May 30, 2011

Do not underestimate the impact of radiators to your interior!

Do not underestimate the impact of radiators to the harmony of your interior!

After a long period of great results and beautiful surprises, after smooth progressings and contenting solutions, has come a moment, unfortunately, we face some less funny facts. I am not going to file them silently under "Now I have to live with this". I am sharing them like the rest, in order to help others to avoid the same mistakes.

I know, it does not make a big difference, if you are 9,000 km away from your construction or away just for half an hour, when electricians and plumbers are at work, you better do not move from their side at all! They do what they think is most convenient for them and they do not communicate with each other, unless you are the interpretor. - Unfortunately, I have proof for it - see below:

plumber and electrician "marking" their territories on a wall in the dining area

Nothing is symmetric on this wall! - The good thing, I am saving money, because we will not buy the chest that was supposed to be at this wall to squeeze it inbetween these radiators.

kids room wall space wasted

And with the electrician already generously positioning their switches and pluggs far from the edge of the wall, the plumber had to go even further into the room. - A nice wall of over three meters, just gone! Where do I place now a wardrobe or a guest bed, please?! - My porposal: to order a new and higher radiatore that has 4 columns and ends in line with the switch. We might save 50% of its length. (Also not enough for furniture. I think we choose the wrong place for the radiator in this room, it should have been between door and window, as this wall is difficult to use.)


This heater is 5 rows too long !

To compare: a good sample

In order to match the wall size the radiator above was ordered with 4 columns instead only 3 and it is also higher (until switch) than all the others.


But now to our even more special cases in the bathrooms:

squeezed too near the door and too high!

Angelo sent me a 2nd picture from a different angel - there is not mucht to do, although I do not understand why the space between radiator and tiles must be bigger than to the door.

oups !

These pictures do really hurt!

Angelo defends all radiator placements (he claims we have choosen them and have seen the red crosses on the walls for the positioning), however, with this one he agrees to distroy his spatulato wall to correct the position. But we made a compromise: he is not moving it further right, but just further down so it is at least in line with the finish line of the tiles of the shower. - Later, I will buy 2-3 hooks for towels, and fix them between radiator and shower, so I do not need a 2 meter arm to catch a towel.

Now I have to live with this... (tubes are installed behind the wall and wall is tiled)

How could this all happen?

When we were "positioning" the radiators for our house we went through all rooms with the plumber and he had a red spray can in his hand. At that time the house was in bare shell state. I think, I had in mind how doors would open and maybe also our indoor window shutters, probably possible furniture placing as well. At that time, it was said, that the radiators are included in the plumber's "package". Of course we checked what kind of models we would get and if an "upgrade" would be necessary. My husband choose some normal okay looking radiators from the catalogue and the plumber apparently agreed on our choice. Anyway, everything seemed to run smootlhly.

Of course, the plumber would calculate the size of the radiator necessary to heat each room appropriately.

Attention: here was our mistake! Don't copy that!

Did the plumber exagerated with the heaters size? Yes, in the bathrooms, we should have discussed and determined the size before. For under windows or in niches a more exact size should have been choosen.

In other cases, especially in the kids room and dinig area our mistake was to choose "slim" radiators. Only 3 "columns" deep. So, in order to have the same heating power the radiator has to be 40% longer than a radiator with 4 columns. Someone should have consulted us about the impact of the choice of radiators.

Maybe it has also happened because during the last 13 years we had not to deal with this kind of radiators. Over half of the time we lived in Asia with built-in ceiling airconditioning - and the rest in Germany with an overhead radiation heating. It is not common at all in Germany, but in Swiss terrace condominums. Although the ceiling heating has some disadvantages, I really really enjoyed the radiator free walls very very much !!!

May 26, 2011

The Living Room is Coming

living area flooring done

The installation of the parquet (natural oak) is done for the piano terra (ground floor). Angelo handled it all by himself, day by day. Last night he sent me the picture with sofas without legs.

I just replied that the wooden flooring looks fantastic. Sofas look a bit bulky for our small living area ;-) and not too bad without legs. But legs can be found in the white Santa Fe tool box in the yellow guest room. It is coming along!

May 24, 2011

A Bathroom Vision in Blue

A dream of a bathroom! How colours can change the atmosphere! Actually it is not just painted blue walls, it is spatulato, a Venetian technique for making painted walls shine like marble.

a vision in blue

blue and pearl grey wall colour harmonizes two different pattern of Vietri tiles on wall and floor

the lighter blue of the ceiling matches one hue of the wall tiles

the wall paint reduces the strong contrast (see before here and here)

stucco borders frame the painted areas

view from above (while painting the ceiling)

beautiful perspective of a blue bathroom dream

A "specialist worker" waxing the surface of spatolato finish in order to obtain a surface similar to polished marble.

