March 31, 2011

Sneak Peek into the Entrance

Now, a sneak peek into the house does not scare visitors off anymore

Remember, two years ago, when the movers carried the boxes in and a neighbour came with flowers? - Back then it still looked like this:

But two years later, finally, we can invite the neighbours over: 

further up the stairways it looks like this

and more further up like this

the stucco is repaired by Angelo while the lamp restored by myself

All the walls and ceiling restoration and painting was done by Angelo and the colour is his choice since he does not like it white - we know that by now ... Some summers ago, I am not even sure if I have ever posted it, the original lamp was "restored" and repainted by myself. Left alone the flooring that is still  not done yet as we have not decided on the material yet. But I am on site next week and then it will go on.

March 30, 2011

Sneak Peek into the Blue Bathroom

Our sixth and last bathroom seems to become a new highlight of our renovation project :

a shower inside a niche of blue mosaic

sanitary equipment not installed yet, vaulted natural stone ceiling restored

blue tiles on opposite wall, natural stone wall restored

March 28, 2011

Vertical Wall Stripes

Apparently I inspired Angelo with my recent post about walls with stripes. After painting two horizontal stripes in a small corridor, he also painted three vertical stripes in a side entrance:

Angelo's latest art project

To make it clear, this was not my idea. It's his creation. He got very creative: three vertical stripes of different width in a room with five different paint colours ... we have light sky blue on the ceiling and around the door and window niches, we have a turquoise blue for the stripes, we have white for the stucco, deep apricot on the ceiling and very pale apricot for the walls.

For explanation, this room is the side entrance and we will need it also for storage. We will need cupboards and shelves. The flooring is not decided yet. Stone or terra cotta will be more practical then wood. Not sure, if at the end, everything together will look a bit too wild.

However, nice experiment. Vertical stripes are approved!

March 27, 2011

Horizontal Wall Stripes

Angelo did it: 
Horizontal stripes in the small corridor:

horizontal stripes and door to the green bathroom

view towards side entrance area

view towards dining area and kitchen

view towards kitchen with balcony in the back

two horizontal stripes

Not only I am impressed with the speed Angelo implemented my proposal, I am also impressed by the result. The two painted blue horizontal stripes look as interesting as I thought they would.

I discovered something else in the pictures: the passage way towards the dining area and kitchen is wide and open. I was not sure if there would be a door, it looks better this way! And you see the original thick walls (egg last pic)! They are about 1 meter thick. (The art work Angelo did on these walls I need to check out on site next month.)

But this is not all.
I got also vertical stripes !!!
But this in another post.

March 25, 2011

Italian Beach Painting

Beach at Tropea in Oil on Canvas, 40cm x 40 cm (painted by me)

my inspiration, a photo by Italian photographer Marco Cristofori (via imagestate)

While Angelo is painting walls and ceilings, I am painting the beach in Calabria.
The beach shown above is at Tropea and the view is from above. It is quite a famous spot to take pictures. There are many on the intern if you google "Tropea beach" images. 

March 24, 2011

Work Progress in Pizzo

Angelo decided to give his new light sky blue ceiling an apricot framing

The sixth and last bathroom will be a blue bathroom - it's the one in the guest residence

waterproofing of last bathroom floor (seminterrato)

March 23, 2011

Why Designer Kitchens Do Not Have To Cost Much - OR: When Architects And Designers Use IKEA Kitchens

While IKEA kitchens in some countries still have the reputation of being cheap kitchens for young and small budget households, it seems that in France architects and interior designers effortless and successfully integrate IKEA kitchen into their projects. And at the end, they are even featured in glossy magazines like Marie Claire Maison. And the source IKEA is clearly stated.

After seeing all my finds below, you might forget about your fear of the DIY hassle of assembling an entire IKEA kitchen. I, myself feel tempted:

Above, the architect Philippe Harden managed well to disguise a kitchen behind brown furniture (Nexus, IKEA). The counter top harmonises with its dark wooden tint (Numeraer, IKEA). White lacquered cabinets  (Applad, IKEA) frame the counter and form a niche. The dining table is custom made (Atelier 54) in steel after an army table. Above the table, two bicoloured lamp shades (Habitat) are pending on red electrical wires (BHV). (remark: text partly translated from the original French description) - Who would have thought that this sleek kitchen is by IKEA?

interior by architect Flora de Gastines - black glossy kitchen furniture by Ikea (Abstrakt)

March 22, 2011

Ceilings: Some lighter blue paint

Angelo tries out a lighter blue in another corridor
(all three panels are painted in the same hue)

the light sky blue in comparison to the other recent bright blue

for comparison of hues and for orientation - both are corridors 

The story behind:

4 favorites in my kitchen

In my actual kitchen - in Bangkok - I have four absolute favorite "accessories":

4 Favs

They are all four in the above picture - can you tell? From left to right:
  1. our electrical cutting machine - it is a farewell gift from our dear friends and neighbours back in Germany (via eBay) - we use it quite often to cut ham and salami from Italy.
  2. the large and very cool wine cooler ! I love the tenant for being so thoughtfully... we do not only store lots of wine but also chocolate at a temperature of 19 degree. A must in tropical climate! (by Miele)
  3. a garbage bin (by Franke) accessible from top of the workbench. It is a 12 l bin and comes in handy every day.
  4. the professional flexible faucet dispenser (looks like Flex by Franke)

I like the gadgets on the kitchen island: garbage bin and faucet

the lid of the 12 l bin (by Franke)

And here comes maybe the most strange information from Thailand: 

March 21, 2011

Focus on Kitchen

That's the actual situation: a niche with a hole for the hood. The balcony access that should not be blocked by the kitchen island. I think a kitchenette or L-shape with our stand alone 2 door inox fridge on the right (below the glass bricks). And it looks like we better have shelves instead overhead cabinets on this front!

