This April 2016 in Pizzo was not meant for us to be a leisure holiday. Our destination was not the Calabrian sea or mountains but all hardware-stores, furniture-shops and casalinga-suppliers in the region.
42 punti luce! Translated this means that our inseparable pair of electricians, Alfonso & Ciccio, had managed to install forty two light sources that needed to be covered with lamps, mainly wall lamps as pendants, I was told, non si fa piu. Not easy in Calabria where not one store had more than three lights of the same sort in stock. Of course you can always order!
Thinking to find two queen size beds, buy them, get them delivered and done, was also an illusion of mine. That's one of the reasons we are not ready in May with our new vacation rentals. - Vabbè! - We will be ready mid July! And we had a great time! As usual! We are addicted house-decorators, and here are some visual impressions:
The photo above is actually from my last day. I stood 8 days longer than my husband and son because there was so much work to do ... or should I say work to "coordinate"? On my last day, a windy Sunday, the local artist Antonio La Gamba came by with some of his pieces to advise on how to display them best in the house. It came in handy that he was there when we arrived with that red sofa on top of the roof of Angelo's car. That sofa has seen already a few different flats before and is over 20 years old and still beaming. It now has found a new home in the small bedroom upstairs in our "Dependance" where guest can sit and enjoy the seaview.
Talking artist, above is one of my favorite shots. I didn't give up waiting for the framing and was rewarded with a charming late night delivery and a hanging test by talented local photographer Francesca Procopio and her charming husband Gianpaolo. I took the photo and Angelo did the hanging first thing the next morning.
The photographs above are modern interpretations of old masters by photographer Francesca Procopio.
There were only a few exceptions when Angelo needed professional support. This pendant has three light bulbs and each bulb can be controlled by one single light switch directly. Press one, all three lights on, press two, one light out, press three, two lights out, press four, all lights out, ... and press one too often -> repeat.
The kitchen was delivered already but because of its unusual counter top shape we were recommended to get a customized natural stone top, which we did. Our marmista in Filadelfia (in Calabria, on the hills!) had this beautiful marble from Carrara (which we had visited before and like the lardo speck as well). So now, here it is, our marble kitchen top, delivered and fitted with the help of Angelo and Lidia, my in-laws!
If this looks like sitting around, no way! We just had carried the sofa from the other side and moved the heavy arm chairs to the opposite wall and are discussing the new arrangement and also trying the effect. Lidia is wearing a working sweater from Angelo (it can be cold in April) and cool shoes. On the table are a few wall lamps ready for mounting.
Just a few minutes later, we are walking up and down again. Bringing furniture and stuff from the Dependance (upper entrance) to the Studio (ground floor entrance). Sets of plates for downstairs, sets of plates for upstairs, sets of wine glasses, prosecco glasses (important!) upstairs and downstairs, knives, scissors, pans & pots, towels, bed sheets & curtains, espresso machine ... and more ... all you need for your perfect holiday we unpacked, washed, ironed, prepared, sewed, trimmed and distributed into the right drawers and shelves. While Angelo was still drilling to hang lamps and pictures, and I assisted with the vacuum cleaner, at least I tried to be as fast as him.
Shopping with Lidia is fun. She has the right "eye" to spot things. On Saturday, at the market in Vibo Valentia, we found the handmade baskets and typical Calabrian green and white household ceramics. On Monday, at the market in Vibo Marina, we bought all the right fabrics for curtains and Lidia spotted the unusual mirror from Germany (!) (photo above left).
Although we worked hard, the Italian structure of the day was duly followed: lunch breaks started not later than 1.30pm and we often went for an aperitivo in the evenings, and some espresso breaks at the bars in the piazza. We even got a phone call and our coffee orders were taken by surprise visitors which led to a cleared and representable / photogenic dining table and our first Kaffeeklatsch at home!
We had some welcoming interruptions from work when neighbours, friends and even actual guest from the residence stopped by to see our progress. They all liked the place, and that is widely understated. They all loved the Dependance. Some said they even prefer it over the palazzo. (Mainly because of the clean white walls ... he he he... I begged Angelo to not use any colours this time).
Best advertising ever! Gianni and Nada spontaneously staged a holidayer scene with our new wine glasses (Lidia poured them quickly tap water...). Imagine Aperol in the glasses and that is your view! Whatever balcony you choose, we have four facing this dream scenery, come to Pizzo!
Decision making processes on where to hang paintings and how to arrange the hanging of them. Quite easy when you have some good advisers and can take a step back to look at it.
The kitchen above was custom built around the vaulted staircase underneath and I think, we are very happy how it turned out. The colourful backsplash band of ceramic tiles is an artwork of local maestro di ceramica Antonio Montesanti and tells a bit the story of Pizzo. And of course I love my retro azzurro SMEG fridge!
Coming back to my last day in Pizzo, Antonio La Gamba is taking a photo (photo below) of the kitchen wall we want to hang one of his sculptures. We agreed to look for a smaller fish of a smoother material. It's another item on my to do list in my mind.
Although we were working on many details allover the house and lots of tools and packaging was laying around, I tried my best to take some decent photos that show potential travellers the new apartments in the best way possible for now. Please see the photos and more details about the Dependance delle Grazie and the Studio Bellavista on our website. An overview of all three vacation rentals can be found here. We are looking forward hearing from you, please contact us if you have any questions.
The work continues in the following weeks and we are looking forward to greet our first guests this summer!!
I say ciao for now, and greet you with that stunning sunset and Stromboli view from the church square just next to the Dependance & Studio!
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Grazie ed a presto