Apartment Renovation 2

 We spent the night at Maurice’s daughter’s apartment as they were going to sand our floors. We were gone all of the next day too so they could stain the floors expecting to be able to stay in our apartment that night.

 In the meantime, I was with a friend working on a project (more on that later) and we went out into the really suddenly cold afternoon to check out a few used furniture shops. We found, to our dismay, that one we both used to like to go to, was closed. Without much hope, we found another little shop and went in. I was looking for a small dining room table, one of those where you can fold down the ends so not as much room is taken, and didn’t find any. I was quite taken with a really lovely bookcase but what caught my eye was two chairs, with soft tapestry material in tones of gold and tawny green. They were probably from the 60’s and probably hadn’t been redone since then because you could see where part of the backs had faded from the sun and they were in a type of Louis XIII style, the store owner said, and I just liked them. We have been looking at new chairs but not only were they all really expensive, but brown leather seems to be the style right now and I wanted soft and comfy. The price was right-and it included delivery which warms my heart as we have no elevator in our building and I didn’t want to have to carry them up myself-and I got Maurice to the shop to check them out and now they are ours, to be delivered on Wednesday.

 So, I stopped to pick up some delicious Italian food to go from a shop near my friend and arrived home to find that, yes, the floor was done but that two bookcases, the kitchen table and two chairs, our couch and various other things were piled in our kitchen so they could work on the floor. I couldn’t even get to the microwave or refrigerator. I stuck the food out on the window sill as it is in the 30’s. Tomorrow they are supposed to cover the floors with plastic so they can paint and when that is done, they will then varnish the floors which I guess means another night elsewhere. I opened our closet and can’t enter it as it is full of buckets and all sorts of things they use to work and I know that all of our clothing is probably covered with dust. The bathroom has several filthy pieces of wood in it leaning against the wall. Maurice wanted to go back to his daughter’s for the night but I just couldn’t face the metro trip back carrying my back pack again.

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The Empty living room-the floors aren’t this dark

 We were sitting there in our dusty bedroom-they didn’t seal the door-when Maurice’s son called. He was going to IKEA. He has a car and it is difficult to get there without one as it is in the suburbs. It was 8 PM and I was beat but we went anyway. I saw several chairs much cheaper than what we paid for our two but without that patina and graciousness of something really well designed. We ordered a wall unit for our TV and also to hold books, etc. and it will be delivered. I really wanted a rug to put in our new living room. At this point it was getting close to closing time-IKEA actually stays open until 10PM two nights a week here, a miracle, and Maurice was antsy to go check out and wouldn’t stay to help me pick out a rug. He didn’t want to get one then but I knew if we didn’t get something then that it would be ages, if ever, before I got the chance to buy one. Anyway, I found a nice blue one, not what I really wanted but I was out of energy. I thought there was a sign saying it was 99 Euros, about the average price of the rugs there, and Maurice’s son helped me drag it to the counter. After we checked out Maurice said, “Do you how much that rug cost?” Well, it was 299 Euros! We had one of those fun little arguments, of course, by the checkout counter. I told him to go back and get a refund but we didn’t, so now I do have my rug and I hope I really like it once it is spread out.

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This is my kitchen

 So now I am hoping the guys will spread the plastic and empty our kitchen so we can at least make coffee or open the refrigerator. The end is in sight and they seem to really be moving right along. They aren’t disappearing for days at a time as they did on our last renovation and I’m thinking that maybe this group won’t be declaring bankruptcy either.

14 thoughts to “Apartment Renovation 2”

  1. Seems to me these guys ARE working in very good time, unlike what I have often heard is the case here in France (and in America, too, for that matter – let’s be fair, there are good and bad contractors everywhere!) Glad you are seeing real progress and the end is in sight.

  2. This is a transformation and a truly grand looking room with the additional floor space. Oh those beautiful wood floors. We once sanded all the pitch-pine wood floors in an historic Victorian home in the US. What a job. But when we moved to Europe those lovely floors were the hardest thing to leave behind. We felt we knew every inch of them. Wood floors add such an elegance and warmth.

  3. It’s unbelievable how fast they are doing this — you just started telling us about it a couple of days ago! Exciting.
    The chairs sound gorgeous. I hope you love the rug too — I bought my last one from Ikea and had the same feeling, that if I didn;t grab something, I wouldn’t get the chance again for a long time. I do like mine — it’s a kilim — works fine.
    Good luck with the finish!

  4. By Parisian standards, your living room looks palatial!
    It seems like the renovation is progressing rather switfly – Eastern European contractor? 😉

  5. Thanks for the photos with the update on reno. It is going much faster than before.
    I bet that part of the “have to get it” at the IKEA store was also about having son with car to help transport. Those 4 flights and no lift must be tough at times like this.
    Can’t wait for the finish. End in sight. Yeah, Linda.

  6. All I can say Linda is – good luck!! I think you are marvelous to be going through all this upheaval and still have a sense of humor. Thank goodness for ‘foreign’ builders – I just know French ones would be taking much longer – like the ones my brother hired in the Minervois – six months became four years….talk about the ‘money pit’.

  7. So funny, Linda … I mean I know it isn’t for you. We all “feel-your-pain” but you write the story in such an amusing way. My experience is that everything (absolutely everything) takes longer than originally planned. Hope you are doing well and that you’ll be back in your beautiful apartment very soon!

  8. Oh my gosh! It\’s been a bit, although not THAt long since I checked the blog. When you guys decide to do something you don\’t mess around! I hardly can believe that just over 30 days ago I was sitting in that living room. And look at it now! You are going to love having the extra space in there – and it looks as though there may be space now for a Christmas tree. 🙂 Did the pigeons get the food you put out on the window sill? I do have to look in amazement at everything piled in the kitchen – those men are masters at utilizing a very small space…and at the rate they\’re going, you\’ll be enjoying the room any day now. Have fun shopping for the \

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