Saturday 12 April 2014

Our veggie garden

When I was teenager me and my brother were helping our grandparents in the garden in the country side in East of Romania. It was to a certain extent nice, but at the same time I did see it as "work" which I would rather not have done. We would plant potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions, beans, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, etc.  for which we had to dig the ground manually. And of course most of work was going into taking care of the grape plants which my grandparents had plenty of  (5000 m2).
Mashed grapes (mix of red and white)

That was then. Nowadays since I am a glorified office rat, I miss being outside and doing something useful with my hands and the house project is (nearly) finished. So last year, in early spring, we decided  to start our own vegetable and fruit garden. We thought we would like grow the veggies in raised beds of  wooden boxes since we have so much wood left from the construction project. But then one day a friendly neighbour asked if we needed some wooden trunks since he had too many. My brilliant other half came up with the idea that we could makes boxes out of the trunks instead of wooden planks.
The soil on our land is quite mixed with clay so no very usable to grow stuff.
We ordered some soil and wooden chips and got to work...

we made 7  plots
we planted sugar pea together with leek
plenty of cucumbers, some were bitter

"Tiny Tim" variety had plenty of tomatoes. We have planted between tomatoes also garlic and onions, just to be on the safe side. Tomatoes were free from bugs, maybe garlic helps.

Tiny Tim and spaghetti pumpkin

In early September due to cold weather we had to rescue some tomatoes and ripen them inside the house

   Very tasty green beans

12kg pumpkin which became soups and pies

I really enjoyed our first year of "farming". I found it therapeutic to come home after work and to look after the plants and of course I appreciated them even more when we eat them :-).

Friday 18 October 2013

House painting project 2012

During summer of 2012, we had to paint the house to its final color (Valtti Color Piki 5089). The paint is not the eaiest to use as it's quite liquid but it does look nice once dried, as it lets the wood patterns be visible.

Herebelow the outcome:

we rented a lift for paitning the higher parts




Partly done


Winter wonderland

First snow in 2012

Storage & car shelter also in the picture

View from the hill

View from summer 2013 with our vegetable garden set up!

Saturday 23 March 2013

Everything ok, but what did it cost?

One of the difficulties when planning to build a house is knowing what is it going to cost. Can you afford it?

I remember when I was looking for information about costs, it was not easy. There is quite a bit of information in Finnish but almost none in English. That is actually one of the main reasons I wanted to start this blog, to give more information in English about what it takes to build your bad/good dream home in Finland.

But you know what, building a house is good for learning Finnish too, because many of the building contractors don't speak English :).

Even with packages "ready to move in" the price is not telling the whole story.
These package prices do not include:
- concrete foundations or pillars if needed,
- potential design of foundations
- land work preparations (gravel, stone, road),
- sewage and electricity connections
- rental cost of hiring a lift truck to lift the tiles/ house elements into place.
- fees of the foreman, HVAC foreman
- garden lights
- removal of construction waste
I would say that these extra costs can range between 50 000 - 80 000.

In the link below I prepared a breakdown of the actual costs for our house and land, hope you find it useful and looking forward to your comments!

Sunday 11 November 2012

pictures of our kitchen and living room

One of the wishes for the house was to have big enough open space (living+kitchen) as that is the place where family usually spends most of the time. The whole space is about 50m2.

Here are some pictures.

ok, not the straightest of panoramas

We have bought the kitchen cupboards and sink from Ikea as for us it was the best & by far the cheapest option for massive wooden doors (black).We did spend quite a lot of time putting the cupboards together.
The kitchen appliances we bought from Gigantti at a house fair (
The sink tap is Hansgrohe Talis S² Variarcand bought it from Germany over the internet ( together with other taps. It is possible to take it off and open the bigger window if needed and also it has pull-out spray.

Hansgrohe Talis S² Variarc Single lever kitchen mixer with pullout spray 1/2"

The  white quartz kitchen tops we bought from a company from Estonia ( that were the cheapest and also came to take the measurements on the spot. Delivery and installation was fast. They speak both English and Finnish in Liidukivi company.

Window wall has ply-wood board of pinetree ordered from Puukeskus. It was difficult to find suitable one since it cannot be very thin nor too thik and have no holes. This wall will have black-painted linear illustration inspired by the photo under (Hugo Boss shop in Shanghai) once we have time and energy to make our own design and finish.

The kitchen hood is model IH-55 from Savo and it is suitable for external blower on the roof ( It is sort of Finnish thing of having the hoover on the roof and Savo is only one of the few companies that have such suitable model of hood. It is not the cheapest but we enjoy that there is very little noise in the room when the fan is on.

Total costs for kitchen were:
2300 the quartz stone tops
5300 Ikea cupboards & drawers (about 25 of them) including pull-out and corner cupboards, oven, 78 cm kitchen electric plate and double sink (there was at the moment we bought the kitchen a 10% discount offer)
2800 appliances (fridge, freezer, dishwasher, kitchen hood and sink tap)

The white quartz price of 2300 is the price for:
- 4 stone pieces including installation: 30mm worktops thickness 847x619mm,1518x619mm, 2055x1014mm and 1083x618 mm
- 1 cutout for cooking top, 6 corner radiuses R10 + 2 corner cutings
- Visible edges straight polishing
- measuring, transport and installation
Average price about 530 euro/ m2 of white quartz.

Thursday 1 November 2012

updates: bankruptcy and more

Many things happened since our last post, we learned that the house building company Lapponia House is in bankruptcy proceedings (see: Luckily this did not have impact on our house building, but it's sad to see this happening. I think they had good ideas but badly packaged and marketed.

