Friday, 14 October 2011

The project

After about 5 months of thourough search and a slight modification of our criteria we finally found our dream house. We knew it right away and it felt great that we hadn't given in to the pressure to compromise. So, if you are currently looking, have faith and patience, you will find it! (Of course we had the luxury of not being under time pressure- without that it would have been impossible...)

So, what were we getting ourselves into?

We signed the contract for a house built in 1906, owned almost for a century by the same family, renovated in 2001. An amazingly beautiful, undivided maison de maitre of Brussels.

In 2001 major works were done: all the electricity and the plumming, the attic enlarged, a veranda added between the kitchen and the living room, the chimney in the living room verified, the bathrooms redone. Technically everything was in a decent condition, but because the works in 2001 were of such a large scale, the owner did not have the means to use very high quality materials. The kitchen, as well as the bathrooms and the dressing were made of very simple and cheap materials and despite the owners intention, eventually the roof was not renovated.

Initially we thought we would move in by the late spring (after having received the keys in mid-December), but we ended up drafting a VERY LONG to do list. These -non exhaustively- included:

- upgrading the insolation of the roof, so that the house doesn't lose that much energy
- renovating the structure of the roof
- installing a solar hot water system
- redoing the windows for better insolation
- redoing one of the bathrooms entirely
- redoing the kitchen entirely
- sanding all the (original) wooden floors + oiling them (instead of using "lacque")
- cleaning the (original) cement tiles in the basement (someone used a bleaching product on them which left a horrible mark)
- cleaning the marbles of the (original) fireplaces
- renovating the "water pipe system" ("corniche" is the proper word in French) on the facade, because one  part was rotten
- deblocking the water pipe that "lands in the pavement"
- upgrading the front door (shitty locks, big space between the bottom of the door and the doorstep)

- renovating the "coal-chamber" that opens to the street just below the entrance (this place had serious black mould issues...)
- de-moulding the street-wall of the basement because it was moulding due to the humidity
- repairing the 3D wallpaper (so called "Lincrusta") in the hallway

Once the works have started new ideas emerged, such as:
- installing an extra roof window (Velux) in the attic
- redoing the entire dressing
- installing a system so that the toilets and the washing machine run on rainwater

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