Sunday, March 17, 2013

House Inspiration

I have tons of design books, architectural books, interior design books, etc. So while we were house hunting nearly every house we went to see, an idea from something I read would pop into my mind. With this house it was strangely enough a Film (and not a very good film at that) but a film where I fell in love with the set design. He's just not that into you! Now say want you want about the Film, but the interiors are fantastic. Set Decoration was done by K.C. Fox and Art Direction by Andrew M. Cahn.

The House that I loved was Janine (Jennifer Connelly) and Ben's (Bradley Cooper) town house. I loved everything, the colors, the furniture, the stairs, everything. When Janine walks into the finished house (about 1h42mins into the film) and looks around her finished living room my heart skips a beat. Now I wont go into great detail about the set but you can check out what Hooked on Houses  and Apartment Therapy said, both sites have great screen shots from the movie.

Two of the main elements that I was really inspired by were the stairs and the frosted glass panels/shelving units reaching from the floor to ceiling through out the house.

When you walk in through the front door of our house, you walk straight into the main space, no entrance hall or long corridor just a big space, that somehow needed to be divided, that's where the frosted glass panels came in.
From my older posts you can see the big gaping hole where the stairs should be, well it starts on the top floor down to the ground floor and everything is open plan, which basically means you can see the stairs from nearly very room in the house so they had to be good.

Here are some of the inspirations we had for the stairs.

can't remember where I got theses from, but they're not mine.
by Jonas Treppen-Manufaktur (

Villa Näckros Kalmar, Suède (Photo: James Silverman)

Luft-Treppe (
We were set on the design of the design of the stairs, we knew what wood (we love Oak). and the color we wanted. Finding the company to make the stairs was of course a lot more difficult. But, we found two or three companies at the Spring Fair in the Luxexpo. 

I hope everyone had a fantastic Paddy's Day.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Major DIY Jobs

We got the keys to our House in June 2011 and I think we started work on it, pretty much straight away. Most of the work we were planning on doing ourselves, we wanted a home but also a project. Patrick is a carpenter by trade, and I was always my dads little helper. But neither of us had ever done anything like this.

Before signing we made sure we had the communes permission for the changes we wanted to make on the outside. Plans had to be submitted, we had to check with the neighbour, etc.

First on the list was the windows in the guest room. To change the window we had to remove some of the earth at the side of the house, but because the house is actually built into a rock, it was not the weekend project with thought it would be, it took we nearly three weeks with a shovel and a wheelbarrow as our only tools on the third week our neighbour lent us a Hilti power drill...and we were on our way then.

And weeks later.....

We also built the wall for the guest room, this was the first wall Patrick ever built, and with my dads training I think he did a fantastic job. We left a window opening at the top of the wall, this was an idea from the Frenchman to bring light into the back rooms, it wasn't really needed but I quite liked the idea.

What I loved about buying a house at this stage we could still change a lot, so we could do things like knock a wall and build it up 20cm further along :) 
We had a cabinet in the apartment, that we wanted to keep. And we thought it would be the perfect place, so down came the wall. I did help, taking a sledgehammer to a wall is very relaxing.

This all seems so long ago now, it's great looking through the pictures, and seeing all the work we've done. You kind of forget what it was like, I wish I had have started this blog earlier, to remember the days when it all seemed too much. I would just stand there in the middle of a building site and think it would never be finished, but we are well on our way now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Red Polka Dot Cushions

This is my first weekend project (well it was actually finished on Monday night) the weekends are just not long enough, but it's definitely something I want to keep doing.

This weekend Luxexpo had the material fair on, if you've never been you should go and bring a shopping trolley, because material can get heavy! If you missed it, they will be back again on the 20th of April.

I didn't buy a lot this time round, I didn' have a lot of time, but I managed to find what I was looking for:

Red polka dots!!! I have an extremely white bedroom, but I wanted it to be mostly white with flashes of color. So armed with my mams' sewing machine and an ikea cushon as an example I got busy...

We still have work to do in this room, but we're getting there another few weekend projects to do, accessories to get and we'll have it done.

