Building our house, part 2

Building our house, part 2

Well, so the house had been bought, and in short, the plan was as followed:

– Demolish the first wooden part (1/3) of the house and brick it up again

– Break out the »black kitchen« completely and install a new kitchen and small bathroom

– Renew the electricity (underground) and install it

– Upstairs, under the roof, realize 3 bedrooms and a toilet

We thought we would do all of this in 3 months so we could get there before winter. How naive we were! From our move in June, until we could move into the house, we would camp in 2 caravans in the garden. One for us and one for the children. In addition, we had bought an old container in which we made sort of a kitchen and where we could store some stuff and tools. In the shed opposite the house, a toilet had been made by the previous owner so we refurbished it somewhat. Because there was water there, we also made an emergency bathroom in the room next to it, using the click laminate that sat against the walls of the left room in the house :). That way we could camp out for a few months.

We started by digging a large trench for the electricity and a part around the house to make some sort of foundation. We started off full of enthusiasm, but that did not last long :(. The demolition and construction of the first part of the house went well. By the way, there is still talk in the village about how Bine demolished the house from bottom to top, instead of the other way around ;). He wanted to leave the roof intact and had put 4 supports under it. Then he went to tear down the wooden walls.

But the stone walls that remained crumbled further and further and so we broke down more and more wall, meter by meter, after which there was almost no house left at the end. At that point, Bine decided to have the rest flattened as well and to rebuild the whole house. This was the end of July and I really had a hard time and didn’t believe things would be ok. Suddenly we had no house at all anymore! We had to start over from scratch. Fortunately, we often got help from the villagers with the bricklaying and the pouring of the floors. Everyone was very nice and we really felt welcome in the village. But Bine has done most of it on his own, in addition to his full-time job. As soon as he got home from his job, he went to work, often until 10 p.m., and then get up again at 5 in the morning to start his job at 6. I tried to help where I could but unfortunately, I was unable to do that hard work. My job was mainly to hand Bine things and clean up after him, haha. Moreover, Bine is very precise and he prefers to do everything himself so he’s sure things are getting done his way ;).

By the way, he didn’t have any previous experience with building, but luckily he has two right hands. His brother, who had already built his own house, came over for a day to show him how to make cement and how to lay bricks. For the rest, he learned everything in the process and came up with solutions when we ran into problems. Unbelievable how he always gets things done! He would think and look and puzzle until he found a solution.

Everyone saw that we could not get into a house for the winter, so the villagers gave us the phone number of a man from a nearby village, who owned an old house in our village. It was empty but habitable, with 2 large rooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. He was kind enough to let us use it. It was really not a luxury but at that time a great solution for us. That way we could continue to build our house while being »dry and warm« ;). We ended up staying in that old house for another two and a half years before our house was ready to move into.


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