05/26/14

Welcome to our new home!

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Our cat Sam Sam wants to welcome all of you to a tour to our new home! It’s far from finished, renovations rarely are completely ready, but it’s a place we proudly call home now.

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You can see the layout of our house in an earlier blog post to help you figure out how all these rooms come together. In total we have six rooms, dining room, living room, storage room, kitchen, bathroom, balcony and a small backyard. The first picture is from the front door looking towards the kitchen. That small area in between is called 天井 atrium in Chinese and it lets the sunshine and the rain inside. A Chinese friend of mine told me that having rain to pour inside, to the middle of the house, brings good luck.

 

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Aside from putting new tiles, we did nothing to our kitchen yet, because we just didn’t have the budget for it right now. So what you can see here is a mess with too much stuff and not enough space to put it. I’m going to try to find some kind of temporary solution, but kitchen renovation has to wait for now.

 

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The room we needed to be the most comfortable and completely ready is the bathroom above, it’s also the most expensive room in the house at the moment. I chose the tiles to bathroom, and kitchen, my self and I think it turned out pretty nice! I bet we have the most modern looking bathroom in the village.

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From the kitchen you can get to our small backyard that is a work in process.There are countless number of tiny pieces of trash and scrap metal in the ground that needs to be picked out. After that we can start planning to plant some flowers.

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We have a well in the backyard as well which has plenty of water. The well water can be used to washing dishes and cleaning the floors for example.

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In the first floor we have a big room in the middle, medium room on the left and two smaller rooms on the right. Because of the good all building, our first floor is quite comfortable even during the Summer and the temperature must be several degrees lower than in the second floor. Here we set up a dining room that is the center of our home during the Summer. One of the smaller rooms is our bedroom for now as it’s, even now with 32’C, cool enough to sleep with just an electric fan.IMG_5848

The stairs lead us to the second floor that turns into a sauna during the Summer. As the roof is flat, all the sun light comes straight in and the thick walls keep it hot.

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The layout is the same as in the first floor, big room in the middle and three other rooms surrounding it. In the living room we have our sofa covered with quilts to protect it from our cats’ paws. We have a ceiling fan in the dining room and in the living room, but it doesn’t quite reach the sofa area. Living room is the right place during the cooler evenings and during the Winter.

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On the left door we can get into our new bedroom with brand-new furniture. As we haven’t bought an AC yet, it’s impossible to sleep there during these hot Summer months. But the soft bed is waiting for us when we finally buy the AC next month or so.

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On the right side of the living room on door leads to our home office. Later on I will also buy my own office desk, when my husband will move his computer here as well. I’m still in a need of more drawers and space to put my stuff in.

The other small room is for our new wardrobe which didn’t fit inside the bedroom. I’m not sure if we can dress there during the Summer because of the heat, but at least in theory we do have a walk-in-closet!

 

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One of the best part in our house is the big balcony on the second floor that is perfect for barbecue parties. We just need to get more balcony furniture to accommodate more friends and then it’s time for a housewarming! The big hole in the middle is the 天井 atrium I mentioned earlier in this post.

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So this is our home for years to come. I remember coming here for the first time almost a year ago and even though it was then covered in trash because of dirty tenants, I could see the potential inside. Of course there are downsides to living in an old house in the village, most of them having to do with hot weather and humidity, but having a real house in Guangzhou is absolutely worth it even with minor inconveniences.

10/28/13

A Home In The Making

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Second floor balcony

The renovation of the old Chinese house from the 1979 has started! The house belongs to my boyfriend’s family and he used to live there when he was a kid. Now we want to make it a home for us two, wishing to move in November. But as we started cleaning up today we realized there is a lot of work to be done, especially because we are on a small budget.

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Second floor

Above you can see the self-made blueprints of the second floor where we will be mainly living. The thing we need to figure out is the get rid of the white pain on the walls. It’s dirty and as the paint job wasn’t done that well those years ago, we can’t paint on top of it either. The paint has to be removed and then some rooms will be painted again. Or if possible, just protected with something transparent.

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First floor

The first floor looks pretty much the same as the second floor. Here we will be using the biggest room as a dining room, and also the kitchen and the bathroom. There is a small walled garden on the back which we hope to get some work on too later.

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The most important room to get finished is the master bedroom in the photo above. The room isn’t big, we aren’t even sure how we are going to fit our 180 centimetres wide bed in there. The windows doesn’t close well, the wall is in a terrible shape and the floor haven’t been washed in years it seems.

Right now we try to find a solution to the walls, ask for how much local workers would do it for and decide if that’s something we can afford. Before that we continue cleaning up the place from the trash the tenants left behind and throw away all the old furniture that can’t be used anymore.

So what you think? Do you believe it’s possible to get it ready before December?

10/23/13

Renovating the old family home

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Next month me and my boyfriend will start renovating their old family house for us two. It has been rented out for two families for a few years now and is not in a good condition.

The house has two floors, tiny back yard, big balcony, two living rooms, 6 bedrooms and 1 storage room. Because separate families have been living there, both first and second floor have kitchen and bathroom. The first floor’s are bigger and better so we will be mainly using those.

Second floor will have our living room, bedroom, home office and a walk-in closet kind of space. As you can see from the photo (second floor living room on the right), there is a lot to be done to make it livable for us, but at the same time we are on a minimal budget.

The most expensive thing will be to paint all the walls after cleaning everything up. Then we must first buy a water boiler and a fridge. Air condition can wait until spring when it’s needed again.

Furniture will mainly come from our room and living at the new family home, we try to buy as little new things as possible. We have been thinking of turning an old door to a dining table, but lets see how that works out.

The first floor living room will be turned into a dining room (if we get a table and chairs), but the three bedrooms will be empty for now.

The house has many lovely Chinese characteristics, but unfortunately many of those have been neglected or painted into white. The original grey bricks are beautiful, but can only be seen from the outside these days.

I will be sharing more photos as we start cleaning, that will hopefully be at the end of next week.

10/5/13

We have a house!

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I’m happy to inform all of you that me and my boyfriend are moving! We will be moving about 8 meters along the street to the family’s old house. The two-storey house was built in 1979 and my boyfriend used to live there when he was a kid. During recent years it has been rented out to two families, but starting from 1st of November, we will hold the keys.

I’ve been living with my boyfriend and his family since beginning of the year. It’s been an interesting experience, actually much easier than I thought. But as an independent Finnish woman I need a place where my word counts. My boyfriend will be finally moving out which is hard for the family, especially for his mother who has been taking such a good care of him, and me as well.

We will first clean the whole place from top to bottom, as it’s in a terrible condition after the renters. We don’t make any big renovations first, just make it livable for us two and our three cats. We do have great plans for the house, but that would require a big budget too.

I will be sharing some photos with you after we get the keys. I am just so excited!