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Minimalism Lifestyles

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Andrew
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Andrew Posted: Wed, Jan 9 2013 4:27 PM

Hi there

I've been reading up quite a bit on minimilism and recently decluttered my flat and gave away loads of old clothes and stuff that I didn't want or need anymore, in fact I was left with the essentials, i.e retro danish furntiure that I love, my avant, pentas etc. etc. I may have gone to far eliminating the TV from the bedroom though (as most minimilists don't even own one apparently) and am now looking for another Avant for in there.

Anyway, it got me thinking if anyone else has tried minimilism and got on fine with it or hated it. My personal experience has been getting rid of clutter and only owning things you absolutely love has been great and it feels like my space. Obviously not for everyone and not everyone can (if you live with a partner or have kids etc)

Interested in any views/opinions/experiences

***edited by mika: I fixed the title Smile

tournedos
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I'm no extremist in this sense either, but I lived for a long time in a tiny apartment, and got to hate all the little objects that arrive from nowhere, pile up in the closets, on the shelves and floors, and make you feel quilty of throwing them away. it would've been frankly impossible to count my possessions.

Then, I bought a flat that's more than twice as big and got to move after almost 18 years of staying in the same place. I threw away a lot of junk, sold quite a bit, and a lot of various objects are still boxed away after 1½ years of not being needed. I quickly learned to love the empty space, but have admitted in some well selected stuff little by little - just this Monday, I actually bought a bed Big Smile

Most of the "little" things I have around now are somehow related to the B&O hobby: components, spare parts, tools, various pieces of kit that just aren't being used (although a lot is still in storage elsewhere).

I used to admire the empty, vacant interiors so prolific in B&O PR pics but now I'm not sure anymore. They seem somehow lifeless and so '00s. Some of the recent ads demonstrate how it is possible to have cluttered, but still good looking interiors: the trick apparently is to get rid of ugly things, and the objects that don't play well with other objects. Easier said than done...

--mika

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beocool replied on Wed, Jan 9 2013 6:33 PM

I've always liked minimalism. For some reason I do not particularly like owning things, maybe because things tend to own you as well. As a consequence there's no clutter in my house at all and only a limited amount of Danish furniture. Downside is that most B&O systems aren't used at the moment and either stored or waiting to be sold.

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

Ƨcɑɽɑɱɑnɡɑ
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Minimalism? Ha! I can only dream!

I have so much crap/clutter around -I could be on Hoarders!

One of these days, I think I am just gonna' go Elvis and start busting stuff up.

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Jeff
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Jeff replied on Wed, Jan 9 2013 11:48 PM

Ah, minimalism, it's the least you can do! Smile

I have been a fan forever, but it's darned hard to do, especially if you have a small home and are acquisitive by nature. Previously I had a 1200 sq ft house, and it was a constant battle that was never won. We would do periodic purges, particularly of books, otherwise we'd have been like those folks shown in hoarder shows that wind up buried in junk. I do love the look though.

I have recently moved, we bought my in-laws house after my father-in-law passed away and my mother-in-law moved into an active senior living place. He was a mid century modernist, the house is very stylish and open, with great floor to ceiling windows in places with views out over the yard. It's about 3000+ sq ft upstairs where we live, and another 1000 sq ft in a downstairs apartment. I now have half a hope for a minimalist look, but even now it's hard to accomplish. For one thing, you have to constantly pick up after yourself and not leave clutter around, though clutter looks less onerous the bigger the house is. As we are still unpacking and having repairs done, we oscillate between neater and piled up while we sort and go thru.

This house was at one time in Architectural Digest maybe 40 + years ago, and my father-in-law talked about how they came in and moved everything hout and brought in the furniture they wanted to photograph in the house, so what you see in magazines is really staged. If you look at the pics, there usually is no indication that anyone lives there, no tissue boxes, magazines laying around, etc.

I have to admit that it's hard to get rid of stuff, but there's been very very little I've ever gotten rid of that I regretted, even now I think we have too much stuff and will eventually dump a lot of it. I don't find the look cold or sterile, but more Zen simplicity and restful/peaceful.

Wish me luck on achieving minimalism!

 

Jeff

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symmes
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symmes replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 10:45 AM

@ Jeff  

C'mon man.....that warrants a picture.  Wonderful description!  I have always loved that Atlanta and Birmingham, for example, have cool smatterings of mid-century architecture tucked away in "normal" neighborhoods.  

