Sasha - December 26, 2008

OK I never thought I’d be able to share this last post this side of the new year. There were times I even wondered if I’d ever move in. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong with this project, but I don’t take it as an omen - just a dodgy contractor who couldn’t project manage to save himself! I actually asked him at one point, “Don’t you want me out of your life?! What will it take for me to help you get me out of your life?” He laughed, but I was somewhat more serious. Anyway, we got there. Almost. There are still some things he needs to do. Install the heating, finalise electricity, water pressure is a bit low, etc. But hey, I’ve got running hot water, a kitchen to cook in and a hob to turn on when it gets too cold.

I think it looks gorgeous. I almost don’t want to leave the apartment. Of course I’m a perfectionist so there are little things that normal human beings wouldn’t notice that I am learning to live with (maybe the floor could have been a slightly different shade, that light switch should have been over to the left a bit, etc, etc) but at some point even I have to stop and take it in.

I still need a lot of furniture as you can see, but all in good time…

So thanks for coming on this journey with me, and without furthter ado…

The study space

The living space

Just playing with arrangements…

The kitchen

The entrance area - laundry on the left and toilet on the right

The toilet

The bathroom

…yep, this is my little piece of bliss in the world…

The devil is in more detail

Sasha - December 24, 2008

Hey there, I’ve posted some detail before, but this time I’ve got better pics to share now that certain bits and pieces have been placed.

So let’s start with the bathroom:

I’ve chosen Dornbracht fittings here. Primarily from the Meta.02 range - I liked its simplicity. You may think it’s odd to have a hand shower in the shower. Well, I kinda like the Japanese onsen experience. If you’ve ever had one, you’ll know that before entering the main pool areas, you sit on a little chair (called a hinoki) and you scrub with a loofah and then rinse. It’s a nice little ritual - and somehow more cleansing that an ordinary shower. Now I just have to find a nice hinoki…

For the bath I’ve used a Water Sheet and mixer from the Symmetrics range:

Rather excitingly, the kitchen was also installed last week. I’ve chosen Siemens rangehood and dishwasher, but Smeg hob, combi oven and fridge (also for the design aspect). I’m also putting in a Quooker; because I have an island only, I didn’t want to have a kettle sitting on top all the time (and I’m a bit tea drinker so hot water at the ready is a huge plus!):

Now it really feels like somewhere to live!

…which also has nothing to do with the fact that the toilet’s now in (Phillip Starck by the way):

The Floor

Sasha - November 25, 2008

Although this project hasn’t been good for my heart and stress levels in general terms, you can imagine my horror when I checked in on the floor that was delivered, only to find that it was the wrong colour.
With time of the essence, a kitchen to come very soon, and having to wait until just the right moment for the floor to come in, I had to act quickly on that day of installation. Feverish negotiations with the supplier ensued - I was blamed for the colour being wrong and for a moment there it felt like they were going to force me to accept the floor as it was delivered. Well I’d have none of it! The colour scheme, materials and design in this apartment have all been painstakingly chosen, so I wasn’t about to let go of what was clearly a supplier error. The other colour they delivered was a light brown - it just wouldn’t have worked and I was nearly in tears when I saw it. I took the morning off work to sort this out - this was an emergency after all!
After tense negotiations they were able to source and install the floor I ordered that very same day, and here it is going in:



Looking good, huh?
What a relief I was able to sort that one out!


The glass plate has also been installed in the bathroom, and is looking totally hot!


Grand Designs

Sasha - November 16, 2008

So you can see a little more of the detail here, some of the colours and shapes building up gradually.
Since last posting, there’s been paint, wallpaper and more tiling. The wallpaper is so subtle that it wont show up greatly here; I’ll try to remember to take some close ups.

The most daring dash of colour comes on the main wall. I think it really emphasises the space in the apartment:


Currently it’s sanded and the surface has been beautifully prepared for the colour that is to come (a deep flat green).
Here’s a long shot:


And looking back:


Those two ‘mini-walls’ to the side will enclose a floor-to-ceiling cupboard which will be installed between them.

Here’s the study:


The big box is currently housing my bath, although I’ve had to return it as it wasn’t finished properly at the factory. Ho-hum…more delays until the new one arrives…

That piece of wood on top of the box will hold the bathroom sink (see an earlier post for a drawing of how this will look). It cost me the earth and I hope it’s worth it. I’ve just been coating it this weekend for waterproofing, etc.

And speaking of the bathroom, here’s where we’re at:


This is the view from the bedroom into the bathroom:


And finally, the bedroom:


Only a very short amount of time left, or so I’m told…I’ve become used to my contractor’s very loose definition of a deadline.

The detail

Sasha - October 11, 2008

OK, so everyone’s seen for months the incremental changes that are happening on my apartment, but now you can actually start seeing some of the detail emerging.
Here’s how the apartment overall is looking, now that the plasterwork has mostly dried:


Oh yeah, about that detail. We had a little false start with the window frame colour, which turned out to be a deep green colour. Oops, must check my notes on that (fortunately work was halted half way through - the painter was not happy):


Light and bright:


Here is the bathroom, where the mosaic is being laid:


A few days later, it looked like this:



This pattern was incredibly cheap (compared to what I paid in the bathroom).

