July 27, 2007

Vietri Tiles

A couple of days ago we went to a company that sells all kind of tiles and of course the famous Italian ceramic tiles that are so popular at the Amalfi coast and in Capri. You can find Ceramice di Vietri online at Francesco de Maio and from Fornaci d'Agostino. They are affordable and so beautiful.

On the way back home in the car, Angelo, my father-in-law, said: You know, the owner of that company is the sister of the wife of your notaio, who is the brother of our friend Franco... maybe he can give them a call...

I like that. I mean the importance of the family-friend-relationship-thing in Italy that is even more important here in the South.

As I was not able to get any picture from the above links I am happy to have found via Katie-d-i-d this just recently posted picture of the Capri residence of Fiona Swarovski - what a coincidence.

We were actually looking at these emerald tiles too, maybe for a bathroom. - So, I am glad to have found this picture because it gives me an idea how it could look in a spacious living area. Although we have been thinking of putting terra cotta tiles in our living area, same as it is now. We might be able to re-use most of the old tiles and add some new ones of the same style, all together in a certain pattern.

For the terrace and balcony, that need to be done first, we choose a waterblue tile from Fornaci d'Agostino from the Emozioni serie. Its colour and surface looks like water and reflects the sun like water. Yesterday, I brought a sample tile back to our house and put it on the terrace.... It is difficult to tell from a tile of the size of 30 x 30 centimeters if it will look good on a surface of 70 m2... I hope we made the right coice!

July 25, 2007

The Clock of the South

My son, 4 years, is still suffering from the 'southern jet lag'. The clock of the South ticks different from the one in the North. There is a long break in the afternoon. People and of course children have a nap (fare il pisolino) after a late lunch. It is just too hot to do anything else. Then in the evening after dinner, that normally does not start before 8.30 pm people go out for a walk in the street. There is a little train (here in Vibo Marina) for children that drives around in a circle since more than 30 years. It is still the attraction for the local children. The engine is from a Vespa and real smoke comes out of the chemine. This train does not start before 7.30 pm. The last circles of the train, you can here the horn all over the bay, are around 11.30 pm. And there are still plenty of children in the street. Of course it is summer holiday and no school.

Some days ago we went to an open air concert of the 'Policia del Stato' in la piazza in Pizzo. It started at 9 pm and when we left around 10.30pm there were still families with little children arriving. Children in strollers and children with milk bottles in their hands.

But my son is still wondering why he has to sleep in the middle of the day. And when he gets up he asks for breakfast. And when the sun goes down he is getting nervous, because he thinks he needs to go to bed again. Some days ago he said: 'Italien ist komisch' (Italy is stange).

July 23, 2007

Living Room and Colours

Furniture is really the last thing I am thinking about right now. But I found that draft post that has some nice pictures, so why not post it today.

Anyway, I have not much thought about the living room yet. Maybe because it seems easier than the rest. Or because it is the most important room, that I keep for last. The room itself is not that big, around 25 m2, same size as the dining area and the kitchen, so it is best to not put too much furniture. And it is not that bright, only one small window. So I suggest mirrors or mirror wall. As the house is big and can host a lot of people, we need enough seating possibilities. I think about one three-seater sofa or two two seater-sofa, two Louis XIV / XVI (?) style chairs, maybe stools that can be used either for seating or as spare side tables. Colour wise - for wall paint, curtains and sofas - I think light pink / rosé - like the outdoor facade paint, and I think of pale coral - inspired by the coral fisher that have been diving for corals in front of the house.... sounds so romantic. That's why I have collected some romantic pictures form Designers Guild. - What do you think?

And my two favorite Louis VXI chairs. Left 'Riehl transitional style' and right 'chair salon' via Marie Claire maison:

Designers Guild
Marie Claire maison
Riehl Design

July 21, 2007

Meeting Point Gelateria Belvedere

Those days you can find us at the 'Gelateria Belvedere' in La Piazza Repubblica in Pizzo. This is our personal favorite, a gelateria that runs since 1901 in the forth generation. Here, we catch up with the architect and meet with potential workers. La Gelateria is our office, our meeting room. The best you can imagine. Our top four orders are:

- Il Tartufo Nero, invented in Pizzo: a half chocolate, half hazelnut ice cream ball filled with dark liquid chocolate - to die for! - also affogato, with hot espresso on top. (This picture shows half tartufo, cut in the middle, no coffee -> half calories)

- La Torta Belvedere (a piece of cake of hazelnut and cream ice cream, a temptation as big as the tartufo) here affogato, with espresso coffee on top.

- Caffe Shakerato (I have to check the spelling)- it is a shake of espresso coffee and hazelnut ice cream served in a prosecco glass.

- una Granita - smashed ice mixed with berries from the forest or lemon - very refreshing and maybe a little less calories.

And if we do not have a meeting there we still go for an aperitivo before lunch or after dinner for desert.

July 20, 2007

more news

There is something magic about the house. It has calm and peaceful vibrations.

I was answering comments of my last post, but then decided to write the answer in a new post.

