April 30, 2011

Milestones

Today, Angelo sent those pictures you can say they show milestones in our renovation work:

The flooring of the entrance is done !

I am glad, we found enough original tiles and could avoid a mix with another pattern. However, it was just the right amount of tiles to lay a kind of floral carpet. For the "gap" we added travertine that now looks like a border made on purpose. - When you now enter the main door and go straigth upstairs, you do not pass any dusty renovation area anymore!

The ceiling of the large living space is done!

This ceiling was hell of a work over several weeks that Angelo managed all alone. I only grated off a  few cm2 of old layers of paint with a small special knife to uncover the former fresci. Not much was left to lay bare, but it gives this space the appropriate old palazzo atmosphere. More about the ceiling and its construction in another post.

More milestones: Please have a look at my ABOUT page that I have newly added to the blog. Also I am happy to see that my blog hits this month an all time high visitor record. Thank you!

April 25, 2011

Buona Pasqua !

Happy Easter to everyone! e Buona Pasqua !

Today, Easter Monday, in Italian called pasquetta, little Easter, I am writing again from Bangkok.

Since I had to leave on Good Friday, venerdi santo, Angelo was so kind to take some pictures of the processione, that took place on Good Friday in Pizzo and passed by our house:

processione di venerdi santo in Pizzo

chiesa Carmine in the back ground (our house on the left)

Good Friday procession in Pizzo

April 22, 2011

Recycling Furniture


Today we have mounted my around 20 year old IKEA table. It is a bit rusty, but it stands perfectly. The chair has seen many winters and snow, but with a bit of paint, maybe blue paint, it will look like new.

This again proves me, that I am right to not throw out my old things. I hate to throw away things because 1) one week later or so I need them and 2) it is a waste of resources. I love to see things recycled.

Especially when it is possible in this way, on this balcony, with this view .... ahh, what a pitty that I have to take the plane back to Bangkok tomorrow. My son and I would prefer to stay, but school and work is overthere ...

Since the internet access was a bit weak here lately, I did not post much about the progress. But I will have plenty of time next week. Wishing all of you a Happy Easter, or happy Thai New Year or just a very Happy and hopefully Sunny Springtime.

April 19, 2011

Grocery Shopping in Vibo Marina

Today, I am taking a break from Pizzo and the house and am staying in Vibo Marina with son and mother in law. Actually, we did not stay home but went out for grocery shopping and more:

selection of fresh cheese at the newly opened local minimarket Baldo

selection of pasta - pasta for every day (Barilla) and pasta for sunday (De Cecco) in all kind of forms

selection of local wines (Ciro) starting at around 4 Euro

chili pastes in all kind of versions, sold as "Viagra Calabrese" or "Bomba Calabrese"

the local fish shop with the catch of the day

passing an old house with palm and olive trees (the weather is nice again)

At a local furniture shop I asked for matresses and found out that our bed size 180cm x 200cm is not a standard size in Italy and therefor we would need to order the matresses 180x200 or two by 90x200. One month delivery time and 30% more expensive. I will have to check another shop. But the modern wardrobe on display in the shop might be usefull for storage... I will need to check and measure the space in the house.

And last but not least we stopped by the local barber shop.

our boy gets a very professional haircut for 5 Euro

After lunch break we are going on another shopping tour in Vibo Valentia.

Mixing Vietri Ceramic Tiles

mixing and playing with tiles

The main kitchen is ordered and will be ready in about two months - just in time for our summer holidays. Now, the next step is to decide on tiles for the kitchen walls. The kitchen is modern and open to the living area. But since our over 200 year old house is located in the South of Italy in the historic center of a pittoresque fisher village, we should add some mediterranean atmosphere to the modern kitchen moduls.

Something unique that you would never find in another place, something that you would look forward to see in your seaside home. Colourful tiles from Vietri (near Salerno) or from Sicily - yes! But how could we decide on one design or one colour? They are all so beautiful!

This is when I remembered the beautiful effect of mixing antique ceramic tiles.
Here my favorties samples:

wild mix of antique tiles in the kitchen of Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce (D&G) in Portofino

mix of antique Vietri tiles by Antica Ceramica in the kitchen of Villa Thun in Capri

more antique ceramic tiles outside Villa Thun, Capri via Elle Decor

modern mix of antique Vietri tiles in a 18th century villa in Positano realised by Lazzarini Pickering Architetti

kitchen and dining area of same Positano Villa
(geometric effects and patterns stand ahead of colour effect)

fresh mix of colour and pattern on restaurant wall at Verdura golf resort in Sicily

After this presentation I had my husband convinced that we should look for a good mix of tiles instead of one single design only. And this is what I did then on Sunday: google, print, cut and puzzle ...


cut and paste with paper tiles

I had "analysed" the different mixtures above and found that they all use 20 x 20 cm tiles and that although many different patterns were chosen, half or more of them where independent designs, only few tiles where just part of a pattern of four tiles. This is quiet interesting, since although sometimes more than eight different tiles were used for a wall the overall effect was still harmonious.

