As promised, here’s the second half of our renovation story. If you haven’t read the first part, here is the link: Renovating our apartment in Oslo. Part I

Writing about this whole process makes me quite emotional, since we started this a while ago and it makes me look back and think about this unforgettable experience.

I never thought I would be doing a project like this with my partner in such a young age, but you never know! Life takes us to places and it’s so beautiful to see which decisions we end up taking.

It’s furniture o’clock!

After painting the whole apartment we were ready to build our new kitchen. Some time before I had designed it with the IKEA Kitchen Planner and we ordered everything we needed.

The plan for our kitchen was to get a mix of IKEA cabinets and custom made elements to make it look more unique.

We began mounting all the cabinets one by one and it was way more time consuming than I thought. I was thinking – yeah we will finish the kitchen in no time, it’s just putting furniture together. Well, I was wrong.

Also, the fact that we built the partition walls where the kitchen would be was an advantage, because we knew exactly where the wood studs where.

The kitchen

The first thing you see when you come into the apartment is the kitchen.

First, we fixed all the cabinets, countertops and appliances… We could finally cook! The take away days were over!

Now the only thing missing was the custom wood work. This was the last part to be completed. Due to the special situation we faced this year with Coronavirus, we had to postpone a lot of the professional work.

We hired carpenters from Møbelsnekkerne AS to make custom fronts in plywood and we love the result. After months living with all the upper cabinets open seeing all the food, tableware and messy stuff… it’s so satisfying to finally have it all closed, clean and beautiful.

We are planning on adding a custom glass door to the bedroom, but that’s something we’ll do next year.

The birch plywood adds warmth and craftsmanship, while the dark counter and drawers bring contrast and elegance to the space.

The living room

I was really excited to fit all our furniture in the living room. We got really nice items and I couldn’t wait to put it all together and start using this space every day.

The living room is our every day room, we made space for: sofa bed and chill area, dining space, storage and Simen’s desk. We love to have everything in one room, it’s really cozy!

Although most of our stuff is either second hand or from cheap furniture stores (like IKEA), we try to make the most out of our money and we’re happy with everything we pick, since it reflects our style in an affordable way.

We didn’t buy an apartment to spend a lot of money on things, but to create a home and make the best out of living in Oslo at the moment.

We get to decide how it looks and to me that’s very special because it’s a beautiful way to express our identity.

On the wall over the sofa I have a selection of artworks I have made in the past years both painting and sketches.

The Workstation

Simen has a big computer and he loves gaming. Since we don’t have any more rooms we needed to fit his desk in the living room.

I knew we would have enough space but the real challenge was to make it look nice, since it’s right in our living room. I’m not a fan of the “gaming aesthetic”, so to me it was really important to find the right elements that would fit with the rest of the space.

The solution was to build up a desk with light warm grey desktop and white legs. On one side we would, of course hide the computer-beast and open the back so it would “breathe”.

I also found a chair that didn’t look like a gaming chair. It fits with the aesthetic of the rest of the apartment, it’s comfortable and adjustable (and inexpensive compared to the average office chair).

To top it off, we found this original Munch poster from 1896 and bought it from an old man who was selling art along the river on a Sunday morning. We just love how enigmatic, dark and cool it looks. So there it is, Simen’s little gaming corner.

The bedroom

Our bedroom used to be the kitchen when we bought this place.

The first thing we did when we finished painting the walls was to build our new super wardrobe.

Our wardrobe is, obviously, the IKEA Pax. Who doesn’t have an IKEA Pax at home yet? I think most people do. It’s súper easy to build, cheap, and customisable.

Our initial idea was to build custom sliding doors in plywood, but after checking the prices with different workshops in Oslo we decided it wasn’t something we were ready to pay for. Instead, we installed some beautiful linen curtains.

To this day, we are pretty happy with this decision and almost forgot about the idea of making the custom doors. The curtains bring a very fresh feeling into the room. It also reminds me of a clothing store somehow, so everyday feels kind of nice to go through my clothes.

Funny story: We were about to attach the rail for the curtains when we noticed that the cable for the lamp in the bedroom was in the way and therefore, we needed to cut the rail…BUT we didn’t! Instead, we used some wood pieces I recovered from my office trash a long time ago. We noticed the measurement was perfect, so they became the frame for the railing.

The laundry cabinet is inside the bedroom, although that is not a problem for us at all. In fact, we only use the bedroom in the nights, so during the day we can use the room for washing and drying clothes.

Besides, we are in love with the custom plywood doors that hide the washing machine and the water tank (these are the same material as the kitchen fronts).

The bathroom

The bathroom was not part of this renovation plan but as months passed by I felt like I really wanted to do something with it. On my free time I would plan what I wanted to do there: I made a 3D, found every item and made a budget.

By the time I got vacation in July I had so much free time I decided we were going to do the bathroom.

I really wanted to do micro cement on the walls, and this was the moment to do it if we were going to change the sink etc. So I contacted Dekorhuset and Simen and I went there to pick up all the materials we needed to start the work. We did it ourselves, and it was quite some work, so I will explain the whole process in another post!

Here I did some IKEA hacking by cutting some LACK floating shelves to perfectly fit the space and painting the fronts of the sink drawers in Hipster Brown (Jotun) and the handles in black to match the rest of the black elements in the bathroom. All the hangers were also painted with a special metal spray paint.

The balcony

I have literally never lived anywhere without a balcony or a terrace and to me, this was the most important thing to have in our apartment. I would rather live in a small place with a balcony than a big one without.

Now, we have a south facing balcony with enough space for both of us to chill and our plants to grow happy and warm.

We have a huge tree right in front which gives us enough privacy and makes us feel closer to nature, since all we see from the living room are the green leaves.

Here we just added three outdoor seating modules that also have storage inside. I really wanted to turn the balcony into an extra room. Now this is our little lounge to chill night and day, enjoy the sound of the birds and the sunny days. It’s so worth it!

That’s it for now!

What do you think about our DIY renovation project?

We believe this is the first of many. We enjoyed the whole process and will never forget this experience. The amount of things we’ve learned and the excitement of having our own place designed by us are worth every dirty, stressful day!

It was not easy, but again we took this as an experiment for us to learn along the way and now we feel way more prepared to take on anything!

Now it’s finally time to sit down and chill… until the next project!

Special thanks to: Gjermund, Ellen, Jonas, Yassin (plumber), Vasilis (electrician) and Veronica.

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