the house had so much potential to grow in, which was and well is important to us. Once the realtor arrived I was for once very excited to view the house. The neighborhood was perfect and so far just from the outside I could already tell this house was a top contender.

Two minutes into the house viewing I knew. This is the house. It’s a old house and needs some work but it was just everything we were looking for and then some. I fell in love and hard. It just ticked off all our boxes and well it was our perfect house. Onno and I wanted a house that needed some work. We wanted to be proud of the transformation and really make the house our own. The entire way back home in the car we talked about what we can do with the house and what needs to be done to make it move in ready and etc. By the time we got to Onno’s parents we were sold. After showing the house to them and talking about the house they too were pretty much on board. That night we came up with the agreement. We had to wait the weekend but by Monday the realtor came with a counter offer which we accepted. It was a done deal. I cried. It was going to be our house! Yay!

We made arrangements to have the building inspection done and Onno’s parents came over to view the house on the same day. I finally had a moment to make a video of the entire house for my parents. The inspection went well and we were very pleased with the result. A few weeks later we signed the agreement and then we just had to wait for the mortgage. We got the mortgage on the 7th of March and month before we will get the keys. After that everything went quite smoothly. We got the keys on Friday (you might’ve seen the post on Instagram) and we’re so beyond happy! I’m pinching myself because I just can’t believe it.

It doesn’t feel completely real to us. I mean this is going to be our very first house. It’s going to be ours. We can do anything we want with it. It’s been a very long time since I had the opportunity to choose what color I want to paint a wall or to hang something up. It’s something so small but to me, this is huge. I’m really so happy and grateful that we’re able to buy a house as such a young couple. It’s amazing!

I asked Onno to write a blog about all the technical stuff about buying a house here in the Netherlands. It will probably go up at the end of the month. We also have so many ideas and plans for the house that I just can’t wait to share with you all. I have many DIY projects that I plan to do in the house, all of it I will most definitely share. But before that here is some picture(s) we took on Friday! I can’t contain my happiness right now.

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Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS: You have no idea how hard it was to keep the news to ourselves. I nearly slipped up on my socials so many times. It felt weird to hide something so big but now I can talk about the house all I want. Bless your souls.