Our supplier, Callipo in Vibo Valentia, has a good selection of Vietri tiles, thereof Francesco de Maio is our favorite manufacturer.

Since I am not familiar with Angelo's computer, I did "cut and paste" in a very traditional way. I printed the pages from the downloaded de Maio catalogue and cut with sisors the tiles we liked. This even worked out better, as I can now easily move little puzzle pieces and check out the best effect. As we need 7 m2 for the kitchen, and the minimum order is 1 m2 per design, we might order these seven different designs we had chosen above.

And, if one is undecided between wallpaper and tiles, I just found this solution - it looks like a tiled wall but it's not:

wallpaper design by wall and deco via Spazio Casa

This is not a solution for wet areas in bathrooms or kitchens - and regarding the price (98 Euro/m2), you better go for real Vietri tiles, maybe not the antique ones, but antique pattern newly manufactured are available for less, depending on the design and colour.

April 15, 2011

Progressing, Unpacking and the Bar

We are progressing. Half of the house is now ready for furnishing - but the other half is still dusty construction. Although we are closing doors between ready and non-ready areas, the workers (and ourselves) walk up and down between clean and dusty areas. So by now, dust is mainly everywhere... but we are progressing. Here in photos:

the blue bathroom got flooring:
restored terra cotta tiles previously used in other areas of the house 

We also finally got flooring in the entrance:
restored old tiles with floral pattern previously used in a room in the first floor

we visited an antique dealer in Vibo Valentia to look for some wardrobes and commodes since we need to store clothes, bed linnen, towels etc somewhere - the above wardrobe is French, but we bought it nevertheless

April 14, 2011

Impressions from Pizzo at Sundown

The other evening, shortly before sunset, the sky over Pizzo Calabro was of an amazing colour - kind of deep turquoise with some pinkish clouds. In the twilight the colours of the facades of the old houses became more intense. It was a beautiful moment, almost surreal.





April 10, 2011

Top 10 Impressions from the Renovation Work

In the last five days I have taken many pictures from the house and the work progress. Every day, I am on site measuring, looking into details, unpacking, helping whatever I can do. Yesterday, while showing friends around, I realized that I have some new favorite spots that I want to show you too:

My first favorite spot is the small sunny piazza infront of the house.
Here, at the main entrance three generations of (future) inhabitants are posing happily.

Angelo's art work at entrance #37

more stucco and paint art work on ceilings

my favorite bathroom in the vaulted cellar

April 09, 2011

Impressions from Pizzo

Pizzo view from above

Today is the forth day after our arrival in Bella Italia. The house looks spectacular, we are very happy to see everything in reality. It even looks better than in the pictures Angelo has sent!

So far, we have been super busy and efficient. We could call our holidays quasi "vacation on the building site" and "vacation in building centers" (Ferien auf der Baustelle oder Ferien auf dem Baumarkt!).

I am also very happy to be in Pizzo. The weather is great, we have incredible deep blue skies and a fantastic sunset last night. I met some old friends and very nice new people. I realised that I have not posted about Pizzo, the village itself, for a long time. So I am going to intruduce you (again) to the centro storico of Pizzo with some photo impressions:





Impressions of Pizzo copyright Suzie @ PalazzoPizzo

April 05, 2011

Departure tonight and still packing ....

Today I am packing. Actually, I am STILL packing! I started packing already yesterday. I am such a sloooow packer... It takes me hours. Always! Does anybody has a packing secret for fast and efficient packing to share?!

I really should be better prepared for travelling. We not only travel overseas quite often but also do escape the city almost every weekend. I should have an extra beauty bag ready just for travel, including my favorite cremes, mascara, Labello, nose spray, mosquito repellent, sun protection...(ha ha! yes, that's me)  I just need everything double. The 1l plastic zipper bag(s) for flights - with cremes for face and hands, lipcare, nose spray and other emergency medicine for son -  should be packed and ready anytime. I have no idea why I have to re-pack my beauty bag all the time.

Since our holiday home becomes livable now, I also need to store things there. Shampoo, soaps and clothes of course. So I might have to pack less. Might...

Thinking of that, the other night, I came across an interview with Ivana Trump (yellow press from the plane). She poses in front of her summer house in Palm Beach with her Rolls and LV suitcases. Her saying, that she does not know how many rooms her villa got, was highlighted ... Hey, come on, how could she know, when she has so many houses?! Nothing unusual. (I have not counted my rooms either, ha ha!)

But the interesting question was, whether Ivana Trump travels with tons of luggage in between her properties. - Her answer: No! - She said, she would never carry with her basic casual clothes or pyjamas. This is all on site. Also Florida requires different outfits than New York. So each residence has its own selection suitable for each climate and activities. She just carries her actual favorite things. - Probably she also has someone who files her outfits by photo, so she knows what she has where - and if not she just drives in her Rolls to a boutique.