Bath room with spectacular sea view

I wish I could be there! I have not seen it in reality yet. I only have these photos for now and have to wait for summer. 

What a dream in blue!

Grazie Angelo!! You are becoming the new Michelangelo with this project! Thank you for choosing the right blue and for spending so much time on the spatulato technique.

May 19, 2011

Small Vietri tiles for small Kitchen

San Pietro 10 cm x 10 cm Vietri tiles by Francesco de Maio

This will be our small kitchen in the seminterrato. It is the one for the guests, in case they want to cook for themselves.... or when we rent out this entire floor as our guest residence.

There will be red kitchen. Something allegro. Red is a happy colour for a stone vaulted cellar. So next step is choosing tiles. We were looking at some bold Vietri tiles with red flower ornaments, there were some with quiet modern designs from the latest collection. But these tiles (20x20cm) were too big for this small area and also their red tone might not match the red tone of the kitchen, we thought.

Somehow tired after having choosen seven different pattern of tiles for the main kitchen, we were easlily caught, when our "personal" sales consultant of our frequently visited sanitary shop, presented us "San Pietro". A tiny geometrical pattern of something red and green on a 10x10 cm tile. Totally different from all these big designs we just ordered. Kind of boring, but also cute and tricky, a bit 70ies?

seminterrato kitchen walls are now tiled

The installation of these tiles were done in a couple of hours. There was only one email exchange necessary between Angelo and me to check wheather I am ok with an extra column of "San Pietro" on each side since we had enough excess tiles. - Oh, yes, and one extra trip to the sanitary shop was necessary too - to buy more of the white tiles, since I miscalculated the correct amount (for two kitchens).

Now, waiting for kitchen delivery...

May 15, 2011

Kitchen Tile Mix completed

The kitchen tile mix is now completed and walls are painted. - I am happy and relieved how the Vietri tile mix turned out.


the niche of the kitchen completely tiled

detail of the niche

entire result: Vietri tile mix completed

And I am very glad that I did the last minute change for the "u"-shape "frame" around the niche. The bue tiles (Greca blu) would have been just too bold. However, it is still a frame as its pattern does not involve much with the rest of the mix but more with itself.

After all, I have to admit, the best would have been to just continue the mix on both sides of the niche without any "framing". We only ended up like that because we started running out of tiles and needed to think how to integrate some left-over tiles from the bathroom that do not really match the mix. But at the end we made it!

How many tiles did we break? Very few, I guess. Good job, grazie Tonino, Mimmo and Angelo!

Also special thanks to Angelo for his patience and for allowing me an extra day to redesign some areas in- and outside the niche.

Yesterday, Angelo also finished the painting of the kitchen walls with our pearl grey colour.
The parquet for the flooring will be delivered next week.

The kitchen will be deliverd mid of July - just in time for our summer holiday.


---
Update:
You might be interested in what inspired and reassured me to dare a wild mix: the Thun villa in Capri, an Australian villa in Positano, the D&G villa in Portofino and a restaurant in Sicilly.

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

May 14, 2011

Stunning entrance room with Chandelier

Bohemian crystal chandelier and another blue ceiling

Angelo surprised us with an impression of the entrance room.
LC, my son, and I were speechless starring at the screen of the computer when the picture opened up. Not only the chandelier, that is a gift from my mother-in-law, who found the chandelier one day on the street (!) slightly dammaged and with missing parts and had it restored, but also the choice of blue that Angelo painted on the ceiling - both together looks so stunning! Angelo said he mixed colours we did not use in the living room (see colour testing in the living area) and tried out different shades until he was happy with the result. I am very happy too!

Stuning surprise again, GRAZIE !
Looking forward to the master bathroom surprise coming tonight via email...

May 12, 2011

Going crazy over crazy tile mix ...

outstanding nichia (niche) - LOVE IT !

previously planned "frame" with Greca blue (from bathroom)

new "frame design" with real tiles (to be installed) after my photo of paper tiles

new idea: only 3 rows of tiles on nichia's side walls

... today I was emailing, text messaging, downloading and re-designing a lot. We are running short with our tiles. I knew from the beginning that it is just enough what I ordered. The thing is, when you have a crazy mix and run short, you have a problem. I could have ordered an 8th design, but could not find any good match. But I could not go for a second box of one of our designs since then the whole mix would not be balanced anymore. So I hoped.

Then I realized I had done a calculation error within the nichia. I had forgotten the ceiling or buttom... So very little chances we would have enough tiles!

We added a few bathroom tiles already into two walls to gain a couple of extra tiles.

