Tuckpointing the Walls

While most of Italy has been off work for days, even a couple of weeks, our Romanian crew continues to work. (This week in particular sees a lot of people off work, as August 15 is Ferragosto, a favorite holiday.)

Today’s work is on the walls, adding the stucco between the stones and brick.

Carrying the Stucco
Carrying the Stucco
Click image to enlarge
Closeup of the Difference with Stucco
Closeup of the Difference with Stucco
Click image to enlarge

I think it looks very nice and makes our new house look like it’s older.

Tuckpointing Closeup
Tuckpointing Closeup
Click image to enlarge

Here are all the photos.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Refining the Kitchen Flipping the Original Design

A few months ago, Kevin had asked us to develop “style guides”, showing what we wanted certain parts of the house to look like or how we wanted them to function.

Kitchen design drawing

pull out cabinet
Example Special Pullout

To develop these guides, we started with a list of requirements: need to have/nice to have. We supported that with pictures we found online of what we liked. We’d paste the pictures into a Google Slides document, add some additional commentary, and send them off to Kevin. He’d then ask questions and make comments and we’d iterate to refine the ideas. (I’d show an example, except some of the pictures we were used might have copyright issues. I’ll play it safe.)

We did one of these guides for the kitchen, where we tried to identify styles and colors of the cabinets and island, plus things like little storage or organizing elements we thought would be useful, things like a pull-out spice cabinets or trash bins and inside-cabinet organizers.

(I also tried to estimate how much cabinet space we need for different uses. My method was to guess the number of “linear centimeters” we needed, based on our kitchen at home. When Angelo and Kevin saw it, they quietly trashed it. It wasn’t much use, but it’s the best method I could think of.)

Based on this guide, Angelo, our kitchen and bathroom designer, roughed out some kitchen ideas. During our May trip, when we focused on bathrooms and flooring, we carved out a little time to make some very general kitchen design decisions.

Three weeks ago, when we were back in Le Marche, we got back after the kitchen with Angelo and Kevin. We came away from that meeting with a solid overall kitchen design that included a layout that we liked and incorporated many of the features we want.

Here’s the overall layout we agreed on. We felt it used the two wall spaces and the island to the best advantage and had the elements in the right places.

(The right side wall has the refrigerator and freezer behind cabinet doors.)

Selected kitchen design
Kitchen Layout Selected in May
Click image to enlarge

I did ask about the placement of the cooktop: why was it on the other side of the sink, away from the ovens? Angelo felt that it made more sense to put it over there so the counter space next to the oven would be open to put pans on.

After we returned home, I gave this question more thought. I decided I wanted the cooktop near the ovens, where it will also be closer to the refrigerator and freezer. So Angelo basically flipped the design and we ended up with this final layout.

New Kitchen Layout
Click image to enlarge

This left just the details, like the planned uses of the specific cabinets and whether we wanted a specific internal fixture.

We’ve been working on these details, and we’re close to pinning it all down.

An Observation

While I was writing this post, I looked more carefully and the layout, in particular a version that had the dimensions marked. As shown in the diagram below, a noted that the window wall of the kitchen seemed off: the cabinets didn’t extend as far up as those near the refrigerator, on the right side wall.

Kitchen layout diagram
Diagram Showing Cabinet Height Question
Click image to enlarge

I’ve sent this off to Kevin. It may well be that it’s an optical illusion looking at the 3D rendering, but I don’t want to build the wrong size cabinets.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Fireplace Settling On a Design

During our trip in May, we discussed the fireplace in the context of its position in the room, especially its position relative to the interior stone wall. We settled on a corner fireplace near the back of the house.

Then, in July we settled on the general design.

Today, we received a rendering of the design. The front of the fireplace is brick, with two stone “wings” that angle back into the wall.

Fireplace design drawing
Front View of Proposed Fireplace
Click image to enlarge
Top view of fireplace design
Yop View of Proposed Fireplace
Click image to enlarge

I had two questions for Kevin:

  1. Didn’t we need at least one row of bricks at the top of the firebox area, below the mantle?
  2. Was the mantle too “heavy” for the design of the fireplace and the room?

Kevin reassured me that the bricks weren’t needed and that they felt the mantle was the right proportion.

In the end, we decided to trust our Italian brain trust.

Source:
Image: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Roof Tiling Progress And Some Interior Work

Despite the temperatures that have regularly exceeded 40°C (104°F) and reached at least 43°C (109°F), they have been continuing to work on, of all things, the roof. You have to admire our crew’s commitment and perseverance.

They have completed the tiling of the main roof on the front side of the house. It’s great how they used older tiles for the top layer, giving the house an older look.

Front Side Roof Finished
Front Side Roof Finished
Click image to enlarge

I think work now moves to the back side, where the solar and photovoltaic panels will be. That may be a longer process, and even more in the afternoon sun, being on the west side. Fortunately, the heat is supposed to subside, at least a little bit: only one day over 35°C (95°F) during the upcoming week.

Work is also continuing inside, installing window and door frames.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Starting to Finish the Roof Stone Walls Complete!

Today’s photos show an exciting milestone: the stone walls have been finished up to the roof.

Stonework Complete on North Side
Stonework Complete on North Side
Click image to enlarge
Brick Detail Below Roof
Brick Detail Below Roof

Plus, there is a nice decorative feature in Le Marche houses: a special, patterned line of bricks right below the base of the roof. When we were on site, they showed us what they intended. It is a “sawtooth” pattern, with the bricks laid at angles. Here, you can see a close-up of the pattern.

This is used on the sides of the house where there will be gutters — on the downside edges. On the other sides, under the roof is simply a flat row of bricks, like you can see in the photo above.

The rest of the photos show work on the underlay for the tile roof. They have started with insulation and what I assume is a water barrier.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure