Tag Archives: laminate floor

Allen keys and rubbish

I spent last week in Rotterdam, mainly working on getting the flat fit to live in. The great news is that there is now a floor fitted throughout the bedrooms and the living room. I have also papered the big wall in the main bedroom and either side of the chimney breast in the living room. The fitted wardrobe and the door in the spare room is painted. Curtain rails have been put up in both bedrooms, new plug sockets fitted in the spare room and….

I was busy. The floor is the biggest thing and it’s great to have that down. I’m glad that I arranged for it to be fitted too. The guys had the right tools and knew what they were doing. It looks great. The wallpapering covers the giant yin yang on the bedroom wall. It is still there above the bed but hidden for someone else to find in years to come. The flat now feels more like a home than an half done project. There is still a lot to do but nothing urgent apart from building the Ikea wardrobes.

Propped up in the bedroom are currently about twenty cardboard boxes full of chipboard, allen keys, those little round twiddly things and a whole lot of screws. I actually really enjoy assembling these things. It’s a bit like building a giant jigsaw puzzle. They’re enormous so it will take two of us to lift and manhandle them. Before I left last week I got some practice in building the spare bed.

Allen keysIt got me thinking about the process of designing how Ikea products a) look and b) can be constructed, at home using a, presumably, fixed number of dry fixings. No glue but a whole lot of allen keys. Their instructions are also really well put together using no language, just illustrations. Making the bed was really straight forward if a bit long winded. If only their website was as easy to navigate.

Half the fun will be getting rid of all the cardboard once we’ve unpacked it all. There are a number of cardboard skips behind the shops at the back but I’m not sure these are free for all.  They’re usually rather full and it could be that the shops are paying to have them there. The last thing they’ll need is a fly-tipping Ikea junkie stealing their space. Perhaps I should adopt the Colditz method. Cut them up and dispose of them a few square centimetres at a time over a course of several months.

I’ve already been doing this with the old laminate floor. The flat doesn’t have its own bins. Around and about there are depositories in the street that accept rubbish, glass, plastic and paper. On Mariniersweg there are some large ones. I’ve had a large pile of old laminate planks on the kitchen balcony. I’ve taken eight at a time and broken them in half before carrying them round to the ‘restafval’ box round the corner. They are like large metal boxes submerged in the ground with upstanding post boxes on the surface. A lorry periodically comes and lifts the whole thing to empty it. I’m slowly getting through the pile of planks – the end is in sight.



The writing on the wall of my new apartment

I think that it’s time to write something about my new apartment.

I have bought a two bedroomed apartment on Pannekoekstraat, (Pancake Street)  The Luftwaffe did a lot of damage to Rotterdam in 1940. The centre of the old city was more or less flattened in a 50 minute bombing raid. The city was largely rebuilt in the 1950s. Rotterdam is not a city of quaint bridges, windmills and fancy dutch gable fronted houses. It is a post war city of concrete and brick from the fifties and sixties and glass and steel ever since.

Don’t for one minute think that this does not have its charm. Rotterdam has a fantastic architectural aesthetic and there is plenty of water, as you’d expect in a Dutch city. The fifties retro look is very fashionable and the eighties brought some quirky cube apartments and a giant pencil shaped block. In the noughties everything was high, glass and steel with cantilevered top floors and last year brought the stunning, gigantic new Market Hall.

The new Market Hall is a stones throw from my 1953 apartment in Pannekoekstraat which is on the second floor with its own bike store in the basement. There is a lot to like about the area and the flat. The place has a really nice atmosphere. We’ve slept there a couple of nights and it is quiet and calm. It has fantastic light with enormous south facing windows along the entire frontage. There are two balconies, one from the main bedroom at the front and the other from the kitchen at the back. The kitchen is a separate room but has a large opening into the living room allowing light to pass right through the building.

Floor plan

Floor plan

Back in the 1980s, my parents had a business selling and installing central heating, kitchens and bathrooms. There was a showroom in Prestatyn and they worked across North Wales. They sold kitchens from three companies, one of which was a Dutch company called Bruynzeel. They weren’t very common in the UK. It gave me a warm sense of nostalgia when I opened a drawer and realised one in the apartment is a Bruynzeel one. It’s like new but it was installed in 2002. They’re really good quality – not flat pack. I remembered them being delivered to the company workshop in Prestatyn on big Dutch lorries.

My new kitchen has everything you’d need – cooker, hob, extractor, sink.. there’s room for a washing machine and dishwasher too.

The writing on the wall

The writing on the wall

The flat was last lived in by the daughter of the man we bought it off and came with a number of very personal features. One wall in the living room  was home to a long and passionate statement by Harvey Milk, written in Black marker. Another wall was painted matt black. Fine for her but not my thing. When we went over on our roadtrip we bought some one coat white paint. The marker pen took four coats to cover.

Some light fittings need atention

Some light fittings need attention

The retro shower room

The retro shower room

On the whole it’s in reasonable nick – paint and wallpaper will spruce it up nicely. There is an old and faded laminate floor, with some gaps, in the main bedroom and living room. It has already been taken up in the second bedroom. I’ve arranged for a new floor to be fitted throughout next time I go. I’ve fitted flooring successfully myself in the past but this time I’ve decided to pay someone else to do it. I won’t have the time or the tools to hand. It has to be delivered 48 hours before being fitted to acclimatise – this will give me time to paint more of walls.

The toilet and shower room will, ultimately need some attention. They function and are clean but are dated and tatty. The tiles are almost vintage and the sink in the shower room is almost as big as a bath. This will need to be a job for after I’ve moved in properly. They are, as I say, serviceable.

There is plenty of storage, in addition to the store in the basement there are large built in cupboards in the second bedroom and another next to the bathroom. The main bedroom, has plenty of room for three meters worth of Ikea wardrobes – more than enough for just my clothes. These will need to be ordered after the floor is fitted.

I’ve not yet seen the bike store. The previous occupant still had to clear it out. My estate agent has the keys. I go back on June 28 ready for a few days of painting and sorting things out. It’s is going to be a great place to live.