Diaries - Travel

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The Diary of Our House And Barn Projects


Dear Families and Friends,


This is our "bonus month". Originally, we had planned for November to be the last barn diary but it seems we'll be extended.

December 5 , More Finishing Touches

Today we were heading off on a long weekend, but before we went down the road, some work started. First, Axel helped move an electric outlet so we could finish putting the kitchen cabinets in place. There still plenty of do-it-yourself, when we get around to it.


On the outside, Mr. Löhr and Christian were fitting the front shutters. The goal here is for things to look like a barn, so the simple upper door is just what we want - after Christian removes his fingers.

When we came back on Sunday, things were all in place. I don't know how often we will close the shutters (we NEVER do on the house) but now we can, if necessary.

December 9, Starting to Move In

Reportedly, our California furniture arrived in Germany yesterday so we asked Slavco to move some of our things from the "old" house to the "old" barn. By the end of the day Marianne noticed that she no longer had a kitchen table to use for school so she took the entire class to the loft. It looks pretty bare right now, but we've got time to fix things.

Oliver Kral also came by this evening to give me a lesson on installing grout. This doesn't seem too hard, but it is one more task to do. Fortunately, I'm taking much of December off, so we'll be able to finish the things that remain. I hope!

We will be gone for the upcoming weekend, but after that, it's full-time on finishing touches.


December 15 , After a Weekend, More Work


We took some time off from "the project" (and from "the job") to see the sights of Hamburg, Germany's second largest city. But, after that, we needed to get back and finish more parts of the project (work can wait).


Marianne has already been busy. She rearranged the "living room" and it is looking more livable. (The picture has a yellow color that I can't seem to fix. I failed this Photoshop exercise.)

In the bathroom, she did a great job coloring the mirror frame. to work with the other browns and grays in the room.

The kitchen is close to done. I'm an IKEA veteran by now and only have to repeat about 10% of the steps.

We decided to put the Christmas tree up in the loft, partially because it will look good from the street and partially because we will be getting "new" furniture on Friday when our California things arrive. Some of the long-stored things will end up here, of course.

We hope to finish as much as possible in the next few days so we will have a place to put the new additions. I get the feeling that we built this loft to replace a storage locker in California!

December 17 , Finish for 2008?

It has been pretty slow getting the last elements finished, but today we made progress. Mr. Kramer's electricians did the last of their chores, so we now have hot water and correct outdoor lighting switches. Mr. Gumbrecht's plumber and Axel also helped me install the IKEA kitchen sink. That was a bit of luck because I don't think I could have done it without them. Yesterday Mr. Fritch's carpenter finished installing the barn door latch from the blacksmith.

With all this progress, we celebrated with gift exchanges with Axel and, in the evening, Marianne and I decorated the Christmas tree. Our loft is looking like a real place now.


Now all we need to do is wait for the Friday shipment and finish the last of the chores (kitchen sink, shower curtain, base board trim, and that never-ending job: decorating.

We even have a friend booked to stay overnight in ten days, so we'd better stay focused.

December 20+, Last Barn Remodel Entry

OK, we're not completely finished, but we're done enough to declare victory. Yesterday, I had a piece of trim to cut and I decided I couldn't do it inside the loft and that's when it dawned on me that we were done. Once the remodel is out of bounds for cutting and making sawdust, it's done.

To be complete, the following tasks may be left for 2009:
-- baseboard trim (carpenter on vacation)
-- grout in cow stall storage room (too cold to stick my hands in water)
-- shower curtain (last piece arrived at the store Dec. 21 and it got installed in time for our first guest. Barely.)
-- install refrigerator (final design decision: there was a cute one for 900 euros but we opted for utilitarian for less than half of that.)
When these get done, I'll add some pictures. Meanwhile, here's a few "last shots". If you want more pictures of our non-project, including the arrival of all our California goods, see our regular diary.

The shop is done, complete with an upper storage area. Just a day ago, this place was chaos!

In the bath, you can still see a project remnant - the shower curtain track on the floor. This is just a placeholder for when the room is REALLY done.


John and Marianne

ps: We've had our first guest and she gave the guest quarters rave reviews. Last night, Marianne and I spent the night, enjoying the New Year's Eve fireworks displays from the whole valley. It turned out that we have a wonderful view of all the activity and we just went from the big back windows to the almost-as-big front window to see the show. I recommend it for next year, if you're in the neighborhood. (jt: Jan 1, 2009)

Diaries - Travel

House Story Home

Between House And Barn Projects
The Diary of Our House And Barn Projects