Expat Life, Day 41-43: Getting Floors Installed with CarpetRight & Painting
We haven’t had much culture shock living here so far because everyone speaks English, which makes everything so much easier, until we moved into our place.
After a few places for apartment, we narrowed down our choices to a place that was 1) completely furnished, spacious, in a lesser desirable neighborhood but still close to everything, and with a friendly landlord or 2) a smaller, brand new place where we’d have to paint the walls, put in floors, add light fixtures and mirrors, and whatever else we’d encounter. The big bonus of the 2nd place despite all the work and things we’d have to buy is that it’s right on top of the Ten Kate Market.
Depending on where the stands are on the day of the week, I sometimes walk right out of my door to the poffertjes stand and get a plate full of tasty poffertjes with a big slab of butter and a healthy dusting of confectioner’s sugar for 2 euros. YUM!
So as you can tell, the unfinished, more work apartment won over the other fully furnished one simply because of the market because as you know, I love food, cooking, and in general, being surrounded by food.
Anyways, new Dutch apartments don’t come with paint, floors, light fixtures, sometimes kitchens but our company installed a fridge, cabinets, stove, etc. (lucky us!), and mirrors. So even though we moved in on October 2nd, we still had a lot of work cut out for us.
Here is the apartment before we did anything.
It was a nice, cold box essentially as heat, water, and electricity didn’t kick in ’till the 2nd day. Apparently, when you move into a new Dutch apartment, you’re also signing up for ongoing construction of the building and your apartment ’till whenever they finish.
We have no clue when that’ll be. We just got our bathroom sink installed a few days ago. Before then, we were using our kitchen sink for everything. It started to gross me out– brushing our teeth, washing dishes, and cleaning paintbrushes all in one area. By the way, I’m a neat freak.
We thought installing floors would be expensive, but it was reasonably priced at €1,500 for the 45 meter squared apartment. With the floors included spread over a period of 24 months (how long we plan to stay in this apartment), this apartment was still cheaper than other places we had looked at. The rental market in Amsterdam is off the chain right now, and finding an apartment within our budget has been tough, but we did it!
We had a couple of options of getting floors installed, which involved 1) installing it ourselves to keep the service costs down, 2) hiring a handyman after we purchased the materials or 3) going to a big store and having them take care of everything. We ended up getting floors installed with CarpetRight and having them take care of everything, which was necessary considering that we had to still buy and build furniture and paint the place.
We found CarpetRight through recommendations from people on a Yelp forum. They did a pretty good job with a few minor hiccups around the place, but with the back and forth we had with them with payments, we decided to just live with it. So overall, we’re happy.
Here’s what the apartment looks like with flooring and two days of painting. It looks much better with something so simple and that I’ve taken for granted in the States.
We picked light floors and white paint since the winters are long here, and the skies are usually overcast to keep it bright and light. We will, of course, fill it with tons of art. I’m going towards a minimal / modern / Scandinavian look. I am not a designer, just a foodie, so hopefully it all turns out ok.
As a note for the painting, Mike and I are not cut out for manual labor like this. While we painted, I decided that I want to make enough money in life to be able to hire painters– sort of like my last goal of making enough money to be able to afford organic or healthy food without ever having to think twice about budgeting for something as important as my health.
I’m so looking forward to filling the apartment just how I want it. Since college and after, I’ve been furnishing my apartment with free furniture I’ve found on Craigslist, which by the way, if you live in New York, the NYC Craigslist is a gold mine. I’ve gotten really good stuff off there such as a brand new AC unit and shelving systems. But now, I’m married, and thus, more of an adult or at least transitioning into a different stage of my life where I can actually start owning my own furniture and designing from a blank slate.
That’s all for now. The hard part is over (painting is the worst). The fun begins with decorating. Can’t wait to show you the end results– where Mike and I call home now.