We have a bunch of pictures today showing progress inside the house.
It looks like the bathrooms are nearly complete. Fixtures are installed and the windows complete.
Kitchen installation has begun, with a number of cabinets in place. I’m impressed with the installers’ lab coats.
Lighting and Fans
Many of the lights have been put in place prior to final installation.
In the background of one picture showing work in the main room. you can see that the fireplace has yet to be built. All that is installed is the exhaust tube. But we did get a picture of the piece of old wood that will be used for the mantel.
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.
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.