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Jeff replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 4:59 PM

Well, the inside is still a mess as we have boxes everywhere, when I get unpacked and have the B&O in place, I will definitely post in the Flash Your B&O thread! In the meantime, here's an outide view:

 

Jeff

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beocool replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 5:11 PM

Jeff:

Well, the inside is still a mess as we have boxes everywhere, when I get unpacked and have the B&O in place, I will definitely post in the Flash Your B&O thread! In the meantime, here's an outide view:

 

Love mid century modern... Yes - thumbs up

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

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Jeff replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 5:36 PM

Me too! My late father-in-law designed the house and had it built in 1963. He was head of the art and design department for a large textile firm, and he had a very good eye IMO. All my wife's relatives are glad we bought it and are keeping it in the family.

The round window you can see on the side of the house is the master bedroom, it's almost floor to ceiling, and very Asian inspired. Out in the lawn he has the same design in brick that outlines what used to be the rose garden. We also have a terraced Japanese garden behind the house. The whole yard needs serious work as it's gone to seed and overgrown, but that'll wait until Spring. And until I have the inside done.

The yard is a tad under 3 acres, and it really brings home the difference in agricultural techniques when you stop and consider that one acre used to be defined as the area one man and an ox could plow in one day!

And the house came with a baby grand piano, a Steinway, and a spinett harpsichord (in teak no less)!

Jeff

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valve1 replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 5:37 PM

Jeff:
here's an outide view

"on the outside lookin in"

Must flash my own B&O....

Andrew
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Andrew replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 6:28 PM

Hey Jeff - good look with Minimalism, you're certainly off to a good start with that house! - it's beautiful, I can imagine B&O in there.

Yes, I think there's a lot written about Minimalism but when it comes down to it, it's about keeping what you value that you find pleasing to look at or use and throwing out everything else that just isn't - practicalities don't come into it! at least not in a perfect world. I've found that I really really miss my TV in the bedroom so will get another beovision of some sort and playing vinyl, so another beogram - won't be in such a haste next time

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Jan 10 2013 8:20 PM

ajames:

Hey Jeff - good look with Minimalism, you're certainly off to a good start with that house! - it's beautiful, I can imagine B&O in there.

Yes, I think there's a lot written about Minimalism but when it comes down to it, it's about keeping what you value that you find pleasing to look at or use and throwing out everything else that just isn't - practicalities don't come into it! at least not in a perfect world. I've found that I really really miss my TV in the bedroom so will get another beovision of some sort and playing vinyl, so another beogram - won't be in such a haste next time

Thanks guys! I'm loving the house. And I think you hit on something important in mimimalism, that is keeping things you value and use. If you go too far it's not going to be enjoyable to live that way, but you also have to get ruthless with respect to getting rid of things you don't use. We all tend to be pack rats I think, but you should go thru and anything you haven't used or even looked at in a year or more and think seriously about whether or not you need it. I've been following a certain cooking show over here by Alton Brown, Good Eats. One of his main things is he says he has only one "unitasker" in his kitchen, that is one thing that's only useful for one function, and that's a fire extinguisher, everything else must do more than one thing. That's certainly a good start for a kitchen.

I am still fighting that battle. I have been unpacking my electronics, and I have more than I will ever need of non B&O stuff, I have three integrated amps, a receiver, two CD players (was 3, I just got rid of one), two tuners, three preamps, and four power amps, three DVD players,two cassette decks, two turntables, plus uncounted raw drivers and other speakers. I have room for most of it but don't really need it, I should start getting rid of at least some of it. Same with camera equipment, I have tons but only use about three of the cameras.

As long as you can hide the stuff in a closet or cabinet it's not too bad, but it goes against the idea of culling your possessions and living a simpler life. I do know I have gotten rid of a lot of clothes now that I'm retired and can revert to my usual jeans and t-shirt approach to life. Smile

This is a good thread/discussion. Here's another question, in your minds does minimalism require you use more modern furniture? Or can you be minimalist with older styles? My personal preference leans towards mid century and even earlier minimalist furnishings (LeCorbusier, Eileen Gray, etc.). I can see where one or two older pieces can serve as a focal point or such, but not using all of it, to me minimalist seems to require more modern and minimalist furnishings, not overly ornate or fluffy stuff.

Jeff

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Cleviebaby
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Perhaps one of the best-known exponents of 'minimalism' as an architectural style is the British architect John Pawson, although he actually hates the term!  His spaces are flooded with light and extremely beautiful.  Here is a link to his website where there some good examples of his work. 

http://www.johnpawson.com/

Unfortunately, all those hard surfaces are wholly unsuited to playing music on our Beosystems!  

