March 14, 2012

Before and After: How a tiny 2,6 m2 overhanging Toilet became a pretty Kids Bathroom

A bit over a year ago, I was planning the tiny overhanging bathroom that measures 1,4 m x 1,9 m (2,66 m2). Originally it was just an "outhouse" with a toilet, a bidet and a sink. But we wanted to install a shower - in order to have an "en suite bathroom" for our son's room.

And I have to say, I am really happy with the outcome!

tiny kids bathroom 2,6 m2

I had told Angelo (our "capo" and my father-in-law) that his grandson would like to have a "green" bathroom. And, that I like "subway" tiles. I designed the tiling for the floor and the walls. Angelo over exceeded our expectations by adding a stucco ceiling (that was not there originally)!

Since the sink is right below the window - where you have a nice view in the neighbours garden and over the sea - we needed to have the mirror installed beside the window.

Our young son does not use a mirror so far... So, I do not know whether this beauty mirror is too small or not. But it looks nice! It has the right size for this bathroom.

shower area 80 x 80 cm

If you wonder why we have a rain shower installed in such a small bathroom, then because we probably made a mistake when ordering the shower equipment back in China, where we were living at some point - a couple of years before this bath renovation.

But we were lucky, it just matches the height.

  small compact toilet
For the sink, I researched online the different sizes available for different models. At the end I choose a Duravit Strack 3 model, they have a lot of options. It is important for a small area to choose the largest possible sink - as it is a hassle to wash hands in a sink that is too small.

I even asked Angelo to sit down on the toilet (that was already delivered) and measure the space between his knees and the wall to make sure, there is still enough space between toilet and sink.

The two short blue tubes that stick out of the wall next to the toilet are the pre-installation for a water spray. In Italy it is common to use bidets in private bathrooms. But with the installation of the shower we really had no more space for a bidet. So we opted for the space saving water spray - yet to come.

The floor tiles are layed diagonally in order to optically strech the room.

"spider" shower curtain holder and "fish" hooks
In a shop in Vibo Valentia, we found these green "fish" hooks. There were only two left and I bought them. Angelo fixed them behind the bathroom door. In another shop I found the "spider" that is a space saving Italian solution for hanging the shower curtain.

And here is the old bathroom, BEFORE renovation, as we found it when we bought the house:

BEFORE toilet with bidet
The toilet itself was also very tiny before and squeezed into the left corner. The bidet was eliminated for our new bathroom layout. The sink was moved below the window to give space on the right corner for a small shower.

BEFORE renovation
The only thing that was bigger in this bathroom before the renovation and became smaller after the renovation, is the window! Strangely, the window frame is so massive that the new window is much tinier. Well, these are things you encounter when renovating, whether you are on site or thousand of miles away.

"outhouse" or overhanging bathroom
Our palazzo is over 200 years old, and at that time an outhouse toilet was common in European cities. You can still sea the remains on the side of many palazzi in Italy. But of course the toilets nowadays are linked to the public canalisation.

March 08, 2012 is born !

Dear Readers, Followers, and Friends,

today is a very special day for several reason:

  • March 8 is International Women Day ! - La Festa delle Donne - I wish a happy day to all women around the world. This day was born in socialist and communist countries, but after so many years it is quiet well known the world over.
  • March 8 also happens to be my birthday (however, getting older is not that much fun anymore) - and although I only know one person in the whole world who shares the same date - I wish everyone who's birthday is today a very happy one!
  • And March 8 2012 is the day is finally alive! A friend of mine blocked the Domain name for me already four years ago (Grazie Luca!)... and it took me that long to finally redirect the originally blogspot address to my own domain.
So, if you find a moment, I would be very pleased if you could change the link to my site to - but if you don't, it does not really matter (except for the back link and PR count) since this blog remains hosted by and the old address remains, but does not show.

Also, I hope, you like the little face lift I gave Palazzo Pizzo recently. Maybe you have not even noticed? Then it is best - like a make-up for a woman - a blog make-up should still look natural and familiar.

Looking through my photo files of last summer, I realised, once the bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms etc were done, I did not post the results. So, please look forward with me to some more Before & After posts coming soon.

All the best, have a great day wherever you are

editor and owner of Palazzo Pizzo

March 07, 2012

Summer wirth friends (part II)

A house coming to life

Our last summer, actually the first summer IN the house, was determined by two phases:

First, we were still hectically arranging the house to move - ourselves - in, and prepare the basics for our first guests to come.

