Saturday, June 19, 2010

Morning - Night

Friday Morning:


Friday Afternoon:

Friday Evening:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Even though we are months away from needing to crank the heat, the thought of where to place radiators in the apartment is always swimming around in my brain. It's not that I don't like radiators; on the contrary I love the old iron radiators - but I think I do slightly detest the sight of the ones on the current market. Unfortunately Gregg is opposed to the idea of purchasing used older models as there could be the issue of rust - point taken.
So enter Joris Laarman's Heat Wave Radiator...

Honestly I think i'm in love! Hey a girl can dream right?

Photo credit: bonluxat

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Back On Track

And now we're back to our regularly scheduled apartment renovations....finally!
Nothing too big to report on, but the fact that things have been moving forward is good enough for us (and that's all that counts right?).

I'm not sure if it has been said yet but we are officially moved up into our attic due to a full capacity down below. Actually we've been up here for a month already, and although we are miles from a true apartment  (defin: An apartment (in US English) or flat (in British English) is a self-contained housing unit (a type of residential real estate) that occupies only part of a building.) we are really loving all the amazing space that it has to offer. And that small amount of dust that we've had to deal with *this may change now that we're back to reno's is a small price to pay for the time we're getting up here to truly discover what this apartment really wants. Think a fresh airy palette with splashes of colour, a DIY quirky kitchen, and loads of storage. Once most of the general renovations are finished our first project will be to tackle the bathroom space, but I wont get too ahead of myself.

Anyways as of this moment we've got the framing up for our bedroom and bathroom spaces, as well as the outside dry walling of the bedroom wall. Both walls (plus the entry) are going to remain in a half finished state for a little while before we get all the wires, pipes, and cabling sorted.... better to live with half finished walls than having to knock out walls if something gets missed.

All those beams are also getting a bit of a face lift, if you remember a few months back they were all being sanded down (when the sanders felt like working). Of course we couldn't freshen up those beams without giving them a bit of protection, so with a little help from a friend all those beauties are getting a lovely coat of matte lacquer. Finding the lacquer was a bit of a pain though as we made the mistake of getting a wood protection in the same colour as the beams themselves. However upon opening the can we discovered a greenish liquid, not at all what we had wanted. To make matters worse the store wouldn't let us return it!

The conversation went like this...
Evil Belgian Hardware store "You can't return it because you have opened it"
Gregg  "yes, but it's GREEN - clearly not what it shows on the can" as he showed them the stir stick
Evil Belgian Hardware store "what if we take it back and another customer doesn't like it?"
Gregg "That's not my problem, but i'm not happy with it"
Evil Belgian Hardware store "But you opened the can"
Gregg "yes, but it's GREEN"
Evil Belgian Hardware store "what if we take it back and another customer doesn't like it?"

This continued full circle a few times before Gregg decided that we had to cut our losses, and pick up a can of colourless and pray that this too wouldn't be green.

So here's the beams as they look now, and for comparison you can see the angled beam on the right has not yet been lacquered. What do you think so far?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Or however you say it... has finally gotten to me.
Back in April during the infamous "Ash Cloud period", I couldn't be bothered by it. In fact it was actually nice, it was probably the first time in my life that I was able to look up to a perfectly cloudless sky and see no signs that an air plane had been there. And on the first Sunday of all the air space cancellations I could go outside and hear nothing- thanks to both zero air traffic, and very minimal road traffic. It was actually a real lesson in how much air pollution we are exposed to without even realizing it.

Now for my beef... us residing here in Belgium have only been treated to 3 days of decent spring weather ever since the month of May began. I would even hazard a guess to say that we had warmer days last November, and early March than the last 2.5 weeks. But this is not really a rant about cold weather - it's more a rant about how the cold weather has been delaying my garden. So at the start of the month when I was preparing to relocate all of my wonderful seedlings and young plants - the weather turned, which kept them under house arrest. Many of the plants were nearly pot bound, or had grown just too plain big for their pots. But just in time for the tomato plants to go out we have resumed to our regularly scheduled weather forecast * huge sigh of relief * 

So the garden is still behind schedule but here's some shots that I took this morning.

Even though it still looks like quite an empty plot - our onions and peas are up in full force, some radishes are popping up and some are ready for harvesting, while the carrots, cabbage, and beets are slowly starting to show their presence. Just recently planted are some swiss chard plants, celery, artichokes, beans, cauliflower, tomato plants and even some sun flowers.
Our onions are growing like crazy, and our patio herb garden is providing us with some tasty additions to our dinners (thyme, rosemary, mint, spring onions, parsley, cilantro, and dill).

 Unaffected by the cooler days were our trash can spuds (which you just keep piling on more dirt, or grass clippings to keep em growing and producing as many spuds as possible) and our wonderful pear trees which we planted last autumn.