In the bathroom, mosaic is also being laid:


…while the concealed parts for the show are being fixed in:



Throughout the apartment, I’m using these lights:


Looking good, huh?
Hard to believe that I’ll be moving in in 3 weeks!

Let there be light!

Sasha - October 1, 2008

God bless Halogen for creating this lovely warm glow. It’s the first time I’ve seen all the lights on - dashing my worries that I’d chosen enough lighting for the whole space.

The plaster work has also begun in earnest and the whole pad is looking great! I got such a rush when I walked into this:




Are you with me? I’m only four weeks from moving in and there still seems to be so much to do.
The bathroom is ready to be tiled:



…and I bought the floor on Monday (natural coloured Chinese oak with minimal knotting).

I’ll take some shots of the lights as soon as I get the chance.


Preparation for plaster

Sasha -

…well, about a month off now.
I know I haven’t posted for a while - but here are a series of pics that I took a couple of weeks ago. In my next post you’ll be able to see a dramatic difference.

The bathroom
I’m not that good at drawing, but here’s my artist’s impression of the bathroom (I’m pretty pleased with this drawing actually!!). You can see how that’s being built up in real life below.

artist impression bathroom-small.jpg


The rest of the apartment is also looking good; lights have been placed in the ceiling:



And the study (which I’m considering calling the ‘Media Room’ - isn’t that what they call it in Wallpaper*? ;)



Sasha - September 3, 2008

The last week I’ve been in Ibiza trying to escape the craziness of this project but my contractor rang me with an 11th hour request for the dimensions of this, the bedroom wall. So there I sat on my summer holiday, trying to ‘draw’ in a Word document in a hot and sticky internet cafe….


Now that I’ve got that off my chest, the week since my last post has seen the most dramatic progress on the apartment. As always I walked upstairs with some trepidation (always worried that I’m going to walk in and something major has been built off-plan), but was struck by the amazing space:


The ceiling is now in, and I think that’s really contributing to the feeling of space somehow. My feeling on the bedroom wall is that it’s a little high, so I’m thinking about bringing it down a smidge. Any thoughts or comments please post a comment!


Here you can see the laundry and toilet (that’s a defininte WOW…[ahem…]):


The bathroom:


…and the Study:


Most of the wiring has been done, the plumbing is almost finished. I’m due to get the kitchen in a matter of weeks and I’m promised that the keys will be turned over by the end of the month.

Biggest worries right now:

- are the bathroom tiles the right colour?
- budget: yikes!
- where is that expensive shipment of bathroom materials?
- what height should the bedroom wall be?
- have I missed anything here?

Excuse the slightly neurotic tone of this post; those who have been through this will know exactly what I’m talking about…

If you have any ideas of things I need to think about, please give me a yell it would be most appreciated.

Construction with renewed vigour

Sasha - August 26, 2008

Hi. So OK, I’m back with photos. The builder’s vacation is over, and I’m relieved as my apartment has been sitting idle for the last 3 weeks or so, and I’m getting more eager and excited about moving in.
So anyway, work is underway again, and things continue to take shape.
Here’s the living room:

And study, where you can see the skeleton of the shelving on the walls:

The lighting has been placed, and you can see that the insulation has already gone in. Double thickness I asked - Dutch winters can be quite chilly to say the least!

A lovely alternative view:

I was pretty devastated to find out that I couldn’t move this wall as planned, as it’s load-bearing and a potential nightmare to the whole building if shifted. I’m over it now; these thing happen in projects. I need to replan the bedroom area slightly. I’m really through with planning already!

I’m told that the whole place is 5 weeks off finishing. I’m skeptical to hear that, but hope to be surprised!

Looks Almost Liveable

Sasha - August 3, 2008

Well, I survived the demolition, but note that there is still a lot of rubbish around the place and I guess more to come as things are refined.
I have wires hanging from the ceiling and a contractor on my back to provide lighting and final lighting plans.
The stress of it all!

I’ve finished planning the bathroom now - the most stressful space to plan after the kitchen. What I’m realising here is that the level of detail is astonishing. You don’t just buy a new bath - you pick colour, size, style, think about placement to the nearest millimetre, order all associated parts, concealed parts (what size do I need?!).

Step and repeat for each and every feature of your apartment. Get the idea? (wouldn’t give it up for the world though :))

As far as the work goes, the biggest surprise has been knocking down the study wall, which really opens up the whole apartment space. I stood there in awe for about 5 minutes when I first saw it:


The walls have been concreted for extra stability now, and in a matter of weeks the walls and ceiling will be ‘closed up’ (ie plaster, etc.):


And the reverse view:


Here you can see the view of the soon-to-be bedroom with entrance to the bathroom:


…and the bathroom:


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