Already long before I had my own place to live and long before I moved into my own appartment I knew that one day I would like to paint my front door pink. I got hugely inspired when I saw this photo, I just had to wait until I had my own place (and no landlords prohibiting it) to actually be able do it.
Yesterday was the time.
The pics are not great, but this is the before photo:
En here is the after:
With the first couple of strokes I thought – wow, this is very pink! But now that it is done, I love it. It goes well with the grey and it is much better than the yellow colour it was before. (You can’t see that on the before pic, as it was already grounded with white paint there).
What do you think?
Last weekend I made a short visit to Copenhagen. Favourite band tv-2 played a release concert for their new album in the Copenhagen Operahouse, so there were several reasons to hop over: a tv-2 concert in an incredible venue (have a look inside here).
I hadn’t been in Denmark for several years and it was both nice and weird to be back. It feels very familiar but yet it is no longer my home.
There are a couple of things I noticed (some of them I had missed):
Kaergarden with salt
There is nothing better than fresh baked bread with Kaergarden butter. The good thing is that they salt all butter in Denmark, which just gives it a much better taste.
Fresh carrotbread. And just the fact that all Danish bakeries are open on Sunday.
Cyclists with helmets
Everyone, children en grownups, is wearing a cycle helmet. I think we have as much cyclists in the Netherlands, and no one here is wearing one.
The Danish trains remains one of the most comfortable trains to travel in.
It had been a while (March 2009 to be precise) but one never can see enough tv-2 concerts. This one was entertaining too and it was also nice to meet some old Danish friends.
Great design everywhere
From fantastic buildings (Operahouse) to the clocks on the railwaystation to the furniture in the SAS lounge on the airport. The Danes are masters when it comes to beautiful design.
It seems the preferred way of carrying your goods around in Copenhagen.
Sandals with socks
Wrong. Especially in the winter and even worse with white socks. Just don’t do this.
I didn’t have that much time, but did have a walk around town, also to visit one of my favourite buildings in Copenhagen:
Records shops with Showtime sleeves
and a great Danish breakfast.
I stayed in the Cabinn City hotel, which is affordable and has a great location close to the trainstation and Tivoli. Recommended.
It is slowly starting to look like a real home.
I painted the below half of my entrance walls grey, it makes it look a bit more sophisticated (and will go well with pink, which is the colour I will paint my front door!). And I put up some small frames with photos of a place I like – New York (bought those small canvasses for a few euro in a discount shop – they look great though). I will add some London and Denmark bits somewhere in my place too.
These two are tweeting around in my kitchen, holding my towel and tea towel. Aren’t they cute birdies? (They are from Qualy)
This tree is located on the wall in my entrance. A good place for my keys, and postcards and other stuff. And – isn’t that a ticket for a tv-2 concert in the Opera in Copenhagen? Yes indeed it is! I am off for a short weekend trip this coming weekend. I look forward to both seeing tv-2 again (it has been too long!) and meeting some old Danish friends too.
TV-2 is playing a special release concert for their upcoming album Showtime, they play in the Opera house in Copenhagen, a really wonderful building, and reason enough for me to fly over for a weekend to go and see them. Here is their new single and a very cleverly made black and white video. Good to see that Steffen Brandt still has that grin on his face.
Sleeping in a new home is always a bit special. Especially when your bed collapses in the middle of the night when you are sleeping.
Which made me think of two things:
- How can it be that it didn’t collapse the first night I slept in it?
- I am not the DIY master Jedi I thought I was. (half of the nuts and bolts needed to keep the together were still laying on the floor!)
So yes I am sleeping in my new house. I did assemble the bed correctly now, so hopefully tonight will go better.
Most of the work is done but I still need to:
Put protection laquer on my dinner table
Paint the colour stripes on my wall
Paint 5 meter of book/photoframe/other things shelf white
I’ll take some photos when all is done. And I will also post the photos of my sofa which had to be lifted onto my balcony by a huge crane (as it was too large to be carried up the stairs – nice way to let the neighbourhood know !)
