Looking more like a house

I am back in the US. Sorry for being absent these past weeks but I took a blog-vacation while in Mölle, Sweden. Needed my huge dose of family & friends!

Naturally my feet steered in the direction of the lot each day, and most days multiple times per day. It was exciting to watch it all turn more and more into a house, our house. It was hard to stay away. I am sure the builders were wondering if we would be stopping by this often during the entire building project :). How I wish that would be the case, but from now we rely on our friends in Sweden to keep us up to date and send us pictures.

Today I thought I´d give you that re-cap of all the fun thats been happening.

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In my last post I showed you when the foundation and first level was built. Well, that was quickly followed by our builders Sätoftagruppen putting up the scaffolding’s around the house to start with the 2nd floor and roof. And oh boy, the amazing team of 4 guys managed to build it all up in only 12 days. Super impressed!

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We sneaked up the ladder to look at the view, which I am happy to see is stunning! Its that pinch-me feel, I could actually see the ocean, the mountain (Kullaberg) and Grand Hotel on top of that. Lucky, truly lucky lucky!

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Once the second floor was done, it was time for the big crane to lift up all the big 11 or so roof trosses. My dear husband watched them connect every single one of them, even went over to the neighbors to get a better view (below) :)).

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Unfortunately the downstairs floor is all stuffed with material so I could really not get good pics from the inside. However, one detail I am extra excited about is the little opening we chose in the hallway. Since we decided to open the upstairs ceiling all the way up to the roof, I thought it would be a fun and hopefully a “wow” detail being able to see all the way up as you walk in! Hope I´m right….

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Bore we left, we got to see them paint the wood panel in the white we chose. Its a white color we have used before and has the features of looking warm even on rainy and gray days. The “Swedish” color code we use is (0601-Y21R).

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Later that day all the doors where put in place and I really liked the darker gray color. I will admit I first decided on black doors but changed my mind in the last minute.

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As we were leaving the guys were up there preparing for the roof tiles. The roof tiles and our black windows are suppose to arrive any day now.  Will admit that I am a bit nervous about the black windows. After all, its not super common yet and I am just hoping it will turn out as nice as I imagine it….

Time will tell.

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Time to finish off with this view from our walk one morning back to wonderful Mölle Village. Can´t believe that in some 4 months & 23 days we will walk here again!

Hugs P

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of good foundation

Good foundation goes for everything or at least most things in life but especially when you are building a new house. Getting it right from the start, from the ground creates less trouble along the way and as you go up!

Yesterday I got to watch our builder Sätoftagruppen prepare the foundation and this morning pore the fine concrete. I realise (again) it might not be the most exciting blogpost but it needs to happen before the fun really starts to happen. I am hoping you will follow our journey even days when it might not be tooo inspirational…. through thick n thin, right? Haha …

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One reflection, which I remember having made last time we built as well was that it looks very small. I had the same feeling yesterday when I saw the little rectangle “box” they made. I just cannot picture how the floor plan is going to fit. Will I really be able to fit a kitchen, eating and living room here…

We have made our house as big as we can and are allowed so bigger is not an option anyways. Also we needed to place the house within a certain area, which limited us a bit in choosing house model.

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Our builder told me they would start with the concrete around 7.30 a.m. and sure thing, when I finally was done with my beauty sleep and got there by 9 they had already come a long way. It was super windy, I am extra glad the concrete landed inside the rectangular box today ;).

Another reflection. Building a house obviously takes time. During that time, there are phases. A lot of activities in the beginning, then followed by a quiet period while waiting for building permit and before you really feel it starts, starts for real! At times its frustrating and you want to push things and time forward but then as you all know – life has a funny way of moving fast anyway ….and WHOOPS… now I am more thinking “will we finish in time”. I realize its all going to happen very fast from now and Christmas.

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Next step, we look forward to the big Fiskarhedenvillan truck to deliver all material to start building the frame and house. Can´t wait!

Enjoy your week my friends!
Hugs P

Big kick-off – prepping the grounds

I started this blog so others could follow as we are building our dream summer house in Mölle, Sweden and to hopefully get inspired. A lot of it is sharing my ideas, pictures and inspiration for the house but as you can imagine there are lot of stuff and decisions that are not sexy or inspiring blog material 😉 – but the actual preparation and construction process are important details so bare with me with blogposts like today…

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The protocol in Sweden is a meeting with the local City Council, in our case Höganäs county/building above, to go over the project one last time before getting that final OK & GO! I attended the meeting along with our builder Fiskarhedenvillan as well as the Quality/Control Mgr we hired to oversee the project during the entire building process. A good meeting that resulted in a YES – GO – Ok to start attacking that lot of ours for real!