Cleve    

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Jeff replied on Fri, Jan 11 2013 3:03 PM

Beautiful stuff, very minimalist. But, while I love such architecture, it is truly a work of modern art, as I've noted it isn't livable, even if you realize that they removed all the usual detritus of daily life, tissue boxes, etc., it's missing some things I've come to realize that I find essential. Books. I don't feel at home in a house without lots of books, and I've seen many modern houses that manage to balance minimalism with books. 

Bookcases full of books also go a long way towards improving the acoustics of a room. Which, as you point out, are a nightmare in a house like the ones on the website you reference. 

Pin the US version of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo the bad guys house is the same stark minimalism, but it does have a Beosound 9000 and a pair of Beolab 5's. 

Jeff

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beocool replied on Fri, Jan 11 2013 7:25 PM

Cleviebaby:

Perhaps one of the best-known exponents of 'minimalism' as an architectural style is the British architect John Pawson, although he actually hates the term!  His spaces are flooded with light and extremely beautiful.  Here is a link to his website where there some good examples of his work. 

http://www.johnpawson.com/

Unfortunately, all those hard surfaces are wholly unsuited to playing music on our Beosystems!  

Cleve    

I've been a fan since the 90's. He's the true master of minimalism as a style. Too achieve this level you need to invest a lot. His own is a good example. The inside of the entire house was stripped out completely and a new foundation was made to accomodate the heavier floors and walls.  For instance the countertops in the kitchen are so heavy you need a crane to lift them in place. Same with the bathtub, it weighs almost as much as a small car. Also the big size of the floor tiles is not easy on the wallet.

Minimal? yes in appearance. The impact on the wallet, the amount of materials used and the environment is another story.

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

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Jeff replied on Sat, Jan 12 2013 3:32 PM

You point out something true and interesting, much of the stunning architectural minimalism relies on seriously expensive materials. You make up for lack of ornamentation with high grade materials to get that expensive look. No dry wall covered in paint, but lots of stone and wood, though concrete works well in many designs. I'm currently trying to find a good vendor to do concrete countertops in my master bath. 

 

Jeff

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Andrew replied on Mon, Jan 14 2013 10:34 AM

I seem to remember reading somewhere, a long time ago, that Pawsons favourite TV was the Beovision MX series, I think it may have been a 4000 - also in the magazine he had a whole wall that concealed behind doors all his clutter, of which was an MX and Beosystem 5000.

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tournedos replied on Mon, Jan 14 2013 11:15 AM

Yesterday, I read in the morning paper about a guy who filmed a documentary on minimalisim. At first he put all his possessions to storage, and then allowed himself to fetch one thing from there each day. Try that Big Smile

--mika

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Jeff replied on Mon, Jan 14 2013 12:03 PM

tournedos:

Yesterday, I read in the morning paper about a guy who filmed a documentary on minimalisim. At first he put all his possessions to storage, and then allowed himself to fetch one thing from there each day. Try that Big Smile

The same approach is recommended by the aforementioned Alton Brown to deal with kitchen clutter. Put most of your kitchen tools and gadgets elsewhere, and if you haven't used it in a month or so pitch it. Makes sense, if you don't use it you aren't likely to miss it. I have more places to hide stuff in the new house, which is both good and bad as it encourages me to not be as ruthless in getting rid of stuff as I was in the small house. 

Jeff

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Lol.. I used to live without a tv in my rented apartment at The Plaza in NYC for a yr. And I must admit that I did not miss it one bit. Why watch on tv when you can watch the programs you like on a 27inch iMac on demand? Plus that move really freed up a lot of time for me to concentrate on my studies and reading etc.... 

Although I must admit it would not be practical at all if you are partnered though. 

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Andrew replied on Wed, Jan 16 2013 12:43 PM

My Sky box gave up the ghost anbout six months ago and I cancelled the contract and now just stream films onto my TV or watch DVD, there's loads to watch with iPlayer, Netflix and Lovefilm and I've found that I have more time to do other things and don't miss the adverts or dross that I used to watch at all. It was strange at first but now I wouldn't get another digibox and don't need to pay a TV Licence either. Agree though it's not suitable for everyone, bit worked for me - probably spurred on by reading all the stuff on minilimalism - to get rid of it wouldn't work but not to have adverts all the time is great.

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beocool replied on Fri, Jan 18 2013 4:52 PM

Jeff:

You point out something true and interesting, much of the stunning architectural minimalism relies on seriously expensive materials. You make up for lack of ornamentation with high grade materials to get that expensive look. No dry wall covered in paint, but lots of stone and wood, though concrete works well in many designs. I'm currently trying to find a good vendor to do concrete countertops in my master bath. 

 

Yes, the point I was trying to make there is a difference in minimalism as a style and minimalism as a lifestyle.

