And so it begins…

After months and months of waiting, work has finally started on the house and suddenly things are really moving fast. 

At ground level, the existing concrete floors have all been dug up so that an Iglu could be put in. This basically lets air circulate underneath the floor, stopping damp from rising up. 


We also now have the makings of an entrance hall, garage and wood chip store, and we also have a staircase. We’ve even chosen and ordered the wood for the roof.


Tomorrow, the asbestos roof is coming off of the agricultural parts. I’ve decided not to be around to take photos of that. I’d either have to wear some sort of chemical suit in 30 degree heat, or risk my life to take photos for a blog. No offence, but you’re just not worth it!

While all this has been going on, we’ve been making ourselves as scarce as possible. Aside from a few decisions about floor levels and wall positions, there’s really not much either of us can do at this point. So, we headed down to Tuscany, to a town called Massa, for a few blissful days at the beach.


Massa is a quiet little town just along the coast from a far less quiet place called Forte dei Marmi, which is kind of the Beverly Hills of Tuscany. The streets, while not being paved with gold are in fact paved with marble, which I guess is the next best thing. Unless it rains, in which case I imagine it would be a health and safety nightmare, with high-heeled women slipping and sliding all the way from Gucci to Prada. Still, the whole area is famous for its marble so they could hardly just use plain old concrete.

On the way back we popped into Florence. We were supposed to be there for a few hours but I got the car completely wedged in on a 90 degree turn somewhere in the hills above the city. We were there for a very, very long time. When we eventually made it out (with a few souvenirs on the side of the car) we only had an hour left to see one of the world’s greatest cities. So… river, Ponte Vecchio, millions of tourists, Duomo, Statue of David, done. We’ll have to go back and try again, but maybe in a smaller car next time.



I’ll leave you with a quick before and after shot. This was our house two weeks ago…


And now…


38 thoughts on “And so it begins…

  1. So excited that things are beginning to roll for the house. And where was Otto while you were under the tuscan sun? Did he tag along as well?

    1. He was under the Tuscan sunbed, licking the sand from his paws and then coughing it back up. I think he quite likes the beach though… Lots of running children to bark at! 🙂

    1. We’ve destroyed the place quite nicely haven’t we!

      We were tempted to leave Otto to look after Bee but in the end decided to take them both with us. It does feel a bit irresponsible walking around a building site with a baby though!

    2. Ha, I was just going to say the same thing! Looks like it’s finally making progress though! And I want to be at the beach – in Italy 😉

      1. There are certainly worse places to be! 🙂 It’s a bit worrying that we seem to be going backwards rather than forwards, but I’m sure it’ll all come good in the end!

  2. Where’s the pic of the car??? Sorry to hear about that, but the rest of your little beach holiday sounded wonderful! It sure beats having construction dust on your skin and in your hair! I hate that stuff…no matter how much you try to clean, there is always a fine layer of dust everywhere! Good luck – the end result will be beautiful!

    1. The car looks like it was attacked by a lion. It put me in a very bad mood for our little jaunt around the city!! And you’re right, that stuff just gets everywhere. Thanks!

  3. Oh good luck, so glad it’s finally happening for you guys! 🙂 Here’s hoping you won’t have to deal with Italian red-tape again.

  4. Your house ‘as it was’ is very much like the house where my father was born in Moncrivello in the year 1898… great memories you bring back to me. My grandfather was a farmer and landowner. His house in its heyday took an entire block in Moncrivello. Little by little it was sold in portion after he died when the farm shrank. I am sure that you will LOVE your remodeled home and will quickly forget the headaches it took to get there! Bravissimi! tanti auguri. Vera

    1. Thanks Vera. It seems to be a pretty traditional style around here with many, like your grandfather’s, divided over the years. Ours was definitely at least two houses at one point, with two separate agricultural areas as well. These are the main parts that we’re working on.

  5. wow… I am just down the road from you and on my 7th house renovation here and have not had nearly the hassles you have had. Absolutely none. Compared to the UK renovating here is a walk in the park. Good luck with your renovation. Remember the italian mantra…”furberia”. Keep all the good spots quiet. Especially Limone, Frabosa and San Giacomo. We don’t want the Provincia di Cuneo to turn into Chiantishire and we don’t want to wait in lift lines. Send them all to Aosta.

    1. Seven with no problems? Now I’m jealous! I think with the right people it’s a breeze. Unfortunately we put all our faith in the wrong person and when you’re unsure of how everything works all you can do is keep asking questions and trust that the people who are supposed to be on your side are doing their job. Finally, we now have some great people who have sorted everything out for us and things are really moving. I guess it’s all a learning process!

      I’ll try not to mention all the places you just mentioned, I mean, they’re terrible anyway, no powder, long lift lines, really expensive, I don’t know why anyone would want to go there!

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