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Putting down new roots

We have successfully moved away from The Hague last weekend! The two weeks prior to that we’ve spent preparing our new house, as well as finishing up some loose ends in our old house. Very busy, as we were moving to a city one hour’s drive away, and we went there every single day. We spent some time preparing (choosing the laminate flooring, the paint colour, and picking up our supplies), and then we started painting walls and ceilings, and we laid down laminate flooring in the living room and the hallway. It was a lot of work, and our goal was to have the ground floor and the bedroom ready when we moved. We júst made it. I’ll tell you more about it in this post! If you’re here for the crafting posts, those will be coming again soon, once we’re settled in a bit more.

My first cup of tea in the backyard of our new place

We took two weeks off work to prepare the move. We rented a (small) car for those two weeks (a Toyota Aygo). In hindsight, we probably should have rented a larger one, but it was mostly a financial decision. And because we drove back and forth every day, we managed to move a substantial number of boxes before moving day!

The study is filled with boxes.
Everything we moved with our little car

There was also some work to be done in Den Haag, for example, painting the bathroom. There was mold in there and we wanted to remove that, of course. So we painted the bathroom with special paint. I did not make “before” pictures, but this first one is after cleaning and preparing the walls, in the middle of the painting job…

In the middle of painting
After painting

We’ve never had that much light in the shower!

That was the main thing we did in the old house, a week before our two-week “vacation”. We considered doing more, but there is so much that has to be done structurally that it felt like a waste to do superficial work like painting. The house is over a hundred years old, and I’ve lived there for the past 22 years. Back when I moved in, the kitchen and carpets were already old. The landlord did not do anything about it, and so neither did I. When my husband moved in with me, we painted the living room and bedroom and laid down laminate flooring, but that’s about it. The house needs some serious TLC (stripping down to its bare bones and building things back up from there).

Freya sitting on top of some moving boxes
Freya is on top of the move

We were quite tired because work had been busy, so we actually needed a holiday, but we had other things to do: choose laminate flooring and pick paint colours. We thought about having grey(ish) flooring at first. We had already picked up some samples from which to choose a week earlier. But then at the last minute I found another candidate: an unsaturated wood colour that I loved instantly. I felt a bit guilty that I was being difficult (at least it felt that way).

Five samples of laminate flooring. The one on the left is wood-coloured, the rest is grey.
The option on the left was introduced by me on the day that we were going to pick up the flooring…

So we took some extra time to make a good decision that we both liked. My husband really preferred the wider planks, and I liked the subtle wood colour more than grey, so in the end we found even another laminate type that we both loved.

Some laminate flooring samples with different widths. We chose the widest one.
The wide one at the top is what we went for in the end!

This was an expensive one, but it was on sale, so it did sort of fit the budget in the end: we decided to lay this one downstairs, and the less expensive narrow one upstairs. We were both really happy with our choice. My brother-in-law came to help us bring the flooring home. Very kind of him! We also decided to use the RAL 9010 standard off-white for the walls and ceilings and bought lots of wall paint. I may have overburdened my knee that day carrying so much stuff, because from then on, it started to hurt more and more every day, to the point where I could hardly go up the stairs anymore. Bad timing when you move from an apartment on the second floor to a house with stairs!

The next day, we started cleaning walls and ceilings. We were finally ready to paint the living room. First the ceiling, then the walls. Quite a lot of work, and over time we painted everything at least twice. A good friend came over to help, which was very nice of him. We also got a chance to chat while keeping our distance (because of Covid-19). Win-win!

The living room is empty. The window is covered in blue plastic, and painting tools are lying around.
Painting the living room

Then we started painting the hallway and the kitchen. The RAL 9010 looks nice. It’s quite a warm colour, perhaps a bit warmer than we wanted, but it glows beautifully in the sunlight. We also got a new washing machine: our old one was quite old already, and we thought that it would make sense to replace it and not carry it to the attic ourselves.

My husband’s family came over to help in the second weekend. He worked on the laminate flooring with his father, while his mother was removing wallpaper upstairs, and I was painting the kitchen (again). My brother-in-law is quite handy, and he fixed holes and irregularities in walls to prepare the upstairs for fiberglass wallpaper. Together, things moved along much faster. And it was nice to see everybody. We took care to keep our distance, though. We sat outside for coffee & lunch even though it was not that warm.

Our backyard, with some garden chairs
We’ve got space now!

We were both very happy with how the laminate flooring looks. The planks are designed to look “endless”, every pattern fits the next, so that looks really cool. And the colour is nice and subtle, but still has character.

The endless laminate flooring in the living room
The living room is done!

The hallway was done soon as well, and the upstairs hallway too. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law and I were putting up fiberglass wallpaper in the bedroom. It’s surprisingly easy. The only reason we didn’t entirely finish that that day was that we ran out of glue. I painted the bedroom twice as well in preparation for our move.

A view of the painted bedroom. It is nice and light.
Wallpaper and paint job done!

And then it was Friday, the one day that we would not travel. Instead, we spent the whole day packing in Den Haag. Which was way more work than we thought. A thrift shop came to pick up some stuff, and we also had a lot of bulky waste that we could not get rid of that day – the car was too small. We decided to drop that stuff off after moving the first load on moving day. We also still had to take down the lamps and the curtains etcetera, but that was not essential for the move, we could do that on Sunday too. The most important thing was to move all the big stuff that wouldn’t fit into our car. We went to bed early to hopefully have enough energy.