A reminder what our lot looked like before the excavator marched in!

Later that afternoon the county came and put out the yellow poles showing were we can place the houses and at what height/level. The yellow top marks the actual level of our house, as you can see our lot is below street level and we need to fill it up, make it higher.

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A few words on lot preparation.  Our lot has been growing wildly for over 50 years so unfortunately a nasty nightmare weed (not sure what its called in English but Kirskål in Swedish ;)) has taken over. We thought it would best to turn the entire lot upside down since they were coming in with their heavy machinery and excavators anyways – and try to get rid of that once and for all.

Preparing the lot usually ends up with additional costs (at least our experience), so for those in the process make sure you ad that to your budget just in case.  This time we were lucky,  our lot turned out to be flat with no surprises (wonderful!). Last time we built in Stockholm (some 10+ years ago) we ended up having to blast/blow a small “mountain” that resulted in 80 trucks driving off with rocks and some (60.000$ // 500.000SEK later – which you can imagine I would have preferred to have spent on interior details and upgrades instead  of “awful/high costs you dont see”… So EXTRA happy this lot turned out flat and with no surprises!

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As most of you know we are building a house from Fiskarhedenvillan (you can read earlier post in December why I chose them), they have then allocated Sätoftagruppen to be the ones actually building the house for us. So during my visit to Sweden I wanted to meet them since our house is really in their hands and we are building from a distance. Trust and communication will be key for success (and of course the fact they have long experience of building Fiskarhedenvillan houses and are a stable company) are other key factors. Said & done – we met and we are off to a great start.

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Last week I also met with some great landscape architects to get help and ideas with this corner lot of ours.  Obviously, we wont be able to do the entire landscaping at once but I at least wanted to share the “big overall” ideas with the builder so they can help prepare and we can avoid having to bring in heavy machinery back later…

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The grey gravel part in the middle of the picture above shows where they are preparing for house and garage to be.  Below you see a big brown pile (which I gather is all the evil nightmare weed he dug up from the front and now working his way to the end of the lot – to then transport that as far far away from our lot as possible! Bye Bye Kirskål!

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Despite being a flat lot, we still have additional lot prep costs – for things like; taking down and driving away all the trees, turning the entire lot upside down and drive away with all the “Kirskål weed”, apply gravel on certain areas to avoid having a big lot of just brown soil. Also but not least asked them to dig and plan pipes for outdoor water and electrical throughout the lot… So, even “just” these small things ad up as well..but rest for sure, it could have been a lot worse :).

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To the more FUN part, here is our first landscape sketch. Given we are building a summer house in a fishing village and we are located close to the ocean – we want to create a beach feel around the house. Our goal is to have different “rooms” to create interesting spaces and not just an open lot. Play with grass, high grass, sand, wood deck/pathways in different levels. Include outdoor kitchen, area for growing veggies and herbs, petanque/boule court, a greenhouse/extra house etc etc.. I am super excited about this plan. Its still in working progress and we hope to get into more details these coming weeks. Stay tuned for more landscaping, promise!

Hope you are enjoying your week! Will check back in with you shortly, have some other ideas I need to share with you..

Hugs P

….Pics taken by my dear mother who was just too curious to see how everything was coming along….

 

American Porch

My husband and I decided to ad an American porch to our Swedish summer house. After 10 years here in the US and becoming American citizens we figured we have to bring in something American to the new house? I was kinda hoping for that nice southern wrap around porch but since this lot limits us a bit as to how much we can build, we compromised to get a nice size house along with our porch. I really picture us using this porch a ton, ton tons! Just look at the porch below, its got my name ALL over it!

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We are going for a wood deck and a white porch in general. We plan to extend the deck further passed the poles and where the roof ends – to make it more spacious and make sure the guests sitting on the further end don´t fall backwards… )). Our goal is to make the deck as leveled to the inside floor (want to avoid that step).

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I am totally in love with the vibe on this porch above. This long plank table along with those industrial chairs is such a cool mix.  We love having dinners and friends over so the chairs will probably not be my pick from a comfy point but I admit, they look good ;). I prefer investing in more comfortable chairs so my guests stay longer and come back!