 

Vähintään yhdeksänkymmentä prosenttia suomalainen! 

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Jeff replied on Fri, Jan 18 2013 5:09 PM

It's an excellent point, it's easy to get caught up in the visual style and forget the more philosophical aspects as regards life choices. Which is where a lot of the friction occurs between the "look" and actually living in such an abode it seems. Hard to live in that kind of house, regardless of what its made of, if you really continue to live with the idea that more is more!

Jeff

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Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Jan 24 2013 2:19 AM

Coincidentally, this appeared a few days ago on the comics site I read, seems relevant:

 

Jeff

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Now on February 28th you may watch the CEO of a not too small company resign and choose a simple life in a small remote place in a garden just behind a church on the banks of the Tiber ...

My great respect to Pope Benedict!

Peter the biker

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Yes, let's pay respect to the guy who is directly responsible for thousands of deaths in Africa by telling poor, undereducated people that not only does condoms not work, but that they are in fact the cause of AIDS.

Perhaps now the Catholic Church can reenter the 1900s with a more progressive pope (in lieu of dismantling the CC entirely as it ought to be, of course).

 

Thank God, that fundamentalist is gone.Good riddance.,

 

Ƨcɑɽɑɱɑnɡɑ
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Electrified:

Yes, let's pay respect to the guy who is directly responsible for thousands of deaths in Africa by telling poor, undereducated people that not only does condoms not work, but that they are in fact the cause of AIDS.

Perhaps now the Catholic Church can reenter the 1900s with a more progressive pope (in lieu of dismantling the CC entirely as it ought to be, of course).

 

Thank God, that fundamentalist is gone.Good riddance.,

 

My final post on BeoWorld.

The "electric" twins win.

Thank you all for so much!

Cheers to my friends!

 

P.S. Lee, send my recent BS8/A8 LOL fret win to: Tod Daniel of Salcombe, so he actually has some B&o.

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ɓʋɾɑɳɫɘɮ:

My final post on BeoWorld.

The "electric" twins win.

Thank you all for so much!

Cheers to my friends!

Jeff,

This is truly sad, if understandable.   

I have sent you an email

Cleve

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ɓʋɾɑɳɫɘɮ:

My final post on BeoWorld.

The "electric" twins win.

Thank you all for so much!

Cheers to my friends!

Off all posts you pick that one to play offended over  Ick!

 

Peter the Biker
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burantek:

My final post on BeoWorld.

Let it be your last answer to somebody, who posts without thinking, but don't let you be chased away by him. I stay (hopefully with you).

Peter the biker

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Jeff replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 1:39 PM

Well, thanks a lot for that Electrified...it's bad enough this thread on minimalism didn't continue, as it's an interesting subject that B&O definitely relates to (and one I was hoping would take off more), but now it's pretty well poisoned by your post, which is sitting there like a turd in a punchbowl.

I find it repulsive and I'm not only not Catholic but not even a believer. Before you give Wonderfulelectric too much grief take a look in the mirror yourself.

Jeff

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Electrified
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Jeff:
Well, thanks a lot for that Electrified...it's bad enough this thread on minimalism didn't continue, as it's an interesting subject that B&O definitely relates to (and one I was hoping would take off more), but now it's pretty well poisoned by your post, which is sitting there like a turd in a punchbowl.

I wasn't the one bringing up the Pope in a thread about minimalism - and paid public respect to such a vile man and ditto institution. Ipoditiv was.

Jeff:
I find it repulsive and I'm not only not Catholic but not even a believer. Before you give Wonderfulelectric too much grief take a look in the mirror yourself.

I wasn't the idiot who brought up the pope. Ipoditiv was.

It seems at this stage you're merely looking for excuses to take offense - even if it entails taking offense on behalf of others.

 

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Jeff replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 3:04 PM

I take it back, you don't need a mirror, you need a colonoscopy.

Jeff

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Electrified
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Jeff:

I take it back, you don't need a mirror, you need a colonoscopy.

I'm glad you went to the effort to prove my point.

 

 

 

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Luke replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 4:56 PM

I'm catholic. It's not offensive to me.... but let's just move on and not talk about religion or politics. 

 

On topic.

I have this lifestyle and it's a pain in the butt. The cleaner has to come twice a week, and as soon as you dump some mail on the counter, or leave your shoes in the hallway the entire effect is ruined. 

That said, when the place looks good, it really looks good. 

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I think that the key to minimalism, besides not having a lot of things, is to have ways of hiding the titbits needed (afterall)  in everyday life. Places to hide keys, shoes, coats, bills, phone charger etc..

