Archive for October, 2015

There is just over one month left before I get the keys to the house, and last night I dreamt of the house – and the cost and work it needs. So I’m going through my budget for it, making cost-estimates from scratch again and setting priorities for works needed and works desired.

A new roof is a must-have, as is a new electrical panel. The electrical panel is easy to cost – since I’ve had three of them replaced in three different properties previously and the price seems fairly steady – but the roof is the great unknown. I have set aside a sum almost equivalent to the purchase price, just to replace the roof.  Hopefully it will be significantly less, but the other potentially expensive projects such as the kitchen and bathroom will have to wait until the roof has been paid.


The bedroom (soveværelse), scullery (bryggers), bathroom (bad), kitchen (køkken) and small sitting room (værelse) are all in okay shape and can just be given a thorough clean to start with and I can live in these rooms. The larger front room (stue), though, has a mangy carpet and somewhat dodgy wallpaper that is pealing off in places, so that’s where I will start.

Fortunately a sitting room is an easy room to renovate. I need to rip out the carpet, replace it with something nice-but-cheap, tear down the wall paper, re-plaster the walls or perhaps expose the structural walls if I dare… I ought perhaps to pull down the fake wood ceiling, but I’ve never done ceilings before so it will just get a lick of white paint and I’ll pretend that is a design choice and not a cop-out!

The projects I can’t budget for before I know the price of the new roof are:

The bathroom… It needs some attention, though not urgently. But it could be a very expensive room to renovate and to be honest I don’t really care about bathrooms…

The kitchen, on the other hand… Knocking through to the small sitting room would create a large kitchen with room for a farmhouse-style dining table as well as a good kitchen. And direct access to the small garden room (udestue) and a frigging wood burner! In the kitchen! How lovely does that sound on a scale from perfect to brilliant? It CAN be done on the cheap if I keep it completely old-school and only get built-in units for the fridge, cooker and sink, using the dining table as a work surface. After all, I will rarely have to entertain a full complement of guests – unless it’s outside. But kitchens are also expensive, as is knocking down walls, so that will have to wait until a new roof has been paid for.

The garage… Eventually it will become either a master bedroom or a studio with a sofa bed for guests. I hope I can afford to replace the old wooden garage door with glass doors, turning it from a dark and dingy room into a bright and beautiful space. I could use a large dining table in the kitchen for many of my craftsy hobbies, but some are just a bit more messy and would be better suited in a separate room.

The large shed in the garden (cinder block walls and corrugated steel roof on wooden rafters) could have potential for providing space for a studio, though. It would be deadly cold in winter, but during summer one part of it could be a nice studio. (It has two rooms, and the old chicken coop could become the wood store and the other – larger – room could become a studio/workshop/whatever.)


I really can’t wait to have my very own house! And of course I have ridiculous plans for the garden as well, but the garden will survive a bit of neglect over the winter, whereas the house wants attention ASAP…

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A Phone Call

I had the loveliest phone call this afternoon from the vendor’s daughter (his hearing isn’t very good, so he doesn’t do phones any more, she said).

She just called to tell me that her father was really pleased I’m the one to buy his house, since apparently he thinks I seem like a decent enough chap. I drove over to have a walk around the outside of the garden the day after I viewed the house, just to feel sure before going in with an offer, and I ran into Poul, the vendor, and we chatted for perhaps half an hour over the fence – about his family and their time in the house, about his childhood and youth in the area, about the German occupation 1940-45 and the resistance and the surprisingly polite German soldiers.

Tomorrow he’ll be viewing an apartment in the town where his daughter lives, but it seems good on paper and he’s beginning to be excited about living in an easier place and so on. That was also lovely to hear, because he really seems like a nice guy who deserves to be happy even though he has to move from a place he has so many memories in. (The daughter was born in the house, apparently.)

I’m so flattered, though, that he is pleased that I am the buyer of his house. Not that he had any other buyers to choose from, but still. The fact that he told his daughter to call me and tell me is rather touching.

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I Dream…

It’s one thing playing around with the floor plan of the house and imagining all sorts of things – but these things will cost money.

Playing around with plans and dreams for the garden, though, seems much more realistic – because most of it won’t cost me much more than a sore back and perhaps a few blisters!

I want water in the garden. Something akin to The Puddles in the old Flâneur Garden, but perhaps on a slightly larger scale, considering that I have so much space. Nothing too fancy or formal, but just a small nature habitat. Well, perhaps a more formal-looking small pond near the house and then a narrow stream/trickle down to something more casual further down the garden?

I also want an orchard. There are fruit trees in the garden already, but not enough! And not the specific sorts I want… I want a particular sort of sour cherries, two specific sorts of apples and two specific sorts of plums. And pears and nuts and soft fruits and all kinds of wonderful things. Basically I want to be able to fill my larder with juices and preserves and other lovely things…

The orchard will cost, though. Trees are not cheap, and since I have very specific requirements I can’t just go by what’s on sale… I sense some very specific Christmas and birthday wishes coming along!

The vegetable garden will be quite cheap. Seeds don’t cost much, and at least the first year I’ll just focus on simple and common varieties. Peas, beans, potatoes – probably some radishes and some spinach for an early crop and some kale for a late crop. And of course a row of marigolds, because my grandmother always had marigolds in her vegetable garden, and apart from attracting pollinators they really do taste rather nice in salads or teas. And look wonderful on any breakfast table!

As for the flower beds I think I need something to balance out the HUGE bed of fuchsias. Perhaps I need to ensure I always have yellow-to-orange dahlias to plant opposite them, or perhaps I should just be lazy and sow rudbeckias… I don’t like fuchsias, really, but A) they are part of the garden and B) any plant looks great when massed and C) they were planted by the current owner Poul’s late wife so they have a story attached to them. I might one day move them but I will never get rid of them!

So many plans and hopes and dreams… First, though, I’ll have to fix the house interior. I need a nice base to go into the garden from.

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Literally Crying

There were all these unexpected snags on the house deal, and it seemed like the water quality might terminate the whole deal, but…


In fact I now own a house from December 1st and there’s no way I can renege on it or pull out. I own it from December 1st.


I. Own. A. House.


I thought I would, but while the water situation was still uncertain I didn’t dare believe it. But now… There’s no turning back. I have bought a house! I have bought a HOUSE!!!

A HOUSE! Can you imagine that? Me with my very own house and the chance to play around with absolutely everything as I please?

If this place doesn’t end up being magical I shall have failed myself. It has so many opportunities, so many promises…

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I may have bought a house.

With a garden – of course.


It’s completely irresponsible and ludicrous for me to buy a house in the middle of nowhere, but… There it is. I bought it. From December 1st, this old farmstead is mine.


The house is 1100 square feet, and sits in 1/3 of an acre of garden – GARDEN!!!


It’s surrounded by fields on all sides, and from the very back of the garden there’s even a view of the local lake/pond.


I’m not sure how useful a greenhouse will be in a holiday home, though, but there’s only one broken pane so I might just let the grape vine grow rampant and use it as a “garden sitting room”.


Yes, fields all around…


Sorry the floor plan is in Danish… It does, though, give you an idea of what the house is like. Two wood burners – one in the larger sitting room and one in the kitchen – and in-door parking that I might convert to a studio-cum-guest-bedroom. And I am seriously considering knocking down the wall between the kitchen and the small sitting room (“køkken” and “værelse”) to make a large farmhouse-style kitchen with access to the added-on “udestue” – a non-insulated room with windows all around that is mainly meant as a semi-outside sitting room.

Upstairs there are two bedrooms, but the floor doesn’t feel too sturdy and the ceilings are just over 6ft high, so essentially that’s just storage space. At best people can “camp out” up there, but I won’t bother converting the rooms into actual bedrooms.

And the garden… Poul, the current owner, is 86 and has kept the garden in a near-immaculate state since his wife died a few years ago. But it was clearly her garden, with his part of it being the vegetable garden and the shed. It has a very effortless charm – not too formal, but still with borders and beds and ornamental shrubs. And it’s large enough to have space for an “ugly” part behind the shed, which is nice.

I love that garden… It’s in keeping with the rather utilitarian nature of the house, and yet it has so many charms – like the house. And the views over the fields are just stunning!

So there. I did it. I bought a house and will become a gardener once more.

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