There is progress.
All the paint work is done, wowee! Except the stripes in my living room, but that’s not a lot of work and will be done next week.
I have assembled 4 closets. There are two more Billy’s to assemble, that should be a breeze (with a name like that).
The floor has been installed. (Color: weathered oak (grey-ish))
I have a livingroom with a pink chair and two glossy white coffee/tea tables. My dinner table is waiting to get up and my dinner chairs (I ordered an ice blue, purple, orange and grey one – to keep it colourful) are hopefully delivered next week too.
I have a terrace with flower bulbs, the snowdrops are nearly blooming.
Tomorrow the movers will deliver the rest of my things so I will be reunited with my stuff.
Tuesday my (grey) sofa will be delivered.
Hopefully on Wednesday it will look like a real (ish) home. I really look forward to have some relaxing time on my new sofa having a tea and watching, well Inspector Lynley perhaps on Wednesday? Making a new place your home is a big job but the end is in sight.
How are you all doing?
I can’t look more depressing than it does now can it? It will only get better from now on. At least it is stripped if any sign of previous inhabitants now, ready to be built up again.
The old laminate floor has now been completely removed too.
And I have the plastic wrapped pink retro chair and a great solid oak (light colour) dinner/coffee/hygge/cosy table in a card box standing in my basement – waiting to come upstairs to my living room. Before they can come up – I have 4 days (Sat-Sun and Wed-Thu) to:
- paint my sleepingroom (walls and ceiling)
- wallpaper 2 walls in my living room with glassfiber (so I can paint them too)
- paint my living room (walls and ceiling)
- paint my kitchen ceiling
Will I make it in time?
And what do you think about these colours – are they too “cold” for a living room and should I go for the pink/orange ones? (White wall and three stripes over the length of one wall is the basic idea)
Alternative – leave the walls white and put up some colourful posters in stead?
Making a place your home needs a lot of:
Endless trips to the DIY shops
Red (no really!) Carpet removal
Laminate floor removal
New floor installation (this will be done for me thank goodness)
Decisions on what colours to put on the walls (any ideas?)
Loads of Radio Rock
Current status: carpet gone, old wall paper gone, one (smallest) room painted.
Today’s planning: pick up my new pink retro chair (will be stored in the basement until the painting is done). Paint the second room.
2010 was the year where I
- left the UK to return to the Netherlands
(I haven’t regret it a single second, I am happy to be home again)
- bought my own place
(It needs a little bit of painting and I need to install a laminate floor in two rooms, but apart from that it is a great place with a nice view near a small river. I have the keys and will spent the next couple of weekends moving in.)
In 2011 I intend to:
- Rediscover my home country.
I feel like a tourist having been away for 15 years, and there are many places I have never seen in the Netherlands.
- Enjoy living in my new apartment
- Rebuilt a social life in the Netherlands
- Be happier in my job (I will start a new one the 1st of February)
- Get a little car so it will be easier to get around and go and see things
- Find happiness and peace of mind
- Blog a bit more
What are your plans for 2011?
I wish you all a fantastic, healthy, joyful and happy 2011!
I visited the apartment near the river for the second time today and this time I was sure: that’s the place for me. I have decided to place a bid on it (that’s the way it works in the Netherlands), and will do so tomorrow.
I don’t know if there are any other potential buyers. I do know that the real estate guy I hired told me that the price the seller is trying to sell for is too high. So the selling game between the real estate people on both sides will begin.
The guy selling the place has already moved in with his new girlfriend. So let’s hope he wants to sell fast and for a lower price – to me. Exiting times ahead!
As in – what kind of place? A house? An apartment? Did you love your place at first sight?
Why am I asking all these questions you wonder?
I want to buy my own place. And there are two possibilities – I can buy a small apartment with a rather large outdoor terrace (balcony) or I can buy a house with a small garden.