Stacks of boxes in our old living room
So much stuff still…

Then it was moving day! My husband went and picked up the van, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law arrived early – they were going to help us. I think it gave them a bit of a shock when they saw how much still needed to be done. But they were champs and went right to work. Meanwhile, I packed the small car and drove Freya to our new house so that she would not be in the way. She would be the first to live there! With my sore knee, I could not really help carrying heavy stuff anyway, so I was doing this as well as packing instead.

Freya is on the window sill of the attic
Checking out the new smells

I locked Freya into the small laundry room in the attic, poor thing. She would have to stay there the whole day. But I did leave her favourite box, her basket, plenty of food, the litter box, her scratching pole, and I built a staircase to the window sill for her. Hopefully, she would be alright. But before locking her in, I gave her a small tour of the box room.

Then I drove back to Den Haag to pack more stuff. The others had just left with the first full van and were on their way to the new house. I came “home” and started to panic a bit. I was super tired, just got my period, my knee was sore, and it felt as if there was more to do than we could manage. So I chatted with a friend a bit and, with her help, managed to pull myself together. Just pick up a box and start filling it. It doesn’t matter where you start, because everything has to come anyway. Slowly, I calmed down and it wasn’t long before I got a message from the others that they had already unloaded the van, and that they were on their way back.

We still had a bit of a scare that day. My husband and his brother went to the bulky waste drop off point around 4:15PM. It would close at 5PM. But there was a long line, and for a while it was not clear if they would make it… In the end, they were one of the last vehicles that were allowed to go in, fortunately. Imagine if we would have had to bring all that stuff to the new place as well!

Time for pizza. And then we continued loading the van. We put the computers and monitors in the small car. And then, around 8PM, I drove away again, while the others were putting the final things in the van. We unloaded the final items round 10:30PM and then I could finally let Freya out of her room. My husband still had to go back to deliver the van to the rental company, so he was home at 1:30AM. But we moved! Everything was here now!

We slept in our new house that night. The mattress was lying on the ground, but still. We were home!

A room full of stuff…

But we weren’t done yet. We still had the house in Den Haag to take care of. That Sunday, we drove back there to clean. We are both horrible housekeepers, so there was so.much.dust. It was horrible. I felt so ashamed on Saturday when it became so obvious how I had failed at keeping that under control, and it was not that much better on Sunday. But we took cleaning supplies and started working. I obviously did not take any “before” pictures…


First, I cleaned the bedroom. That went okay. Then I moved to the back room. I found this super cute memory there:

Paw prints

When we painted the walls and doors, Freya and Fiona had just moved in with me. They were two months old. Of course, they were everywhere where they were not supposed to be. Freya stepped in the paint and made these adorable paw prints on the floor. I know it was her, because I found this photo from 2004:

Naughty little bugger 🙂

Living room

Anyway, we cleaned all the rooms, and I went to the supermarket for some food, because it was getting late already.

Incoming thunderstorm

It became dark early, because a thunderstorm had arrived. I had also invited our landlord to come and inspect the house. Coincidence? Hopefully, we could finalize everything that day. We did not feel like coming back later that week to fix more stuff if we didn’t absolutely have to.

Our landlord was very relaxed and even helped us get rid of some extra garbage. In the end, we had a car full of stuff to bring to the new place, and I handed over the keys because the landlord approved everything. Yay, freedom!

Goodbye, Den Haag!

Only one more thing to do: on Monday we went to Den Haag a final time to hand in the rental car, and to pick up our bicycles.

Picking up my bicycle, and looking at the old house a final time…

Fun thing: back in Den Haag I always attached my bicycle to a street lamp, just like most people do. There was no inside location where I could put it because we lived upstairs. It was always a bit of a gamble to go away, because when you came back, someone else could have claimed your spot. In our new place, we have a small shed in the backyard where we can put our bicycles. But it is now full of stuff from the move, so we have to keep our bicycles outside. But no worries, we’ve got our own lamp now!

My very own lamp in our backyard 🙂 and check out all those boxes upstairs in the study!

We traveled back by train and attempted to cycle to our new house. We took the… ahem… scenic route. But we found our house. And now we live there! All the time! It’s so nice and quiet, and green, and spacious… And we’re absolutely exhausted. But it’s so worth it! I took a walk around the neighbourhood today and I’m loving it.

Our new house
Our street (path)
Walking around, enjoying the autumnal colours
I’m going to try and attract birds to our garden
Freya REALLY wants to go outside. Still supervised only.
Moving house means interesting sleeping spots
And rediscovering old spots!
Working from home in our living room… enjoying the flowers that were delivered in the past few days <3
There are plenty of neighbourhood cats to meet
We all love the view from our living room
The city is beautiful

I’ve finally painted digitally again, after two weeks of painting walls and ceilings

1 thought on “Putting down new roots

  1. congratulations!
    oh what an emotional rollercoaster, moving in such a short time and doing so much work. Good of you to manage it the way you did! So grateful for your friends and family too!
    That flooring is absolutely beautiful, what good choices you two made.
    enjoy enjoy enjoy your lovely new home

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