A time to play


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Hi all,

This is the last post that we are doing. We are including the indoor play areas – the TV room and the attic.
The TV room (internet based tv only) is technically the kids play room – but they seem to use our lounge for that more – however many times we tell them it is not allowed. The attic is definitely a great place to hang out – as long as you are small enough to stand comfortably in there……

So, on to the tv room – as you can see from the first 4 photos – the tv room used to be the bathroom and utility area for the house. This was actually the largest waste of space that we had ever seen. When we bought the house we had already planned on improving this area – we just didn’t realise by how much!

The tv room area when we bought the house
The tv room area when we bought the house
The tv room area when we bought the house
The tv room area when we bought the house

The next photo is during the demolition
The tv room during the demolition
The next photo is a stage that has been shown a few times – the building of the walls. You can see how much we changed the layout
The tv room as the walls were being built
The next photos show the two small windows when they were being prepared to be enlarged to 1 very large window.
Enlarging the windows
The next photo shows the metal bar that was built to hang the net onto. The net itself can easily hold 4 large adults!
The tv room area - the bar for the net
The last two photos here are professional photos of the finished room. The props and carpet are not ours.
The tv room finished
The tv room finished

On to the attic – this is the main play area for the kids.
The first photo is the attic when we bought the house (after we threw out all the rubbish)
The attic area when we bought the house
The next 3 are during the building stage.
The attic - during the building stage
The attic area - building the wall of the storage room
The attic area - more building
The last two are professional photos again – most of the props are still not ours – but the bean bag, guitar, chairs and snooker table are!
The attic area finished
The attic area finished

This is basically the end of the blog. We hope that you have enjoyed following our journey over the last 2 1/2 years and got a good laugh out of our stories – and maybe even some ideas about how to avoid the mistakes that we made along the way.

Feel free to make comments – we would love to get some feedback.

In the words of Douglas Adams:

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Adam and Joelle 🙂

Work before play


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A slight misnomer in the title – as to be honest playtime will be the next post of this saga.
I am going to cover our study/guest room plus the family bathroom today.
Firstly an update on what’s been happening – we had over the main suppliers (and their families) for a barbecue this past week. It is nice to actually relax and socialise with people that you spend so much time working with. The reason for the year (plus) delay was that I was waiting for my smoker to arrive (plus then some time to get comfortable using it) before inviting them. Maybe not so interesting to you – but the meat menu was smoked ribs and homemade sausages plus normal (bbq) grilled sausages, burgers and chicken wings – plus the standard paraphernalia of complementary cuisine and drinks.
I am not sure if I mentioned this in the last blog – but our intercom system has stopped working. I called the alarm company that installed it and they want an annual support fee for the cameras, intercom and alarm – the price was “Al Hapanim” (“al hapanim” approximately is used for “way over the top”) – so I called the electrician that installed our network and sound system. He will come for free and check the system out – at that point we will get a price and make a decision.

On to the rooms – We will be starting with the study. This room is also used as our main guest bedroom. The main negative from this room is that it is sandwiched between the two boys rooms (one next door and the other opposite).

The first two photos show the study as it was when we bought the house. Like all the rooms – this one changed size and shape but we also completely moved the position of the cupboards as can be seen in later photos.
Looking into study when we bought the house
Looking out of the study when we bought the house
The next photo was the destruction of the study.
Destruction of the study
Like the phoenix – out of destruction comes rebirth (although a lot slower in this case). The photo of the walls being built is from the stairs and the study is on the right hand side of the picture. The other photo speaks for itself.
Building the study walls
Building the study door
After the windows were installed I took photos of all of them. This photo below shows the light fitting as well – and so I have included it as we really struggled to find these lights. We were looking for a really common UK light fixture that uses multiple spots (3 or 4) and swivels easily to point wherever you want them. This light was the nearest that we could find. We used them in all the upstairs rooms (except the playroom)
The study light and window
The following two photos are professional and therefore are using “props” that we do not have or use in the house….
The study's bedroom
The study's work area

