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 !!!

What you have to know about WC mounting

When I was discussing with Angelo via mail about the appropriate size for a sink in the tiny bathroom, I asked him whether one could sit on the toilet without having a knee squeezed by the sink in front.

My calculation went kind of sort of like this: "Assuming the sink is mounted at 85 cm height, the sink bowl itself is 19 cm (according to manufacturer technical data sheet) and the toilet is mounted at 40 cm we have 26 cm minus toilet seat for the knee. This should be okay."

The next email that I received from Angelo was no good news and he sounded furious. Why? After having checked the tiny bathroom he found that the WC can only be mounted at 38 cm height, which is perfect for this case, he also had found that in two other bathrooms the plumber had prepared the toilet pipes far too low and that we would need to reopen the walls for adjustment!
However, one of the bathroom is already completely tiled!

technical data (by Duravit) for our WC

Bad News: toilet pipe installation too low !

You even can see from the picture that the toilet installation on the wall is low. In fact the mounting height would be only 35 cm. (With the recommended 40 cm you have 8 cm between floor and the toilet for cleaning, see technical data picture).

How this could have happened? It's the floor level that had changed tremendously in some of the bathrooms. I think in the green bathroom we raised the floor around 20 cm. Same happened in the bathroom in the basement. Apparently the plumber was not informed about the exact floor level - or the floor level was raised too much ? I think in the basement the later happened since we also planed to have a rain shower in a niche, that all in a sudden became a very low niche ... different story.

This coming week, Angelo will have a word with our plumber and architect. I am curious how to solve the problem. In the basement where the walls are still concrete, it should be no big intervention. And for the green bathroom I hope we do not have to demolish the wall with the SICIS (!) mosaic... If it is only for the cleaning and not for the function, I would probably leave it at 35 cm.

Since I am talking dirty, I mean, toilets, I would like to mention how important some centimeters / inches of a whole in the wall can be regarding WC seating height and comfort! Very important for comfort! In my first renovation back in Germany I had one toilet mounted at 43 cm height. For me it was quiet uncomfortable, since you sit at about 45 cm (including the seat). With the second renovation back in Germany I worked with the same plumber and told him right away for my new WC that I want to have it at 38 or 39 cm. (With the result, that my mob did not go fully underneath anymore. Just a few mm were missing.) So one would think with the 3rd renovation I should have known !!

BTW, in our former home in Beijing and now in Bangkok we have WCs by American Standard (stand alone pieces, not wall mounted) and they have seating height between 37 and 40 cm. Very comfortable. And thinking of the squat toilets, popular around Asia, which my Chinese doctor considers to be more healthy than the Western toilets (he thought digestion wise not hygiene), one should have a WC mounted as low as feasible.

Do you know how big of a role does football play in Italian men's life ?

That big:

- our 6 m high TV antenna -

I am filing this post under the label "Now I have to live with this". BUT I am NOT going to live with this. Either out neighbour is going to sue us, or I am going to buy a metall sew ! - was my first reaction.

I wrote a post and saved it as draft, because I cannot publish something I am too emotional about.
So I slept over it - one night - two nights ... now it has been almost four weeks. It kept me from writing about other nicer things a lot. But now, this thing needs to be introduced. 

My husband explained to me, that the antenna needs to be six meters high because of the mountains behind Pizzo, and in order to capture some channels that he would not get otherwise - some football channels.

Got it?
Italian men's first priority in life: FOOTBALL.
Italian men's sense for aestetic, that is very high, comes after football.

It seems that I am the only one in the family who disapproves this ugly monster antenna.
Italian women probably are used to this technical support for their husband's hobby.

Even my little half-Italian son seems to not understand me.
He said about the photo : "Wow! How cool! Looks like a space station's antenna !"
(He is 6 years old)

Well, I hope it must be possible somehow to move that thing to the left (close to the wall of the house). If one sets a foot on the terracce it should not be the first thing to see. It needs to move. I will keep you posted.

update: it was possible to move all to the left! :-)

Shrinked window

Usually, when renovating or remodeling and it comes to windows you would tend to enlarge a window, if possible. In our case, the window of the smalest toilet (the one that hangs on the outside), was large enough - before the renovation.

But look what happened with the new window (before, during and after) :

It shrinked !
Somehow it is less than half of the before size.
However it has a very bold frame.

zoccolatura - or the wrong skirt

In Italy, a zoccolatura, a baseboard or SKIRTing board (I like the 'skirt' in the word) is often used at the base of facades. Some baseboards are simply made of grey plaster, some are made of stones of other shape or tonality than the rest of the facade.

Below you see an older picture of our street. In front (right) is part of our palazzo, with the former zoccolatura of grey plaster. The neighbouring palazzo even has no zoccolatura.

The church, next by, Chiesa Carmine, has simply used brown paint to indicate a high baseboard (here behind the statue of Padre Pio, I need to find a better picture):

Another example of a beautiful zoccolatura can be offered by the main church of Lipari of Isole Eolie (see above first picture).

Well, well, and now we have our own new skirting board.
Made of my 'favorite' material, my grandfathers grave stone.
We inherited a few plates for the finishing of the balustrade from the previous owner. And it went on and on, for consistency, with window sills and door sills (remember my post about now I have to live with this) and now it is the zoccolatura:

These granite stones are not shiny. They have been treated with flames and the material on the top of the surface, due to thermal expansion, come out leaving an uneven surface. This is how the windows sills should have been treated.

I have to see it on site.
And if I still don't like it, my solution for the 'wrong skirt':

Put back the church's benches in place and the stones become invisible.

Again: A house that is older than 200 years should be restored in a way that preserves the old charm, the patina, the age ! - Sometimes less is more ! - Otherwise I can go on a green grassland and build a new house that suits my needs. - Of course it is also the dilemma of being not on the construction site myself.
Some more zoccolatura can be found around in my flickr set Italian doors.