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We will have our porch double doors in the middle/centered (similar to image below but our porch will be bigger and deeper). I am dividing the porch into 2 spaces. 1, eating area on the right side as you step out and 2, a more lounge sofa area on the corner left side.

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The lighting is important and I have been leaning on having spotlights in the ceiling but after looking at hundred of pics on Pinterest, I like the idea of having lamps on the house facade and maybe even a centered lamp hanging over the dining table. So not sure about the spotlight anymore…

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I am bringing along some furniture from our old summer place. This is not a great picture but the one I could find today. In the back you can spot part of my old long church bench in light green and an old farmers table that I think will look perfect on the porch. I also have 6 of those Ikea rattan chairs, which I will most likely use to start with…(am thinking there won´t be that much money left once we´ve built this house ;)).

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I came across this image and remembered I have one of those lamps in storage. Maybe it would look good hanging over our table as well.

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On the so called, lounge side of the porch I will have my rattan sofas and chairs that I usually fill with tons of cushions. To that I got our cool concrete table that my hubby and friend made. For some reason I could not find a picture of it, so you will just have to wait to see it until we´ve moved everything in..

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On a different note or I should say in connection with the porch – I need to design what comes after the porch…. So, we contacted a landscape architect to help us with the overall plans and design for our lot. I have no problem listing things that I would love to include but as I was making an attempt to do the sketch myself  – I realized I need help. In this early stage we first just need a rough plan so we can prepare the lot and ground best way possible. Then closer to summer we can then focus more on the details and final layout and design. Promise to share that once we get it.

Before I go, one dream would be to ad a pool. Now I realize, it doesn´t make sense (crazy!!”#) since we wont be there as much and we live close to the water but it would just be so nice. I dont need a big one…but hey even so, its not something we would build this year anyways but I would not mind making a plan B sketch with a small pool in it (just in case)! Just look at the images I found on Pinterest….and tell me I am (not) crazy….

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Wouldn´t that be nice…oh boy, think I need to end this blogpost before I get too carried away and want a pool right away! Lets just start with a nice big porch for now! Easy to get carried away …

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Hope you are enjoying your week!

I am planning on a trip to Sweden. Going over to make all the final house and detail decisions. We are finally getting started. Our builder and sales representative has been super nice to coordinate and set up all the necessary meetings for me.  It will be a busy week, will tell you more about my coming trip next time.

Hugs P

Images borrowed from: Pinterest, Atlanta homes, World Market, Elle Decor, Traditional Home, Southern Hospitality, Fiskarhedenvillan, Trivselhus,

Bathroom ideas

I am moving on to the more difficult room, the bathroom. There are so many different styles, details and decisions to make so I feel it is time to wrap my head around it all.

We will have one smaller bathroom downstairs, and a bigger bathroom upstairs. I imagine both bathrooms to harmonize but with a few different touches. I think I can ad more “twist” to the downstairs/guest bath. Today I am sharing my ideas for the upstairs one. I still haven´t finalized it but here are some thoughts.

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This is the image that I want to start with, and use as my foundation and build our bathroom from. I love the calm color tones, the stone ads a sophisticated and luxury feel.

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Regardless of some trends going towards darker bathrooms, I am looking for a light and neutral colored bathroom. We are building a summer house so I prefer to keep things light n fresh. I imagine it to be classic with some modern touches. I dont want to go too summer cottage like, nor too modern, I want to find the middle ground (very typical Swedes :)).

I have had my fair share of white subway tile bathrooms over the years. I still love the style but am also loving the idea of bigger tiles and not having tiles on all walls. Let me share what I have in mind so far.

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I like the feel of this bathroom. The big carrara marble tiles, the shower placement, the big window and the furniture details that ad warmth to the room – it makes it a room. Bathrooms can easily feel a bit “cold”, so I love the idea of decorating them as rooms, adding personal touches, art and warm details such as textile, wood and baskets. Its a balance because I still like bathrooms to be cluttered-free and practical. Given we are 4 girls in this house hold and a lot of “fancy products” – smart storage is a must.

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Below is the layout of the bathroom, as you can see we have added a Bastu/a sauna. The space is not super big but I believe it will just be enough and good for us and our needs.

