Category Archives: Renovations

New kitchen – post 7

Today was the eighth day of work. The ceiling and walls were sanded and they put plaster on them so they actually look like walls now. They also leveled and smoothed the floor. They told me the new floor would be installed tomorrow or day after. That will make a big difference as well.

The electrician came back today as well because for some reason he only had one wire in the ceiling above the island when we need three – two for lights and one for the hood. So now they are there.

Stay tuned for the floor!

New kitchen – post 6

Monday brought the builders back. The builders cover up the holes and the pipes that were left open or exposed by the plumber or electrician. The back wall by the window does look nicer now. And the holes along the wall are filled in. They left early today. Maybe to let it dry? Don’t know. Anyway, it looks a little more like a room and a little less like a bomb blew up here. Still plenty of rubble though.

New kitchen – post 5

We had a day off yesterday since the plumber finished a day early. Today the elettricista came along with an assistant. He worked all day. We decided to deep six the security system which is 20+ years old. Nowadays there are much better alternatives.

He has finished and left a large pile of rubble. Irma says the builders will be back either Monday or Tuesday. I guess it is their job to remove all the trash and rubble from the elettricista. Here are pictures with captions.

From stairway.
Running wires is hard when walls are solid. These over to the frig, oven, microwave.
Lights above the island and power for the hood
Island power
Lights for the counter and outlets for appliances.

Now we are at the weekend, and a fine weekend it will be! It will be in the upper sixties and bright sun all weekend. I am jonesing for some kind of outing. Just to take the Porsche out for a spin if nothing else.

New kitchen – post 4

Today is Wednesday. Our plumber has finished with his part of the job. We have the new caldaia and he demonstrated we now have heat and hot water. All good. Everything looks nice and tidy. Tomorrow we have the elettricista who will do all the wiring. I do not know the next step.

Stay tuned!

New kitchen – post 3

Today the idraulico returned. I found out his name is Omar. He is very good at his job. I was upstairs with Irma this morning, and he was proud to show me the new caldaia. He said he would be here again on Wednesday and Thursday.

The elettricista (Leonardo) was here this morning too so he would know where all the wiring will go. There is a surprising amount that must be done. Outlets on the island and behind the counter. Lighting in the ceiling and above the counters. There will be a wine fridge and the cooktop on the island. The dishwasher, microwave, oven and refrigerator all need power as well. The security system box also needs to be moved and also the fuse box. The plumber also used the only electric outside on the terrace for the caldaia. I asked Leonardo to replace this outlet outside. We watch TV out there and I have a fountain for the fish pond. Both need electricity. Leonardo will be back on Friday to work on the wiring.

Other things. They will put the caldaia pipes behind a new wall. They will build a box for the fuses and will remove the Persiana from above the window. Persiane are what the metal shutters are called that cover all the doors and windows. I don’t see a need for one in the kitchen. And they are very ugly. Here are pictures with captions. They aren’t very different from yesterday but I want to keep a record.

New caldaia.
From stairs
The new hook ups for sink and dishwasher.
I “think” this is the gas.
This is the persiana. There is normally a cover on the front so you don’t see the roll. It rolls up and down to cover the window.

That’s it for today. More plumbing today and tomorrow. Ciao!

New kitchen – post 2

After a weekend break the plumber returned to do what plumbers do…they plumb. 🙂 Well in this case he ran the pipes in a trench in the floor over to the outside wall where the Caldaia will be installed outside. And the plumbing for the sink. It was somewhat noisy when he was drilling out the cement in a wall. He did a very tidy job. There are some miscellaneous pipes I am not sure about. I imagine one is gas. He also has to run pipes for the sink and dishwasher. That is the place where there is a trench in the wall. Captions under pictures.

From the stairway
From the terrace
I have no idea what this pipe is.
Sink and dishwasher trench
Very tidy pipes for the caldaia. Each one goes to a radiator or a sink.

I roasted a chicken for dinner one night and then I used the half chicken left over to make a chicken chowder. I like a good chowder. It had lots of good things in it. It was cooked in milk and broth. It had corn and potatoes. I think those four things to me say chowder. There were chipotle peppers and adobo in it. Along with other herbs and spices and cooked pepper and onions. Garnished with cilantro and spring onions, it is really comfort food.

