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Archive for January, 2016

New Beginnings


I’m moving out of my little shoe box apartment in Copenhagen and into my own apartment that I’ve had rented out while I was married. (I’m kind of glad I kept it now, even though at times it was a financial drain.)

However, I’ve decided that most of my belongings should go to the house, rather than the apartment, so today a man and two women came and moved it all for me.

IMG_6297 Most of the boxes are books, so they will remain boxed-up until I have renovated the sitting room (floor, walls and ceiling) and can get a nice book case to cover the entire end wall. There are just under 3,000 books in my library, so I kind of need a large book case. (Preferably with excess space, as my books tend to breed – or else I just happen to buy new books all the time.)

So far I have the impression that my furniture really fits the house. It is sort of old-ish (1890’s to 1960’s), and though most of it’s dark wood – oak, mahogany, teak – it is all in a scale where it will not overpower the space when the walls have been done up and there’s a wooden floor. It will be a bright and airy house, with plenty of open floor space – and perhaps very much a Scandinavian house.

In other news, the snow has melted:

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There are little aconites and snowdrops all over the garden, and this pleases me immensely.

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There are also several groups of arum italicum which I love, and the hellebores are fiercely large – though probably of the Easter-blooming variety. I have a feeling this garden and I will get along very well…

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Objects In The Garden


“I’m lucky enough to have inherited several garden gnomes with my new garden… Most of them have accidentally ended up in the trash, but one of them is 4ft high (including his pedestal) and made of solid concrete. He remains in situ until I get somebody to help me get rid of that dreadful thing… There’s also a lion holding a crest by the drive – perhaps suitable for a grander house, but hardly for a rather modest house in the countryside.

I believe you might have given me the inspiration for a new post…”

The above was my comment on a post in Jean’s Garden, and I could have gone on and on – but didn’t want to make a rambling, long comment about my own garden on her blog. Her post was about art objects in the garden, and while I dare say my garden gnomes are hardly art – nor remotely pretty – it made me think about something I’ve long wanted in the old garden, but that would be too costly.

I love stones and rocks… But in the old garden on a fjord meadow they didn’t seem appropriate. I placed some smaller stones around the garden – souvenirs from around the world – but didn’t buy actual large stones in.

The new garden, though, is surrounded by fields, and boulders seem to crop up in them out of nowhere. The recent freeze has pushed several boulders out of the ground, so I need to get in touch with the farmer and ask him if he would mind if I took them (he obviously won’t), or if he would place them by my rear garden gate when he removes them himself, which he will definitely have to do pretty soon before his winter barley gets too high and begins hiding them in spring.

Using local boulders – that sprung from the ground a mere, well, stone’s throw from the garden really appeals to me, because I want the garden to be firmly anchored in it’s surroundings. Most are in sizes I can carry – or at least lift into the wheelbarrow on my own – and some are just large enough that I can’t – but can roll them over the lawn to where I want them. So I could manage on my own – which is important.

They will mainly fit in around the pond when I get that dug out – and as obstructions in the small stream I’m planning. Not large features, but semi-submerged remnants from the landscape around the garden and reminders of how the landscape was formed during the last ice age. And how it apparently still moves and shifts under the surrounding fields!

I think local, natural stones will fit in better in my garden than actual pieces of art. After all, the house is enough of a man-made statement in the garden for me.

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Slowly, Slowly…


Things are progressing very slowly at my house in the country. Not frustratingly so, but rather lazily and relaxed.

I am still working on the walls of the small sitting room, and that’s okay; it’s a labour of love, and I don’t want it to be stressful. Still, I am looking forward to the day when I can stand in a finished room, look around me and say to myself “Yes, this is just as it should be!”

Perhaps that’s reflected in my latest purchase:

Kanvas

27 yards of canvas???

It’s for curtains for the house, and that greyish sage green, coarse fabric should, I hope, look good against rough walls of white, rendered bricks. The reason I ordered so much fabric is that I want the same curtains throughout the house, and a) there are a lot of windows in a house compared to a small apartment and b) it is a cheap fabric, so I’d rather have too much than too little of it so I don’t run out and find they don’t make the exact same colour or texture any more.

It will be quite a project, turning this huge pile of fabric into curtains, but there’s no rush. After all, I can live without curtains as long as I’m working on the house – and then get a friend down to help me with the task of cutting up this vast swathe of fabric and turning it into separate panes. Yeah, real men make their own curtains, right?

Planning such a thing as curtains helps me see the house as it will be, and it will be lovely! As I look around me at the salmon-coloured walls of the large sitting room, the room transforms itself inside my head; the walls change colour and texture, the dropped faux-wood ceiling disappears and exposes the beams, the mangy old carpet turns into wooden flooring. Over there by the fire is where my great-grandmother’s sofa and armchairs will go, down here in the far end is where the large book case will cover the end wall and my desk will stand just there by the window. Under the desk will be my woollen rug so my feet are nice and warm when I sit there, and under the sofa arrangement will be a new rug that I haven’t quite imagined yet.

Bord

I’ve also bought the dining table for my large kitchen (when the wall to the small sitting room is knocked down): Solid oak, contemporary but still rustic. When the leaves are added to the ends it becomes nearly 10 feet long and easily seats 12-14 if needed, but it will also be my main work space in the kitchen – hence the need for something sturdy! And it came with a set of 12 solid oak chairs, though the chairs are lighter and more organic in their shape; somehow more welcoming to sit on than if they had had the same square, heavy style as the table.

Stole

The curves of the solid wood are so nice to touch…

All these pieces of the puzzle are still only put together in my mind – the dining table and the chairs are currently stored in the garage, my great-grandmother’s sofa set is in my aunt’s attic and so on, but I can somehow see it all coming together as a coherent, relaxed space.

Oh, and I bought myself another little trinket…

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Yes, Mr. I-Hate-Cars has bought a car. It’s a pretty, little thing – and would have felt dangerously small on Houston highways between pick-up trucks and SUVs, but in Denmark it fits in better. And 40 miles per gallon fits in nicely with my wallet…

A car simply makes it easier to have a house in the country. Easier to get down here, and easier to get around while I’m down here. Easier to bring a few friends down here – though of course I’d need a small bus if I were to provide transport for enough people to fill my dining table!

But… This house… I am so in love with it still! The project has expanded from merely redecorating to a rather more full-scale restoration with historic building materials and a “softly, softly” approach, so it will take me years to finish it – and that’s okay. Initially I thought I could have the internal walls repainted and the floors changed by Easter, but that’s not happening – and I really don’t mind. All delays are my own, and there are things I need to learn from scratch in order to achieve my vision (like rendering un-fired brick walls with lime-based render) but unskilled people have been working with these materials for thousands of years, so surely I can too!

(I won’t, though, be turning 27 yards of fabric into curtains by hand-sewing them! There must be limits, even for me…)

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