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Thursday 4 October 2012

Knock - Knock

A bright, sunny and warm autumn day persuaded us we should take advantage of the weather to take off one of our front doors for a much needed make-over!

Several hour later the results are astounding!

The dull grey, grimy and encrusted timber panels turn out to be a pair of beautifully crafted doors made from large solid sections of golden douglas fir that, despite its appearance, has survived exceptionally well with no rotting, splitting or warping.

Several hours of careful and laborious sanding reveals that all inset panels are raised and fielded from thick planks and all rails are milled from large faultless sections of solid timber.
Considering the doors are over 70 years old (some people in the village remember when they were made and by whom!) and it looks as though they have not been well cared for or treated or otherwise protected for years … the joints between panels and rails remain as perfect as the day they were made.

Fixing holes and impressions on the wood surface show the ironmongery to be original, its period charm beautifully enhanced by a good clean and polish!
However, the job’s only half done … the other door awaits.! 

Saturday 29 September 2012

Making a Splash

The high specification bathrooms in each apartment are now finished and ready for use, each fitted with sparkling white ceramic fittings and super-large showers.

The larger two bedroom apartment has a walk-in shower under the old stone farmhouse stair.

Hand painted tiles from the world-renowned Deruta potteries, just a few kilometers away, decorate the walls, bringing warmth, colour and interest to the room …

… while a more exotic far eastern theme has been chosen as decor for the bathroom in the one bedroom apartment.

High-gloss lacquered panels with inset mother-of-pearl details depict various water scenes, their aquamarine colour palette evoking a luxury bathing experience.

Soft fluffy towels and quality toiletries will be provided for all our guests …

… ensuring even these ‘smallest rooms’ in our apartments are equipped and finished to the same high standards we have set for all other living and sleeping areas.

While not wanting our bathrooms to be a particular highlight of a holiday at ‘Casa sul Monte’ … we are hoping they at least match and complement the quality of experience offered elsewhere. Soon our guests will be judging for themselves if we have succeeded or not! 

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Getting Ready for Bed?

We’re getting there … the bedrooms are nearly fully furnished and will soon be ready for guests. Here are a few sneak preview shots … start choosing your favourites now! 

Master double bedroom in the larger apartment seen through a mirror …

… here’s a shot of the same double room from the window …

… and this is the twin room of the larger apartment.

Finally, this is the double master bedroom of the smaller apartment.
All beds have high quality mattresses on firm timber-slat support frames. Sheets are high thread count Egyptian cotton and pillow options include 100% natural cotton and wool as well as 100% hypoallergenic synthetic filling.
Our website should be up and running soon so special opening offers; high, mid and low season rental rates and availability over the coming months will be available for all to browse … watch out for the website address soon!

Pranzo al Fresco

Light lunch in our garden as we enjoy the last few days of summer, the wisteria surrendering its final floral flourish before the imminent autumn pruning.
The apennines on the horizon will soon show their first sprinkling of snow and winter will be on its way … reminding us how blessed we are by seeing, experiencing and enjoying the rich variety of colours, textures, views and temperatures each new season brings in a way never possible in our previous city-based lives … thank you Lord!

Lounge Diner

Furniture, furnishings and accessories make the apartments feel very much like home … we really love the character and atmosphere created by combining 200 year old features with modern loft-apartment styling.

The relaxed seating will encourage afternoon ‘siesta’ as well as long philosophical discussions on warm summer evenings … no doubt fueled by one or two bottles of well chilled local wine.

A well equipped kitchen will encourage guests to experiment with their own version of Pasta Carbonara … followed by the unique flavour and texture of oven grilled Boar and Pork sausages handmade by the local butcher.

Easy wipe-down surfaces and built-in dishwasher allow meals to be quickly cleared  before the serious business of relaxing can begin … and ‘domani’ is still a long way away!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Kitchen Creations

Impressive performance from the local kitchen suppliers … two complete kitchens delivered, assembled and installed yesterday from scratch in six hours by two very hardworking fitters.

Base carcasses in place for the smaller apartment.

Mirror installation in place for the larger apartment.

Dishwasher and sink as fitted in the smaller apartment.

The oven and extract hood remain to be connected and fitted by the electrician.

Likewise with the larger apartment … dishwasher and hob in place.

Freestanding fridge-freezer will be where the oven is … waiting to be fitted by the electrician.  

Monday 27 August 2012

Window Dressing

As soon as the decorators finish … cool white throughout … the carpenter arrives to fit custom made windows, each perfectly dimensioned to the wide variety of structural openings that exist in the building.

Why does a view always look so much better through a beautiful window?

Full height double glazing to french doors maximises, where possible, light in and views out

All window frames are in finest quality douglas fir with a clear varnish to match the golden honey yellow of the external venetian shutters and doors.

Solid shutter doors, bolts and mortice locks provide security and ensure privacy for the main entrance doors to each of the apartments …

… while all glass panes are latest regulation double glazing with enhanced acoustic and thermal properties to conserve energy and limit the intrusion, if required, of the sometimes deafening cicada chorus on hot summer nights!

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Sealing up the Ceiling

Unfortunately the ground floor ceilings had been stripped of original timber beams and any traditional character many years ago … all replaced with cast concrete beams and extruded baked clay infill panels … extremely utilitarian. 

Limited headroom and budget prevents re-introducing ceiling timbers so the only practical option is to plasterboard all ceilings tight to the existing soffit structures, ensuring lighting and power circuit conduits are all in place before sealing up the ceilings.

Immediately the various rooms look very different and far more finished than before … final plaster skimming and decorating will follow shortly.

Heating pipes and extract ducting are hidden behind a dropped bulkhead above the future corner kitchen area.

In just one week all ceiling areas have been closed off and prepared for final finishes and decorations … just hope the electricians can find the conduit once the ceilings have been taped, skimmed and painted!

Monday 16 July 2012

Getting Floored

About 300 square meters of tiles are delivered … get ready for laying!

Floor areas in the two ground level apartments are to be finished with large format (30 x 45 cms) rustic hand-finished, natural clay colour, ceramic tiles.

Once the main datum lines are set the tile laying begins …

Tiles are laid in a contemporary linear bond with grid lines centered on the brick archway and, where possible, with primary entrances and passageways.

We love the subtle variety of colours in the natural clay finish …

… which matches beautifully the original brickwork of the main archway.

Tiled steps lead from the main apartment down to the second living area …

… where the shape and proportions of this smaller apartment are best complimented by the main grid running in the opposite direction.

All these areas look so much bigger now the floors are laid …

… including bedrooms such as this double room in the smaller apartment.

The same tiling extends throughout including to the bathrooms …

… where matching tiles of a more elegant linear format (45 x 15 and 30 x 15) are used on the lower half of the bathroom walls.

Walk-in showers are accentuated by large scale natural stone colour mosaics …

… with made-to-measure glass enclosures to be fitted later.
It’s all beginning to look and feel much more finished … at last!