Introduction to Wunderkammer33

For those of you who are new to the project (i.e. those of you whom I haven’t bored silly talking about the apartment for the last 6 weeks!) the following is a list of the work that we need to complete in the coming months. We can’t start until the end of February, so until then, we’re doing research on what is necessary, if we can do it ourselves and where to find the professional in the event that we can’t do it ourselves. Each of these items has about a million smaller points under it, so I’ll just list the major work:

  • Change the electrical system to conform with modern standards (it was last updated in the 70’s so at the moment it’s “non-conforme” as they say in French)
  • Separate the heating from one boiler system for the whole building to individual boilers per apartment
  • Move the bathroom from it’s current location at the corner of the apartment to an interior space
  • All of the cosmetic work following these major works – including restoring the hardwood floors, putting down a new bathroom floor, and poured concrete floors in the kitchen & winter garden.


Phew… All of this while trying not to damage any of the existing features, in place since 1920! Check out the vitrine of the guy having a smoke on his break below. The glass panels are really special!

Taking a break

On top of all of this, we have a 100m squared garden, which we need to split from our neighbour’s garden by creating a long garden path where there are currently large bushes. So there’s heavy work to do outside too, but that will come a little later.


At the moment we’re in research mode. When I browse design sites or conduct Pinterest searches about DIY, I notice that there is a tendency to do DIY work for as cheap as possible, often with the worst of materials. This is not true of everyone, of course, but the tips and tutorials for this kind of work lean towards using cheap fabrics, hot glue, sprays, plastic, etc. It’s hard to find DIY tutorials on the cheap from found objects, second-hand pieces or furniture passed down through families. There are many beautiful images of these sorts of thing, yes, but not so many DIY tutorials for renovating. It’s always along the lines of “87 ways to hide those ugly curtain rails for under $25.” You know there’s going to be a suggestion to use a a no-sew glue in there somewhere. It could be because I’m searching in English and a lot of the posts come from the US where it seems work can be seen as temporary as it will be updated again in a few years. Any work we do will be expected to last for the long haul…

Our approach is somewhat different. Not better or worse, but a different way of approaching DIY and renovations. Meh, this is my blog, our way *is* better! 😉  It’s far more ecological – we’ll avoid new buys as far as possible, including materials such as fabric, etc. As far as possible our pieces are going to be found, bought second-hand or donated by family and friends. Any of the upgrade work we do, we’ll try to use the best techniques that we can find. On that, we’re incredibly lucky. We’re surrounded by talented craftspeople and know a thing or two about renovating furniture and rooms ourselves. There will be the odd IKEA feature, but who doesn’t love a little slice of Sweden at home?!

Coming soon: Are you as excited as me about my bathroom cabinet!?

a x



  1. Chad's Crooked House · April 25, 2016

    We don’t all hot glue our homes together in America! But when I bought my house there was a big streak of gorilla glue that dripped out from a botched attempt to hang a curtain rod.


    • aisling · April 26, 2016

      Ha! Thanks Chad, I know it’s a sweeping generalisation! I guess I just get so frustrated when I’m searching for tutorials and many of them feature “no sew!” or “no nails!” instructions. I quite like the hands-on methods of nailing and sewing! And it’s bound to last a little longer, right?!
      That’s a pretty gross find, I hope you were able to get rid of the glue.


      • Chad's Crooked House · April 26, 2016

        I split a lot of the woodwork taking it down and ended up putting in new (special order) trim throughout. And I had to find “no nail” solutions because my brick is too soft to nail into, but they were all WAY harder than nailing. I’ve thought about getting Aunt Sophia’s old sewing machine fixed and trying my hand at sewing, too


      • Chad's Crooked House · April 30, 2016

        I split too much of my trim and replaced it with something appropriate.


  2. aisling · April 26, 2016

    Oh sugar. Our brick is quite soft too, we occasionally had to put supports on the walls before drilling or nailing anything, and it seems to have worked fine.
    Sewing is a real pleasure if you can get your hands on a good machine!


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