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Besides the basic details such as shower, sink and toilet I need a big cabinet to store everyone’s toilet products and towels. I like the idea of all my family members getting a basket each to put their stuff in and take in & out of cabinet when needed. I know how easy it is to get the bathroom to look “messy”. I prefer to hide most things and keep it as clean as possible. I intend to put the cabinet in-front of the shower, and have storage under the zink. We will have a clear glass corner shower but I am still trying to find space to hang and dry towels. One solution could be a wall out from the sauna, closing the shower a bit and placing hooks on that wall, another idea is just having hooks inside the sauna and letting the towels dry in there.

For the bathroom flooring, I am leaning towards bigger limestone tiles in a light gray or gray/beige color. I am thinking of adding/placing it on the front wall as you walk in and around the shower as well. The other sides will just be painted/special paint approved for bathrooms. Our windows throughout the house will be black, so that will hopefully be a nice detail. I am trying to find a separate/unique bigger cabinet and I cant seem to find it among the bathroom furniture stores/suppliers (yet). At the moment I have 2 in mind, this black/metal and glass (not necessarily meant for bathroom) but I think it could be cool or a more closed white “standard” bathroom cabinet (below).

I would normally suggest black lamps to ad contrast but for some reason I really want to create a neutral, calm and light bathroom. I recently “won” these old wood benches, that might be nice to ad in the bathroom.

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Choosing the right lighting is important in the bathroom. We will probably need a few spots in the ceiling but I would love to ad nice wall lamps on each side of the mirror. Also the mirror is one of those things that can really make an impact to the room. I am contemplating having a big one flushed to the wall over the zink or order a big round one. Luckily nothing I need to decide today, but I imagine soon…

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I just wanted to finish of with this beautiful image that I found from an apartment project being sold in Stockholm. Perhaps not what I will have in our summer place but I just loved the image and since we were on the bathroom topic, I wanted to share it with you. It looks super glamours!

That is all from me today, have to run out and do some errands but promise to check in with you soon again.

Hugs/P

Image source:
HansVerstuyft Architect, Badrumsdrömmar, Pinterest, SkonaHem, AlexanderWhite, Ballingslöv, Artilleriet, Östersjösten.

 

 

 

Building Permit in. Time to order.

I woke up this morning and to my delight our sales representative from Fiskarhedenvillan in Malmö had sent us an email saying that the building permit is now approved! Yaaay! Finally moving on to the next fun part of the project.  Perhaps not the most inspiring blogpost for you all but surely an important step for us in our project of building our dream summer house!

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We are also in the midst of ordering the actual house from our builder Fiskarhedenvillan. We had a big deadline today (to secure first delivery before summer and with the goal of key ready to Christmas), so perfect timing the permit came today! I must say, it has been an easy and quick process from when we bought the lot in December, evaluated builders and houses to now placing the actual order. Our sales representative Fredrik has done a great job and been very helpful. Finding the right person that you feel confident with, is knowledgeable and understands your needs and wishes is extra important to us since we live far away.

Ordering the house means we have to confirm quite a few things and choices that we cannot make changes to after this point. A bit scary and final but we so want to get started. We ended up adding things that were not standard (of course), like:

A big “American” porch, raising the ceiling on 2nd floor all the way up, adding more and bigger black aluminum windows, including a sauna, garage and different roof (to mention a few). Only these changes stretch our budget a bit and we haven´t even started with the fun rooms and extra choices for kitchen, bathroom, flooring and stairs! Obviously there is an amount already included but I know I will go outside standard – its just a question with how much!# How I wish I had a money printer at home ;).

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In regards to costs, and this being the 2nd time we build we can say with certainty – costs always ad on & go up. No surprise. I have reminded myself its a summer house we are building so keeping it fairly simple is good. Easier said than done… However, I don´t feel the ad-ons we have made are super crazy luruxy choices but we still managed to stretch the budget. Most of it is due to us, us choosing more things but a tiny part is also the builders not having some as standard at times so small things here and there also “help” costs go up. This happens regardless of builder you choose. One way to save costs is by finding and buying cheaper products yourself as well doing some or a lot of the work yourselves. With Fiskarhedenvillan you have that flexibility. If we had lived in Sweden we would certainly be more involved in that process.

We originally started and based our home on the model called “Rödhaken”. We shrunk it quite a bit since we dont need a big summer place. We switched out the eating area and balcony on-top with a big American porch instead. Below you can see the changes we have made from the Rödhaken model to accomodate our needs and wishes:

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We ended up choosing a flat roof, called Carisma. My hubby had his eyes set on this one from day 1 so I thought it would be nice of me (ha) to let him be a part of one decision 😉

Now, I cannot wait to get started on the kitchen, bathroom and stairs. Best part ever! Today I am looking into the kids bedroom, hope to show you the ideas a little later today.