In only two weeks from now I have to pack... we will fly to Italy ! The main purpose why we are doing this trip - in between a skiing holiday in Europe and our summer holiday in Italy - is because we need to make some major decisions, and this is about the KITCHEN !!!

The kitchen, not only in Italy, is the center point of the house. Nowadays, there are mainly open kitchens planned in new houses or remodelled in old houses. Kitchens are connected to dining and living area by just a kitchen island. Friends and family gather together around the kitchen before, during and after cooking and eating. Kitchen islands play a key roll. They are not only the new "border", they provide additional working space, they offer useful storage and often feature appliances. With stools they can be used as breakfast area, laptop work area - to check recipes ;-) or simply invite for an aperitif to accompany the cooking.

You all know that, and I am not a kitchen seller. This is just to remember, how important it is to choose the right kitchen design! It should matches the style of the house, especially the dining and living area.

That means for us a balancing act:

March 18, 2011

Before and After: Basement with Balcony

Our house has a basement, that we call our seminterrato, which means "half under earth" or souterrain. Our seminterrato, however, is very special: On one part it is really underground, carved into the rock, on the other side it has fantastic 180 degree see view 54 meter above sea level! And it has access to a small garden with a lemon tree, a fig tree, a bougainvilleas and some cacti. It did not have a balcony though. But this has changed. Angelo is always good for surprises. Now we have a balcony in our basement. It is a balcony for two people with shoe size 40 or so.... but look the transformation from before with no balcony and rusty wrought iron balustrade to after with small balkony and restored balustrade in blue (!) :

BEFORE in August 2006

in between in 2009

March 17, 2011

Walls with Stripes

nautical stripes via flickr
Since Heather from concrete jungle in Phuket commented on my last post that she pictures wide blue stipes for the walls under the blue ceiling, I got totally hooked with stripes on walls.

Yesterday, I skyped with Angelo and told him the idea ... his first comment was: "come?!" (what?!)  He asked me to make a drawing for him to better understand.

But first of all I had to think, vertical or horizontal stripes? While I thought about two or three bold wide blue horizontal stripes, my consultant from neighbouring Phuket thought wide vertical stripes. And to get some inspiration I googled "stripes wall" and "Streifen Wand" in German, and got plenty interesting results. Some of them I have to put in this post, but first my latest drawing, sorry I am not a professional interior designer and the scanned sketch comes out a bit pale, but you can see the four walls of the corridor :

two bold blue horizontal stripes under a blue ceiling in a small corridor

The photos that Angelo sent me yesterday are not really ideal to picture the corridor and to photoshop in the stripes, but I did it anyway and in both horizontal and vertical direction:

two horizontal stripes of different width, they could go around all four walls (except on the doors)

five vertical stripes - probably nice if only on the long wall with no door

The last vertical stripes make the room appear higher, which is not necessary. The horizontal stripes could make the small space appear larger, which could be more useful. But not only do stripes something to the space regarding the size, it also adds an interesting touch. Vertical stripes look more elegant, horizontal more unique. I like also the geometrical modern touch they add to the rather playful classic ceiling. But above all, I like the blue stripes idea because it's nautical ! It adds a beach house touch (to my beach house).

I checked the international nautical flags :

two blue stripes: J for Juliet or "on fire!"

And here are my favorite vertical wall stripes :

blue stripes in corridor, via Elle Decor

March 16, 2011

Blue Ceiling by Angelo

Today I receive a blue ceiling via email :

And the text massage goes like this :

The ceiling of the corridor in front of the ground floor bathroom. I missed the blue after so long time! Is that ok? What color do you want the walls? White? Light yellow? Light ocra? Light pink?
Ah, I have missed Angelo's humour. I almost forgot about his "blue" addiction, didn't thought it's that strong! I wrote back that I like it. Light blue makes the ceiling appear higher - not that this was necessary in our case - but here the blue leads the eye towards the center. You do not notice right away that the ceiling is not symmetrical. And I really like that simple Art Nouveau lamp. We had it in storage so far - can you believe that? ... it never had a place to beam. Not sure though, if this short side corridor is the right place. We might have a better spot, but will see. Regarding the walls I opted for just white paint as this is a small and rather dark corridor. If this is too boring we can repaint it later.

I am happy with this Wednesday mail by Angelo. Grazie! 

March 14, 2011

Work Progress in March

photo documentation about work progress - click above to enlarge

Angelo, my father-in-law, who also at the moment functions as our contractor on site, sends us photos via email about the work progress. Sometimes I get several mails a day, each with a couple of pictures about different subjects or rooms and his comments. At the moment his reports are all positive about completion and progress. Very promising and inviting. We have gas for cooking, we have hot water for shower and heat for cold days.

The screen capture above shows my "March File". It shows thumbnails about the seminterrato where the walls were insulated, it shows a waste water pump in the garden, the renovated scuri of the windows of the primo piano, the actual status of the bathrooms, the new doors in different areas of the house and the finished stairways - which deserves a post of its own. 

Since the second week of March is always a busy week for me (birthday and anniversary celebrations) I had no time to update the blog. But now, I am back on track.    

March 08, 2011

Happy International Women Day - Auguri per la Festa delle Donne

"Auguri per la festa delle donne !"

It's international women's day, like every year on March 8.

I wish you a happy day, to all of you women, ladies, girls, mothers, wifes, sisters - to donne, mamme e ragazze.

It's international women day all over the world. Originally it celebrated the working women.

In Italy it is popular and the flower that is given to the ladies, wifes and girlfriends to day is the yellow mimosa.

If this day is celebrated in your country in a special way or there are some special customs, please share with us !