Buying a home in Amsterdam was one of the easiest decisions we made and we are so happy to have a home that is our own! I’ve already written about the process and what we went through to buy a house in Amsterdam, so please read that if you want some practical info.
This is all about making our house a home and how far along we are in “finishing” the house.
The basic, empty house
When we walked into the house we had just gotten the keys for, it was so empty that it echoed.
It was so intimidating since the only furniture we owned was two IKEA desks. No couch, chairs, tables, TV, washing machine, bed, lights….NOTHING.
It had so much potential, but where to start? It’s a renovated house, so there was nothing that had to be done to move in. There’s a modern kitchen, a regular sized oven with a 5-burner stove, dishwasher, and microwave. I was in Heaven! But I am not a creative mind and cannot visualize how it could transform in the future.
Overwhelmed, scared, and a little bit of “what did we just do?” came over me. How would we will this place? What fits the vibe of it? Oh, wait…we need to figure out what that vibe is. How do we do that? I was an excited mess.
You may also want to read how we became expats
Starting with the big pieces
To be able to properly focus, we had to prioritize. Our number 1’s were a couch, TV, bed, and washing machine. So we ordered those a month before and had them delivered the week we got the keys. Yeah, and internet. That was turned on immediately! Sean was happy to take care of making sure that was good to go.
Then it made sense to find office chairs since we had desks but nothing to sit in. Have you tried to use a desk with no chair? Not fun. Even that was a pain. I loved the chair I bought, but it was broken. They set another one. It was broken too. Seriously? I sent it back and bought one from another company which is okay…but not as comfy. But who wants a broken comfy chair?
Serious question here: who uses their dining room? Eating on the go, on the couch, or at desks seems to be the norm. But we’re adults now, right? We need a table! We searched and searched for a dining room table and I finally find one that we both liked and it even was on sale! SCORE. Of course, then the search was on for chairs.
See how the list just keeps growing?
Moving into a fully furnished place when you arrive in a new country is a life-saver. As soon as you realize you have to buy EVERYTHING when you buy a house, then it’s a bit daunting. Once the big pieces were taken care of, we had to move on to the rest of the stuff we needed in order to function properly.
IKEA, Loods 5, Blokker, HEMA, and Amazon were our friends. From silverware to pans, to glasses, utensils, towels, etc., we needed it all. The shopping list was so long. That first video up above, that was only the first trip to IKEA, on the first day. There were many more trips to big stores and online shopping evenings. We saved money for this specific purpose, but I was getting so tired of looking for all the things.
When putting things together (thanks, IKEA) and mounting pieces to the wall, we realized we needed a drill. Ok…another trip to the home store! I’m surprised staff members aren’t my BFF’s at this point.
I *think* we are finally in a good place with the necessary items. Should I have an iron and ironing board? Goodness…how do I bring those home on a bike? *facepalm*
I think it’s the little touches make a house, a home. We collect art pieces from around Europe and those are what is hanging on our walls. There are still many pieces to be hung, but we’re off to a nice start. More places to go and art pieces to buy!
I think this wall makes things that much more cozy! Don’t you? It’s very “us”.
For some reason, I’m slightly obsessed with pillows, vases, and candle holders. Budgeting for the basics and the big stuff doesn’t leave too much time for small details. These things will grow as we find those pieces that “speak” to us!
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I like to sleep. I may actually have a problem. I get excited to crawl in bed under some cozy covers and fall into a deep sleep. Sean is the complete opposite. He would rather get stuff done than sleep. “Wasted time!” he says. Nope…cozy time.
It is the thing that you use every night (unless traveling!) and it needs to be good. We’ve been getting by with a duvet that was too small, tiny pillows, and a spring mattress that was on the floor in the last apartment we rented.
But now…now…we have a storage bed (yay space!), a memory foam mattress, a nice big duvet with fluffy pillows to complement our memory foam pillows, and good quality sheets. Now I just want to JUMP into bed even more. When I was younger, I used to have a dog who would hop on the bed, and run around in circles until the comforter made a nest-type shape. Is it wrong that I kind of feel that way now about our bed?
Finishing our new home
Is our house in Amsterdam done? Not by a long shot! Is it home? Oh yeah.
To truly “finish” the house, we need to:
⬜ finish the attic
⬜Take out the spa tub and exchange it for a roomy spa shower. (Yes, people think I’m crazy. But, it’s my house!)
⬜Finally get some light fixtures
⬜Complete the back garden
⬜Complete the front garden
⬜Get subway tiles for the backsplash in the kitchen
⬜Get brick tiles for the living room wall
⬜Other bits and bobs
I’m sure I’ll think of more after this gets posted, but those are the “major” things.
I am so incredibly happy to finally be a homeowner. It’s such an “adult” thing to do It is a weird thing though, owning a house in Amsterdam makes everyone want to stay at your house! Sorry, peeps. I like my privacy! I’ll get some hotel recommendations for ya 😉
We want to know…how have you made your house or apartment a home? What is your favorite thing you’ve put in your home?