Sidetracked: Part Two

To say that life is full of many distractions would be an understatement, over the past two weeks we have learned that life is a distraction! We have gotten zero accomplished in the attic for quite some time, but the distractions have actually given us some time to really hunt for inspiration and develop second opinions on what we want in our space.
And of course all of those distractions has left us with little to blog about - instead it made me question whether I should be blogging about our attic, or just all the quirks of living with a house full of cyclists.

So here's a quick glimpse into our very distracting 2 weeks.
The morning of Friday May 7th the two of us were just nearly out the door with one of the cyclists living at the house - we were on our way to pick up a rental car from Lille France (just like the flooring and home hardware stuff - rental cars too are cheaper in France) for her to use, and on the way back we had planned to stop at our favourite French hardware store Castorama. Just before we had gotten away a call came from the other girl Emma staying with us that she and 4 other girls had been hit by a car while out training. That day will be one that we will always remember just from the sheer horror of the situation. Though some worse than others, we can happily say that the 5 girls are all recovering well - thankfully they were all wearing helmets!
The following day saw Emma return home from hospital still in a lot of pain from a broken collar bone, but it seemed like things would slowly return to normal at The ChainStay.
Fast forward to Sunday evening when some riders were still due back from a race about a 40 minute drive away. By this point they should have been back about an hour ago, it was then that Gregg addressed his worries. We didn't have to wait much longer until they finally made it back, all present and accounted for - but another broken collar bone. Total = 2 broken collar bones. Geeze our nerves cannot take any more!
It's not that we were surprised by broken collar bones, because it is the single most common injury in the sport of cycling (Gregg has broken both of his in the past) but 2 in 3 days come on!
Now two days following crash number 2 saw a trip to the doctors which led to a follow up trip to the hospital for a second opinion. Long story short Emma was to return to the hospital the next day to have hers pinned. All went well with her surgery, and she is now recovering very well. In fact both are riding their bikes again.... on the trainer of course as they are not quite ready for real life roads.

Now to add some icing to the cake, with short notice the both of us were asked to help out at a 3 day stage race in the Ardennes; Gregg as mechanic, and myself as Soigneur/Masseuer. It was an exhausting weekend and Thursday - Sunday were a complete write-off. But on Saturday while back at the team hostel we got the call again!
The other girl at the house Michal now also had a broken collar bone from crashing in a race.  Her follow up also confirmed that she would need hers pinned, and in fact that is where she is now.
Grand Total = 3 in 8 days!!! I am now a believer that things come in 3's.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

1 - 2 - 3 - Floor!

So I'm back with an update. A real genuine update, not a lame update that just promises for an update as last time. But to be completely honest i'm not really entirely sure what to say. There has been quite a bit of progress up in the big attic space, but there haven't been many stories or anecdotes to go along with the progress. Since resuming our work we have just chugging along - have a look...

So here's where we left off. Dust, dust aaaand more dust! And how could we forget the countless migraines from all that plastering, and sanding, oh and all the wood slivers from all those tricky spots around the beams. Oh yeah i'm also pretty sure that the hardware store will never again let us return a sander to them - we are at a grand total of 3 broken sanders (1 belt and 2 smaller hand sanders) from all that plaster and freshening up those beams. 

We did get a sneak peak of the flooring before our 2 week break, 
getting just under 1/3rd of the floor laid. 

Following our hiatus from the renovations here's what we had accomplished by the end of our first week back (we were also able to sneak in some springtime gardening). 

From this angle you might also be able to notice that we've got a coat of primer on the walls - and that couldn't make us happier. The primer did an amazing job of sealing in all that extra dust that we weren't able to get rid of no matter how much we swept them and sprayed them with the air gun. 
Good bye plaster dust.... for now!

Aaaand after a good sanding (this time with a rental floor sander), an evening of staining, a full 48 hours of dry time, a few coats of lacquer, and some more drying time here is the floor in all her shining glory. 

After giving the floors a few days to cure, it was time to get the framing up for the doorway. 

So that's the framing all done, and the first piece of drywall. I also feel it important to mention the door, really we couldn't be much happier with it. Although we hadn't put too much thought into the door, we knew that all the over priced "fake wood" doors that you find these days were not for us. We couldn't even find one door that we liked - so needless to say there was no need to talk ourselves into a 200euro + door. Instead we headed to the Ecoshop (think Habitat ReStore) first in Zulte - nada, Ronse - nada, then finally Gent (and if we couldn't find it in Gent we wouldn't find it anywhere) where we found a boat load of used doors and even new ones. We ended up going for a new door - which we had thought was MDF, but actually was solid wood sandwiched by MDF for it's "paneled" finish. Though we're not the biggest fans of MDF, we really couldn't complain with it's 30 euro price tag!

So here it is thus far. Doesn't look like the same place as it did a month ago does it?  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paying the Bills

Springtime in Belgium means one thing... bike racing! Us being the cycling fanatics that we are, meant that it was time for us to get to work. But without further ado we are back and ready to get "crack-a-lackin" as Gregg would say.
Stay tuned for our next adventures in flooring