Blog, Gem, Making A House A Home (DIY and more)

Renovating Our First House: Day By Day | Part 1

Oh my, this blog is so long overdue I’ve reached the point where I can’t help but wonder if I should still even post it. Well, I did go through the effort to document our daily progress on the house throughout the entire renovations so I might as well finish this blog. There are so many things I want to share about the renovations, there are quite a few storytime blogs just waiting to be written. We also learned quite a bit along the way. Alright first, let’s jump right into it. There will be some photo’s of the first ten days at the end of this blog.

Day 1

We started working on the house the very day we got the keys. We knew that we had to make the most of Onno’s week off from work and also the sooner you get started the better. We had two months and incredibly big task in front of us. Nothing could’ve prepared us for the next two months of our life. I was the one that got the ball rolling. After we came home with the keys to our new home, Onno went to throw up (he ate a bacon soaked bread for breakfast that morning) in the bathroom and I took 300 pictures of the entire house. Onno’s parents came through and his mom baked a banana bread. We just talked and enjoyed being house owners for an hour or so. I was itching to get started though. I changed in my work clothes and started ripping up the stage in our bedroom. I started with removing the carpet. This was when Onno came up and started to help. We removed the entire carpet and one piece of wood before his parents called it a day. They promised to help tomorrow and we agreed to meet up bright and early at their place to pick up all the tools. We, however, didn’t want to walk out of the house on our first day so soon. We wanted to do more. We removed the floor in the blue room and carried all the wood downstairs and stacked in a nice neat pile on the one side of the area where it stayed for a month. We also started to remove the wood plants on the side of the wall in the blue room. Oh and we removed the planks on our little patio in the garden. After taking all the trash outside we drove back to our apartment in the city, completely overjoyed.

Day 2

We started our morning bright and early and drove through to Onno’s parent’s place to get those tools. They were just waking up by the time we knocked on their door. We loaded the tools and left for a full day at the house. I removed the closet in the blue room (no longer the blue room but I will always refer it as the blue room) as well as the last wooden planks attached on the wall. I removed the underfloor and I started to remove the floor in the office. We couldn’t remove all of it as the toilet was attached on top of the floor but I removed what I could reach. Onno’s mom helped me by stacking up the planks and taking everything down to throw on our trash corner. She also cleaned the fridge and bathroom which would turn out to be a massive lifesaver. The new floor arrived in the early afternoon and we helped to carry it in. In the later afternoon, I started to remove the bricks in the garden. At that time we still had it in our head that we would build our fireplace in Onno’s week off. I also knew that removing all the bricks in our garden would be a big job. I was right. Onno’s mom helped me and we removed a good 200 bricks. Onno and his dad worked on the roof in the attic the entire day and for many days afterward. The roof was one of our biggest tasks. We started by removing the very disgusting carpet in the attic and cleaned the area. They started to plan on how they would go about the roof and finished removing and cleaning out the entire stage area.

Day 3

Onno’s mom and spend the entire day working in the garden. We mostly just removed all of the weeds and tried to remove as many bricks as we could. It was a terrible job and worked on my arms like nothing else. Onno and his dad worked on the roof in the attic the entire day. They drilled on the planks and then attached the plasterboard (drywall). If memory serves me correctly they did about half of the attic ceiling. I’m not entirely sure anymore.


Day 4

It was the first full day at the house with just Onno and I. It was also my most productive Monday in history. We arrived at the house 30 minutes after seven and only left around nine. After spending most of the day applying the plasterboard on attic ceiling, Onno started to smooth the edge with the special product we bought. He used the wrong scraper so it was way too thick and all over the place. We thought it would just sand away but that didn’t go as plan but more on that later. I smoothed the one wall and I probably removed bricks but I didn’t really go into detail about what I did that day on the daily notes. We removed the toilet in the office and I removed the last of the floor before we bought 15 bags of sand at the nearby hardware store. It was on sale and we would need 35 bags of sand if not more to level out the patio area for the new paving. We ended our day at the house by filling the back of the van with trash so we could drop it off at the dump the next morning. We also cleaned up a little, mostly just dust and so on. Everything just got away from us.

Day 5 

We finally had a moment to sleep in and boy did we enjoy it. After four back-breaking hard days on the house, we were exhausted. A level we stayed on for months, long after we moved into the house. As the dump would only open after 10am we just took our time. I played with Speculoos and mostly just stayed in bed till the second we had to leave. We left the apartment just before ten and luckily the dump wasn’t too crazy. After we finished at the dump we had to, however, do the little walk of shame and pick up our bicycles. They were removed at the central station for well overstaying their welcome. We’ve been locking our bicycles there for months, heck Onno was at the two-year mark and we always remembered to move them every month but this time around we missed it with two days. We had no choice to spend a pretty penny to get them back. 100 Euros. Onno’s bicycle wheel blew after one use and mine not long after that but who knows if that’s connected. We arrived at the house around early afternoon and after drinking a cup of tea, we jumped right into word. We spend most of the afternoon filling up all gaps and holes on the ceiling in our attic so we could sand it the next day. It was a dirty job and ruined the bit of floor we still had left in our bedroom. One of the few mistakes we made in the renovations process. We also made two trips to the hardware store to get 20 more packets of sand. We emptied them at the patio area. Keep in mind we were still convinced we would build our fireplace and pave that area somewhere in the week. I’m laughing at my past self too. It was a slow day and I felt like we didn’t get enough done. Most of the work we did the day were things that took more time as it was incredibly important to do it properly. We ended our work day by cleaning up the attic in the blue room so we could start with the ceiling.

Day 6 

We arrived at the house bright and early, ready for another big day with the renovations. Time wise we were taking longer with certain things than what we expected so the pressure was on to have the house paint ready by the end of the week. We didn’t mess around and started to sand the attic right after arriving at the house but stopped after an hour when some bits needed more time to dry properly. Onno’s parents got to the house around 10am. Onno and his dad started to work on the roof in the blue room’s attic. While Onno’s mom cleaned downstairs while I sanded some more. The amount of dust is insane. After a good hour and half of sanding, I cleaned myself off as much as I could so I could pop in at the grocery shop. We were running low on our meal prepped foods and I needed ingredients so I could prep once we got back in the city.  Once I got back from the shop I removed the last bit of floor, including the underfloor which was absolutely disgusting. Especially the underfloor around the upstairs toilet. The entire toilet was gross. I removed planks from the side of the wall and Onno joined after his parents left. Future Cassy is laughing at this next part. We’re getting so close to the point of painting which is such a massive milestone. Painting means some of the rooms are ready for their new floors and once the floor is in then our work is done! Past Cassy cracked me up. She was so innocent at this point. She didn’t know. The ladder hasn’t happened yet.

Day 7

We had a late start as I had a doctor appointment at 10am. We arrived at the house around 12pm and had a slow start but eventually spend the next 6 hours finishing the attic roof in the blue room. Afterward, I cleaned up the area and packed the van while Onno started to fill the gaps (so we will have a smooth ceiling once it’s painted). We left around 10pm but we felt quite accomplished.

Day 8

We spend the day at the house. It was our first day since we got the keys that we didn’t work on the house but we both desperately needed to refresh. I also had a dentist appointment in the afternoon and time wise we would’ve been able to go to the house and work for more than 3 hours before we would have to leave again. Onno did go through of the bill slips from the last few days. We wanted to stay on top of all the expenses so we could well stick to our budget.

Day 9 

We spend most of the day sanding the ceilings and covered the last bit of holes. We tied up everything neatly by attaching plinths on the sides to make the overall look nice and sleek. This was all in preparation for my first day at the house alone the very next day. We somehow made it and we were ready to paint the next day. At this point, we also made the decision to put the garden on hold until we moved in. We just had to accept that some of the things we wanted to do before moving in wouldn’t be possible. I mean not only did we want to renovate almost every single room in our new home, but we wanted to redo the entire garden. It was beyond unrealistic. Most of the time it was only the two of us working on the house. Plus later on in the renovations, Onno had work a few days in the week and it was just me getting work done throughout the day. Looking back now I can just say holy shit we worked our asses off.

Day 10

Onno is back to work today so it’s up to me to work my little ass off and paint till my fingers bleed. Well my fingers didn’t bleed but my wrist and arms hurt like hell afterward and I was also out like a light an hour after getting home. I started in the office, the ceiling was an absolute bitch with the riffles. It took me a good three hours to paint and it was torture. I hate painting ceilings. Gravity makes the paint drop everywhere and paint is a monster to get out of your hair. I then went into the first room, the room next to the office, and started to paint that ceiling but had to call it quits after two hours. I couldn’t hold my arms above my head anymore. I also painted on a layer on the door which was one of the biggest mistakes I made. A mistake I wouldn’t realize a few days after I painted more of the doors and wood feature on the wall in the first room with the wrong paint. Something that cost us hours of cleaning up. Like many days to follow, I spend the entire day painting.


I’m going to cut this blog of here. It’s getting way too long and I want one person to at least read to the end. I won’t get that if I add the other 30 plus days to this blog. The entire process of the renovation was incredibly exhausting. We worked our asses off, there is no doubt about that. We made a few mistakes along the way but we would never trade the experience for the world. For two months straight, my husband and I worked on our first home. Today we can call it our place in the world. Every room has our own personal touch on it. Would we do it again? Fuck no. We will pay someone else to do it.

The next part is Onno’s words and I couldn’t agree more. “If I look back at the whole process of the renovations, there is more moments of excitement and fun than exhaustion. I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world because I look back now and I’m proud of our work. In the whole renovations period I only had maybe two moments of like; ‘Oh fuck are we actually going to do this?’”

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!



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