Second, we were finally spending our first holidays together with friends and family in our new Italian home.

Our dream came true:
Having a holiday house by the sea
to reunite with friends and family
while living abroad

In Summer with friends (part I), I described the arrival of our first guests - a dear German family with two kids from my hometown Stuttgart. Our time together was like a dream where girlfriends would chat and have drinks, the men would chat and cook, the kids would run around, eat and play - and from time to time - between meals and drinks - we would walk to the beaches to cool down in the crystal clear sea.

But if you ever wondered, what happened in Summer with friends (part II), I have to admit, it just continued that easy going way:

The morning, after my lovely German friends had left....

guest departure accompanied by running JUVE fan
... we changed the bed linen, washed the sheets and hang them on the balcony were they dried in a moment since we had a nice breeze that day.

Our helper Rosy did a great job, like always, mainly de-sanding the floors from sand that had fallen off sandy feet - and cleaning after Angelo, who was still working in our "guest residence" downstairs in the garden floor.

I had sent our second visitors, an Italian family from the Veneto, the same picture as last time to indicate the left turn into the pizza.

So, in the evening of their arrival, I was waiting there, at the entrance to the piazza and looking for their rented car to come in sight. It was then, when I suddenly thought I had run out of sparkling wine and went across the street to buy a bottle of prosecco for a welcome drink. Of course, when I was standing at the cashier waiting for the change, they had arrived. So we couldn't do it as last time (one of the visitors gets out of the car and walks with L to the house while I would sit in the car and give direction). But there was no need. The piazza was so crowded in the evening that the car could only drive at walking pace, and through the narrow alleys, you are even faster by walking.

After dropping the luggage we went for a "pizza in piazza". And here we were sitting, a large Italian family: our new guests, the cousin of my mother-in-law, his teenage son, his wife, my friend, and the wife's brother - together with my small family, and the Italian parents-in-law.

Meanwhile it was August. The piazza crowded with locals and tourists from other parts of Italy and Europe. We had to wait very long until our dinner finally was served.

Same on the beaches, people everywhere. But my guests, coming to Calabria for summer holiday since many years, knew how to find the good spots:

Torre at Briatico beach in August - not far from Pizzo by car

When it was becoming too hot at the beach, we would drive home for lunch and an afternoon nap.

Italian lunch time ...

There was a slight difference, between the German and the Italian during preparing lunch:
Italian men leave the kitchen territory preferably to the ladies! - The pic above shows them totally concentrating, almost meditating, over  their laptops, iPad and guitar. - And there were less aperitifs too... (probably its the Germans fulfilling the Italian cliche when in Italy).

For the music, with a music addict teenager in the house, we would listen mainly to rock bands. Not only the new stuff, but also the good old Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Very educational for my little boy...

local fruit for desert

cipolla di Tropea, pomodori e chili di Calabria

For cooking we used the fresh locally grown products, like sweet onions from Tropea (cipolla di Tropea), super tasty tomatoes and Calabrian chili - displayed in my new orange Murano glass bowl.

For desert we would just serve fruits on a fruit plate and cut a melon.

Italian light summer lunch with salad, bread, wine, and pasta

Italians don't eat bread for breakfast (that much), but for lunch they need to have bread on the table (like the French). Here there was no time to unpack the bread for a more beautiful setting... so it's still in the brown paper bag on the table. - And if there is no fresh bread, a pack of kind of crackers will do too to accompany the pasta (and mozarella, and salad):

pasta with tonno a la Fiore

These pics (above and below) were taken by my friend - the wife of the cousin of my mother-in-law - and I hope, she does not mind I post them here on my blog. I like them! Grazie!

2 1/2 Italians
Ferragosto Rubbish
I love to post beautiful pics for memory. But this one, sent in by my friend, needs to me mentioned too, yet "small":

The garbage collectors in Pizzo usually come every day through our street. But for the long weekend of Ferragosto, everyone, included garbage collectors, are at the beach. So, for a couple of days, lots of garbage was piling up in front of our house... and I don't want to imagine the smell...

But I cannot finalise a post with rubbish. - Therefore, I am posting another beautiful pic by my friends, who liked the view from our balcony, especially when small fisher boats pass by:

blue view

We needed to fly back to Bangkok before our guests left Pizzo for northern Italy, because son's international school starts in the middle of August. - I am sure, they enjoyed their last days of holidays, without us. Although the house is much more lively and fun with lots of friends!

("Summer with friends (part I)" was written in September 2011 and can be found here)
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