On to the bathroom – possibly the most used room in the house……
As normal, I am starting with the beginning. This was the area as it first was – a bedroom. This is the area that you can most easily see how much we changed the interior layout of the house. Everyone who went into the old building could not understand the waste of space that we turned into a bathroom and tv/playroom. You can see part of that transformation below.
Looking into the 'bathroom' as it was when we bought the house
Looking into the 'bathroom' as it was when we bought the house
Again, we started with the destruction and moved on to the building – not a surprise really.
Bathroom area after destruction
Below is the first interesting feature. We had to drop the ceiling so that we could put the air conditioning manifold in this area. Every air conditioning pipe for every unit in the house is connected here – that is 9 units in the house plus the compressor unit of the roof.
In the bathroom, the ceiling was dropped so to include the main air-conditioning manifold
The bath was almost the first thing installed – this is shown after protection in the photo below.
The bath installed and protected
The photo below shows the area which will become our utility room – it is small, but has plenty of storage. The only thing missing is a sink – but it is next to the bathroom so there isn’t far to go.
The utility room area
After installing the bath we started the tiling. This can be seen in the two photos below.
The bathroom during tiling
The bathroom after windows were installed
Below is our sink and vanity unit.
The vanity unit and sink
The following 3 photos are professional and so once again have props that are not ours. Our bathroom in real life does not look like it is in an expensive restaurant or hotel – honest (especially after the kids’ rushed morning ablutions….)
The bath
The bathroom
The utility room

That’s all for today.

This is possibly the penultimate post. The next post will include the 2 indoor play areas. Depending on the number of photos I may include photos of the roof. I may include it in another post.
We have not covered in this blog the rental unit that we have downstairs.

Thats all for now,

Adam & Joelle.

And time for bed


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Since the last blog we actually had a visit from Hermetix who fixed the simpler issues with the front door. On the phone they said that they did not cover the paint issue (it is peeling) on their warranty but when the technician came he stated that it was their fault as they did not prepare the door carefully enough prior to painting, so they are going to build us a new front door panel.

I am moving from our area on to the colloquial mess i.e the 2 boys’ bedrooms. I am hoping that this is not too little material – but I do not want too many photos on one page.

Before we move onto the photos I would to comment on two things. The first is that is that we completely changed the layout on this floor and so the before/after photos are a little difficult to link together. They are very different! The second is that our oldest son’s bedroom is very small (He has access to the balcony as a compensation) and I do not have a wide lens camera – this is why I do not have many decent photos of his bedroom.

Below is our oldest son’s bedroom before the work started.
Natanel's bedroom as it was when we moved into the house
This is the same area (plus the study) after the demolition.
Natanel's bedroom and the study as it was when we moved into the house
This is the bed area as it is now. We spent a long time looking for a bed to fit well as the room is small and needed a good quality desk underneath.
Natanel's bed
This last photo is a professional photo that was taken – the props (and picture on the cupboard) do not match our family home at all – nor the room of a 12 year old boy – but the photos weren’t taken for us and so we had only a little say on the matter.
Professional photo of Natanel's room

On to our younger son’s room. The first two photos show the room as it was when we moved in and after the demolition.
Ya'akov's room as it was when we moved into the house
Ya'akov's room after the demolition
This next photo is actually looking out of the room when the walls were being rebuilt. The non-straight walls are to add a modicum of privacy plus fit the wardrobes into the rooms.
Rebuilding the walls
The last two photos show our youngest son’s room (today)
Ya'akov's sleeping area as it is now
Ya'akov's cupboard as it is now

Next blog will be the indoor play areas.

To be continued,

Adam & Joelle.

The Master Plan


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It has been too long!
It is always too long!

But, now I have completed sorting through all the rest of the photos and I am ready for the final furlong. I have no more excuses – and so I now have about another 4 or 5 posts until the end of this blog.

The main addition since the previous blog is the smoker which arrived a few weeks ago – yay!

So onward and upwards-
We are continuing with the half floor between the main area and the upstairs rooms. I am labeling it as the master floor as it holds the master bedroom, en-suite and walk-in wardrobe which is our domain. No children are allowed (and we all know that our kids listen to us perfectly all the time). This was also the floor that includes the guest toilet as there was nowhere on the main floor that a toilet would work for us.

And, so on to the photos. This section was actually really difficult to plan for the blog and when we move upstairs it is going to be even more difficult – as the original layouts were very different to how they are now.
We have included just 3 photos of how it was before we moved in. The whole area was used as a rental studio but the kitchen had been taken out (see previous blogs).
Our bedroom suite is split into 4 separate areas (sleeping, electrics, clothes and bathroom.) On top of this we also have a second toilet on the floor for guests. We are trying to depict this in the layout of the design (but there are not any unfinished photos of the wardrobe area as it was a small room that wasn’t easy to photo without a wide angle lens – anyway, a picture of 4 white walls and a brown (identical) floor is not that interesting.)

The following 2 photos were the kitchen and living area of the apartment. They are now our sleeping area/bedroom.
Master bedroom sleeping space as it was when we moved into the house

Master bedroom sleeping space as it was when we moved into the house

The following, exciting, photo of a toilet is actually now our wardrobe. As you can guess, we completely changed the plumbing in the house.
The original toilet

We are now moving on to the bulk of the photos – the building stages. I have basically split them into areas. The first being the main sleeping area. The missing wall actually goes into the dining area and was removed as we moved the placement of this wall to allow for niches on both sides of the new wall.
Sleeping area after demolition

The next stage was to build the basis for the niches which included our bedside lights.
The sleeping niche for lights and all

The next three photos shows most of the flooring stage. Prior to any of these photos, the electricals and water/waste pipes were installed. These photos show two stages of the underfloor heating going in – and the third shows the tile flooring being put above it.

Underfloor heating pipes

protecting the underfloor heating plus providing a medium to spread the heat evenly on to the tiles above.

The tiles being put in

The next area is part of a small hallway between the sleeping area and the toilet/wardrobe. In this area we have the main control panels for different parts of the house (alarm, entry, heating, air conditioning, hot water and circulating pumps). It may be ugly – but it was necessary to put it somewhere!

The electrical panel area

Moving back into the sleeping area we can look out of our bedroom through the French doors into our private garden. Please note that the door in this picture is larger than the original one. In fact the original one was not even on the current plans held at the town hall….

The hole for the new French doors

On to the bathroom…. What more need I say?
Installation of the toilet tank

Bathroom flooring

The shower

The vanity unit

Back to the sleeping area and the niches and lights have now been completed.
Sleeping area niches

This is the end of the master bedroom area, below are a few photos of the guest toilet.
The tank again

All tiled up and nowhere to go

Moving swiftly on, this is how the areas look now – 2 of the photos were professional so please ignore the props on these as they are not us… at all.
The main sleeping area
The main sleeping area
The main sleeping area
The electrical panel area
The walk in clothes closet
The bathroom vanity
The bathroom shower
The guest toilet

Other areas of the ground floor…


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But first – a few quick updates.
The smoker was finally ordered – from a supplier in Czechoslovakia and should be arriving in another couple of weeks. It cost a bit more but at least it is on the way over. We will need a crane to get it into the garden.
We have the hook to hang up the punching bag – it will probably be hung on one of the upstairs balconies.
We contacted Hermetix – who should be getting back in touch with us…..
We went back to the garden furniture store to get a replacement for the part that attaches the parasol to the base as it didn’t fit through the hole in the table…so now that works and we can use the parasol.
So now on to the last few photos of the downstairs – areas that were missed earlier i.e. the stairs and the front entrance.

Below are our stairs as they were before and towards the end of the building work – notice the change in stone.
This was the stairs before we bought the house.
This was the stairs after tiling.
Below is the last “stairs” photo which is simply the bookcase that was built for us at the bottom. These stairs lead down to the rental unit below and therefore are only used as the library (no smoking room though).
Library on the stairs.

Below is the entrance through its many metamorphoses.
This was the original entrance.
This was the original entrance.
The finished entryway

In the photo above, you can just about see the rarest of Israeli institutions. The coat closet. Below is a photo of the closet prior to putting in the actual cupboard. As can be seen this is also our network hub which is used for external telephone and internal hard/soft wired networking.
This was the coat closet prior to the carpentry.
The final coat cupboard.

That’s all for now. Next blog we will move into the master bedroom (and en-suite). These photos have not yet been organised – so beware of a possible time lag without yom tov as an excuse.

And when the meal is over – we relax in the lounge…


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On to the photos of the lounge after a very quick update.

The garden furniture has been delivered – and has already been used. We ate Shabbat lunch outside last week as the weather is lovely at the moment.
The wooden dowels on our dining room table leaves which broke almost immediately have been fixed.

The only outstanding work is the exterior of the front door which needs repairing – still waiting for Hermetix….and we still need to sort out the smoker and putting up the punching bag in the back garden.

On to the lounge. This is the only room with multiple focal points in it – the window, piano, aquarium and fireplace. The furniture is very movable and so we actually change the layout as necessary – but our main layout points at the window and the view one step beyond.

We are now going on the circular tour starting with our largest feature – the front window. The first two photos show the window (and bars) as they were originally.
This was the main lounge window before we bought the house.

This was the main lounge security bars once the window has been removed.

The following photo shows the window space being enlarged and supported until additional support was added to the wall.
This was the main lounge window being enlarged.

The following photo shows the window space after being enlarged and being tidied up. The final view of this window can be seen in the penultimate photo of this post.
This was the main lounge window after being enlarged

We are moving on from window to the back door. The first photo is how it was originally, the second is just before the new door is installed.
This was the back door before we bought the house.

This was the back door  space whilst awaiting installation.

The door installed was wooden and needed to be painted. This was the unfinished product.
This was the back door prior to painting.

The back door after we had moved in.
This is the back door as it is now.

Carrying on round to the fireplace. below is the fireplace that the previous owner had installed around the original fireplace.
This was the fireplace when we moved in to the house.

This was the original fireplace space after it was cleaned up. The photo below is to show you how dirty the chimney was and therefore the importance of cleaning it fairly often.
This was the fireplace after a clean up.

This was the fireplace after cleaning the chimney.

The photo below shows you the changes that we made to the fireplace, in size, position and materials.
The fireplace in the midst of being built.

The fireplace as it is today.
This is the current state of the fireplace

This is the aquarium space before we built it. The two photos are the current state, notice the cat in the first photo…the second photo is a professional one taken by Tamar’s photographer.
This was the aquarium space after building the base and stairs.

Aquarium with cat

Through the aquarium.

The following 2 photos show the piano area being built and how it looks today.
This was the piano area after installing the air conditioning.

This is the piano area as it is today.

The final two photos just show the lounge from two different directions as we often see it when walking around the house.
Lounge from hall.

Lounge from piano.

We now need to do some Pesach cleaning and will carry on blogging after chag…
To be continued…

After cooking we eat…


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OK, so after the kitchen obviously comes the dining area. But first, an update. There have been very few changes. I fixed the garage barrier, bought a chain saw and have started cutting logs. We have also ordered our garden furniture as Greens had an ex-display teak table/chair set on sale for half price – and we couldn’t resist. We also bought an umbrella for this set plus an aluminium table/chair set for two to put in the garden outside our bedroom.
We also bought a swinging chair for the balcony outside Natanel’s room. This was always promised as a bonus to getting the smallest room in the house.

So, on to the dining area photos – the first two are at purchase and after destruction….

dining area before work started
dining area after demolition

With the floor basically missing we started on the process of building the house systems, in the first photo below you can see the electricity and air conditioning cables/gas lines being laid. The second photo shows the underfloor heating (which is still not working as it should) being laid.

dining area with electrical cables
dining area with heating pipes

After the house systems were installed – the tiling has to be laid. The small stones are used to protect the heating pipes.
dining area with floor being laid

This photo shows two separate stages. The first is the plaster skeleton used as a base for the dining room carpentry as well as colour samples that we took around the house when choosing our paint colours.
dining area carpentry unit and paint colour samples

The most important part of the house. The windows. We waited months and months for these and they were definitely the turning point of the work as once we had a closed house we could start the finishing process and add items that we didn’t want stolen.
dining area windows

The following two photos show the finished article – both as it is every day and when ready for guests.
finished dining area
finished dining area ready for shabbat

The next area will be the lounge.
Chat soon,

Adam & Joelle.

On to the kitchen


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So not too much has happened over the past few weeks

Air pump (for bubbles) in the aquarium has been replaced…

Extraction fan above the oven was very noisy and has now been repaired – the reason for the noise? A wire was just touching the fan mechanism – it has now been shortened.

Hermetix finally came – we now have different locks on all of the interior doors plus the master – which is what we originally wanted. They still need to come back to fix the front door where some of the paint has come off…

The part that needs replacing after Adam backed into the garage barrier when it was up has been ordered – quite expensive due to delivery charge but that’s life.

We have planted some new indoor herbs, bought a new lime tree and herbs for the garden and also replaced a couple of the climbers that had died…so making progress there. We now need a way to cut up lots of big logs of wood into pieces that are the right size for the fireplace – not easy without a chainsaw but we don’t want to buy and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere nearby where we can hire from. Adam will probably end up hiring from a place in Tel Aviv after finishing work early one day.

And on to photos. Below is how the kitchen looked before we bought the property. The seller actually removed the kitchen before we got the keys as he was scared he would be charged tax on ‘three properties’ as there were three kitchens in the building.
This was the kitchen before we bought the house.

The photo below is after our demolition of the inside of the property.
Kitchen after demolition

This shows the waste pipes for one of the kitchen sinks.
Waste pipes installed

The next two show different parts of the kitchen install.
Beginning of kitchen installation.

Further on during install.

After the kitchen cabinetry was installed – the appliances arrived.
Delivery of some appliances.

Below is how the kitchen looks today (when it is relatively tidy 🙂 ) The second photo is the one from Tamar’s photo shoot…
How the kitchen looks today.


One on the really nice features of the kitchen is that we use an iRobot to keep it clean. Below is a photo of the iRobot outside of its home.
The iRobot's home.

Next – we will show photos of the dining area…

Photos – The back garden


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Not that many updates – just a few before the photos.