Have a wonderful Friday & Weekend!
Hugs P

Sketch images: Fiskarhedenvillan, Porch: Trivselhus, Roof: Pinterest

Before the excavator

A good Monday and warning for long blogpost :).  We got good news from our builder, Fiskarhedenvillan who contacted our neighbors to get their view on the last adjustment of the garage (since they opposed the first plan). They are ok with the latest version which could mean that our building permit gets approved this week! Time to put the Champagne on ice! Getting it approved and ordered this week is high priority if we want it key ready by Christmas.

This means we need to get going on that jungle of ours. Obviously most of it is coming down but we need to roughly plan the layout. Where we will place the house, garage, put grass, have gravel etc, decides how we prepare the foundation/ground.

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I am working on the sketch.  I think we have a good idea but further along in the project we might bring in a garden and landscape designer, just to be safe.  We have a corner lot so I want to take advantage of that and create a cozy courtyard.

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This image I have had for a long time and now I know why. I love how clean it looks, love the trees and I LOVE gravel and want lots of it around our house. Remember, we are creating a summer home so we want to keep it low maintenance but yet cozy and inviting.

Below more images with gravel. I have said it before but nothing beats the sound of walking with Swedish clogs on gravel. Summer with a big S.

I realize I have a long wish list of things I want to ad to our courtyard, and its not THAT big but hopefully I can squeeze in most of it.. Here it comes:

  • A cozy courtyard with different zones and areas. Important to mix round and square shapes as well as height and low focal points to make it interesting and inviting.
  • Gray stones/tiles and a lot of Gravel around the house
  • Wood on the Porch
  • Parts of grass to ad warmth and for kids to practice cart wheels…
  • Space for growing herbs and some veggies
  • An outdoor drying rack for all the 1oo of towels we use…
  • Cozy external lighting
  • Fire pit/place to sit around
  • Sun lounge spot
  • Grill area
  • Boules court
  • Green house / or extra guest house…(to be built 2nd year)
  • Mix of hedge and plank fence around to create a closed courtyard

    I prefer bigger pots than many small ones. It has a tendency to look too cluttered and requires more looking after (not good since we are not there as much and I often forget to water…

    We are allowed to ad an extra small house, but we are not sure if we want a green house or guest house. We need to move in first before deciding what to build. Our big American porch might turn out perfect and we don´t feel the need for a more covered outdoor eating area/green house. Instead we might discover we have to ad more beds to accommodate friends. Time will tell.

Here some ideas of round shapes that I am peaking at. The left above is truly a favorite. I borrowed the image from a Swedish designer that just has the greatest courtyard ever. For more images check his Insta @robinberkhuizen.

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Big fan of Lavender. Promise you will see a lot of that around the house.

Above some different flower pics from pinterest that have the colors and style I am trying to create. Obviously I want flowers that mostly bloom when we will actually be there.

Growing herbs and some veggies is a given. We cook so much and it is extra special picking from your own garden. It just is.

I will try to incorporating some black details into our backyard. Not sure yet where and how but I am sure I will think of something. A fun addition even outdoors, an eye catcher & a contrast to a lot of the white.

We would really love to include an outdoor fire place. We might not be able to make it super big but hopefully still a descent size to create it cozy for us + kiddos to hang around.

It may sound like a silly thing to ad to the list but the nr of towels and bed linen I wash during the time we are there is a lot. Also, our kids seem to use beach & shower towels as if they are disposable ;). I just think there is something special about drying it outdoors. It leaves a different smell and feels extra crispy clean. A DIY project for hubby.

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A summer house must of course include lounge/sunbeds to enjoy the sun, read a book or perhaps just take a well needed siesta.  We just have to find the perfect sunny spot.

Now, to my last thing on the wishlist. I must admit I´m not sure the rest of my family is on board with this (…yet) but I would love to ad a Boules/Petanqué court. Also this image from Insta: @robinberkhuizen

Before letting you go, I have to finish of with my favorite of the day. This super cozy picture I also discovered on Pinterest. Doesn’t this look so cozy and romantic? Love the outdoor summer movie idea. Maybe the kids could start a summer business & sell movie night tickets in our backyard… Love love this idea.

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I will do my best to finish and show you the lot/courtyard sketch. Hopefully that will give you a better overview and understanding of thoughts and plans.

Wish me luck!
Hugs//P