 

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Jeff replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 5:44 PM

lukeswiss:

I have this lifestyle and it's a pain in the butt. The cleaner has to come twice a week, and as soon as you dump some mail on the counter, or leave your shoes in the hallway the entire effect is ruined. 

That said, when the place looks good, it really looks good. 

Thanks for returning to the topic at hand. There is a need to have hidey holes for things, places to throw mail and such, but there's also a certain conflict between hiding them and forgetting to attend to them. As usual for a minimalist lifestyle, it requires some discipline.

In my house I have a large combined living area in addition to the tradtional living room, both of which are quite large. The area where most people gather and we tend to live is a combined dining room, kitchen, and sun room that has floor to ceiling windows. We tend to store things in a drawer at the end of the kitchen cabinets right next to the sun room, and previously my in-laws had a desk made up of a couple of short file cabinets with a board on them behind folding doors that line the whole side of the dining room. The left one used to be for the desk, the center one for a TV and stereo that connected to old ceiling speakers, and the right one for brooms, cleaning supplies, etc. I turned the left one into a large pantry, which the house really needed especially as I tend to have a lot of odd sauces and such around for various kinds of Asian cooking along with baking supplies, etc. I tend to cook more than my in-laws did. Then went to the grocery store every other day or so and I tend to keep more staples around and go twice a week for fresh stuff.

But I'm also regretting the loss of the desk area. Stuff tends to get piled on the counter top or the dining table or the coffee table in the seating area in the sun room. We have a room that's not far away that's going to be an office, a small bedroom off the library, but the problem will be disciplining myself, and especially my wife, to use it and not still pile stuff on the tables and counter.

Jeff

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To Jeff:

I totally agree. It will be a project of the next weeks to clear some surfaces in my kitchen, office and living room of all the clutter.

As somebody said: It starts with an empty desk, so you can start the next task, clean your desk for the following task ...

I hope it won't be a dream ...

Peter the biker

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Jeff replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 6:43 PM

I'm facing the problem of the fact that this house is still undergoing a lot of repair and restoration work (roof went on last weekend). I have three rooms getting new flooring, so everything for them is piled in the living room, etc. until I get the floors in and can move things back. Add to that the fact I've got tools laying around everywhere as I'm adding shelves, hanging pictures, lights, etc. and we oscillate between clutter and extreme clutter right now. We occasionally throw things in closets and entertain family members when they come over in the dining/sun room area so we get a glimpse of how the house will look eventually at those times.

The one bright spot so far is the master bedroom, it's about 80% done, so it is kind of a haven from the rest of the house at times.

Still and all, the glimpses of what it can be are making it worth the effort, it's being patient that's the problem. Kind of want it fixed right now, but it takes time to get contractors and work organized. I still haven't even unpacked the B&O, let alone got all the Masterlink cable strung. Patience patience I keep telling myself.

Jeff

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vikinger replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 8:32 PM

Jeff:

I'm facing the problem of the fact that this house is still undergoing a lot of repair and restoration work (roof went on last weekend). I have three rooms getting new flooring, so everything for them is piled in the living room, etc. until I get the floors in and can move things back. Add to that the fact I've got tools laying around everywhere as I'm adding shelves, hanging pictures, lights, etc. and we oscillate between clutter and extreme clutter right now. We occasionally throw things in closets and entertain family members when they come over in the dining/sun room area so we get a glimpse of how the house will look eventually at those times.

The one bright spot so far is the master bedroom, it's about 80% done, so it is kind of a haven from the rest of the house at times.

Still and all, the glimpses of what it can be are making it worth the effort, it's being patient that's the problem. Kind of want it fixed right now, but it takes time to get contractors and work organized. I still haven't even unpacked the B&O, let alone got all the Masterlink cable strung. Patience patience I keep telling myself.

We moved to our present mid-sized apartment two years ago. Central heating system was renewed with stainless steel radiators etc and cable runs sorted out with ducts in the floors below the carpets. Sods law, no sooner were all the carpets fitted that we found we needed more cables which we had to fit In further ducting above the skirting boards. I am still doing work on fitting skylights for internal bathrooms etc and have the same problem of putting tools away (and then finding them again the next morning!)

About half a mile from our apartment, on the more expensive side of an adjoining woodland, a very large traditional house has recently been demolished and replaced with a modernistic house looking very much like yours Jeff! It has full height windows with a spectacular view across Liverpool Bay right along the North Wales coast. It's in a rural suburb originally full of 19th century merchant and shipowner retreats...... now gradually the big houses are being occupied by over-paid football players. 

 

Graham

 

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