This afternoon we were on site again with the architect and a signore that took measures for the windows in order to make an offer. There are certain restrictions for the renovation of an old house in the historical center of Pizzo. For example the window frames should be brown or wooden colour. Not everybody in the neighbourhood was following these rules, but I think it makes sense and will look good in our case (althoug we had white colour in mind).

I was standing on the balcony and watching the sea. The view is so peaceful and calm. I was wondering about myself how calm I am regarding the time and money involved. I was joking that we might need FIVE YEARS to finish the house... but I hope that we can use some part of the house earlier, maybe next summer. I am happy as long as I can stand on that balcony and watch the sea. The colour of the window frames and even the colour of the outside walls seem secondary. I am sure that the result of the renovation will be beautiful. The house and its view will always play the main role.

July 18, 2007

News from the Site

Finally some news from the site. We are here since last Sunday. First inpressing thing was the journey itself. Calabria seemed so far from Germany. By car it would be a two day trip at least. Or a day trip via airplane with change of plane in Turino, Milano or Roma, delays and loss of luggage. Not this time! We had a direct flight from Stuttgart to Lamezia that took one hour and 50 minutes - 110 minutes only! Everything perfect. It was a total different feeling. We arrived in Calabria for breakfast, fresh, save and sound. A new experience of a shrinking world. Although convenient, somehow strange, there was no time to adapt, it did not feel far away anymore.

In the afternoon we went to see the house. I did not expect it looking worse than last year. More windows were broken. Probably from stone throwing children. The doors had more graffitis and inside the house plants were growing in almost every room.

We spoke to the architect who had not finished the layouts yet. That was not a problem because apparently, he had not received my drawings via email and so our ideas were not considered in his layouts. However, they will soon these days.

On Monday was the day of the 'Madonna del Carmine'. The church next to our house is named after her and every year, on July 16th, the Church is open and the statue of the Madonna is taken out for a procession through the village. After that there is a party in front of the church, our house respectively. I am happy to have been in Pizzo that day.

Yesterday, we looked around in some 'house remodelling shops' that sell doors, windows, tiles etc. in Vibo Valentia. And today, we took a wooden door from one of the windows of the house back to Vibo Marina (where we actually stay). My father in law worked on door, took off the old paint to see if we can re-use it and keep it natural.

Unfortunately our internet access here is very, very slow. And the pictures I took are not on the laptop I am able to connect with the internet. I hope, I can blog actual pictures someday later.

July 10, 2007

Another Renovation Story

Last summer I read 'The Reluctant Tuscan' by Phil Doran. Doran is an American author and script writer (originally) based in Hollywood. The book tells his own true story and starts with a phone call from his wife... She just bought an old, unlivable 'rustico' in Tuscany, Italy.

Their adventure of renovating this property is a light and funny summer reading - interesting for everybody dreaming about settling down in Italy.

July 08, 2007

Italian Kitchen Talk

Actually, there is no kitchen in the house. And the area where the kitchen used to be is a bit small, at least for Italians which spend half of their lives in the kitchen...

So we opt for taking out another wall in favour of a spacious and open family kitchen.

My argument for an open kitchen: if you have guests and do not have an open kitchen, you miss half of the conversation.

Here are some dreamy solutions:

The last kitchen is from Boloni, a Chinese-Italian joint-venture in Beijing, China. Boloni's website seems inactive at the moment (www.boloni.com.cn). But I can tell you that Boloni is known for its high standard kitchens that are produced in Beijing since 2001. They are developed and designed with the support of German and Italian designers - and with the Chinese talent of copying new technologies of the west for less money.

As we still live in Beijing, it is an option to buy a kitchen here and then ship to Italy.

July 04, 2007

beds, beds, beds

Classical bedrooms in Hotel Particulier, Arles, France via Desingers Block and bedroom in Casa Fresco, Florence, Italy

Tropical bedrooms in private villa and Burirasa Resort, both Koh Samui, Thailand

Bedroom via Marie Claire Maison and a bedroom in private villa in Phuket, Thailand

Bed from B&B Italia (AC) and bedroom via AD magazine

Bed by Lambert, bed milleunanotte, steel bed, wooden bed by Maitland Smith, bed Arezzo by Niermann Weeks, Louis XVI canopy bed

It is crystal clear, that I want a 4-poster-bed. And I need a good picture for a carpenter in China, where we actually live.

Designers Block
Hotel Particulier, France
Burirasa, Thailand
Marie Claire Maison
B&B Italia
Lambert, Germany
Sorry, for the incomplete source

More beds at my flickr set for interior decoration.

July 03, 2007

baths, baths, baths

It is crystal clear, I want an old fashioned iron bathtub.
Accordingly, the sink, toilet and bidet should be slightly classic.
Tiles on the wall, I would use only in the wet area and half way, like in the pictures 1-4, 7.

Look for my other bathroom posts here and here.

July 02, 2007

Festa sulla Piazza

My father-in-law is in Pizzo and keeps emailing me the latest news from the house and Pizzo. Today I received pics from a dinner party on the main piazza.

I wonder what the chef was cooking. Maybe risotto with porcini mushrooms from the local forests?
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