Renovation progress inside the house

Beside the pretty results I have posted lately, basic renovation work progresses on the inside of the house:

Above: reparing a wall by taking off old paint and plaster and adding new plaster

Above: checking seismic bars for corrosion and rust, and repair them if necessary

the wall in the living room is almost finished

the walls in the bedroom are already painted
(I like how they protected the fresco over the door with newspaper)

Above: planning the contruction for the slope of the shower in the master bathroom

Today, Angelo sent me the following information:

L'avanzamento generale lavori Γ¨ ora 74,85%

That means we are 74,85% done with the renovation !!!

I really like that information - especially the two digits behind the comma.

One must know that my father-in-law used to work as a chief project supervisor on hugh construction fields all over in the world where they built plants and refineries. So, our house must be like a walk in the park for him. This had the effect, that in the beginning, he could not care less for the design of a shower plate ... Over the time however, our decission making process became smooth and effective. Since he gets quick replies from us, he also involves us in all details (I think). Only now and then, he likes to work independently and surprises us - just recently with some artistic blue paint jobs. 

The sleeping beauty is going to wake up ...

... as we are going to kiss alive our sleeping beauty soon !

When winter is fading and spring is awaking we are going to be on site and pushing the interior work.

Meanwhile my duty is to compile a filing that shows what we want to do room by room - colour, flooring, equipment.

This is fun. I have done this before in a digital folder - long time ago - it has survived different laptops and computer - yes, that long ago. I 'just' need to update it and print the relevant pictures and make notes.

I started with a room, the green room, my readers might be familiar with it. It seems to be my favorite room. No it isn't. It is just the room with most of previous live in it. It is the only room where the pre-owner has kept the original wall and ceiling colour. That's why it feels most lively. All other walls were tainted white when we bought the house.

Here the start of my brainstorm for the room by room folder :

ceiling now - after adding a wall

my idea of renovating the ceiling :
neglect the cutted ornament; model simple rectangulars with given corner ornaments

this is the colour combo : green room by Ellen Silverman
(however the light green for the ceiling !)

darker green for the lower part and light mint green for higher part and ceiling

old tiles from another room could be used for the flooring

mosaic by Fired Earth - for the shower
(or waterproofed laquer)

utility sink by Kohler
(I would like two utility style sinks)

About Renovating

The good thing about renovating a house or part of a house is that you can make it to your taste and at your options.

The bad thing is that you need to make compromises. Sometimes it just can't be done as you like and unexpected situations come up and you need to rethink your ideas.

Here are some of my latest observations:

Even if you are visiting your construction site on a daily basis you will find surprises (like my sister who is renovating a house here in Stuttgart).

And even when you have agreed on something and approved it, it might not look good when it is finalized (like some parts of our terrace in Italy):

A small construction site (like one room) or a large construction (like one entire house) only means you might have more time for details when having a small project. But this can drive you crazy nevertheless (like my bathroom renovation in Germany):

You need a long breath and iron nerves for renovation projects. From what I see, men tend to rush and make quick decisions and then can live with their decision while women tend to weigh all options in sleepless nights to finally come to the 'perfect' decision. The result - of course - is not the same because the quick decision maker has overseen at least one important detail (e.g. the space for the towel rail needed some more inches...). However, as said before, men can live with this.

My advise: If you spent a lot of money on renovating be sure not to rush. Better to find a lot of inspirations first, draw layouts and different perspectives to find the best solution and maybe even get some advise from an interior designer. Even the craftsmen might have good ideas as they have seen many solutions.

The iron nerves are also important when dealing with craftsmen (at least here in Germany). Instead of thanking you for the assignment you have to thank them for having time for you. The crisis seems not have touched them so far.

But this morning I was lucky. My German plumber has offered me a cup of coffee and a Brezel when I came to sign the contract.

Do YOU have any advise or experience to share about renovation ?

photo sources: the pics from our Italian palazzo were taken by our architect - the first one was sent yesterday. Grazie!

9.82 %

We are so lucky that Angelo is in Pizzo and supervising the work and work process closly! Grazie Angelo!!!

Yesterday I got his email saying that 9.82% of the work has been done! ("Attualmente il valore dell'avanzamento lavori calcolato Γ¨ pari al 9,82%.")

Can you guess what Angelo's profession is? Ideal for our project!

So far almost every day there is a small decisions to make. A change at the roof, another wall here and no wall there, no door here and a door there... My husband and I get the emails from Angelo with photos and drawings attached together with his suggestions and we send back our opinion. I have my mother in law together with her sister in law visiting us in China. They are involved in the discussions as well as they know the house. Although I wish I could see the progress myself - it couldn't be better handled as it is now by Angelo.

Of course Angelo is not the only one we are depending on. Thanks to the young architect and his team we are having a great project. I heard that il giovane architetto does not mind to have his name published on my blog. It is signore Pino Pitt - not related to the American actor who is interested in architecture, but not less charming. It is also him who provided me with new drawings of the house that I posted some weeks ago.

Also I want to thank another talented family member, the cousin of my mother in law, who made a very detailed plan, better to say planS, for all electricity related issues by each floor. It is an amazing work and we still have to study it carefully. Grazie Giorgio! Hope to see you, your wife (one of my loyal readers, I posted her thoughts about Calabrian holidays) and son soon again for summer holiday in bella Calabria.

Remark: thank you Suzy from Studio Anetta in Hong Kong who helped me to post a comment to let you know I have difficulties to access my blogs in Beijing (the Great Firewall of China is blocking blogger, blogspot and others). I just found a way around thanks to

Programma Esecuzione Lavori

The 'execution program for the work to do' was elaborated by Angelo, my FIL. Thank you so much for that very detailed excel sheet (tiny writing in four pages)! Excellent work! According to that plan the house should be ready end of next year and we could invite our first guests in spring 2009! Hopefully!

Well, to be honest, I hope we could use part of the house next summer. We just need a big bed and one bathroom.

Here is a screen shot from the beginning of Angelo's 'execution program':

And that's how it looks in total:

But we have not started yet. As you might see, the work should start in November. A whole year after we have signed the contract... That's how it goes when you do not live on site. Anyway, so far we cannot start because we still wait for the approval of the application for renovation. Angelo said, it does not matter to wait as he wants to be on site to supervise the work. And at the moment he is a buys 'retired' consultant working in England. He plans to be in Pizzo from January on.