Just think…sometime in the not too distant future I will be cooking things like this in my newly designed and installed kitchen! 🙂

New kitchen – post 1

As always here in Italy. Things didn’t work out exactly as planned. The work did not begin on Wednesday. They decided to wait until Friday and all the different experts were here today.

It was noisy but not as noisy as I thought it would be. I was worried about the cats but they slept through most of it and when awake they just seemed curious. So that was a relief.

They arrived at eight. Then they put plastic up all over. They covered my piles of furniture which I had moved together for easy covering. There are multiple plastic pieces across parts of the room and the stairway is no longer usable for access. I can get there by going outside and upstairs and then in again. Only issue is my washer and drier which are behind a plastic sheet. I will have to make a way through somehow. Here are pictures. This first one is the footprint of the new kitchen from the stairway. The new floor will go in there and there will be an island and counters along the whole wall.

From the terrace window.

This is how they got all the debris out.

On the terrace is miscellaneous stuff, most of which I have no idea it’s use! And the old caldaia.

Irma just called and said the plumber will be back on Monday at eight. He will run the pipes across the floor in a trench. I’m not sure what else he will do. The next day the electrician is coming to do whatever electricians do! One thing he will need to do is move that box on the wall which is the security system. It can’t stay where it is because the cabinets will go there. I’ll be posting updates and pictures as we go along.

Buon fine weekend a tutti!

New kitchen – work begins!

Exciting times. I met with Irma, my architect, along with Alessandro and Donatello. Such pretty names for construction men. Donatello is the idraulica, plumber. He will move the pipes and gas. Alessandro will do the demolition. The work begins tomorrow. There is nothing much interesting in these pictures except to document what it looked like before the work started. First The Wall. This will be demolished.

The floors will be jackhammered up and removed. This was a conundrum for Irma. With two floors there already, how can we integrate a third? It had to kind of blend in color-wise, and also not clash with the patterns. It had to be plain. I hope what we finally settled on will look ok.

The place where the kitchen used to be which our sellers removed when they left. That is the caldaia on the left on the wall. A caldaia is a boiler. We have two. This one doesn’t work now. Most houses heat the radiators and the water with these. This means the wall is full of pipes. Water and gas for the heating system upstairs and the water. This makes demolition a bit harder. The pipes will have to be run under the floor and they will install a new caldaia outside.


I boxed up all our books and things and piled everything up on the two couches so they could be covered and sealed against the dust. This is just the one. The guys will roll up the carpet for me.

I don’t know how awful the noise will be yet. If it is too bad we may have to find a place to retreat to in the day time. More for the cats than us. We could always leave but they can’t unless we find a place for us all to go. Jackhammers are loud 😳.

The work will last about two months. The worst should be over in the beginning. They will completely seal the upper floor from the lower meaning to access it we will have to go out and up the elevator or stairs and then in the door upstairs. Not really all that hard. The washer and drier are up there and some plants outside which will need watering.
I have only one key to the upstairs door. I went out last week to our Ferramenta – hardware store EmporioCasa. They made two keys. They didn’t work. Back this morning. I pointed out the difference in the two keys. He made two more which looked the same to me. They didn’t work 😡 So I went back right away because I need the keys tomorrow. Finally this time they work. Whew.

The Ferramenta is a cool little place, long and skinny with two floors the bottom of which is open to the top floor. Stuff is everywhere! You don’t really browse in here. You ask for what you want. I sometimes take a picture of it and show it to them, which helps. Although the place is a jumble, the father and son and helper know where EVERYTHING is. This is outside sign. The building is right behind the train station.

You really can get just about anything here. Zoom in on these. This first one I wanted to show all the baskets they have up on the ceiling, for hunting mushrooms and truffles.

Two more. They have things seasonally. Now you’ll find heaters and fireplace tools and grates. Also pellets for the stufe. In the olive harvest season, they have rakes, and beaters, nets and the big cans the mill puts the oil in as well as smaller tins for separating it into usable sizes.

We decided to go out for lunch on Sunday, Calagrana was having a Sunday Roast and all the fixings. This is a British tradition every Sunday at all the pubs. It had been a while since we had eaten out. My appetizer was an artichoke, beet and goat cheese insalata (really good). And we had the roast. Which was not beef but lamb and pork belly. Pictures.