What do you think of my red polka dot cushions? 
I'm not an expert with the sewing machine, but I didn't sew my sleeve to anything so I'm quite happy with the result!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pros and Cons

A small remark on this post: 

There is a great french expression: "Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas"
which basically means everyone is different and likes different things, so we shouldn't judge. Everyone has different ideas for their dream home, and they should be true to what they like no matter what.

That said:

As mentioned we had a few pros and cons lists, during the long discussions about buying. Here are some of the items on the lists: 

The ground floor, Mr Frenchmans' plans (we bought the house from a french man)

As you come in there was a large open space, which I think he wanted to keep it like that but building regulations stated that there had to be a garage door, Mr Frenchman didn't want a garage so he was planning to use it as an office. Complete with floor heating (I'll get back to that later). Behind an industrial staircase he planned a sauna. And as the house is built into a hill the back rooms have no windows but have a fantastic temperature for a wine cellar. 

  • We need a garage so we were glad there was a door
  • The stairs were included in the price, but industrial stairs aren't very paw friendly (we have a dog and a cat) and it's not really our style. 
  • Sauna in the entrance (no comment)
  • The wine cellar is a great idea but that room is 7metres long!! We don't have that much wine, and we don't plan on having that much wine!

One side of it anyway

The first floor:

The idea for Mr Frenchmans' future childrens' room was to have a wall of glass, so that he could see what they were doing at all times now, I don't have children and I'm not judging...but that's a bit strange!
Because the whole wall was made of glass and all the light comes from the front of the house, there where only small windows in the room.

  • If we build a wall the room would be extremely dark, and we would need extra permission the change the windows. 

By industrial stairs I do not mean the ladder

The 2nd floor 

This floor is like a mezzanine, but the Frenchman had no plans for this space so no heating, no windows and no electricity.

The heating

I could write a book but I'll try to keep it as short as possible, in France electricity is cheap, a lot cheaper than in Luxembourg, I don't know if Mr Frenchman realised this, because the house has electrical floor heating. He said he was planning to heat by a wood burner most of the time.

  • taking the heating out would mean ripping out all the concrete floors
  • keeping it would mean our energy costs, not to mention our carbon footprint would be through the roof
  • Heating with just a wood burner would mean coming home to a freezing cold house and lighting the fire 
A lot of cons but...
we could find solutions to nearly all of them and they were arguments to get the asking price down.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


The moment we saw the House we wanted it. I remember coming to look at it for the first time, catching a glimpse of it through the trees, that was it, my heart was SOLD! And as Kirstie says: "Don't dawdle, If you like the place, buy it." 


Then came the doubt: 
  • no way in the world we could afford the asking price!
  • there is so much work!
  • will it be to much for us as a couple to take?
  • ...
We had everyone over to see the place; parents, family, friends and a lot of them were against us buying it (hey Mam!). 
We had around six pro and con lists, it was a nightmare!

And so the dance with doubt continued from around November 2010 until we actually signed the papers in June 2011.

There were a lot of ups and downs during those months, on more than one occasion we wrote it off, we went to see other places, but every time we drove up past the house, the ideas came flooding through our minds, I could already see my kitchen standing in the middle of the room.

We had to make it happen!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our very fine House

So it's been four years and about three months since I last Blogged, and I managed to rack up a grand total of 4 posts, so let's just say this is a new beginning. 

This is the house Patrick and myself bought in 2010, since then we've been working on it, pretty much non-stop. From now on this Blog will, be about the magical adventure our home is taking us on.

The beginning of it all

This is the stage we bought the house at, the windows were in, the roof was on...and that was about it. Even though it wasn't us who created the foundations, we could still make our mark.
We bought the house from a couple, who had separated during the build, and had to sell. 
The circumstances weren't the best, but of us, a two year search had finally come to an end, we had found our home, well something we could make our home.

...and so the story began

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My final Year Prjoect

This is my final year project, it was a live project brief, the clients wanted a classic Italian restaurant. With a wood burning pizza oven and a traditional Italian ambiance. 
It was a fun project to do even though it it's really the style I like to work in. Sadly contact with the clients wasn't great throughout the project.