News 3-9-2014

  • Waiting for a quote on polishing the floors in the whole house
  • Meeting with a cleaning company on Friday for a quote
  • Half the windows are restored for the renovation section and will be reinstalled shortly. The house will be more secure and should be a bit warmer
  • The large, front windows in the renovation area will be taken out for restoration after the builder starts so that the openings can be secured with wood
  • The builder may stop by this week or next. We are trying to install a new lock on the side door so he does not bother tenants.
  • Until the builder finishes the new staircase he will have to use the main-building’s staircase to travel between the first and second floor

Maintenance report 2-9-2014

  • Change the lukko runko (lock mechanism) on the back door. It should no longer fail to close.
  • Hooked up the AEG Lavamat washing machine
  • Cleaned out the water leaking into the basement utility room
  • Cleaned the mould off the basement wall
  • Installed new shower head in the pesuhuone
  • Installed a new lock on the door to the second floor central bedroom facing the street

Rally rooms for rent!

Although it’s a little late to advertise now, we have decided that there might be interest in renting bedrooms in our house for the Neste Oil Rally this weekend in Jyväskylä. Better late than never right?! If you are interested in snagging a late place to stay in a great location contact us through Air Bed and Breakfast.

Incidentally it is the end of the summer and the stay of our children’s grandparents from the states. They really cleaned the place up and made if feel home-like. Check out the photos of all the rooms after their stay!

The house



Living and dining room

Dining Living room


Sauna 3     Sauna 2     Sauna 1

The bedrooms

Bedroom 1     Bedroom 2     Bedroom 3     Bedroom 4     Bedroom 5

The kitchen & laundry room (+ recreation room)

Kitchen     Laundry room





When we purchased this house, it did not have a very good layout for family living. The bathroom on the first floor does not exist and the wall is smashed out, leaving us a mutated tiled-bathroom-hallway-pipe-steps which connect the larger part of the first floor to the smaller part of the first floor. On the second floor we literally got lost when we did the walk through with the realtor. Crystal and I were calling “Marco Polo” to each other after we got separated. And then in the basement we inherited some old pipes with sealed-up asbestos on them. Needless to say there had to be some changes! Check out the floor plan we inherited:



One of our main priorities was to arrange an apartment section of the house. We are immigrants to Europe, so we plan to host family members and friends for long periods of time, and having their own living space is really crucial to being comfortable. We are also hoping to help finance part of the mortgage by renting it out for a number of years. We asked the city planning office and they said an apartment is fine, but then the building has to be modified to conform to apartment fire codes. They recommended we make it a duplex and split the “apartment” evenly across the two floors so that nothing of our section of the house would overlap, thus circumventing the needs for rezoning the building. That works for us, but now we need to add another staircase somewhere…

Originally the house actually had 3 apartments in it. All four living spaces shared a back door and a communal stairwell, which led to the basement where there was a sauna (important since apartments 3 and 4 did not have any shower). Here are the 1941 floor plans for the first floor, second floor, and basement:

1941_floorplan_1st_floor 1941_floorplan_2nd_floor 1941_floorplan_basement

As you can see from these drawings, somewhere along the way the second-floor roof was raised to a third-floor roof and the entire second floor was renovated into a larger space. The city has last track of that renovation and the plans that were included in it. Maybe as we dig backwards into the walls during our renovation we will find evidence of the big renovation and how they structured the house at that time.

After several months working with our architect, Ilpo Vuorela, he came up with a new floor plan that we think will work well, turning the house into a duplex and adding a stairwell in the smaller section of the house. I will go over the evolution of each area in future  posts and link them here as they are completed:


How would you change the house? Draw your ideas and compare them with our new, 2013 floor plans! Note: the dotted lines show where old walls that existed will be taken down.

2014_floorplan_1st_floor 2014_floorplan_2nd_floor

Heat at last!

Today we had a warm house for the first time since we purchased it. It was sold to us with an oil burner that heated the building via radiators. However, the oil tank was empty and we opted not to fill it, since there were only a few weeks of winter remaining. We heated throughout the spring and the winter up to this point with electric space heaters, since there were already a bunch scattered throughout the house.

It certainly took a lot longer than we expected, but luckily we were blessed with crazy-warm weather throughout December and the temperature only dropped below freezing in the second week of January. Our decision was to convert from oil to municipal heat, which is delivered via hot-water pipes laid under the street. I think they heat the water by burning wood, which figures, since this is Finland.

After discussing it for a few weeks we signed the contract and the city came out and ran the pipes into our basement. We also decided to move the heating room from the center of the house towards the front, so we had the loop installed into this room directly from the street through our “front yard” (it’s only about 1 meter across).


After that we discovered we needed a heating plan in order to buy a pump that would transfer the heat into our radiator system. So we contracted with Esko Helin, who diagrammed the system so we could start taking offers for the pump and installation. We also got a lot of help from Margo Saxberg, a local contractor/ historical renovator/ renaissance man who is advising us on all sorts of things. He guided the plumbing company on how we essentially wanted a cheap patch job running from the new heating room to the old heating room just so the house was warm until we officially renovated the entire heating system and moved it en-masse to the new utility room.

We ended up buying a Gebwell pump, which I guess is a knock off of the more expensive, standard municipal heat exchangers from Högfors, but it seems like a really nice machine to us. The price was really nice at least. The plumbing company, Keski-Suomen LVI-Mestarit (Central-Finland HVAC-Masters), came nearly the day after it was delivered to mount it to the wall and hook it up to the municipal heat supply on the intake and our radiators on the other end.

Seven months of ownership and the house is finally toasty. Not only that but we got to smell it for the first time without the damp air, and boy does it smell nice. Like rich, old lumber. It was tempting to move over there on the spot, but then I remembered the only working shower is in the basement. Oh well, the day will come!

The new heating room. We had to use a copious amount of paint to cover up cigarette smoke staining the walls. The pipes in the wall are the municipal heating loop.

The new utility room

At the other end of these pipes lies a massive furnace. I like to think they are burning our bio-waste we so carefully recycle.

City heat!

The new heat exchanger arrives and is assembled on the kitchen floor to await installation.

The day has come! and right on cue the snow arrives.

This looks so much prettier than the old setup. I think it is the newness and the lack of a 700 gallon tank of flammable oil.

Eventually they will stick a meter here and we will actually have to pay for this heat

The old heater. After we take out the asbestos we can probably gut this room and sell off the oil burner, and the copper!

Hiljaa hyvä tulee | Good things come to those who wait

Things are coming along well with the renovation of the house. I’m happy to report that we found an architect who is willing to take on this big project. Ilpo Vuorela comes well recommended, and has years of experience renovating historic homes. He’ll be with us from start to finish, and we are thrilled that he is in for the job. Weldon knew as soon as Ilpo parked in from of the house and stepped out of his brown beater that he was the man for the job. ‘He has my hair!’ Weldon told me. Ilpo was the only architect who responded positively to our solicitation, but he was also the guy we had hoped for and had been recommended to us from the beginning, so it felt like another piece of the puzzle coming easily into place.

We’re in the first stage now, as Ilpo is measuring the entire house to create an accurate blueprint. We’ll meet this week with a lady from the Museum of Central Finland about what can and can’t be done with the house, since it is a protected property.

More to update later!