I made sure the mix was balanced at all time to have a kind of harmony in the chaos. With my paper tile arrangement it looked fine until the end. But today Angelo sent me a picture of the tiles we have left for the bottom of the nichia. Surprise. It is not what I have calculated with all my paper tiles here thousand of miles away. Of course nothing balanced anymore. I will need to place bottles of olive oil and pots with kitchen tools on top of some tiles to make them disappear. Problem solved.

But more stressful was to stop the "frame" of the nichia this morning. Last night, CC saw my draft with blue Greca tiles (left-over from our bathroom) that should work as a "special" frame - and he did not like it. I knew it. I kept it as a surprise, like Angelo does sometimes. Maybe for this reason... as I am not very convinced myself.
"It looks like we run out of tiles!" he said.
"Yes. Actually, that is the purpose of patchwork: using left-over pices to help out...", I replied.

Okay, before ruining the beautiful art work, I decided to design a new frame.
We text messaged at night to Italy, to make sure Angelo opens his emails in the morning and stops Tonino in time.

This worked out fine. Before Angelo woke up, I had emailed him already the new frame this morning from Bangkok. I also redesigned the sides and ceiling.

I took many pictures of my paper tile arrangements. I added notes to avoid misunderstandings. I looked at it again and again and at the end, I came back to an idea from the night before:

Why tiling all the side walls and ceiling of the nichia? It looks so stunning on Angelo's photo. It stands out. Will it not be overloaded with more tiles? If we do only 3 rows inside the nichia, corresponding to the outer walls, we would also have solved our tile problem !!!

What do you think? You only have a couple of hours to reply until buys workers in Italy go back to work!

May 10, 2011

Oh my God ! My crazy Tile Mix turns out Sensational !

I LOVE IT !!! Grazie Angelo, Tonino & Mimmo, baci a tutti (even if you don't like it) ! I am so happy to see the fantastic result !



Since the tiles have arrived yesterday, I knew, there is a chance that Angelo sends me first impressions of the crazy mix during lunch break in Italy. I was so excited and could not wait to see it. I am relieved how beautiful, how bright and colourful "my mix" looks like. I worked hours on it with tiny paper tiles deep at night... Grazie mille for following "my design"! (was someone swearing about the work?)

I am looking forward to see more pictures soon.
Meanwhile, I will show the photos that were used as model today:

wall no 1 - and "frame" for niche (coming)

wall no 2

wall no 3

wall no 4 - the wall inside the niche

For the entire mix I ordered seven different types of Vietri tiles. - The sales woman at Callipo who knows us well since the start of the renovation was not very convinced. - Each pattern came in a box of 25 tiles, equals 1m2. As I did a calculation mistake I had to include 8 left over tiles from a pattern we used in the masterbath. And additionally I created a kind of frame around the niche (which will show later) out of another 6 left over tiles from the bath.

In total, the workers had nine (!) different boxes to select the correct tiles from, one by one according my master plan. I am very happy they did not refused to do so ! ;-)

And if Franceso de Maio wants to copy that mix for their new catalogue they can name it "Palazzo Pizzo" since I have a copyright now!

Colour Testing for the Masterbath and first Results

You might remember my wild mesmerising Vietri tile combination in our master bathroom (and here). There were doubts if it should remain like that with white walls. Or whether we paint the walls in a deeper blue at the same hight as tiles end behind the sink and toilet. - Let's try it out we said:

greenish paint from the 1st colour testing in the  living room

Although, we had a deeper blue in mind, I saw during the colour testing in the living room, that the greenish paint would perfectly match the wall tiles in the masterbathroom. If we would not use it in the living room, we could use it up here.

view from further away

But the floor tiles are totally different and the contrast to the wall would be even bigger than it is already now. That's why we had already bought a blue colour sample to try out in the bath. It is the same metallic antique type paint we are using in the living room.

metallic "antique" blue paint

Nice try. But the metallic effect is too strong in this bright room and the blue does not really match the floor either. Angelo had to cover the trial again with white paint and find a new solution. We did not dare to ask him to do a "spatulato" wall. This is a traditional Venetian finish. Originally made with chalk powder, oil, natural glue from animals and natural pigments. Nowadays, acrylic or vinyl resin is used, but it still requires a lot of work. But Angelo proposed it himself!

spatulato finish 

This is the only photo Angelo has send from the wall. I guess, at that time the other walls were not finish or the room was still too messy to shoot a photo from the entire room. 

bathroom ceiling

But we have ceiling photos. It is a light blue, but not as light as used before in the piano terra for the ceilings of the entrance #37, the kitchen and the window's niches. I asked him to match the blue a bit with the blue of the wall tiles. I think he used the same hue as used on the ceuiling in the corridor in front of the green bathroom. And this is perfect!

bathroom walls and ceiling

A white stucco border was added on top of the mid-hight tiled wall and runs now around all walls. The colour of the ceiling is taken down on the wall to form an app. 20 cm wide border. This reduces the felt hight and is supposed to make the room cosier. This blue border is also limited by a stucco border, that is however a bit wider than the first stucco border. Inbetween the walls Angelo used the same "pearl" white or grey paint as in the living room. The grey colour is supposed to look warmer than a plain white.

