Calor!

IMG_9419

After exactly one month I am back in Spain. Do I need to say that I am very excited to see the progress in the house…

Me and Elsa arrive to our house after sunset. We took our car from the airport, two hours delayed and without my bag – after a long search process found at Arlanda. No problem – I have some clothes stored in the new house. We park the car outside, switch off the Securitas alarm and start to open the heavy temporary gates to the yard. The big house looks a bit scary with its big dark windows. We look forward to come inside, turn on the lights and unpack our stuff, tired after the delayed flight. But –¬† why doesn’t the code of the padlock that I used so many times before work this time!?? Finally we manage to create a hole big enough to crawl through and enter our new Spanish home. Not very graceful first entry.

The house looks amazing – so much work done since we left it in the end of May! We turn on the lights in every room and just walk around. Am I dreaming, is this beautiful house really ours!? Our building team has almost finished the main floor and the master bedroom upstairs with only few installations still to be done. The light arrangements I have planned are just as beautiful I hoped they would be. The view outside is breathtaking.

 

An hour later I leave Elsa in the empty house and return to the airport in Alicante to pick up my sister and her husband arriving with a late flight. They are staying two weeks and give me some help with cleaning, fitting and furnishing the house.

Before we left the rented house we moved over a lot of stuff we bought so we would not need to start from zero. We got kitchen-ware, vacuum cleaner and coffe machine, beds delivered by Danish design in Altea and other important stuff to survive first days in an almost-ready house. We have two chairs but no table to start with – the table ordered from Concept is arriving only in August.

When I see the kitchen in the heart of the house, complete with worktops and lights I’m filled with gratitude: it looks better I could hope. We had chosen the worktops of natural stone, named Perla venata in a big stone factory filled with thousands of slices of stone cut from huge blocks. Each slice, even from the same block, clould look different so you cannot really know how the final result will be. I can say I’m really satiscfied with the choices we have made – everything is so functional and works so well together. Our kitchen designer from Concept in Altea has done such a nice work with our kitchen, it for sure is the kitchen of my dreams!

_DSC0948_DSC0950IMG_9417IMG_9420

 

While it is nice and quiet inside the house, at least after the electician and plumber have finished their works in the bathrooms, there is lot of action going on around the house. Sometimes things happen TOO fast – yesterday I almost got a nervous breakdown when I discovered that during the quarter of an hour, while I was talking to our building manager regarding a mysterious wall in the garden built during an hour I was away, on the other side of the house too many balcony railings were installed with insane speed. It resulted in some extra work: the wall was taken down as well as the railings that were reduced to half of the length. I have discovered that Spanish builders love steep and narrow steps and lot of railings while I like more open garden with practical pathways. I will keep my eye on them….

 

IMG_9363_DSC0959IMG_9380

I thougt only we people of north talk about weather all the time. I was so wrong! The world you most frequently hear here right now is CALOR – the heat. I feel sorry for the guys working in our garden in the hot sun building stairs, walls and painting the house. I guess they look forward to their vacation in august, when it is even more calor. I wonder where they go for vacation, Iceland maybe?

Luckily the climate in the house is perfect thanks to the air condition and the new fridge has an ice machine. I am not suffering at all. While Elsa is sweating at the Russian masters ballet camp my days float in a pleasant way. I wake up at 8:00 to the sound of starting cement mixer and jolly voices outside. Our building guys look always happy (even if I make them redo some projects) and work hard all day long except during their siesta when they lay down on the floor of our future gym. My days pass planning at the computer, visiting furniture shops and findig suitable lights, doors etc.

In the evenings when the workers go home we spend good time at the pool and have dinners at the terrace.

 

This morning the view from the livingroom window was a bit different:

_DSC0966

 

Time to go to sleep, a new day arriving soon! Buenas noches!

Finally there is the light…

_DSC0890

After some weeks away it was a real pleasure to spend a week in our Swedish home. At this time of the year, in May and June, there is this special light in the Northern countries that takes over and fills your heart with expectations and joy. I need to be there in our garden enjoying the bloom of cherry, plum and apple trees. A wonderful smell is following you when shooting the wheelbarrow, loaded with dry branches, soil or flowers, through the garden. Luckily the evenings last long so I managed to cut and fertilize most of the roses and to plant some flowers in the big pots, finishing after sunset the day before my trip back to Spain. Our garden has a bit of the sleeping-beauty-rose- garden feeling over it which we find is charming ūüėÄ

 

 

The first thing to do after my arrival at Alicante airport was to collect our dog Uzanna at the VIP dog hotel in Benissa, the best place to leave your dog at while away for a week or two. We had followed her stay through daily video updates and knew she had a great time playing with other dogs as much as she wished or lying in the sun which is her favorite “activity”. Of course Uzanna got slightly mad of happiness to meet me again – it was my husband Per who left her there so she was not expecting me.

I have discovered that I am equipped with an on-and-off switch. At these busy times I have learned to use it more and more – while in Sweden, Thailand or Estonia I do not worry about how things are going in Spain – I trust that everything goes as planned. Every now and then I get some questions from our building team and after answering them I put the building aside again. I am truly thankful for this switch, whoever gave it to me!

