Friday, April 16, 2010

Restoration Fun

The seed of inspiration to create a blog of our Italian adventure came from my extended entries in our Restoration Diary thread on the Scalea Forum.  We directed the restoration of our main casa from Oregon (I had never even frequented blogs until I found Art and Barb’s while surfing for real estate in Italy).  After we bought our casa, a smaller one below us was put up for sale which we also bought. We were very relieved because we realized we needed room for guests and a storage area.  Now we've saved some money and it’s time to restore #14.

We could use your input into a couple of decisions we have to make.

First, we have two possible floor plans.  It’s important to decide soon because it influences where the plumbing and electricity will go.
Before I get into that,  I’ll give you a tour of the place--uh, as it is:

You get to it by going down the stairs seen behind the little Japanese maple in this photo.  When you come in, you see the little kitchen with fireplace.  The cabinets are gone and behind them is the wall we want to remove.

The ceiling needs to be removed and the wood beams restored or replaced.

The bathroom is currently a fright on the right as you enter and the door to the basement is on the left.

The soggiorno (living space) has a nice view of the sea through the doors leading to the terrace as does the bedroom. The wall with the photo of the Italian fellow is the other side of the one we want to remove.

Here are the two floor plans I sketched out after sweating out the measurements for a week (there is no such thing as anything even close to square in these old places):

Advantages of Floor Plan A: Plumbing gets to stay close to where it is.  Big living area.

Advantages of Floor Plan B: More space for hanging cabinets in the kitchen. Living space is by the fire.
Better entry?

We also need shutters for doors and windows facing the sea weather.  I can’t decide if I want brown wood colored aluminum as pictured here on the left (whose only advantage is that it’s practical) or go for turquoise wooden shutters like these.
You tell me.

The only vision that is completely clear for me is my vision for the bath.
I just love this sink (minus the white light thingies)

And the shower will be just glass doors at the end of the room (see pink nightmare photo above).  Don't know what kind of tile yet, except that I think large squares rather than small tiles.

Please leave a comment on your floor plan choice or anything else that comes to mind like what kind of things would you want out of the design if you were a guest?  What kind of kitchen, etc.


  1. Hi! I probably don't have to tell you this, but some walls can't be removed in old italian houses. For example, ours has a completely useless foyer that we would have liked to open up and made part of the kitchen-living area, but since it is one of the walls holding up the house, we can't touch it or our house will fall.

    Plan A would be practical if you are planning on using the fireplace to cook in, like ribs and sausages etc, it would be close to the kitchen and table. But the living room is in a dark corner in Plan a, so it depends on where you or your guests would spend most of their time.

    Plan B: I would not put the couch facing away from the fireplace, though. you should put the couch in Plan b where you had the table in plan a. I prefer B of the two plans.

    Shutters are best if you get them in aluminum, as far as upkeep goes. We have wood ones, and every year my husband has to sand and repaint them because the sun cracks the sealant and if they get waterdamaged we may as well throw them out. Aluminum ones cost more though, so it's hard to say.

    I like your choice of sink!
    These are just my opinions, of course you know what is best since you are the owner.
    The front of the house is lovely!

  2. I think as Tammy says it has to be the aluminium shutters unless you do not mind the yearly maintenance required with wooden ones. We have had both so speaking from experience.

    I think either Plan A or B would work depending on seasonal use of the house. Will you have many guests in the winter, if so fireplace is good to sit round. If mainly summer I doubt they will do much cooking indoors?

    In fact I think as typing Plan B is the option to go for as you can make use of fireplace in winter and the doors to the terrace in summer for the sitting area.

    We have just spent the last year renovating our house, lots still to do, not sure if you have been following our renovation on Flickr?

    Anyway good luck with it all!

  3. Re shutters - Lesley & Brian have coloured aluminum outside, wood inside, that look fab and are practical,

    Sorry I'm not sure on floor plans - good arguments have been left above. Maybe check load baring walls before deciding?

  4. Engred from Portland, ORApril 16, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    Well, going against the grain I vote for Plan A. Bigger living area wins every time. If kitchen storage is an issue, I would get a lovely old armoir for additional storage. Gorgeous sink - I am jealous!
    In keeping with my contrarian views, I vote for the turquoise shutters. I grew up at the beach (near Seaside, OR) so I understand the extra upkeep required living by the sea, but I am a bit of a traditionalist, so I would vote wood over aluminum - plus the color is so happy!

