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Wednesday
Jan042012

2011, a recap.

I know I am late, but Happy New Year to all of you!

A year ago, we lived in a beautiful apartment in a rather rough area of Berlin and tried (and failed) to ignore the aircraft noise coming from the nearby inner city airport. The husband started a new job. I missed Vienna a lot and tried hard to like Berlin. I took one half of a photography course and then stopped because I couldn´t stand the pictures of teddy bears the other participants were taking. We went to the coast for our wedding anniversary. We had lots and lots of snow and then finally spring arrived. I ran a lot in the mornings. We seriously considered moving away from Berlin and started brainstorming where we should go. We still started viewing houses in the country around Berlin and became kind of obsessed with it. My ex-boss left the company and I stepped in. I worked a lot over the summer. We tried to enjoy our garden but there was this freaking noise. We fell in love with a house and a village. I went to England with my mom and had to leave after 3 days because of work. We put an offer in for the house and it was not accepted. Our creative real estate agent made it happen nevertheless. We found a bank which was willing to finance the house but only under certain circumstances. They sent an inspector to view the house while I went to Portugal for work where I had sleepless nights. We got the OK from the bank eventually. We signed the contract without really understanding it. We camped in the house on the weekends and got to work. We got to know our new neighbours and loved them except the one yelling at me for picking up an apple from his allotment. We moved on the hottest day of the year. On the same evening, the worst thunderstorm of the year hit the village. We stayed anyway. We swam in lakes and cycled the back roads. We had lots of trouble getting rid of our old apartment and lost a lot of money. We got used to the commute and learned how to sleep, eat and work on trains. We went on a holiday when all we wanted was to stay home and work on the house. We had houssitters and it didn´t really work out. We flew home early. Things at my work took a turn for the worse. We worked on the house a lot and at some point it started to feel like home. We started to get regular visits from a stray cat in the house which freaked Marlene and Lulu out big time. We celebrated our first christmas in our new home. When the new year arrived, we stood in front of the village church, bells chiming, and kissed.

2011 was a busy, weird, exciting, exhausting, wonderful year.

Friday
Dec302011

35 until 35, revisited.

One year ago on my birthday, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish until I turned 35. Now that I actually did turn 35, let´s see how I did:

 1. Buy a house (Done, even if this was the one point I did not really expect to cross off in 2011!)

2. Save money each month to be able to buy a house

3. Learn how to photograph (for reals) (I took a course at least!)

4. Find the right lipstick color for me (I found a great one but it loks crap now that I´m blonde again. Duh.)

5. Be happy with all clothes in my closet (Ha! I need a stylist.) 

6. Improve my English (My main language at work is English so this happened naturally. But it is still crappy.)

7. Get to know Berlin

8. Have new family pictures taken of me and the husband in summer

9. Get a mani/pedi regularly (I did well for a long while but not so well since we bought the house...)

10. Buy an old derelict piece of furniture and make it beautiful again (Need to show you the results.)

11. Sew a dress

12. Make as many weekend trips to the coast as possible (Amount of trips: 1. Shame.)

13. Go iceskating

14. Make friends in Berlin (Didn´t happen. Entirely my fault. It´s official, I´m a loner.)

15. Be a better friend to the existing ones (See above)

16. Take a trip with my mom

17. Knit something

18. Swim in my favorite lake on earth near Munich

19. Go on a date night once a week

20. Go on a bike trip with my dad

21. Have a christmas tree of my own (see picture!)

22. Go dancing like in the old times

23. Read the newspaper regularly (like, in its entirety)

24. Go on a girls weekend with my bestest friend N.

25. Watch "The Godfather" (But it´s on my Lovefilm list!)  

26. Eat in a gourmet restaurant

27. Go on a sailing trip on Wannsee

28. Make trips to Leipzig, Dresden and Weimar

29. Go on a 3 week holiday

30. Cook a new recipe every week

31. Get tailor-made boots

32. Climb a mountain (During our Madeira holiday, sort of at least.)

33. Host a party in our new apartment (Farewell garden party for my ex-boss. Sniff.)

34. Run a half marathon

35. Take a picture with both Marlene and Lulu in it (Done.)

Oh well. It could have been better, it could have been worse, right? Lots of things didn´t happen because nr. 1 of this list actuallly happened and I won´t complain! No list for next year, all money and time will go in the house and I couldn´t be happier about it.

Monday
Dec192011

The library. 

When we first considered buying the house, there were a few things I was concerned about. Among other things, there was this huge, awkward room we actually didn´t need. It didn´t help that it was, uhm, rather ugly back then. See picture above.

No I did not enhance anything in this picture. I have no idea what the previous owners did with the floors, I guess they sealed them with some red tinted wax? I just know that I hated the color right from the start. Oh and I also hated the green wall color. It was the very first room that I painted.

Two weeks ago, the husband spent a weekend sanding the floors of what we now call "the library". We figured it would make sense to get that done before we would actually assemble any bookshelves. We then decided to finish them with lye and Swedish soap, something we had seen and loved in a holiday apartment a few years ago. The room now looks like this:

The floors are in a pretty bad shape, thanks to the woodworm, so it is a bit spotty in places (See the darker areas? That´s where someone had a feast). However that shold go away over time. All and all I think this is a great improvement. Now to decide on a wall color and bring in the shelves... I can´t wait to have my books back in place!

Tuesday
Dec132011

Color, color, color.

Happy Tuesday! So yes, I took pictures over the weekend, but that´s for later. Right now, I need your advice. Lately all I can think of is color. Walls, floors, furniture. I am trying to come up with a color scheme for the house and it´s hard. I don´t want it to be too colorful this time around but I also don´t want it to be bland. That´s  only inside, and then there´s also the exterior which is almost as difficult.

Above is what it looks like now. Remember I painted the door a blueish grey recently.

This is what it used to look like. Also in this picture you see that on the left, we have this giant gate (is that the right English word?) which used to be painted brown and needs some love urgently. Same goes for the gable of the house (again not sure whether this is the right term). Come spring we plan to have the gable painted (there are limits to DIY) and I am going to tackle the gate.

Now, what color to paint the door/gateway/gable? In my opinion, there are two options:

1) Leave the door as it is and paint the gable and gateway white to match the windows and entryway area. I just wonder whether it will look too cutesy and a white gable is not really typical for the area...

2) Choose another color to paint door, gate and gable. But what color? Maybe go dark? Down Pipe?  Or even Railings? Or a definite and not-so-blueish grey?

All I know is that I don´t want to go back to brown, even if it would match the roof. And I don´t think a strong color would go well here. Opinions? Help! 

Friday
Dec092011

Happy weekend.

(Picture is not mine but by Amy Johnson on Flickr. I love it.).

I really, really need to take pictures of the house and what we´re up to renovation-wise (it involves sanding floors, ugh). Last weekend was so insanely busy that I didn´t pick up my camera once. I´ll try to do better this weekend and report back.

Are you in a Christmas mood yet? Me, not so much. This weekend though will be all about baking cookies and making the house a bit more christmassy. I´m usually not big in seasonal decorating but this time around I decided to make some effort. I even bought a ton of vintage Christmas ornaments off Ebay this week. It will, after all, be our very first Christmas in our new house.

Before you go, you should all be reading Sanctuary. I think I pinterested (of course that´s a word) about 80 percent of this blog´s content over the last few days. It is more or less the lookbook for my house.

Oh and you should also check out Lundagard. It´s pure magic. I discovered Lundagard via Designskool, which is also a must read. Hop over for some serious eye candy, and then have a wonderful weekend.