Went to Istria yesterday to inspect the progress. Looks really, really good. Slađana, the contractor project manager, sent me some pictures of the last week’s progress plus a few I took yesterday and here is how it all is now. I am giddy with excitement. Every time I go there it is sunny (partly because we arrange our trips around the weather, and partly because obviously it is a sign – hehe).
Once a week, Zdenko and I leave Zagreb around 8am, arrive in Pazin around 10.15 where we have coffee and pastry in a nice cafe on the main square. We drive to Lovrinići next where Slađana and Vjeko meet us around 11 to inspect the work, discuss any issues and plan what needs doing next week. Then we all go to Žminj where we have “marenda” (hearty brunch of an extremely good value – not New York style brunch though). (A romantic view on marenda (in Croatian – Translator doesn’t do text the justice, but you may get an idea).) Marenda is in “Žminjka” and we further discuss build details. We are back in Zagreb around 5pm. So far, always with the good feeling about the day.
Saving those few meters of the old house’s wall is a priority 🙂
This is the border between what we managed to save from the old house and what we are “reconstructing”. We have decided to reconstruct in a modern way – ie build brick walls on the inside and add a layer of stone on the outside to mimic the old building’s look as closely as possible. And we are adding height.
This decision is a bit controversial, as really, we are “faking it” – we could have built proper 70cm stone walls as they used to be or do some clever interpolation with a modern style building. Like this for example – very cool. In the end, we have decided to balance practicalities (insulation for example and budget to an extent) and (re)create the ambiance of the old house – which really was the priority – using modern-ish technology. That ambiance is important for us and for the people we hope will come and visit looking for a romantic, rural, holiday heaven. Plus, there is a lot of land around if we ever decide to be more adventurous with the style…
As we took (most of) the old house down, the neighbour’s house suddenly loomed in front (actually back) of us. You can see it in the topmost picture. Luckily, as the walls are getting to their final height (the house will in the end be as tall as the house on the furthest left in the above photo – the post explaining what that is is still to follow :), the neighbours will disappear behind us again.
I think it is great to have them close by, but it is also nice that they will be hidden from view…
Yesterday, Vjeko and I checked the views from the “inside” for each window that is taking shape – it appears that the bathrooms will have great views… so a chair in the bathroom will be necessary to take the view in.
It will really be hard to tell the difference between old and new. The windows and doors on the “new” part are aligned a bit too perfectly perhaps, so we asked Damir (the main stonemason) to askew next ones a bit. Btw, do type ‘askew’ into Google search bar – I was checking my spelling – very cute I thought.
The stones used are all from the old house – there are huge piles of them all around the property.
All in all – I cannot believe we are doing this and it is actually happening. More next week!