  5. Hi Doug Here,
    Thanks for the comments so far. We will be considering them all. For clarification: We know that the kitchen walls are not load-bearing. Also the plan for the fireplace is to put an "insert" stove there for cooking. We figure most guests will come in the warmer seasons, but the heat will work it's way upstairs if needed!!

  6. I vote for Floor Plan A as well!

  7. Di, thought you'd like to know that I just found some red glitter on my door mat. Sigh, we miss you both. Mike and I are going to Cave Junction next weekend for his birthday. We'll be spending a night in a tree house (and three nights at the Seven Feathers Casino-with his folks. Marge

  8. Marge, I kinda knew you'd always be finding that stuff around--sorta like my DNA signature. I guess you'll have to move to get rid of it. I haven't found any here!
    Lindy-You are truly taking on a big project and doing a fantastic job. Doug and I took on a sow's ear-to silk purse project in Oregon and know how much work that all is!
    Engred, I think my heart is with your shutter comment but I've giving my head a chance. I still don't know what to think on the Plan A-B thing. Need more comments!
    Sue-I thought of the possiblity of two sides but didn't think it would exist. I'll have to ask Lesley where she found them.

  9. Really enjoy your blog. Plan A centers the attention to "Kitchen" activities from the entry way and set that as the theme. Plan B emphasizes the relaxing aspect to the space. At our house we tend to center around he kitchen table rarely moving to a sitting area for socializing. I agree with Tammy about the sofa facing toward the fireplace, or not using a corner sofa so as not to focus the emphasis so much one way or the other. I think both plans are good, I tend to go towards the path of least resistance, ie: how difficult is it to move the plumbing?
    As for the shutters, are they accessible? Pretty hard to deal with maintenance on a ladder.

  10. Di and Guido, If this apartment is for Mike and me, don't worry about moving the wall. We'll be spending most of our time with you, upstairs. If you are thinking about renting this apartment out as a residence, then maybe option B would be best. I would pick the low-maintenance metal shutters, but I think you'd be happier with the wood ones (I like the blue color better). What a great sink! My two bits. Marge

  11. Floor Plan B:
    in winter you want to sit near the fire
    (in summer you might be outdoor anyway)

    But I would turn around the divano and place it against the wall (of the shower). So you actually face the fire place.

    I like turquios (in Tropea there are a lot). If they have it in aluminium I would take them in aluminium. If not in wood.
    (If you need to paint them, you can choose another colour in later years if you feel so).

    Is there any restriction of colours in your commune?

    Have Fun !

  12. Enjoy your blog. Here are my inputs for what it's worth:

    Plan B - incorporates fireplace into living room set up, makes it more cozy.

    Shutters - go for the one that has the least amount of maintenance, they both look good.

    Bathroom - In my travels trough Italy and dozens of B&Bs I've seen my share of bathrooms in all shapes & sizes. Since this apartment will be used for guests or rental here are some things to consider. The bedroom & bathroom are at opposite ends so a person will be taking items in/out of bathroom.

    Shower - need a place to put soap, shampoos, razor, wash rag, etc. A handy shower caddy that hangs from the shower head works great. With showers being small, this is always a problem.

    Need to have shelves, hooks, bench, stool, or small chair to hold items such as: towel, clothes, hair dryer, lotions, hair gel/spray, makeup bag/shower kit. Try and have a place to lay the blow dryer on the same side as the electrical plug so it doesn't cross over the sink.

    Good luck and have fun.

  13. Thanks for all your ideas. I agree with Linda on the importance of the bathroom. I can't get my bearings when I'm traveling until my daily routine in the bathroom is set.

  14. I like floor plan B better, I think you will have better view opportunities and the fire place cozier than surrounded by a kitchen, which generates it's own heat. I like the wood shutters better, but then I have seen you do some pretty awesome things with reds and turquoise and other pretty bright colors that I wouldn't have thought of putting together. Nice Pix! I like the turquoise water taken on one of your hikes! Tamara : )



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