House renovation update #1!

Hey everyone! It’s been a while. We’ve been busy busy busy this summer! Lots of travel and visiting with family and friends (which I’ll post about more once I have the emotional blogging energy!).

I kept promising people I’d write a post about the house and where we are with the renovation, now that we’re a couple months into it. So far, I’ve only written about acquiring the house, but not how we plan to fix the whole thing up! :)

Before I begin, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the house tour I filmed back when we arrived in Norway! But only if you REALLY want the full experience of walking through a musty old decrepit house with my nasal voice narrating the adventure (along with some helpful pointing from Bendik). The video is here!

So – we’re now two months into the reno! The boys started back in mid-May after a month of us finalizing who we were going to work with on the build. We interviewed a few different building companies, who were all perfectly nice, but they were either hilariously expensive or made us feel like just another random project. We ended up going with a builder who was friendly and easy to talk to, not too sales-y, understood and respected the constraints of our budget, and seemed like he felt invested in how it all came out! He’s been great to work with, which makes this whole process soooo much easier.

We don’t have a huge construction crew working 9-5 on the project – just two nice guys from Poland here in Norway for work, who always have a smile on their faces and are excited to show us their progress each time we drop by, which is every 3 days or so (I try to limit how much we come over because I don’t want them to feel like we’re breathing down their necks, but we’re just SO curious about how it’s all going that we have to restrain ourselves from visiting everyday!!!).

The boys work SO fast! They’ve made a ton of progress in two months. In fact, this is what we came home to after 1 day of demo:


The builder told us when we started that when the boys go, “they REALLY go!” – I am shocked at how much they’re able to get done day to day!

I’m glad they work fast, because we have a LOT of work ahead of us!!! We’re not building a grandiose estate – most of the work is pretty straightforward and not luxurious – but I am keeping my expectations low when it comes to hitting our October 31st end date for the construction.

So how did we figure out what to DO with the sad, run-down house?!

We decided we would hire a designer for the house (slash architect slash project planner) because we are 1,000,000% not creative enough to come up with a ~vision~ for the house. I had a Pinterest board, knew we wanted a funky kitchen, and felt a general affinity towards gray-green colors. But that was it! We weren’t able to visualize how to transform the rooms into something cute, weren’t sure what the best layout was for the house, and were not artistically inclined enough to come up with our own illustrations of how we wanted everything to look. We found an amazing designer, Ana Maria Velasquez Østmo (check out her site here!), who totally understood what we liked and what type of space we needed based on our needs and future plans. She is so fun to work with! She has great ideas and is both practical in her recommendations but also pushes us to go for something more stylish than we could come up with ourselves :)


(From our visit to Ana’s office where we saw a sample of our kitchen materials!!!)

After a few Skype consultations (designing a house when you’re 6,000 miles away from it requires a LOT of technology!) she created illustrations that made us want to cry tears of joy because we couldn’t believe how radical the transformation could be, especially based on our budget!

So how will it look!? First, I’ll post a pic of the current-state house, then the illustration Ana came up with.

The boys have stripped down the facade of the house, so we’ve gone from this…


To this…


…which will eventually become THIS!:


(Minus the carport, which we’ve since axed!)

We love the natural look of the house! We wanted something rustic and modern, but not so modern that it totally stuck out in the neighborhood. I feel like this is the perfect solution! You’ll notice that we have TWO decks!!! This is the thing I’m most excited about!! I can’t wait to have long dinners in the summertime, drinking wine all evening… or waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee just a step outside my bedroom! It’s going to be SO AWESOME to have this kind of outdoor space, especially because we don’t have a backyard. Can’t wait!!! :)

Now coming inside, we have the foyer, which currently looks like this…


It will transform into THIS!


New, better stairs!!! Nice tile! Shiny black doors! The only thing that will be different is the color of the wall – the software didn’t have our exact colors, so try to imagine that this will be a green-grey. We’ll also have some closets up on the left-hand wall to store coats etc. in. On the left are doors to a storage closet and my office/guest bedroom #1, and on the right is a door to Bendik’s office/guest bedroom #2.

Let’s go upstairs!

Currently, the top floor is one giant vacant space:


What you see now will be turned into our cozy living room:


I pray 2 god we find a comfy green velvet couch, because then I would TRULY be living my best life. But you can see that we’ll have space for a big sectional, a fireplace, and a nice little seating area behind the couch! The sliding doors there lead to deck #1 (the smaller of the two). The floors will probably be this color, maybe a bit lighter – not too sure.

Next to the living room is the dining room:


I am in LOVE with our giant window. It is picture-perfect! We have SUCH an amazing view of the trees and our neighborhood. This space will turn into a cute dining area!


We should have seating for 8, which we hope to utilize a lot! Please come over for dinner parties!!!!! We want guests!!

Next to the dining room is one of my FAVORITE features of the house – the GREEN KITCHEN! Here’s how it looks now:


We have a funky little window that will let us get some light (but not too much that we’re blinded), but also allows us to maximize our cabinet space. As you know, we have approximately 1,000 coffee mugs that we need to store, so we’re going to have plenty of space to keep them ALL without sacrificing a SINGLE ONE….. I hope. We’ll see :|

Here is how it’s going to look when it’s done!!!!!


Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL!?!?!? I have literally no idea why I want a green kitchen. Like, none, at all. But I just think it looks sooooo coooool!! White kitchens are nice and clean, but I feel like this one has more personality, which I want a little bit of in the house. But we’re going to have plenty of prep space, a frickin’ DISHWASHER (*cries*) and a big fridge with a BUILT-IN ICEMAKER!!! My dream!!! Plz note that the fridge in this rendering is hilariously large and won’t actually be that big IRL. But it’s not going to be super tiny, either! I am SO STOKED on this kitchen!!!

Going further into the house, we have the bathroom..


(Hi construction boy!!!)

The old bathroom was RANK AF. It was soooo tiny, had the worst tiling ever, and generally made me depressed to think about an entire family using. Here is our admittedly pretty fancy-pants bathroom concept:


Are you kidding me!?!? SO PRETTY!!! I love it!!! Bathroom of my dreams! We could probably do without the bathtub, but I wanted somewhere to easily wash kids, so we got a “soaking tub” that I myself will never use but will gaze at lovingly. Plus, double-vanity!!! Bendik is going to be so happy to have his own clean sink that’s not covered in my stray hairs! Overall, A+ bathroom that I cannot wait to use.

Finally, the last room I have a picture for is our bedroom, which is kind of sad and small, but will be a very functional space!


There’s a big window there right now, but that will actually become french doors leading out onto the deck. But here’s what the room will vaguely look like (except the furniture, which we’re going to change up):


Pretty cute! Compact, but it works!

Here are the colors/materials we’ll be using:

Screen Shot 2019-08-06 at 22.48.38

SO! That’s the plan! I’m sure things will evolve as we move along in the project, but I am SUPER excited with the direction it’s going in. I’ll write another update as we make more progress in the coming months! But hopefully, we’ll be mostly there by October! I’m sure Bendik’s parents will be happy to have the house to themselves again, but they’re not making us feel like we should be in a rush, which is a huge help :)

Hope you enjoyed the little reno tour! It’ll be so fun to look back at this in a year and see how much things have changed! :)


One thought on “House renovation update #1!

  1. I LOVE the grey/green concept, and I really love your green kitchen! When I read about your fridge, I first thought it said it had a built-in ice CREAM maker (which would’ve been amazing tbh, but ice is more practical lol). I’m very excited to come visit you in your house ASAP!

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