It’s been a while I know. But I’m back!
To start, I feel like the four year itch post deserves an update. So here it is: I got past the four year itch with the help of some serious sleep deprivation. I know that sounds weird but life gave me two kids who didn’t sleep very well for an entire year. As that year dragged on I was actually too tired to care where I was or to have very much imagination about something different. Chalk it up to distraction but once my kids started sleeping, I came out of the fog and the itch was mostly gone. Sleep deprivation is not a super-star solution to addressing life’s dissatisfactions but in this case–it worked. Something else probably helped too–we are moving to a house!! We’re staying in Franconia not far from where we are now, just stretching out a bit with more living space and a garden.
Because moving seems to be a whole different animal in Germany I thought I’d share some of the most interesting parts of it on the blog.
First up: Kitchens.
Imagine you are looking at houses. You walk into one with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms (which by the way would probably never happen because in Germany most houses are built with only one bathroom.) But anyway, keep imagining with me. You walk into a house and many things about it fit your needs BUT you don’t like the kitchen or the lighting fixtures. Well, you are in luck! As you look at potential homes you actually need to imagine them without any lighting fixtures at all and without a kitchen. When you move in the wires will be hanging out of the ceiling and the kitchen will be empty except for the hook-ups for water etc.
On one hand, this is pretty exciting because you get to pick out all your own stuff! In our case, the whole house is getting a fresh coat of paint and the second floor is even getting new floors. And get this–we are not buying we are just renting the house. On the other hand, all this can get expensive and like I said we are only renting…
Next step: you actually go to the furniture store and design/pick out your own kitchen. From the appliances to the cabinets, the drawer pulls to the sink, faucet and backsplash–Everything is custom. Then the company comes and builds it into the new place for you. (No wonder people don’t move very often.) Kitchens range in price from about 2000 Euros to upwards of 60,000 Euros depending on your wishes and bank account. Most people take their kitchens with them when they move or sometimes they sell them to the incoming tenant.
Kitchen style in general is different than an American kitchen style. For example in many kitchen designs the appliances are integrated, so you look around and are not really be able to tell where the refrigerator or dishwasher are. See photos:
Sometimes I’m a fan of this and sometimes not. Freezers with ice makers or water dispensers are not typical here–a topic very close to my heart. I’ve almost gotten over it but not totally. The other day a kitchen designer was telling me that I should opt for not having a freezer at all in the kitchen because it’s so noisy. Did he not hear me when I said I had two kids under 4? The loudest noise in the kitchen is certainly not coming from the freezer and I would rejoice over the sound of ice cubes being made any day.
We have been to a number of different kitchen design firms so far. With each one you sit down and go over your priorities and budget and style. They take the dimensions of your kitchen (considering door and window locations, water hook-ups etc.) and build the kitchen for you on the spot in an online program so that you can see what it will look like. Other designers chat with you and get a feeling for your style and then present you with a design at another appointment. I’m not totally in love with anything I’ve seen yet but I am hopeful. And I have to admit–while it’s time consuming–the process is a lot of fun. (Although that could be because each time I have one of these appointments my children stay with a babysitter and I get a few hours among adults. Hmmm…)
At this point, we are hitting a bit of a time crunch. As we wait for the latest design we need to rush the next meetings and finalize our decisions. It takes 8-10 weeks they say from ordering to installation. Follow along as we go through the process of moving into our first house. See if we end up eating microwaveable meals and doing the dishes in the bathroom for the first few weeks. Kitchen before and after photos to come!