December 17, 2007

Happy Holidays!

We are taking a break.

Angelo will travel back from Calabria to Venice by car. And then from Venice to Stuttgart by plane. I will be in Stuttgart tomorrow, arriving from Beijing by plane.

The world seems so small.

My son sees the picture of the renovation in Italy on the computer in China.
He got so inspired that he built a house in his kindergarten (above picture).

We will discuss colors and more renovation issues during the holidays and will be back on this blog soon.

Happy Holiday, Buon Natale, Frohe Weihnachten!

December 12, 2007

Pink Pigment's Problem?

All comments and emails I got vote for pink! The pink of a 'pale rose', 'faded coral' or 'Aurore's cheeks'!

But today I received the email of my renovation experienced Italian friend (mother-in-law's cousin's wife). She said the following:

"In my opinion I prefer yellow because pink colour with the time is making some horrible black stripes along the windows and it's not fine to be seen.
Right near my house (ed. remark: between Padua and Venice) there's a pink villa that looked beautiful when it was finished but, after a few years, they are renovating it because of this dirty look.

Someone told me that there's a pigment in the composition of pink colour which gives this black result when time passes by. I don't know if that's the reason, but now I'm careful about all pink houses that I see and I must say that it's true.
By the way, we did our house in yellow "ocra" and I'm happy of our choice."

So I am wondering what is it about that pigment?
The two photos above show houses in Pizzo. They look newly painted - and impeccable.
But when I look at our house ... dark stripes ....

We will ask around. Maybe some of you know?

December 07, 2007

Pink or Yellow?

It is time to decide about the colour for the outside walls.


Or yellow?


Or yellow?

This is the picture I got as a proposal. Difficult to tell on the screen what this color would be on the wall. Is it more 'yellow' or 'orange'?.

It is a coloured plaster. Different from painting on plaster. Some technique that gives the facades a kind of antique look.

I really like the colour of the seaside facade. We call it 'pink'.
Although, to me, it is more a 'pale coral'. (I think of the coral fishers that used to dive for coral underneath the house).

BTW, the seaside facade's color is the background color of this blog!

And I think that the blue tiles fit perfectly to this 'pink'.

But would it look good on the other facade that faces the piazza?


(We want to paint three sides of the house in the same color and leave the one stone wall as it used to be for the last 200 and something years.)

Picture source: drawings of the house by Pino Pitt (colored by me);
other picture by me, except the yellow palazzo which is the Xara Palace in Malta via Architectural Digest magazine.

December 04, 2007

Calabria: Amarelli Liquorice

On this side of the world it is wintertime and cold outside.
I am sitting at the computer (in Beijing) and next to me I have a tiny blue tin of 20 g best Italian liquorice (thanks to my Italian mother-in-law). I thought, I am going to post about this tiny tin.

It is Liquirizia Di Calabria from Amarelli in Rossano. The Amarelli company, founded in 1731, is one of the oldest liquorice (or licorice) producers. And Rossano is a city on the Ionian coast, the other coast of Calabria.

This is my favorite one. A red tin of 40 g pure liquorice. Same like in the tiny blue box.

"Liquorice is an elixir of longevity in Chinese medicine and according to Hippocrates, this root with a characteristic bitter-sweet taste, and vivifying, digestive and throat-soothing virtues, has been harvested since antiquity on the Calabria Ionian coast, where it grows naturally."

Throat-soothing, that's why I am a fan of it. Actually I was not aware of all the other benefits!

I love these nostalgic boxes. I hope Amarelli keeps them that way for ever!

Here I love the design better than the product inside:

The Beach-mare tin contains 20 g of liquorice with natural mint and is colour sugar coated.

The Sassolini are soft liquorice with natural anise and colour sugar coated. They come in a tin of 40 g.

In 2001, the Amarelli have inaugurated the "Giorgio Amarelli" Liquorice Museum which was awarded the Guggenheim Enterprise & Culture Trophy.

More info here:
Amarelli Company
Amarelli Museum
Amarelli history by Henokiens

Photo source: most of them via

December 02, 2007

Natural Sources of Light for a Bathroom & more

The latest accomplish rate was 13.55% as of November 30, 2007.
More than 10% in one month... maybe we can make it until the summer holidays? - I am just kidding. I will be more than happy if we make it according the plan - until November 2008.

My son (4 y.) asked me today: Who is fixing my Italian house in Pizzo? (my !) And then he asked: Do they know how to repair it? - I said, Angelo knows and he is there.

It is so important that he is on site, as there are tons of additional questions to answer and new decisions to make.

Today, Angelo and I, have been writing a lot of emails back and forwards. He most of the time in Italian and me most of the time in English.

The longest was about natural sources of light for the new bathroom. As we re-located the bathroom in piano terra (ground floor / first floor) we got a bigger space for the kitchen and of course a new bathroom. The old window of the former bathroom belongs now to the kitchen. The new bathroom will get a new window. The window will be small. So I had a thought once, about glass bricks (Glasbausteine) in a certain height towards the neighbouring storage area... I never mentioned this idea until about two days ago - when it was too late. Angelo and Pino, the architect, apparently liked the idea right away. But, ups, the new wall was already perfectly finished. Remember the working speed?

The wall can be demolished partly, no problem (only extra costs). So now, we discuss via email about the size, the height and the position of the glass bricks. The glass bricks come 20cm x 20cm and in many beautiful colours to choose of. And the question was asked if we want to use them on the opposite wall towards the kitchen as well.

However, I cannot picture where this could probably be. In the niche of the shower? I suggested see through glass, so we could have sea view from the shower (through the kitchen) - hey, why not? There is a technique with a certain liquid that runs over the glass and turns it to not see through... tricky. But I think I will place the fridge there. On the side of the kitchen, not in the bathroom... confused? Me almost.

This is the new space for the kitchen after cleaning up the debris (the light area, behind the yellow bucket - before the yellow bucket is the dining ares).

This is the new bathroom. The shower will be in the left niche. Looking at the picture, I think the bathroom is smaller than I thought. We plan 2 sinks, 1 WC, 1 bidet, 1 shower and 1 washing machine, maybe a 'working' sink for hand wash laundry (something Italian). Maybe we have to reconsider. I guess, when you split a big room into two, both new rooms always appear smaller than assumed.

Where is this hole? I know it is in the wall between the kitchen and the new bathroom. Can we please have a picture from the entire wall? Maybe this is a place for glass bricks? - Or, one window and one area of glass bricks are enough.

And the outside renovations just started as well. The first picture above shows the scaffolding on the sea side facade as of December 1st.

For those who worry about our cliff - the rock was professionally renovated a few years ago. The concrete plate underneath the house was part of the project.

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