Now it was high time to turn Spain “on” again! After 2,5 weeks away in Sweden and Estonia it was exciting to enter the house to see the progress. The house feels much more like a home now as it is filled with warm light, the light I was missing so much from start. Most of the walls are painted and floors are ready at the main floor. The bathrooms are being tiled one after another. Also we got two new small windows, heading south, letting a beautiful afternoon sunbeam to otherwise dark rooms. It is time to think of furnishing the house! In fact we already ordered beds for all bedrooms in the house that will be delivered in mid June! Also most of the bathroom equipment is ordered.

 

 

The most exciting though is the delivery of kitchen. When I first stepped in to the house the living room was full of boxes with kitchen furniture and -machines. The next day most of the furniture was already installed and in couple of weeks it will be ready for measure taking by the “stone guys” who will cut and install the worktops in natural stone. We love the kitchen already and look forward for spend time there cooking and chatting with our visitors.

IMG_8244IMG_8242Kitchen2_DSC0929

 

Time for bed, tomorrow is a new full day! My to-do list for coming week is looong so it is important to put the energy on right things. Luckily there are lots of fresh fruits and vegetables of good quality available here that give you lot of energy. I already look forward to the green morning drink I make on fresh mango, freshly squeezed oranges and plant proteins (moringa). Yummi yummi!

See you soon! Buenas noches!

 

 

 

Inspiration from West

Already three weeks have passed since the last post that got a somewhat sudden end as I collapsed of tiredness. Thank you who gave me some really positive reactions on this post – I will be writing more about my childhood and background.

Meanwhile we have been travelling to the beautiful “city of tolerance and divercity” San Fransisco with plenty of good restaurants and sourdough bred AND Las Vegas – a crazy place where you always find something new and inspiring.¬† This vacation trip was planned and booked a long time ago with good friends. Even if our building is a priority right now I am happy I did this trip as I really enjoyed the time and came back with new energy and inspiration. In Las Vegas most things are exaggerated in one or another way – evertything is huge: hotels, streets, fountains, food portions, galleries, casinos, toilets, shows, even people – and the inspiration comes more from the euphoric feeling when walking around and admiring insane decorations than from actual ideas that could be used in a home. On the contrary, I realise how important it is to keep the base of our home simple, accent can be added with furniture, lights, textiles, paintings and other exchangable items instead.

 

The worst jet lag seems to be over and my brain starts working normally again. I am thinking about different solutions – currently for the bathrooms – in the house. The tiling work has already started so now all bathroom fittings need to be ordered so that electricity for lamps, switches, towel dryers etc can be installed at right places. We would not want to cause delays due to us not beeing here. Of course we got some photo updates from our builders during the trip but it was really exciting to see the progress with own eyes. The sunny roof terrace in terracotta colours, matching the roofs in our view, is ready and I am really pleased with the outcome. I’m sure many would have kept the grey neutral terrace (that the previous owner did) but for me it looked really boring. The pool is cleaned and is going to be tested for possible leakage before we start to rebuild it.

 

Also in the heart of the house, the livingroom/kitchen area it looks much different now. As soon as the tiling work is finished I will post some photos!

Maybe you wonder how it is going with my Spanish? Not very well, unfortunately. There are far too much visions, ideas and choices in my head now and no space left for new words… But I try to understand what people say on the streets and always choose a Spanish radio channel when driving the car. And I’m happy when I recognise words I would not have understood a month ago.

Now I’m going to bed and hopefully fall asleep – if not I will grab a book or an interior design magazine and my eyes will close in a minute! Buenos noches.

Searching and planning

IMG_4514

Yesterday we had¬†guys from¬†a local window factory¬†taking measures¬†in the house¬†as we are going to¬†order new sliding doors to the living room and windows to some other rooms. In general, except for the two panorama windows in the sitting room,¬†the rest¬†of them are¬†planned mainly to¬†close out the sun….¬†The Spanish people traditionally prefer to close their windows with shutters while we from the Northern hemisphere want them as big as possible.¬†Luckily the architect¬†agreed, somewhat reluctantly,¬†to change some of these¬†on her drawings.

The windows in Spain¬†are often covered with grids. These have naturally a special preventive purpose but they can also look really beautiful! Right now I’m quite fixed about everything concerning¬†Spanish ironwork. Therefore I felt blessed¬†to be invited¬†to visit¬†the workshop where the windows as well as the grids and balcony rails are produced – mainly¬†in¬†the traditional way. A lot of interesting stuff there!

 

The work with the big outer wall is continuing. With the building permission we also got the liability¬†to move the outer wall¬†one meter¬†closer to the house to give space for¬†a sidewalk. That was indeed a very big work and¬†now we need to make the wall even higher and longer… At the same time the work with garden replanning is going on. Because of the¬†location on the hillside, the level differences are big and the old stairs etc must¬†be taken away.

IMG_4508IMG_4520IMG_4521 (2)IMG_4503

 

Tomorrow we are flying back to Stockholm. The three weeks spent here in Altea/Albir have just flown¬†away. I already look forward to¬†be back here in January! Meanwhile¬†we are¬†going to spend some nice time with our families and try not to think too much about the building process here ūüôā¬†Wish you all the best!