Also Nord Energy, the company that did the LVI work for us (HVAC) is not longer active in business.

In the meantime our storage/ car shelter was built, we painted the second time the house this summer, etc.
We'll do a more thorough update after the break...

Monday 23 April 2012

Bad design

It's all nice and well to have the rain water being collected from the roof and being taken further from the house to keep foundation dry as below:

The only issue I stumble upon was that I bought relatively expensive Uponor Down Pipe Gutter Plus (Rännikaivo Plus), which should fit on top of the standard water collector of 110mm. The problem, which I noticed only when it started raining, is that the water instead of going smothly into the pipe it starts leaking next to it. This is because of the stupid design of this Uponor piece (for which I am sure there is an explanation :)).

I went to K-rauta and told about my problem and then seller said many people complained about the issue but nothing happens (at Uponor, he meant). The interesting solution was to put a middle piece in between of the type as below:

Other people seem to have noticed this issue as well. See (in Finnish).

With this piece in between there is almost no leak.

Maybe is time for Uponor to design their gutter pipes to fit perfectly on the 110mm pipes without the need to buy another piece in between.

Sunday 15 January 2012

We moved in 4 weeks ago

Yes,  on 18 of December 2011 we moved in together with lots of boxes.

We're in and all things are working well at the moment.

The snow has come in the new year and it looks really pretty out here. Kids love it too.

Just today we tried the fireplace and being first time, as it's recommended, we only burned couple of killos of wood. And the fireplace is working well, chimney has good draft, etc.

We had quite a few problems with the house since we moved, later more on that...

UPDATE (October 2012)

Among the problems we had when we moved in was that geo-thermal heating pump had wrong settings with the heat curve set too high, meaning it was heating needlessly much so that in the first week it was really warm in the house. In the end it was fixed and issue was that we should use in the the NIBE pump just curve 5 instead of 9. 9 is is the default setting in the pump but our house is very well insulated and does not need too hot water in the floor heating. The heat curve sets how warm the water in the floor heating should be for a given outside temperature.

Also the were some leakeage from the dish washer water connection which was fixed and luckily the floor did not get damaged.

The third most anoying thing was that after a week or so we noticed that we could not anymore fluch the toilet. That was in the evening of 23 December 2011, really nice ! Likely issue was solved in the same evening with our electrician having to come and connect the the sewage pump to electricity. Small detail but rather important as the sewage water needs to be pumped to the main sewage line, so that sewage tank does not get full, yaaachh!

Friday 9 December 2011

We're moving in about a week....

Yes, we're planning to move next Sunday!!!

And it feels unreal as there is still quite a bit to be done before that:
- carpenters will install all 10 inner doors, sauna benches and all lists for windows, doors, floors and roofs
- sauna stove is not yet installed (can be also done after that but before Christmas please)
- electricians have to finalize quite a bit of stuff: garden lights, electricity for 2nd floor, put room thermostats
- install TV antenna (and satellitte dish)
- get Internet connection working
-  plummer has to install one missing toilet and kitchen sink connections
- we have to finalize the assembly of our kitchen, finish painting 2 remaining walls and finish the brick wall in the sauna. Also assemble lights, and couple of new clothing cupboards :).

And above all, pack our stuff from old place to be ready for the move!

A deadline serves its purpose even in house moving and ours is to move before Christmas and latest before year end as by 1st of January we should be out of our old place.

Wednesday 30 November 2011

More updates...

I left it in previous post at the status as at the end of August. Pictures tell the story a bit although we have not been taking many pictures especially that my phone got some water under the lens and started taking rather blurry pictures :(.

A lot of work was done to tile the bathrooms' walls (upstairs/ downstairs), sauna, etc. We had the tiles laid by same mason that built the brick walls as he claimed he "can do" tilling as well. He turned out to be ok at laying tiles but really messy in keeping work place tidy. He's also been staining things with water insulation (vedeneriste). And then he screwed up with the silicone so bad that we had to take the silicone out from all places and have somebody else come for one day to finish the work.

The beginning of upstairs bathroom. Looks small but there will be a toilet, double sink and a bathtub :)
Retro Pukkila tiles ready for bathrooms

work in progress

downstairs bathroom floor
2nd floor bathroom coming up

sauna room wall that we were really happy with

1200 kg / 150m2 of laminate for our floors from
For our wooden panel walls we choose a white color "eco" paint Uula that is marketed as "latex-free and odourless water-borne natural oil paint". And indeed it was easy to paint and did not smell of any chemicals or plastic. My father did the big job of painting about 130m2 of wooden panels. He's our HERO!
We used about 18 liters of paint. Other choices of paint we've been looking at were wood wax Osmo Color and Bloom. Osmo Color wax did seem to have in it quite a lot of VOC which made us avoid it. When looking at prices for it we did find that prices for same paint were almost 50% less in Germany and they deliver also to Finland!

Bloom wax was also an interesting option but was more expensive than Uula. As we did not want to see the wood paterns of the panels Uula was the right choice for us as it is pretty much fully covering the wood grain. Some like it semitransparent but we already have the outside house walls with lots of wood paterns to look at :).
white painted wooden panels versus laminate floor and roof panels
the white corner for the house have been added

also balcony was done out of the wood I painted white
We have not had time to update the blog as often as we'd have liked, as building a house and having a regular job leaves little time to spare...
We'll post more about the rooms, kitchen etc when we get tofind the time.