Location, location – dislocation

Things were going so smoothly, what with our aligned stars and all, so I was kind of expecting something was going to put a kink in our moving process…

Well, the day before yesterday, something definitely got cracked. My boyfriend’s right elbow to be precise. He made a nasty fall and dislocated it, fracturing his humerus in the process.

I’ve spent all day yesterday at the hospital with him getting scans and x-rays and ultrasounds and nope, he’s not going to be able to be much of a physical help during our move. He’s getting an operation on Friday, so fingers crossed for a swift recovery!

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Silver lining – with this imperfection popping up in the process, at least now I know I’m not dreaming anymore. It’s something ^_^ !

My floor plan in 7 steps

As I mentioned previously, I love drawing out plans, whether I’m reorganizing my current living area or, as in this case, when I’m moving into a brand new place.

In this post, I would like to share the way I created the floor plan of our new apartment. The whole ordeal took me three hours or so, spread over two days.

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what I used:

  • measurements of the new apartment (got them from the sweethearts that currently live there)
  • pictures to fill in the blanks (I used the ones in the online ad)
  • gridded paper (mine has a 5mm grid, which came in very handy)
  • a mechanical pencil and an eraser
  • a ballpoint or felt pen and (just to be sure – ) some liquid paper
  • a ruler
  • colored pencils/ markers
  • a tape measure for your furniture
  • scissors (or a cutter knife if you’re up for it)
  • painters tape

 step 1 – sketching

Before starting on the final plan, I puzzled the apartment together. I kind of remembered the layout of the place, but a detailed drawing tends to take a bit more information. For my first drafts I used the measurements, the pictures in the advert AND a top view of the place (satellite picture) which you can easily find online. That top view helped me figure out how far the bedroom sticks out of the back of the building. Thought to myself that that was a pret-ty clever thing to do…
I included the way the doors opened, the non-movable kitchen- and bathroom furniture and appliances and also made sure to include the heating, because that’s something important to take into account when arranging your furniture.

I kept scaling easy by using the length of two adjoining squares (= 1cm) on the paper as 1m in real size.

I sketched out 3 versions, each one a bit more realistic and complete than the last. When I figured out how every room attached to the next, I moved on to…

step 2 – positioning the plan on the paper

Which is why step 1 was so important before moving on to your final drawing. If you know the dimensions of the entire thing, you can center it on the page and decide on the scale you will use. Do this in pencil, so there’s no permanent mistakes.

I doubled the scale for this one (so 2cm = 1m), so the furniture I put in later wouldn’t turn out too tiny to cut out.

For the kitchen and bathroom, I used some symbols used in architectural floor plans to indicate the location of appliances like my refrigerator, dishwasher etc. and other non-moveable things like sinks and the bathtub. you can easily find them with a quick online search for ‘symbols for floor plans’.

step 3 – ink when ready

When you have the whole thing on there in pencil, go over your distances, pictures and other aids again. Have you included all of the windows? Do you remember which way the doors open? Did you get all the heating in there?

If so, put the whole thing in ink with a ballpoint pen or a felt pen, using your ruler to keep the lines straight. Let dry(!) and carefully erase the pencil lines.

step 4 –  add some flavor

I chose to put some color on the floors. This made it easy for myself to visualize the place, and it created a bit more contrast between the floors and the furniture, which I kept black and white. The fact that I used colored pencils turned out to be a good idea since painters tape tends to stick less to paper that’s been colored, so the risk of tearing up your plan when rearranging the furniture is reduced.

step 5 –  take measurements of your furniture

Take out your tape measure and start writing the dimensions of the furniture down. Don’t forget your carpets!

step 6 – cut out and customize

This is a pretty delicate task. Some of the furniture, like a couple of side tables, was kind of small, so it took some patience to cut out the pieces and add detail in pen. To be able to recognize each shape, I wrote a description of each piece of furniture on it’s bottom in pencil. When drawing on the detail, I added some plants on some pieces, to easily recognize them.

* I  went cut first, then draw, but in retrospect, maybe I should have reversed that order.

To finish the task, I added  masking tape to the bottom of each piece of miniature furniture, so that I could stick them gently onto my floor plan. Make sure not to stick ’em on too enthusiastically though, make sure you’ll be able to try out some different arrangements.

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step 7 –  play around with it!

Victory dance for your awesome detailed floor plan! Arrange! Rearrange! Get fantasizing about what the place will look like, imagine what other pieces of furniture would go well with your brand new shared space, think up what kind materials, paints and wallpapers you would love to use! Do you think you need an extra rug to tie the place together? Are there things that you might not want to take and could consider selling for some extra cash in your decorating budget? This is your chance to go wild and visualize baby!

This little project scratched my itch to get crackin’ on the place before we actually move in, I hope making your own might do the same for you!

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Fitting in the furniture

I get the urge to draw detailed plans from my father. When he used to work on the pipes in our house or helped out in one of my siblings’ houses, he always knew exactly what to do thanks to his research and his beautifully drawn plans. I was always curious about his detailed schemes and asking him questions about what all the squiggly lines and symbols meant.

I think the first detailed plan I drew was of my second student flat. I had suddenly had to move out of the previous one because the landlord was selling the entire house, leaving me with only two weeks to find a new place before the beginning of my third Bachelor year. I was nervous about getting everything in there, the room was smaller than my then-current one and it had three doors to boot. When I drew the whole place out and pasted in my cut-out furniture, I retrieved my cool.

Whenever I feel like I have no control, I tend to clean or plan. It eases the mind and occupies the hands. Perfect for someone who sometimes gets just a tad neurotic.
The first night after we visited our future apartment, I couldn’t sleep. I was visualizing Tim’s and my furniture on the hardwood floors, saw my picture frames up on the white walls and my curtains in front of the windows.

After five excited days and an equal amount of sleepless nights I couldn’t control myself anymore and I asked Marek, who currently lives there with his wife and baby, for the exact measurements of the place. I quickly got a response with his estimated measurements. Using those, the pictures used in the advert and a bit of my own memory, I drew out the floor plan of the apartment. At home, we measured all of our furniture and I now have a detailed plan of the apartment and bonus – a little more tranquility in my mind. Enjoy! I know I do ^_^

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Within 24 hours stars aligned

– a long introductory read ^_^

The way I’ve been living

Ever since leaving my parents’ house at the age of 19, back in 2007, I’ve been sharing houses with people. Five different houses over the past eight years, all of them different, all of them great in their own way.
Living in a house together not only keeps costs low, it also keeps your surroundings interesting. You never have to feel alone, but can choose to retreat to your own space whenever you feel like it. Plus, having different personalities in one house is a great way to keep you grounded and self aware. It stretches your social skills (there’s been trial and error) and teaches you about how to communicate and compromise. A lot depends on the people you live with, sometimes you clash and things can get tense. But most of the time and with good intentions, sharing a house is the way I thought I wanted to live for practically the rest of my life.

So a couple of months ago when Tim pointed out to me that (ever since I got a cat, a very adorable one) we spent almost no time at his place anymore, I started thinking about him moving in to the house I share with three other people. We could live together without the huge commitment of getting our own place, and he wouldn’t be throwing money away paying rent for a place he stayed at for one, maybe two nights per week.

Without wanting to get too mooshy here, I have to point out that I’d never before even considered sharing my personal space with a boyfriend. So yeah, uhm that was a huge mental step for me, FYI in cursive.

I mentioned the idea of him moving in to my housemates and they had some other points for me to consider. A couple moving in to a shared house could throw off the over all balance of the place. Even if you don’t intend on hogging the couch four yourselves or having romantic dinners in the common dining area, situations occur in which a couple ‘claims’ space without purposely wanting the other occupants to feel like a third wheel.
On my oh-my-god-I-actually-want-to-live-with-this-guy cloud *hearts in the eyes*, I hadn’t considered their concerns yet (bad housemate behavior on my part). But I thought they made a great point and I’m sure that had I still been single, I wouldn’t have wanted a couple moving in like it wasn’t a thing.
So we had a house meeting and eventually decided to give the couple in the house-situation a shot. A two-month trial period as it were, with an honest evaluation planned at the end of January. If it didn’t feel right to everybody, he could still move back out, right?
When that question was asked, I felt a small cringe in my chest.
He could move back out?
With me still living here?
Apart from that being a bad decision financially, I was suddenly so sure that I didn’t want to live anywhere without him anymore *again with the hearts*. I realized on the spot that I was finally at the point where I didn’t mind giving up my personal space anymore, I wanted to share it. I hadn’t considered having to live apart again and the thought of it made me feel icky (for lack of a better descriptive term). So I told my housemates, who were just as surprised about my decisiveness as I was. I wanted to live with Tim, in the house if it worked out, if not, elsewhere.

So whereto?

As I said, sharing a house keeps you grounded, so re-grounded by our meeting I told Tim about the trial period plan.
We were laying in bed staring at the ceiling and I could feel he was frustrated by the idea of moving in and maybe having to move back out after only a short while. On my side, I felt a bit hesitant about telling him about my epiphany earlier, during the meeting. Right off the bat we’ve been kind of careful about ‘claiming’ each other too strongly in our relationship. We were both very happy being single and uncommitted together before things took the crazy turns that lead us to being together.
So telling him that I didn’t want to live without him anymore felt like a bit of a bombardment, since I could only suspect him to feel the way I did. I had just realized my commitment to him a couple of hours before, so I assumed he would have to warm up to any new information.

After a bit more ceiling-staring I finally mentioned the possibility to maybe look for an apartment together… Just to make sure we could keep living together, no matter the turnout of the trial. Like me before, he hadn’t thought about that yet, but it seemed like a good idea to make sure we wouldn’t have to find something at the last minute come February.

The next day, he was just as surprised as I was about how good the idea of an apartment together felt to him. As it was a pretty slow day at work, we sent each other links to a couple of interesting apartment adverts. One of them was actually located on the street I used to live on when we first met. Since I really miss living there and the apartment looked great, I asked Tim whether we should send an e-mail, just in case. The just in case turned into an appointment with the current occupants of the place. They instantly replied to my e-mail, inviting us to come and have a look that same night.

So after work, feeling excited, hesitant and curious at the same time, we rang their bell and got invited into a beautiful, clean apartment. High ceilings, tons of space, huge windows, a fully equipped open kitchen and beautiful hardwood floors, and not too pricey, a perfect fit. We drank a cup of tea and talked about the place, the neighborhood I missed so much, about why they were leaving and whether they would consider us. I looked aside at Tim, at his excited face. My face was also expressing mountains of extreme excitement. They would love to propose us to the landlord.

We left there to go see a dance performance, already glowing with the idea that we might get our own place by the end of December. (BY THE END OF DECEMBER o_o) On the bike ride home, with celebratory french fries in his backpack, we couldn’t stop sneaking peaks at each other and fantasize about how wonderful it would be to live a bit closer to the city center, in a place of our own. We ate on the bed in my room that night, which confused the cat a little, and I loved that moment of pure bliss in which I could feel that we both wanted this more and more each minute. The night before, we had been staring at the ceiling…