I am myself curious how the wall looks behind the bath tub and on the opposite site! Angelo, please send more photos!

May 09, 2011

Colour Testing for the Living Area and Results

While I was still in Italy, we had to decide on the colour for the living area - which includes dining and kitchen since it is an open floor plan. We wanted something bold, something mediterranean. CC first thought of an orange-red, as we found this colour under a white paint coat and thought this might make sense. However, while in the room, we sented a red colour would distract too much from the beautiful sea view. "We should adjust the room colour to the outside landscape and use a blue or turquoise instead", we said.

So, we went to a shop in Vibo Marina and looked into the colour palette:

The colours (left) are mixed by a machine on site and you can even get it in smaller pots to try out the result.

We chose two different turquoise blue, one more bluish and one more greenish. And for the cross-beams of the ceiling a rosty brown-red.




Here we go. Angelo has already done the two blue-greens for the wall and the brown-red for the ceiling beams and borders. Both colour areas are limited by a white stucco border.

colour testing result number 1

No... First, the ceiling border is too dark, too strong, too bold. Second, although we liked the blueish greenish walls, we felt it's too cold. It was April and it was still fresh outside and even more fresh inside the house. So we said, we better go for a mediterranean orange or a sunny yellow that, hopefully, will increase the felt temperature by maybe 1 or 2 degrees.

In Vibo Valentia we went to Enel Arena and chose some yellow and orange toners that were to mix with a certain quantity of white paint.

The new paint (left) is ment to give an antique effect due to the method of brushing unregular short strokes onto the wall. It also has some metal particles in it which was not really what I want, but it reflects light, and why not give it a try since Angelo was keen to work with that colour.





colour testing number 2

First, Angelo had to prepare the wall - again - by covering the previous blue colours (from the testing number 1) with white paint, wait another day for drying and then finally try out the new sunny yellow. Also the ceiling border got a lighter colour. It looks like flesh taint - or lets just call it "peach".


So, how about that orange like yellow? - And how do you like my two new chairs that I got for "free" from our antique dealer?

Colour testing number 3

But wait, we got another more yellowish yellow ! And note, that the wall above got a "pearl colour" paint!

Colour test number 4

Or should we use the orange paint on the left wall? - It was the kind of orange-red we found underneath a coat of white paint while restoring the walls. - My mother-in-law matches quite well with the wall that day...


We decided to stick with that brighter yellow, sunny and warm. Colour number 3.

light blue in the window niche

And since we are into colour testing. How about some light blue? Angelo still has some left over paint. It looks good in the window niche.

The light blue window niche from a different angle.

Angelo in action

Angelo is known to like blue... And since there was more light blue paint left, he continued to paint the ceiling, but only where no fresco was found. 

AFTER: ceiling finished, walls painted and prepared with tiles for kitchen

view towards dining and living area where the ceiling has some rudimental frescos


Now, we could muse if it looks good or not to have the yellow paint only until a hight of approximately 130 cm - and why not overall. I think, there are three reasons why to do it that way:
  1. The ceiling is quite high, maybe 3,50 m - With two or even 3 different colours and borders it "shrinks" a bit.
  2. The open space is kind of a "tunnel" with a length of 13,50 m and width of 4,50 m (before there were three diffrent rooms separated by walls) - The way the space was painted should open up the situation.
  3. I learned that an old Italian palazzo in the very South of Italy, sourrounded by more old houses and the sea, cannot be renovated with a Northern European thinking or even more with a modern taste. Of course you can add this with accessories or furniture later. But every single room needs some basics that reflects the Southern atmosphere, or something very Italian, or even old fashioned from passed centuries. Be it the floor, the walls or the ceiling. - When I am in this house, I want to feel the difference to other countries and cities, not only outside in the narrow alleys, also inside the house in every single room.
  4. In case we would need to re-paint the walls in a couple of years, we can think this over again... But the years will add cracks and marks, the colour will fade and patina will come and make it even nicer. 

The result of the ceiling - a work by Angelo

This ceiling of our living, dining and kitchen area, as seen above, was a work of several weeks by Angelo who laid bare the frescos - or what were frescos in the past -  with a special cutting tool. This worth a separate post with more details (coming soon).
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