June 30, 2007

Inspiring Dining

Picture from The Beach Studios via ABT

Sneak peek of Dolce & Gabbana's home scanned from AD magazine.

If we would have in the dining room a mirror wall - or at least a huge standing mirror like in the first pic - you could enjoy the view in the mirror, even when you sit with the back to the window.

Here I like the open space between living and dining. For the dining area I would like to have a long wooden table. And maybe modern chairs that are comfortable and easy with 'sandy beachwear.' I lost the source of the photo (jdesignsalon?)

And this is the view from the living area through the dining area and the kitchen at the end. We think about taking out these walls to combine all three, an open kitchen, dining and living area.

June 29, 2007

More Terrace Ideas

We have been thinking of having big sliding doors to enjoy the sea view most. On the other hand, smaller windows keep the heat outside... what does the architect say?

And this is the situation. We could have two windows and three doors or five doors. Of course the roof needs some support too.

The Whirlpool instead of a Real Pool

This picture is from an AD magazine and the location is a Greek Island. I do not like whirlpools but this one looks nice. It could be a solution for the roof terrace because it is less heavy and less spacious.

June 26, 2007

More ideas for the roof terrace

A pool on the roof terrace... would be a dream!
It will probably remain a dream as the roof will not be able to bear such a heavy weight. But the sunbeds could be realised.

Picture source: 'Basico' Design Hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico via Casa International Magazine.

June 25, 2007

Map of Calabria

click for zoom
In case you wonder where this little magic spot Pizzo (not 'pizza') is located - here is a map. It is almost at the end of the Italian 'shoe'. After the 'toes' comes Sicily. Driving from Pizzo to Sicily shows you some breathtaking views on one of the most beautiful coast roads in Europe.

June 21, 2007

Pizzo Picture Postcards

I love these two postcards!

I first bought them ten years ago, when I spent my first summer holiday in Calabria together with my husband ('il mio fidanzato' at that time). I bought them again last year. They are yellowish on the back. They must have been on stock for sooo many years...

The first one is really special. I wonder why they printed so many of it? This postcard wins a prize for 'unbelievable, strange' postcard and needs to be collected.

And the second one spreads so much charme. La Piazza Umberto has not much changed in these years. (Just a few more cars are parking on the right nowadays).

I think these two postcards show exactly why I like Pizzo. It is a picturesque, dozy little village in the South that has not been spoilt by tourism. And I hope that will never change.

June 18, 2007

Inspiring Terrace Gardens

I found the following great ideas for our garden and terrace by Mylandscapes, UK based contemporary roof garden and terrace garden design specialists via one of my favorite blogs Desire to Inspire.

The alternative is to use planter pots of different shapes and same colour, e.g. blue or terracotta. But the first solution would allow an automatic watering for the plants in the dryer summers.
In China, these pots are so cheap. The biggest would be around 12 - 18 USD. I could ship lots of them...

... downstairs, garden with grass and some tiles for the seating area...
... and as we have no space for a pool, I thought of a cheaper version ...


And this is our modest reality, the roof terrace, where you can harvest capers at the moment.

And the 'garden' viewed from above. I would keep the floor covered with grass. A purple bougainvillea, a white oleander, a lemon tree and a agave plant, maybe some cactus (outside the fence on the rock) would be typical plants from the region.

June 15, 2007

Inspiring Entrances

We finally get started. We have an architect and he might look into my posts - hopefully ;-) That's why I will post some inspiring pictures I have collected recently.
So, let's start today with the entrance - the 'calling card' of a house.

Above hallway is from 'Beach Studios' via Absolutely Beautiful Things blog.
I like the entrance in white - it is simple and clean.
Actually, I mirrored the picture, so it looks more like our entrance.

This is a hallway I discovered via Decor8 blog.
It is similar to ours, but much bigger, wider.
I still like white better. And of course some mirror (Venetian style, if we can find and afford) over a commode/chest.


And on the right is our modest reality. The entrance is photographed from the first floor. So white colour and a big mirror will lighten it up.

Maybe even a glass door with a second iron grid door in front. I saw that at a neighbours house.

Although a wooden door is classy...

(Last three pictures are taken in Pizzo, my copyright)

... more wallpaper

I am not going to stick wallpaper allover the walls, but I liked these from Thibaut as they have seaside themes...

Some of them are available as fabric as well. And they come in different colours and shades.

Wallpaper or fabric, both look elegant.
And they are expensive.
I am just dreaming a bit...

I got to the idea of using wallpaper on one wall only to create a certain mood in the room. Maybe in one of the bedrooms or in the so called 'Chinese' room, maybe even in the livingroom. Or just in the bathroom. Here in Beijing I found the distributor for Thibaut wallpaper in the Oriental Kenzo building and I browsed through all the heavy 'catalogues'.

Pictures from Thibaut website

June 13, 2007

About Pizzo

The name of our new 'hometown' is Pizzo - Pizzo Calabro, in the Province of Vibo Valentia (VV) in Calabria. An easy name to remember, like pizza but with an 'o' at the end. This old picturesque village in the South of Italy has about 9.000 inhabitants, 14 ice cream parlors and 10 churches. It is located on a rock about 54 meters above sea level in the middle of the bay of San Euphemia at the beautiful Thyrennic coast of Calabria.