They are the same price and about what I can afford. The apartment has a nice view on the river and the house is in a relatively quiet street. The house has slightly bigger rooms, but has a small living room. The flat is a 2 bed flat but the smallest bedroom is very small. They are both about 10-15 years old.
I would really love to return to the town where I was born, and that’s where those two options are.
The thing is – I can’t really make my mind up about it. I think it’s secretely because I haven’t really fallen in love with either of them as what I would really want is an old (ish) town house with built in atmosphere. (= most probably too expensive for me)
So here is my question – how did you pick your place? And did you love it at first sight? What would you do if you were me?
- Red double decker buses
Just because I think they are wonderful. Especially the old Routemasters.
- A reliable Oyster card (opposed to a not always properly working OV card in the Netherlands)
- The London transport system
Yes it can be a busy system (and yes sometimes they strike!) but I find it a great system and compared to public transport in Amsterdam – London is way ahead. And hey they have tube trains every few minutes – forget about that in Amsterdam.
- The enormous amount of cinemas and films on offer in London
The time of the year might have something to do with it but there hasn’t been much on lately has there?
- The London theatre
And just living around the corner from it. Plays with dream actors like Kevin Spacey, Ken Stott, Charles Dance, Derek Jacobi. And I wish I could say Bill Nighy, but blimey what does one need to do to get that man back on stage in London!
- The language
I love to hear the Brits talk. Good job I have a UK colleague at my current workplace so I won’t complete miss the British sense of humour and self deprication.
- Men in decent suits with great shoes
Yes men wear suits in Amsterdam too, but it is just not as classy. Far from in fact.
- People queueing properly for the tube or train
Oh and people with manners and being polite. My god – Dutch people are horrible when it comes to that. Lots of elbow and pushing work going on every single time I have to enter a train. And they don’t know how to behave on an escalator either.
- British television
Please give me back the BBC channels. And ITV, Channel 4 and even Five. I really miss quality tv. But I also miss Simon Cowell and the Xfactor! I really hope to solve that tv issue in the future. (I’ll buy a satellite dish if I need to)
- A cup of tea the milky way
I have not drunk a single one of those since my return. Somehow that is such a quintessential British thing that it feels wrong to do it in the Netherlands. And Dutch tea just doesn’t taste as good as Yorkshire tea.
You might think that I am missing London badly and regret having moved from there. But strangely enough, apart from the above list, and maybe a couple of other minor things, I haven’t missed London that much actually. There is no doubt in my mind that I have taken the right decision to move back to the Netherlands. Living close to my family again is really nice and life is just not as hectic (and therefor more healthy) as it was in London.
I am still on a quest to find a perfect place to live though. I am currently living in Haarlem (renting) where I have the unbelievable luxury of having my own kitchen, with own micro wave, cooker and fridge. And six (six!) whole kitchen cupboards for myself! I am still getting used to it, having lived in a shared household for more than four years.
So on that front, life is certainly improving. But Haarlem might not be the place where I am going to stay very long though. We’ll see what happens.
How are you all doing?
Oh, and here is a new (and this time decent as my mum filmed this) video of Gijs the Hedgehog. He is still a regular visitor in the garden!
Digging through my boxes I found these. I can’t come up with any better excuse for having four (four!) pairs of 3D specs then that the model reminds me of a certain funky long legged man. This is why I have too much stuff: I absolutely lack common sense and I still haven’t grown up.
Am I the only one who can’t throw stuff out?
Four years in London is a long enough period to acquire a broad selection of electrical equipment. A laptop. Camera and phone chargers. A small telly. Some lights. And more things like that.
They all have UK power plugs. Which are different from Dutch ones as you can see. Not quite sure how to solve that challenge yet!
I made this video on my phone (hence the bad quality) and I managed to talk through it in the end too! So it is not a great video but here he is: Gijs the Hedgehog finishing his dinner and wandering off to his bed.
We are feeding him cat food and water, and he nearly always comes by in the evening.
Grab your popcorn, here it is: Gijs the Hedgehog – the movie: