Our home renovation

Wall print of kitchen herbs on kitchen wall

The biggest change for us this year is that we’ve become homeowners. The house that we were renting came on the market and we were fortunate enough to be able to buy it.

Even though it’s a liveable house (we have been renting it for a couple of years), there are quite some improvements to make if we want it to get it up to contemporary comfort standards.

I thought it would be nice to keep a renovation diary, so we can keep track of the progress. Since I’ve been devouring renovation and home improvement blogs, I thought it would be nice to post some renovation recaps or maybe some tips for anyone who might find it helpful.

About our house

The house itself was build in the late 1950s and structurally, almost nothing has changed. On one hand, this is what drew us to renting this place: the cozy retro vibe, unique details in wood, a small garden,… But on the other hand, it hasn’t been updated to today’s standards: single glass windows, barely any insulation, one (!) electric socket per room,…

Fundamental changes

To us, it was the perfect temporary home (we were planning to rent and keep a lookout for any houses for sale in the area) but not as a permanent residence.

It will require quite some changes to get the basics right:

Insulation: Insulating the roof will probably be the first thing we’ll do. Replacing the  windows will also improve insulation.

Rethinking the floor plan: This house was built to meet the needs of a 1950s family, which is not what we are. It’s worth checking which rooms to give new functions to and which walls we might knock down/add. I would, for example, love to have a more spacious kitchen by knocking down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room.

Moisture, mildew and mold issues: As with all old houses there are some damp spots that need to get fixed. Though considering the house’s age, it’s actually not that bad.

Electricity: The whole wire system needs to be checked and redone. This is actually a mandatory thing. In Belgium, houses get a checkup when they go up for sale. And one of the things that gets checked, is the circuit. Ours was disapproved (which is not uncommon) and needs to be completely upgraded within 18 months.

Vintage poster moon phases on living room wall

I’m hoping we can get started on this soon. But the first thing that I’ve learned when it comes to renovation works, is that it involves a lot of waiting. At the moment we’re still doing research and checking with our architect what our first steps should be.