Monday, 30 June 2008

Things moving on quickly. Too quickly?

Work has come on quickly, and all of a sudden the apartment looks more like.. an apartment!

Last week the new kitchen floor was put in (a mix of concrete and polystyrene)...
The ceiling is now fully finished as well...

The niche behind the front door has been padded with soundproof plasterboard and finished off...

And all the walls have been painted over with a primer coat, making the whole thing look a lot less like a building site and a lot more like somewhere you'd like to stay...

There have been a few problems of course.

1. The man who was supposed to be renovating the floorboards came back with a quote that was WAY too high, so I think our boys Veli and Boris will be handling that themselves (at half the cost).
2. Money is running out fast. Why does everything cost so much? We do have a plan B if need be, but £800 for plugs and switches? Please...
3. The electricity people came round today to change the meter for a flash new electronic one, but they refused to move it, saying that we were supposed to do it (despite this meaning that we would have to violate their lead seals). Now I have to get another date fixed with them. Blast it! (those were not my exact words...)
4. Leads that I need for the telly, and that have to be encrusted into the wall, still haven't arrived. Bloomin' 'ell.

So I'm really happy that it's coming together, and yet slightly worried that everything we need won't arrive in time. Time will tell...

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Our wallpaper

Did I tell you we'd decided on wallpaper for one of the walls? It's by Anne Gelbard (we've mentioned her before). She's lovely and so's her wallpaper. We've even chosen curtain material to go with it, and she's going to customise it exclusively for us! I can't wait...Great apartment Paris

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Sofabed magic

Sofabeds are a pain in the arse, aren't they?

We originally thought it would be better to get one of those beds that folds away into a special wardrobe affair, but a) they were horribly expensive and b) they were all pig ugly. So plan B is to get a really nice sofabed... and we found it!

It's Italian, the mattress is genuinely comfy, 140cm wide (proper double) and all the bedding stays on it, so you don't have to fumble with cushions twice a day. Importantly, it opens and closes extremely simply and easily. So simply in fact, that I even managed (albeit with a bit of a wobble) to film myself opening and closing it with one hand, and I'm a weed! Ta-dah!

P.S. The one we've ordered is actually kinda mole grey, not chocolate brown...

Monday, 23 June 2008

More ceiling, slightly less wall

After finding a strange space behind the kitchen wall (that we could turn into badly needed extra room), that part of the wall has now been knocked though and special soundproof plasterboard bought to go over it. Every centimetre counts...

The old electric meter will be changed and moved next Monday by a qualified technician.And the first part of the kitchen/bathroom ceiling is up! Not sure if I'm impressed or a bit scared as things slowly start to come together...Other news: I've ordered the home cinema system and got the metal thingy to hang the flatscreen telly on. Oh, and the parquet man came round. He was very smiley. I think that means it's going to be expensive. More on that soon. Oh, and one of the workmen kindly told he that he'd "gone and got the bog". Phew!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Our fat bottomed toilet

No, that is not our bathroom. I don't want that blue and I don't want those boards. However, that is our toilet.

As the flat did not originally have a bathroom (remember the grimy shower in the kitchen?), there are no out pipes big enough for, er, poo poo, so our only choice is the sanibroyeur. Lord know what they are called in English, and I'm not going to explain their workings in length, but suffice to say that this is the answer to our problems.

Phat, or just fat? Either way, I reckon it'll go well with the 60s-style sink I have in mind (if I can find it cheap enough...)

Hold up, wait a minute

Where did you say this 'great apartment in Paris' was?

Hmm... Perhaps this little map helps you to see a little clearer. Basically, it couldn't be better situated...

great apartment parisThere's another métro station even closer than Etienne Marcel (line 4); it's Rambuteau (line 11). Plus Arts et Métiers station (lines 3 & 11) is two minutes' walk. Thre métro stations just nearby!
Rue Montmorency is a pretty quiet street as it is, but our apartment is on the courtyard. Ah, calm!Any other questions, give me a shout. ;-)

Ceiling coming on strong

great apartment parisWhen I went round to the apartment yesterday, Boris - one of our workmen - had a rotating laser spirit level device attached to the kitchen/bathroom wall, drawing a line around the top of the room. It's a weird machine that I hadn't seen before, but I instantly thought it was a very clever idea. It also reassured me that the two guys doing up the flat seem to have all the necessary equipment.

When I came back later in the day, Boris had gone and the first part of the false ceiling was already attached! After seeing most other parts of the apartment smashed up, it was good to see something constructed for once...

great apartment parisgreat apartment paris

Monday, 16 June 2008

A day of unpleasant surprises

Work is cracking on, and each day brings a new horror story. Oh the joys of restoring a very old apartment. Today's mindbenders? How about bug-eaten beams? (they tell me it's all normal and nothing to worry about).
Or how about my lovely parquet (or soon to be lovely parquet)? Well, one corner of the room seems to have originally been filled with a fireplace, so there's a lot of wood missing there, plus other parts of the parquet are really not properly attached to the floor (or attached at all). Not sure what to do about all that, so I've got someone coming back in to take a look. I really want to keep the parquet...

And then there's this fabulous news; the wall between the kitchen and our neighbour isn't really a wall at all. It's hollow. When getting the electrics sorted earlier, our workmen went straight through it and found what they initially thought to be an old chimney conduit. In fact, after looking more closely, it would seem to be more like a false wall made out of extra-thin breezeblock (dating back to before the thirties, I'm thinking) that was made to separate two apartments into one. Wonder why they left a big gap in between...

Anyway, with a bit of luck, this'll mean being able to add another 10 cms to the room, giving us some sorely needed shelve space...

More disaster news coming soon no doubt!

Work has started...

That wardrobe in the kitchen? Gone. The shower in the kitchen? Gone too. New holes in the wall for electrics? Check. It's all go at the flat...

Sunday, 15 June 2008

We OWN that

Yep, we signed off! At last! I can't believe it finally happened. It is was on and off for so long...

After singing off at 6pm we had a meeting directly afterwards at the apartment with the architect and the builders, the next day we ordered the floor tiles, the wallpaper, the windows... It's all go.

More news very very soon. We are so chuffed!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Tile design

OK, let's forget wallpaper for a couple of seconds.

We love cement tiles, Barcelona-style (and we love Barcelona) and really wanted some for the new flat. After trawling around the web we found three or four companies that make them, but the colours were a bit grim and the designs could have been more inspiring.

The first company we had in mind had horrific transport costs. Then came Mosaic Del Sur. They have a showroom just outside of Paris (erm, it's just one room) and they also let you choose a design and customise it with your own colours.

With around fifty different designs and twenty colours, it was difficult to make a choice, but Alain came through with a sort of classic meets modern, daring purple and turquoise effort that sounds puke-making but looks lovely.

Now we just have to order and wait 7 weeks for them to be delivered. 7 weeks!

I can also recommend these two lovely books, great for inspiration. You can buy them mega cheap here.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Another cool shop on our street

Saw this today on the Paris blog about a rather nice shop on our street that does handmade bowls and other items.

Even more details here or on the Petit Atelier de Paris website. Check it out; it's cute!