Our Major Home Renovation (part 3)

In part 1 and part 2 of this series I mentioned that we got a water leakage in our basement the same month we moved into our new home. Actually the water came into the house twice within a couple of weeks due to a period of heavy rainfall. The water flooded the communal pipes in the road making the water recoil into several of the basements in the neighborhood, including ours. It came up through the valve in the laundry room, slowly filled this room and eventually flooded the whole basement. Although this was a nice way to get to know the neighbors this was the one area of our home where we hadn’t planned a complete makeover. The rest of the basement only needed to be cleaned but the nice solid oak floors in the den were ripped out and anything the water had touched was disinfected. This part was mercifully taken care of by the insurance people.

During the renovation process we considered putting in a recoil check valve to prevent the water coming back the next time it rained heavily. Fortunately the municipality took the situation seriously and within a year they had exchanged the old pipes with new ones with sufficient capacity.

Picture to the left: this is how the den looked when we moved in;
Picture to the right: here is where the water came into the house

This is what we did to the place:

  • – we put a thin layer of concrete, containing electrical heat cables, on top of the stripped down floors
  • – on top of this smooth surface we tiled the floor in black and white tiles in a checkered pattern
  • – we painted the pine panels with an off-white color
  • – we got two spotlights installed with six light-sources each
  • – we spent some time figuring out how to furnish the room to allow for multiple functions

The rather dark and dull family room was slowly transformed into this:

Picture to the left: this is how the den looked after the renovation;
Picture to the right: the sitting area with a sleeping coach

The windows were actually changed a couple of years later, when we replaced the original windows with bigger ones making the room a whole lot lighter and more attractive. At the same time we replaced the drainage pipes along this wall, which was the last few meters of the original piping still remaining. To avoid an inconvenient and expensive solution we got some sturdy students from the NTNUI Scuba Diving group to dig up the old pipes under the supervision of a friend and neighbor of ours. After our carpenter had replaced the windows the Scuba Divers came back and finished the job in time for our sons’ eighth birthday party.

Picture to the left: the students digging, picture to the left: the cracked window

A word of warning: Sometimes the glass can’t endure extreme temperature variations (like we had in Norway the first winter) or might have some structural weakness which normally reveals itself within the period covered by the guarantee. One day I noticed a big crack in one of the new windows starting within the windowsill! Good thing I kept the receipt and other documentation about the windows handy.

This concludes the presentation of our first major renovation. We’ve also done some adjustments as our situation has changed, as our children grow, and we have plenty of plans for new projects to come (after we return from our one year of living in Italy).

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