I’ve been living in Torshov, Oslo, for this past year, sharing the apartment with the venerable and very sweet Lady C. She’s my girlfriend, sweet little thing, who’ll kick your face in if she thinks it’s worth it. Women are like that. Always revealing amazing things about womanhood that’s been wrapped in a shawl of mystery since you started looking up their skirts, and staring dreamily down the isle of the waiting room at the vice dept.
Anyway, I’ll be writing more about her some other time.
On June 4th we bought our new home. A 100m2 flat in the middle of Oslo. These kinds of flats are usually reserved for the ones comfortably situated, or spoiled brats who’ve inherited a shitload of cash. But this flat in particular needs a little redecorating, esp. a new bathroom, which brings the price down to a bearable sum of money for a couple of working class citizens.
People still commend us on our choice and the low price..!
But there is a lot that needs to be done to make the flat fit our very exquisite taste. So, on Lady C’s request, I’m opening this thread of posts labeled DIY Extreme Makeover to document our progress. Unfortunately my camera is at the flat right now so I’ve got no images to show for this very moment. But they’ll popup once in a while.
Tuesday 14th of July at 3 pm
We took over the keys to the apartment one day ahead of schedule and were officially the new owners. At the same time this happened, a sum of money larger than anything I’ve ever seen suddenly appeared in Lady C’s account, only to disappear again the next instant, heading for the seller’s back pocket. "Oh, I’ve got no idea how to make all this money fit in my bra," she said and blushed. "Don’t worry. Let’s see you try!"
We were thrilled to finally have a new flat.
Well, the bank owns it but we’re the only ones permitted to live there.
The next thing we did were immediate measurements of the place. Phone calls from different entrepreneurs were already making my cellphone battery hot, and if I’m not mistaken we began tearing down an old closet which practically freed up 20% of what will become my study/our library. We also checked what’s underneath the different floors. Away with the parquet flooring, back to the original wooden floor, is the plan for more or less every room except the bathroom.
Wednesday 15th of July
More entrepreneurs and finished the job with the closet. Then we actually removed the entire parquet in just about 10 minutes. It is very easy to remove, and if we’d been a little more careful ripping it out we could probably have made some money from it. But what the heck, the woodworms have to eat too! We also got a lot of paint at 40% discount at Maxbo, the DIY store for everyone, the Ikea for real men with hairy breasts, a woman on the shoulder and a gorilla in the garage!
Thursday 16th of July
Lady C’s baby sister came to join us tearing down wallpaper mixed with 1920th newspapers, while I dealt with all the entrepreneurs and did some heavy lifting. We decided it was time to schedule a run for the dump with the parquet, baseboard and the weird funny smelling mat that we found under the fake parquet in the bedroom.
Friday 17th of July
I woke up from a nightmare about entrepreneurs chasing me down with their folding rules and notebooks in hand! Then when we were headed to find a trailer for all the trash, it turned out I’m not allowed to handle trailers above 750-760 kg. Which is a problem when most rent-a-trailer services go above a ton (1000kg). It’s not that anybody cares but it’s a stupid thing to get a fine for. We ended up dissing the idea and renting a car to be ready the following morning (tomorrow) at 8am.
In the meanwhile Vicky got a lot of handjob done in the study, scraping off the rest of the poisonous fungus-ridden paper wallpaper. That’s when I decided to have a look what’s underneath the lowered ceiling. People in Norwegian cities lowered their ceilings in the 70s to allow less heat to disappear, but today the style is quite the opposite and if we get enough firewood for the fireplace in the living room I think we’ll manage.
So after I managed to break a hole and tear down one width of plaster ceiling using true manpower, Lady C had conjured up a way to do it rather effortlessly, thereby putting the trademark on our relationship. I provide the muscle, she provides the head :D
Leaving today we had halfway finished the tearing down of the ceiling, and we also discovered the original 30’s style roof panel in mid-dark brown with baseboards down and across which was in perfect shape with the exception of a hole they’d pulled the wiring through.
Tomorrow’s a big day ’cause all of our friends are coming over to help out, so we plan to get a lot of things done besides having fun… More Extreme Makeover logs later!
On entrepreneurs and bidding
We’ve used a well-proven method of putting away little and big jobs on tender. This has proven to be a very inefficient way of doing things, because a lot of the people calling me up and arranging a meet are only interested in showing us how cheap they can do it. I don’t care about cheap, I care about quality. I don’t want to face a disaster 5-10 years down the road. The work you do here today should last at least twenty odd years.
In addition we’ve had some probably very brilliant "total entrepreneurs" here, guys who oversee and arrange an entire project. They have long experience, oversight and brand new ideas. I like ideas, and I gladly welcome ideas that lift a burden off my shoulder, but when a guy says to me that my solution is good but not perfect (as his solution at double price) it pisses me off. After having a couple of guys like that over, me and Lady C were in a dark abyss of despair. What if we can’t afford it? What if we can’t pull it through ourselves? What ifs….
You know what that is, don’t you? It’s FUD.
Here’s a professional a-hole feeding us with fear, uncertainty and doubt so he can reap the benefits. If you’re in a similar redecorating process such as ours you know that it’s a long war with many tiny battles, and a lot to learn each step of the way. I’ve learned so much about the insides of buildings in four days than I could ever learn watching the Discovery Home & Living channel. Steer away from those who may appear very experienced but seem to question everything you say and every plan you’ve made. I’m gonna have CAT 6A network cable in my rooms too, whether you like it or not. C thinks it’s a great idea, as long as I hook her up with a kitchen computer. Why not? We can do it.
And what’s up with the late trend of wall-attached toilets? What the fuck is up with that? It might look cool in a picture, and it is probably a lot easier to clean, but if I wanted to take a shit in a camping WC I’d go and shit in a fucking caravan! Thank you very much, but you thread lightly when it comes to the king’s throne. Wahubba-hubba.