Putting the Fun in Functional

There are a few nice touches we’d like to add to the outside of the house, some functional, others just for fun.

Wood Storage

Wood storage areaSince we’re going to have a fireplace in the main room, we need a place to store firewood. Since I know from experience that if the wood isn’t conveniently located, it doesn’t get used, I want to have a wood storage area next to the house.

The plan is to have a small wood store on the side of the house nearest the fireplace. You’ll be able to reach it easily via the marciapiede. It will look VERY ROUGHLY like the image here, but it will have stone sides and a tile roof.

Italian country sinks

Country Sink

Kevin proposed that we include a “country sink” on the side of the house nearest the kitchen. This will give us a place for Anne to have the “potting shed” she wants and for us to wash off things outside, like vegetables from the garden.

And since we are planning for a spigot on that side of the house, this is a more interesting way to include it, instead of just having a regular spigot.

Again, roughly, we’re looking for something that’s a cross between these two ideas. (The bottom one is from Kevin’s house.)

He says we can find something interesting at a salvage yard, so next spring we’ll go looking. I think it will be a fun project,

Water Trough/Fountain

water trough fountainAnother accent piece we’ll look for is a stone water trough or the like. Anne has always wanted some sort of “water feature.” Since I don’t think we’ll be building a stream — though we have the slope for it — we’re planning on including a water trough with spigot right next to the portico, where it can give us a nice, soothing sound.

Here’s a sample of what we have in mind. Kevin says we ought to be able to find a suitable trough, as well.



dovecotesFinally, for pure whimsy, we’d like to include some dovecotes. You see them on many older houses in the area, so we thought they’d be a nice touch.


Here’s a layout showing where all these elements will be placed.

Exterior features
Click image to enlarge

Wood storage: | http://www.birchtreecottage.co.uk/LOG-STORES-.html
Outdoor sink: | http://expatspatio.com/stone-outdoor-patio-sink-great-alternative-choice/beautiful-stone-outdoor-patio-sink-exterior-design/l
Water trough: | http://www.guiadejardineria.com/como-maximizar-tu-pequeno-pati
Other images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Walls for the Pool

They finished building the forms for the pool. Today’s small photo set shows them at work pouring the concrete into the forms to make the pool walls.

Kevin also reported that the Water company was on the site, making preparations to get the water supply pipes in place.

The work will go on until Monday, when the holiday break begins. It lasts until January 7, so about 18 days. Given all the work that’s gone on in the past 4 weeks, I can’t begrudge them some time off — but 18 days, especially by US standards, seems like a lot.

Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Forming the Pool

Kevin sent along a picture of the workers at lunch: First lunch in the new dining room.

(Notice the thickness of the finished slab. Those IGLUs are buried in there, with only the moisture outlet pipes visible.)

First lunch in Casa Avventura
First lunch in Casa Avventura
Click image to enlarge

The other photos today are of the starting of the concrete forms for the pool. The yellow panels are put inside the wood frame to keep the concrete from sticking to the form.

Image source
Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Marciapiede Surrounding the House

When we were thinking about the exterior of the house, Anne noted that many houses we have seen look stark, because there are no plantings along the foundation. She said she wanted to have some plants near the base of the walls, including some rosemary and lavender.

Marciapiede Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

I asked Kevin about this. He said that traditional construction in Marche has a marciapiede, a sidewalk, surrounding the house. This is done primarily for practical reasons, as it keeps water from right next to the foundation.

Typically, a marciapiede is 80cm (2.5 ft) wide and you put the plantings on the outside of it.

This seemed fine for most of the house, but we wondered if it shouldn’t be wider in some places, especially in the back of the house outside the French doors.

We already have the portico outside the kitchen French door, so our fix was to widen the marciapiede outside the rest of the back to 140cm (3.7 ft) and add a little more width outside the bedroom door, forming a bit of a terrazza.

Here’s a diagram of the planned marciapiede.

Marciapiede Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

Image source
Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure