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.
I think it looks very nice and makes our new house look like it’s older.
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.
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today’s photos show an exciting milestone: the stone walls have been finished up to the 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.