Our Kitchen Is Finished!

When we started designing our little house, the one thing we wanted was an open floor plan … we wanted one big room with the kitchen at one end, the living room at the other and the dining table in the middle.

And we wanted an American-style kitchen, with an island, a decent-sized refrigerator, plenty of storage and counter space and a wine fridge. Most of the kitchens we had seen in existing farmhouses (at least in our price range) were cramped, with not enough storage or counter space. And with curtains instead of doors on the lower cabinets. “No curtains!” was my first direction to Angelo, our kitchen designer.

And Ed wanted an ice-maker. Not just an ice-maker in the freezer (which is rare enough in Italy) but a stand-alone ice-maker (what can I say, Ed is into ice, and lots of it). Angelo looked at him as though he had three heads. Needless to say, Ed did not get his ice-maker.

We spent most of the day at Angelo’s showroom in Civitanova going over our extensive list of needs and wants and picking out the cabinet design and counters. I was tempted to pick something safe and classic, like white, but we ended up going for a greenish-gray color for the cabinets.

OK, not the best picture, but here’s how our kitchen turned out:

I think our full size refrigerator and freezer might be overkill for Italy…. in fact I think our whole kitchen might be overkill…but at least we can stock up with food and wine before a big snowstorm.

Despite designing our American-style kitchen we still ended up with a microwave that is tiny on the inside and an oven that will not fit a big roasting pan with a turkey. But I’m sure we’ll adapt.

Now that the kitchen is done we are starting to think about all the stuff we’ll need to bring or buy to outfit it. I’ve already started filling my cart at Amazon.it.

Building the Fireplace

We are getting close to the end of construction. One of the last things to do is build the fireplace.

Although a pellet stove would have been a more effective source of heat, we thought an open fire would make the place feel cozier, so we opted for that.

Given all the doors along the backside of the house, the only place that made sense to put a fireplace  was in the corner of the living room. That actually works well because it means we can see it from the kitchen and dining area as well as the living room. Here’s the design we came up with.

However, the corner location restricted its size and we found we couldn’t make it as big as we wanted. Not the end of the world.

Since we wanted the fireplace to fit with the rustic character of the house, we decided to build it out of brick and stone using an old wood beam for a mantel and a space to store wood below the firebox.

Here’s the stone we found for the front of the firebox:

fireplace stone being lifted on crane

Here it is in place:

Here’s the old beam we found for the mantel:

The chimney pipe is covered in plaster:

Ta-dah! Here’s the finished fireplace:

Now all we need to do is test to see if it draws properly and then we’ll be ready for a cozy fire.

Internet, Railings, and Stairs

Today, the internet components were installed, along with the railings for the stairs and the terrazza. Plus, the painting of the stair risers was done.

Internet Connection

Because of our location out in the country side, we’re getting our internet over-the-air from towers across the valley. This system is in widespread use in Marche.

Over-the-Air Internet Receiver
Over-the-Air Internet Receiver
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Wireless Access Point
Wireless Access Point
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Stair Railings

Last we heard about railings was when Kevin told them “no” on the original color and we then picked a new color that coordinated better.

Stair Landing and Railing
Stair Landing and Railing
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Stair Handrail
Stair Handrail
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Terrazza Railings
Terrazza Railing Looking Toward Front
Terrazza Railing Looking Toward Front
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Terrazza Railing at Roof Peak
Terrazza Railing at Roof Peak
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Stairs

As we decided a week or so ago, the risers were painted to help hide scuff marks.

Painted Stair Risers
Painted Stair Risers
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Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Bathrooms Installed But a Big Issue in One of Them

The report was that the bathrooms were done. When we got the pictures, we decided that we weren’t quite there yet in the upstairs bathroom.

Master Bathroom

Here, I think we are all done. All fixtures, cabinetry, tiling, and lighting have been installed.

Master Bath Vanity and Mirror
Master Bath Vanity and Mirror
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Master Bath Shower
Master Bath Shower
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Downstairs Bathroom

With the exception of the decorative vanity that Johnny is working on, we’re done here, too.

Downstairs Bath Vanity Location
Downstairs Bath Vanity Location
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Downstairs Bath Shower Head
Downstairs Bath Shower Head
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Upstairs Bathroom

Anne took one look at the pictures below and said, “I don’t like it. The sink is too big and it sits up too high and sticks out to far forward.”

We decided that this was caused by the width of the room and the placement of the shower and door. We were left with space for only a shallow vanity, so the sink we chose is too big and the wrong shape. We had never seen a complete drawing of this unit from the side, where the problem is apparent. We’d only seen straight-on views.

Anne immediately wrote to Kevin and sent him some other sink ideas. Kevin and Angelo will make an adjustment.

Upstairs Bath Looking Into Hall
Upstairs Bath Looking Into Hall
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Upstairs Bath Vanity and Sink
Upstairs Bath Vanity and Sink
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UPDATE

Here’s the new sink for the upstairs bathroom… much better!

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure

Ground Floor Bathroom Vanity We Decide to Go For Something a Little Unique

For the ground floor bathroom, Anne wants to use an old piece of furniture as the vanity, rather than having something built in. We had tried looking for such a piece on our July trip, but found that older furniture is not that easy to buy in Italy. There isn’t the number of antiques stores or markets that there is here.

We could keep looking on future trips, or we might be able to have something built just for us. Anne sent along some ideas to Johnny, the carpenter who is building our shelving and some custom doors, so we could explore what we might be able to get.

Johnny sent us three ideas.

Beech Cabinet
Example of Modern Beech Cabinet
Example of Modern Beech Cabinet
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This would be a very simple, mostly open, cabinet made of new wood that the sink would sit on top of. Neither Anne nor I liked this one.

Something Using Some Old Oak
old oak slabs
Very Old Oak Boards
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Johnny has found some very old oak planks. I say “something” because there are two ways to use them: build a cabinet like the one above, or have just “floating” wooden shelves attached to the wall, with the sink on the top one.

We both liked the wood, but neither of the executions.

Reworking an Old Walnut Piece
vintage walnut cabinet
Vintage Walnut Piece Found by Johnny

This is really what we’ve been looking for from the beginning. Johnny found this old cabinet, probably French, he thinks, and proposed a way to rework it into a base unit with a framed mirror above. The sink would be slightly sunken into the top to get it to the right height.

This all looked very good, except for the use of the top decorative piece as the top of the mirror. It seemed to be a bit too heavy.

Drawing of Existing Walnut Cabinet
Drawing of Existing Walnut Cabinet
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Drawing of Reworked Walnut Cabinet
Drawing of Reworked Walnut Cabinet
Click image to enlarge

This one is our choice for the vanity.

However, we don’t want to walk away completely from either the decorative top or the old oak boards. We may find a place for the top, and we’re going to talk to Johnny about building a desk or a table out of the oak planks.

Update:

Here’s how it turned out. We think Johnny did a great job. What do you think?

Source:
All images: Copyright © Our Big Italian Adventure