Update on the Stone Accent Pieces Some Selections and a New Idea

When we were in Marche on our last trip, we visited a stone yard to pick out some accent pieces for a few fun exterior functional items. Today, Kevin came back with an estimate for each item.

We decided to do most of the items, particularly those that need to be built into the house, but held off on a couple to maybe add later.

Here are the items we were considering:

ItemCostDecision

Backing Plates for the Faucets

€450

These need to be built into the walls.

Country Sink and Faceplate

€450

These need to be built into the wall.

Faceplate for Trough Fountain

€350

This needs to have built-in water and electrical supply and be installed into the wall.

Bench

€800

Seems expensive and can be added later.

Decorative Bracket

€350

Seems expensive and can be added later.

Old Trough: Option

€375

??

Not sure if size is right and will work with needed pump.

New Trough: Option

€720-850

??

Expensive and not sure if size is right and will work with needed pump.

The one choice we didn’t make was the fountain trough. We wanted to go with the older one, for character and price, but worried about the dimensions for the space and depth to have the pump mechanism included. Kevin responded by telling us Francisc has been worried about how to handle all of this, regardless of what we chose, so they proposed another option with a custom-built stone trough.

Here’s a rough rendering:

Fountain Approach
Trough Fountain Proposal

It looks like a reasonable solution overall. My only design question is whether the trough should match the house or be different stone to set it off. And then there’s the cost issue.

An Update

Since we want to use the fountain faceplate above, Kevin recommends we go with a plain backer. He suggested plaster, maybe in a color. I’m not seeing that as working, but we’ll need to sort it out.

Costs seem reasonable at about €700. (Francisc can get a pump online for €110 vs. the €430 the supplier wanted. He does a great job saving money!)

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Random Stones Tweaking the Stone Laying

When we saw the walls about halfway complete, Anne felt that the stones were being laid in too regular a pattern and not the a caso, or more random style Kevin had shown us at his house.

Section of Our Wall
Section of Our Wall
Click image to enlarge
Sample of Kevin's Wall
Sample of Kevin’s Wall
Click image to enlarge

Kevin asked them to tweak the work a little, to make it look a bit more random in both the colors of the stones and the sizes used.

Today’s pictures show the subtle difference.

Front Near Study
Slight Adjustment
Click image to enlarge

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Stone Halfway Up the Ground Floor Also: Pouring the Pool Surround

Stone work is continuing on the ground floor exterior walls. They are building up the walls equally around the house, rather than finishing one section and moving on. I wonder if this is to not put too much lateral pressure on the brick corners during construction.

Our Walls So Far
Our Walls So Far
Click image to enlarge

Halfway Up the Master Bathroom Wall
Wall Section
Click image to enlarge

After seeing the pictures, Anne wondered if the walls were too “regular” in the stone laying pattern and not a caso, or done somewhat randomly. We sent a question off to Kevin.

The other work in progress today is the concrete for the base of the pool surround.

Some Pool Concrete in Place
Pouring the Pool Surround

Here are all the pictures.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

A Proposal to Address the Slope in Front Alessandra Offers an Idea

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote at length about our “problem slope” in front of the house. Today, our architect Alessandra has a proposal of how to deal with it.

Put simply, our problems are that the house is sitting “in a hole”, below the level of the land in front, and the driveway access is short and steep. We caused part of the problem by putting the house too far up the hill, where the property tapers to a triangle, which leaves us little room to adjust the slope by spreading out. (The core problem is that the property itself is steeper than we expected.)

Alessandra’s plan is to put the parking area at the very top of the property and put three terraces down to the house.

Parking and Front of House Solution
Alessandra’s Proposal
Click image to enlarge

This does open up the front of the house and make the slope close to the house less severe, but I wonder if this isn’t causing other problems:

  • Making the driveway even steeper
  • Squeezing the parking area so it’s hard to turn around to go back up and to have enough room to have a “running start” to attack the driveway.
Diagram of My Question about the Driveway Slope
My Question about the Driveway Slope

My knees are also asking about carrying stuff down from the parking to the house. (They don’t mind up as nearly as much as down.) Is the plan to just have a steep path or stairs? Can we do something more gradual?

Diagram of My Thought about Foot Access
My Thought about Foot Access

Realistically, I don’t think we have many options other than this one of Alessandra’s — since we can’t buy more land, at least right now — but I’ve sent my thoughts off to Kevin.

An Update

Kevin got back to me with diagrams that addressed my questions, but I still wonder about that sloping driveway!

slope drawing
Their Guess on the Slope
Click image to enlarge

Here, he indicates the path they have planned. My guess is that it will need to be extended to reduce the slope further.

Revised land drawing
Drawing Showing Planned Path
Click image to enlarge

The next step is to get a reasonable estimate for the earth moving front and back. Francisc is getting bids from smaller suppliers, as their prices should be less than the bigger companies,

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Bottom Section of Ground Floor Walls Complete Stone Circles the House

Two days ago, they started setting the stones to make the outside walls. Today, they have finished a section about 40-50cm (16-20in) high all around the house.

Here you can see how the bricks and stone come together near the corners.

North Wall of Kitchen
Base Section of a Stone Wall
Note Brick Corners
Click image to enlarge

The rest of the pictures.

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure