Continuing the Buying a House series (house-hunting, financing and renovating), this post deals with the finishing touches while renovating a house. Like I mentioned in the renovating post, Riccardo and I had to do a lot of research and ask ourselves several questions in order to make the best choices for our home in the Netherlands. On my part, everything seemed to be so new! Here are some of the novelties I learned about:
- Vloerverwarming- Having lived in Texas and in Mexico, heating is something that isn’t a big issue. Although the temperatures in Texas did drop during winter, the intensity and length of summer made air conditioning a priority. In Mexico, it isn’t common to have neither central heating or cooling in the house; people get by with fans and small heaters. Here in the Netherlands, Riccardo and I discussed our options for heating. For the downstairs, we decided to install vloerverwarming which translates to floor heating. The vloerverwarming is a set of pipes installed on your floor and connected to a water source coming from the kettle. As the warm water travels through these pipes, the floor warms and later the room. Because of the heat, vloerverwarming is recommended with tile and PVC floors because these do not expand or contract with the changes in temperature. I am a big fan of vloerverwarming because I can finally walk barefoot around the house!
- Vensterbanken- Window displays are a very important part of Dutch homes. People invest a lot of time in creating beautiful and elaborate decorations for each season. This is why the raam area is very important. A vensterbank is the window sill. I must admit that I had never given much thought to window sills. The house I lived in in Texas had wooden vensterbanken that matched the wood trimmings of the house, while the house in mexico didn’t have such thing. The vensterbanken also help conceal radiators. The material for vensterbanken vary; these can be made out of processed wood like MDF with a vinyl cover or of more expensive materials like marmer or graniet.
- Itty bitty fonteintjes- Anyone who has been inside a Dutch home knows of the confined spaces of the toilet room. These rooms are, like the name implies, only for the toilet. Because of this (and depending on the size of the home), toilet rooms are very small, therefore the choice of a fonteintje or small sink is very important. If you buy too big of a fontein, you end up with little room to go in the toilet. Riccardo and I ended up buying a total of 3 fonteintjes because we just couldn’t get a decent size sink that allowed for movement in the toilet room. The winner was a sink where my hands barely fit! (Let op: wastafel and fontein are different. A wastafel usually refers to a sink for a bathroom that could have drawers or shelves. A fontein can be a fountain or a small sink in the toilet room.)
- Hidden ijskast- I believe that a kitchen is the heart of a home, and the fridge acts as a very important part of that heart. Picking a fridge that meets a family’s needs AND fits with the decor of the house seemed to go hand in hand. Here in the Netherlands, I have learned about the magical hidden ijskasten. These are merely a regular fridge with a door that matches the kitchen cabinets attached making it blend in with the kitchen. In regards to looks, I think this is awesome although I miss being able to put magnets on the fridge.
What differences have you seen between your home country and the Netherlands in regards to home renovating or decorating?