January 28, 2008

When the Plumber ...

The plumber, the milkman and the postman... can bring a housewife into trouble.

In my case it was a plumber.
I was told on a Saturday that the plumber will start on Monday. And I should think about where to position radiators in the living area under the roof (we start at the top floor). That was easy. I had time enough to communicate my storage concept that limits the choice…

So how can a plumber in Italy bring me into trouble in China? Meanwhile Tuesday, it was about a radiator that my husband, Angelo, the architect and the plumber wanted to install in the small bathroom under the roof. - Hey, under the roof, in Southern-Europe? It will never be cold enough to switch on a heater in the loo. And if so, you will be done before the heater is warm! - When I realized that it could be a chic chromed radiator like the one by Villeroy & Boch (left picture) with a second function to hold and warm bath towels, I was persuaded. I made a quick layout of the bathroom and indicated the position of the radiator (of course next to the shower). Only little later, I got a confused reply from Italy, if I have not seen their drawing? Yes sure, and here is my suggestion – as requested.

This was when I found out that the plumber already had done the complete bathroom plumbing on Monday. - ?! – I only had to indicate my preferred place for the radiator.

People always ask me: How can you renovate a house in Italy while living in China? That is so amazing! – Yes, it is, indeed! Now we see how it works.

Luckily the plumbing work somehow corresponded to what I had in mind (there were not that many possibilities to squeeze in a shower, a WC, a bidet and a sink into a room with a large window and two doors).

Both sides, me in China and the palazzo team in Italy, were irritated about the miscommunication. What had happened? Apparently one email attachment was incomplete and I replied late and the palazzo team was fast ... And for them a loo is a loo and not an interior design project. (mmh, I am curious about the comments I am getting now from Italy)

Sigh, yes, we should be on site. I know. And we are going to be there! Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China. All Chinese start to escape back to their hometowns starting this weekend. And some will take three weeks off or even longer. A lot of shops and companies close. There is no domestic help in town, no drivers… so we are urged to flee from Beijing as well. Italy in winter is not the first option for a holiday when you live in Asia. But it is for us because we are awaited to indicate positions of electrical plugs and switches to start with – to decide on the color of the facades (yes it is on hold for us) - to get a feeling for the restructured space – and to decide on more plumbing work (this is on hold since the housewife got into trouble).

January 18, 2008

View from a different angle

I received emails from Angelo and Pitt, the architect. They saw my earlier post about my granite association issue. They both tried to calm me down. The granite stone's surface is rough and not polished. Only when it is wet the dark spots are a bit bold. Otherwise it looks natural and elegant like in the above pictures. The window sills at the front facade are new. They have not been there before. I have to say, I am relieved. It looks good. Thank you Angelo and Pino Pitt for keeping me posted regularly and dealing with my concerns! Also thank you Suzy (Studio Annetta in Hong Kong) and Cheryl (From the Pines in France) for mental support!

January 16, 2008

Before and After

The location is the garden floor. And these are the outside wall of the house and the wall towards the church. The team did a great work on these two walls! On the left you see the situation before in summer 2006 and on the right you see the result after the renovation started in autumn 2007.

I wish I could present this nicer. The mosaic tool of flickr always cuts something and the ACDSee thing I use does not show how to put two photos together and the PhotoStudio 5.5 is hiding this feature somewhere... so I did screen captures. Not appropriate enough to appreciate the work that was done.

Help needed:
Does anyone knows a good shop or website for VINTAGE CHILDREN FURNITURE ???

January 15, 2008

Nobody is Perfect

When you do a renovation you want to do it perfect. Like a perfect cake or a perfect picture. But you are not perfect, nor is a renovation. - Especially when you follow the renovation work from far far away like I do.

So the above picture stands for the first wrong decision we made. Or for the first decision we did not make.

We saw the granite stone plates on top of the balustrade of the terraces. We did not like it much, but said, okay, we can life with that. Not too bad. Why change it when it is already there. And more granite plates were laying under the roof. They were bought by the former owner who wanted to renovate the house but did not finish. We did not realize that these pieces were for the windowsills and door sills. Somehow we knew, but apparently we forgot about them. Then, do you remember, we bought these wonderful blue tiles for the terrace that looks like the Calabrian sea and the sky at the same time? - Now our Calabrian sea has to end at these door sills. They look like my grandfather's tomb slab. They do!

I hope I will be able to life with that (of course there is worse in life!) But we could have easily ordered new sills in a more neutral tone, some broken white tone. I hope I will not think about graves or wrong decisions whenever I walk over these sills. It looks Especially when the stone is wet, it looks ... stop!

Look: In the next picture it seems not too bad. It shows the actual status of the renovation of the roof terrace.

You might say: hey, it is not too late, take them out! Now!
Sigh. Tough decision. I am not on site to realize the actual effect. Maybe it is not too bad after all.

The good news is, that we will be on site in about three weeks!!!! And then I will know more. I can't wait to see everything in person, although Angelo emails us half dozen pictures every day. GRAZIE! BTW, these two pictures were mailed by him today.

January 11, 2008

Happy New Year !

We are back in Beijing and left the jet lag behind.

I am busy working on an article about my friends house here in Beijing. The editor asked me to rework it and talk more about design and less about my friend... First, I thought that as a reader I would like to read about the people in home stories, - and second, I do not know how to write about design in that perfect way some of the blogging designers do. - The editor's key words are: "white, European, clean lines, modern, fun"

I am sharing today my favorite pics I did at my friends place:

And more can be find at my flickr photo set (I will leave it open to public view for a few days).

So what do you think? What is your first impression? What key words would you use?

When I have done that job, I will be back here to post some Palazzo Pizzo related before and after pictures!

You can read about the article in my Beijing blog here or the article itself in the magazine here, page 48 ff.
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