Today’s pictures show progress in a few places around the house.
Since the portico has supporting pylons and columns, we’ve been surprised that these weren’t dug and built when the house foundation was being prepared. I’m guessing that maybe these elements would have been in the way of building and finishing the main part of the house.
Now it is time for this work to commence.
Two small steps were taken toward finishing all the roof sections. The photo-voltaic panels, which go on the back of the main roof were delivered, and the underlay for the partial roof elements is being put in place.
Interior Stone Wall
Part of one wall of the main room is going to be covered in stone. The stone setting for this element has nearly been finished.
Today, Kevin told us that he and Angelo had been reviewing everything and realized the cooktop can’t fit on the right side without major modifications to the wall and window. The problem is the width of the cooktop and its placement, which needs to be centered below the two exhaust fans in the cabinet above.
Here’s his explanation of our options. I think it’s easy to see what he wants us to do:
How Can This Be Addressed:
1—The simple solution is to move the cooktop and hood BACK TO THE ORIGINAL POSITION — that eliminates any issues and requires ZERO work.
2—If the cooktop/hood are kept in the current position we need to make the window smaller, circa 50cm total, taken equally from each side. This means we need to rework the exterior wall — block, stone, stucco — to essentially “patch” the spaces that are being filled. We also need to move the electrical lines that are installed.
My question back to him was whether a cooktop that was less wide would solve the problem without the window and wall changes. Unfortunately, the cooktop width would have to go from 90cm (36in) to 70cm (28in), too small even by Italian standards.
So we’ve flipped the design back to where we started, with the cooktop to the left of the sink.
Kevin, Francisc, and Angelo are all happy, and we’re fine with it, too.
Our only remedy was to rebuild the base of the pool, which as you can expect isn’t cheap, adding about 10% to the cost of the pool. But we feel that at 140cm (54in – 4.5ft) it’s just too deep. After considering what we’d like to have, about 90cm (3ft) and what Kevin thought made sense to him (120cm, 4ft), we settled on 110cm (44in).
To make sure the pool is one solid structure, the new “bottom” needs to tie into the existing pool walls and floor using steel rebar surrounded by concrete, just the way the pool was built originally.
Here’s Kevin’s note explaining the work and giving us the cost.
This one hurts.
In order to execute the pool depth change to 110cm some significant work is needed.
They will essentially be drilling down into the current base. They will insert steel rods and steel lathe. They will then build a perimeter in reinforced concrete whose top will be at the new depth (allowing for skim coat and liner). They will then essentially pour a new foundation. Note that Primo has calculated the details on this and provided Francisc with the plan. Keep in mind they are probably going for some OVERKILL on this, but, they have emphasized that water is heavy and invasive and overkill is a good strategy for this type on issue.
They’ve started this work, laying some concrete blocks linked with rebar. Kevin says the rest of the work will be done in a few days.
The new bottom for the shallow end has been poured on the base structure. Now, we should have it ready for the liner and the finishing of the surround.
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.