Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Studio 1: Studio Switch

We're doing some work in what will be the music studio- some light soundproofing and general nice-making for what was a very bare-bones space badly in need of some TLC. It used to be a storage room, so whatever work was done up there was naturally a little slapdash.

I realized there was no current in this outlet. So I took the facing off and found two green wires- not standard. I asked my local hardware guys, who said to take it off the wall and check behind it. There were just two dead green wires sticking out of the wall.

The same dead, green wires were inside the awkward wire tube sticking out of the base of the wall. Whoever installed it didn't feel like moving the baseboard, so this was what they came up with. And then when the re-wiring was done, they didn't bother removing the old wires at all. Once we knew it was a relic, I was thrilled to be able to just hack it out of the wall and seal the hole up with compound.


Then I looked behind the light switch near the door, which also seemed to be a relic from when the room was shaped differently. It was wedged against the door frame at an odd angle, so I took the switch off. The base plate seemed weirdly...melty. And it had a big hole in it. So I took it off, and found more dead, green wires. It seemed obvious that these had at one point run through the hole in the plate, and probably caused the meltiness. 


And because this used to be just a storage room, when they re-wired the house, they just used the old base plate, running wires over the door with a really ugly wire guide, as you can see below.

So it seemed there was no good reason for the light switch (and now the only plug) to be jammed up against the door frame like that. I got a new wire guide, a new base plate, and moved it under the junction box.

And then the light switch was like "BOOM! I'm over here now!"

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Well, well...Here we are!

So we got our keys, and can get started in here! We're pretty lucky in that the place doesn't need too much work. One thing we are going to replace is the floor. This weird-looking fakey grey tile patterned vinyl is going. Instead, we are getting cork flooring.

Standing in the living/dining room, facing the back:


 Standing in the same spot, looking into the bedroom, which faces the street. We bought the couch and shelves from the previous owner. But the cow came for free:

I like cork, which has been used in libraries and archives for a very long time, naturally, because it's quiet. As flooring goes, it's warmer and more forgiving than laminate, is anti-static, has mold and insect-resistant properties, and it's also a sustainable resource. We're going with this pattern below:

It's also moisture-resistant, so we're putting cork in the kitchen, living room and bedroom. It should warm the whole place up beautifully. Which leads me to one of the best parts of this apartment- the wonderful light.

The bedroom faces east, and the dining room west, so the whole place is flooded with light throughout the day. There are some great beveled-glass windows in the wall dividing the living room and bedroom, making the whole place feel airy. And there's also a huge window over the sink, facing onto the balcony. All of the windows are enormous, and in a place with long, dark winters, we're pretty excited about that. We may put double glass in eventually, for cost savings and toastiness.

The area between the houses is full of nice, big trees, and our neighbors downstairs have a series of lush gardens: 

This photo does not do it justice- there's an unusually diverse range of trees and flowers down there, and a lot of color. It's just so peaceful and lovely. You can hear crickets and cicadas at night in the heart of the city.

I think we're going to like it here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Just a blog so I can share home improvement stuff for our new place in Amsterdam...

Aug. 16 - SOLD!