Actually, that's how my husband packs: He is done in 15 minutes, more or less. He packs passport, credit cards and ticket. And if he forgets his tooth brush, so what? He buys a new one.  

Now, I checked the weather forecast and also the pictures of last year Easter holiday. My son was wearing a woolen hat and scarf... so I opened our metal travel boxes in where I store my winter clothes here in Thailand. When we are landing, there will be chilly 14 degrees Celsius only!


But now, I really have to run. I still need to stop buy the Apple store to buy the "iPad Camera Connection Kit" to enable the download of photos from my camera to our ipad. I want to try out to blog from the ipad while travelling. And I would love a last food massage, but maybe no more time left before a parents teacher conference this afternoon.... and then the beauty case, is always last.

April 04, 2011

How to rent out a holiday home


"How to rent out a holiday home?", I asked myself just recently.

Although we bought the "palazzo" already five years ago, I never really thought about "HOW" to rent it out. When I re-organized my blog a little bit by putting up "pages" (the taps below the headline), I called one page as "Guest Residence". Aha! Yes, I would love to share our little gem with visitors! But how to find the interested traveler? Online?

A friend recommended me to look at a cottage in Southern France. They rent out via VRBO. Aha!

A few google keywords and a bit of surfing later, I found the following:
  1. VRBO.com - Vacation Rental By Owner - aims mainly towards the US market, 7 rentals were available in Calabria, 2 of them in Pizzo.
  2. Ownersdirect.co.uk - aims more to UK and Canadian customers with half of the rentals in Canada and only 818 in Europe, mainly in Italy (470), thereof 152 in Southern Italy, thereof only 3 in Calabria, however none in Pizzo.
  3. HomeAway holiday-rentals.co.uk - is mainly focusing on UK costumers with 16,724 self-catering holiday homes in Italy, in Calabria there are 116 rentals registered, thereof 8 rentals in Pizzo.

After that analysis, I know less than before.

I have more readers from the US than from the UK, but would more traveler from the US come to visit Calabria than from the UK? - From several UK airports and even from Toronto, Canada there are direct flights to Lamezia, which is only 20 minutes drive from our holiday home. Pizzo gets lots of visitors from the UK.

I have not yet inquired the fees of the different sites, which will not make a big difference, I guess. But the VRBO site looks most appealing to me, I have to admit.

Have you ever rented a holiday home? How did you find it? What was your experience? Which rental portal would you consider? Your comments are very much appreciated! Grazie mille!

Thanks for reading until here! I will share this French cottage finds. I downloaded these photos just to show my family, how beautiful a rental can (or should?!) look:

What a beautiful guest bedroom!
I can't believe that someone makes a rental sooo nice!
But I think this is what we need to do!

Another bathroom with a natural stone wall - and the cast iron bathtub looks just like ours!

Angelo, CC, please note, a simple clothes rack can do! I like that!

Last but not least, the kitchen:
Simple country style BUT with stunning stainless steel appliances!
And a wrought iron gate that leads to a garden - we have that too!

Love that cottage!!! Great renovation work, complimenti ! It's located in South of France and renovated by a family based in Seattle. The cottage and its village are featured in a blog called Stephmodo by Stephanie. She not only writes about practical and pretty things, but also has filed the renovation project of "La Maisonette", which can be rented via VRBO here or via the link on her blog.

photo source: Stephmodo
 
 
Remark:
All three platforms mentioned above are owned by homeaway.com and were acquisted in 2006 and 2007)
Update May 2013:
Our Guest Residence is ready for rent! If you plan to visit Calabria in the South of Italy, you should include our lovely village Pizzo! The best time to visit is May-September. But April and October can be very pleasant too. If you like to spent here a few more days, maybe you want to stay with us? Please contact me directly for availability and price at writing.Suzie(at)yahoo.com.
 
Update October 2013:
After more research and my own first experiences with holiday lettings, I wrote these posts:

Kitchen Islands - Part II

After my post Kitchen Island - Part I about simple islands that are sometimes just made of a beautiful wooden table with a marble counter top, I am coming now to the second category of kitchen islands:

The more complex kitchen islands that include a sink and sometimes also a stove with a fume hood.

These islands require more planning. When you already plan to renovate your kitchen and its floor, you might think of providing water, gas and electricity for the island. Once a complex island is done its less flexible, but the advantage is that you face your guests more often during preparing the food and can participate in the communication better. Also you might have more light and space during work then in a classic kitchenette facing the wall.

First, some of my island finds with sinks only:

beautiful country kitchen with blue subway tiles behind the stove and matching stools;
the kitchen island with white marble counter top features two sinks (via Southern Accent)

Italian country kitchen with red counter top and matching stools;
the sink of the island is positioned opposite the stove

although the kitchen already features a sink, the islands provides a second one;
the oven in the back is a pizza oven (!) (via Elle Decor)

nice low budget solution via IKEA

modern kitchen with slim island made in China (via Boloni)

And now, kitchen islands that not only have a sink but also the stove and fume hood:
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