In the historic center of Pizzo are many medieval houses and some noble 'palazzi'. Its little alleys, some of them wind down to the sea, remind me of Santa Lucia, the old town of Naples.

Beside its many churches, Pizzo's sight is an old castle, build from Ferdinand of Aragon in 1486. It is called 'castello Murat', because Napoleon's brother-in-law, Joachim Murat was imprisoned here and executed in 1815 for trying to re-conquer the kingdom of Naples.

The more peaceful part of the history tells that Cicero rested in Pizzo and used to call his favorite beach 'La Seggiola' (the chair), which was also a place of rest for Saint Peter, while traveling towards Rome. Long before that this area was one of Ulysses' landing places.

We used to come to Pizzo for the famous ice cream, 'il tartufo', that was invented here in that little village and is famous all over the world. It is a hazelnut ice cream ball stuffed with fine liquid dark chocolate. And its covered with chocolate powder. A calorie bomb, unfortunately, after that we used to walk up the main pedestrian shopping street and back across the 'Piazza della Repubblica' back to the car.

Only since we were interested in buying the house and after having done so, I researched about Pizzo and his history. I was surprised how much this little village had to tell. If Ulysses, Cicero and Saint Peter had liked that place we would not be too wrong. And our house seemed to be protected by the most respected priest in Italy: Padre Pio, whose statue stands just in front of our door. In fact, we are sharing a little piazza with one of the ten churches, la 'Chiesa del Carmine'. On the church's wall I found a plate stating that this church was erected on a former chapel, that itself was built in the 16th century by coral fisher from the Amalfi Coast. - Wow! - Can you imagine, how much I was enchanted? Coral fisher from the Amalfi Coast came here, dived here, probably in the sea and grotto beneath our house. They were probably a bit homesick and the rock reminded them of their home. So they build a little chapel right their. This place feels so romantic. Later I read that the Italians call this part of the coast also 'Costa degli Dei', the 'Coast of the Gods'. Although, Pizzo is just the start of it and the better part comes further South around Capo Vaticano, I felt, like this must be the right place for a second home.

Have I told that my husband is born just 4 km further in Vibo Valentia and has been going to kindergarten in Vibo Marina? So it is a coming home for him.

The people in Pizzo, the 'Pizzitani' or 'Napitini' are so friendly. Not to compare with the enterprising people in the more famous tourist town Tropea that is about 34 km further South. Pizzo and Tropea are like the little duckling and the snobbish swan (I am not saying ugly duckling, as Pizzo is not ugly, it has lots of potential). To me Pizzo seems more like a sleeping beauty. The mayor of Pizzo could kiss it awake. Lots of project seem in the pipeline to boost tourism. But also infrastructure is needed. Traffic, parking, beach and hotel situation is not the best. But it has its charm. And too many tourists can spoil. I prefer Pizzo many times before Tropea. And I am not the only one.

June 07, 2007

Different Views

Today, for a change, I don't want to 'torture' anybody with too beautiful pictures from colourful magazines or websites. So I post two other pictures that show a bit more the real situation. I hope you still can dream of visiting Italy.

This is the basement or so called 'semi-interrato'. I call it Garden Floor, because of it's tiny green space. Nobody has lived here before. It was a storage for olive oil and handmade soap (probably not at the same time).
I like this floor best. But it also needs the most of the work to make it liveable.

And the next picture show you, why I had second thoughts...

The house hangs on the edge of a cliff, about 54 meter over the sea level...
The rock itself has been renovated and reinforced with European Community money. So I hope they did the right job. Maybe you can see from the photo that they insert a concrete plate under the house... The vulcano Stromboli and Vesuvio (Naples) are sourrounding us. It is an earthquake region, yes. Okay, the house is up there since more than 200 years. So, hopefully another 100 years would be fine for us (and our son's family).

Now, you can see what I mean by considering us crazy getting involved in this.
And this is one of the better pictures. I did not want to scare you off completely. Maybe you pass by one day and want to spend a night or two...

June 03, 2007

Mood Board for our Project

Thanks to Holly Becker's 'Mood Board' contest on Decor8 I finally pushed myself to create a board for our palazzo project. It should help to define the right style for the house.

Here is what inspires me:

Here some more details from the board:

Shells in shells. That's how I could place our shell collection somewhere.

Sea view from the garden floor with iron gate.

Fresko over a door, painted by reputated painter 'Carioti', who has last lived in the house until he died in 1997.

Bouganvilla and cactus plants at the Restaurant Go, near Pizzo Calabro. That is how I picture my tiny garden on the rock.

Actually, the renovation has not started yet. Architects were supposed to make proposal, but nothing has happened in the last six month. Of course the main problem is that at the moment we are based on the other side of the world. However, my father-in-law will be on site in the next days and kick-off the thing. He will be there until we arrive in mid-July for a three weeks summer holiday.