The kablan came and showed his son around the house and then collected the last 5% or so of his money. It was nice to see that he was proud enough of his work to show it off. We have already booked him to repaint and touch up the walls before our son’s bar mitzva in a year’s time.

The designer came with a photographer and a couple of helpers to take photos. We have not yet seen the photos but the rubbish (sorry – I meant props) that the helpers brought would never work in our house. Therefore they used our house to make a photo story of some made up – and non existent – property. We may be being harsh, as we haven’t seen the photos yet, but this is how we felt when they left. I know that during the photo session Tamar also felt the same way with some of the things the helpers were doing. On top of all this, the helpers broke one of our vases filled with potpourri. They just threw the vase/potpourri in the bin and never told us nor Tamar. We were not happy.

Heating, we called the heating guy in as only a very small part of the floor was getting warm. He blamed it on air in the system – even though there are 4 separate automatic air vents installed into the system. He manually vented the system (why wasn’t this done during the install?) and left. The problem with the system – which was explained to us during this visit (but not as a negative) is that there is no automatic switch to turn the whole system off when the house temperature is correct. Instead it leaves a circuit on each thermostat open and constantly circulating with hot water. If we knew this at the time we would have gone for a different system that works efficiently like all the systems in Europe.
After the system was bled we had to put the temperature up to 30C for a day to remove any sludge still in the pipes. Due to this high heat, the “open circuit” and the high level of insulation in the house we still do not know if the system is working as it should be – as the temperature in the house is still unbearably 3 degrees centigrade above the thermostat temperature. The kablan is currently checking if the system is normal in Israel (as claimed) or if we can have it converted to a proper system.

Aquarium, we had a bench hand built from fake decking over the outside part of the aquarium.

Garden – The gardener finished the fence where the neighbour originally refused to let us install it (It was our fence to install with us paying for it!). We just told the gardener to do it and if the neighbour cut it down as she had threatened we would just take the security video to the police. The neighbour actually saw our gardener working and actually said she was pleased as she did not like our kids going in to her garden to get their ball – which frequently went over as there was no fence…..
The gardener also installed 14 mixed climbers along the fences which will start growing in about 2 months when the temperatures improve. He also planted a bush to hide the pond pump, a bush in our outside eating area plus peach and bay trees. We also want lime – but they are not available at the moment. The lime tree will be installed in about 3-4 months.

We are now going to take a pictorial saunter around the back of our house – starting on the left hand side of the garden. It must be remembered that the garden especially will grow, change and mature as time goes on. We do not expect it to be in a “finished” state for a number of years – maybe even 10 years or so.

Below is the garden as it originally looked when we bought it. As the house had been rented out the garden had become overgrown.
Left hand side of garden before any work done

Below is the garden after the gardeners had cleaned it up – This was obviously work done before shmitta.
Left hand side of garden after cleanup

The garden was used as a storage area for both tiles and paint during the building work and this can be seen in this picture.
Left hand side of garden in the middle of building work

Below is the left hand side of the garden as it looks now.
Left hand side of the garden as it currently looks.

This is the back garden when we received the property.
Back garden when bought

Although the next photo shows a different view point, it is the same area after the builders removed the old patio.
Back garden after patio removal

Below is a photo of the garden as it is now. Please ignore the bikes – we still haven’t 100% decided where/how we are planning on storing them.
Back garden as it is now

The most important feature of the garden is definitely the pond.
Pond after it was built

This is how the pond looked a week after the plants were installed.
Pond in all it's glory

We had a pump issue – and unfortunately it affected the floating plant. You can see below how the pond looks at the moment. Floating plants grow very quickly – so we guess it will look fantastic again by the middle of the summer.
Pond as it is now.

We are now turning around and looking at the back wall of the house as it has changed quite a lot.
Original back of house

From the photo above to the French doors below which open outwards from our bedroom into our own private garden.
Back wall of house as it is now.

Below is the right hand side of the garden before we had done any work on it.
Right hand side of garden when we bought it

This is how it looked after the gardeners left after the first cleaning.
Right hand side of garden after the gardeners

The timeline moves swiftly on to after the pond and patio were built
Right hand side of garden post building work

This part of the garden currently has the wood that I haven’t chopped up yet. When I do – we will put a lime tree in this spot.
The wood pile

Just around the corner is a little section which joins the back garden with our eating area – which is the next photo blog.
Just around the corner

As gardens are often overseen by birds I happen to have a couple of photos showing a birds eye view of the patio at the beginning and now.
Patio before work
Patio now

That’s it for now. Hope you like our main garden area.

Adam & Joelle.