Ely seated us at a table next to Americans who live here part time that we had never met. Dale and Mark from Dayton Ohio. They have a house near the Niccone valley. We had a very nice time getting acquainted. They apparently had just met friends of ours a few days before Joanne and Lynne in a cafe in Passignano. There are a lot more of us around here than we know!

So stay tuned for more regular posts about the kitchen renovation. Ciao!

I’m back!

Hi everyone! I guess I have some catching up to do. It has been a busy couple of weeks. I have had a spot of trouble with my website so I held off posting until I could do some cleanup and fix a few problems with the help of a friend (thanks Roger!)

We had a very cold snap which pretty much killed off the remaining plants on the terrace. I built the first fire in the upstairs fireplace and after about four hours it finally warmed up that floor which at present has no heat. I also grilled a whole branzino for our dinner so as not to waste the heat in any way.

Speaking of upstairs things are moving along with the kitchen. I met with Irma, our architect, and we have nailed down all the colors. We also went and met with Nicoletti who will make the cabinets, order the appliances and install everything once the preparation is done. The builder who will do the demolition came to see how we could move the heavy flooring upstairs and the countertops. I have insisted that the counters not have any seams. Both the kitchens I’ve put in here have had seams and this time I was determined they be in one piece. There are two and they will be heavy. So they will use an elevator truck to bring these things up.

We had a lovely pre-season lunch with three of our friends in Spello. We each brought something and it was great fun. We all get along well and the conversation flows. Here is one of the arches in Spello. It is a lovely hill town.

The Christmas tree was delivered to the piazza but this year I didn’t see it delivered as I have done in every other year. So I decided I would put up my own tree which at least brings some festiveness to our house.

We had some company for a couple nights and we did a bit of sightseeing. We picked them up in Foligno and we went so DiFilipo a bio winery near Bevagna. This is our first visit to them since pre-Covid. They have upped their game. They have many more wines now and they have created a nice outside space with tables and chairs — not that we could use it in this weather but they did build a nice fire for us to enjoy inside.

This winery does not use any pesticides. It also doesn’t use any machinery in the vineyards. They use horses to plow and cut the grass between the vines. And they use geese to control the insects. Before going in we went to visit the animals.

We had reserved a tasting and they brought us goodies to enjoy along with 7 wines.

After the tasting we didn’t want lunch so we paid a short visit to Bevagna. They had a small Christmas market. This was L’Immacolata. The immaculate conception. It is a national holiday and the official beginning of the Christmas season. After we returned home we walked into town. It was very cold. We had a drink in Bar Mary and waited for them to light the tree. Right on time – there it was!

Next day was Saturday and we did have a tough time doing anything I had planned. We headed to Assisi. We got there around 10:30 and were turned away by the police as there was no parking left. I had to cancel our lunch reservation. So we decided to visit Perugia. Our guests had not been to either city. Well, we headed to the MiniMetro and found the big Saturday market was there. But we still went to the metro station where we found the place a mob scene. So we decided to just walk through the market and go over to Lago Trasimeno for a walk and lunch.

It was one of the prettiest days ever. Not as cold, in fact it got into the 60s, and it was crystal clear with bright blue skies. Perfect to visit the lake.

We chose Ristorante Il Molo. Known for creative food and a good wine selection. The food was quite creative for sure.

My starter of pasta in brodo with mushrooms
My secondo — fish filet fried crisp with cabbage and mayonnaise

These next are my table mates food and I cannot remember what they all were but everyone like theirs.

Here we are and we had a nice view.

Afterwards we went for a walk around the town. There were quite a few people there but not crowded. Just folks out enjoying a rare warmish sunny day.

Upcoming for us. We planned a trip to England. First one since before Covid. We are glad we got our boosters (first in two years) last week. We leave on Friday and will spend five nights in a National Trust Cottage in a town called Corfe Castle in Devon. We look forward to pub lunches, touring the towns within reach and maybe a walk on the cliffs for which the area is known. We hope there will be some Christmas merry olde England style too! Of course there will be a trip report. 🙂

Upstairs kitchen

I haven’t posted much about the new kitchen upstairs. I find it very hard to figure out how to use these two floors that we have. The very idea of a kitchen on each floor is hard to get my head around. And how best to use them both. The thing is each floor has a living area and a dining area plus other rooms and the top floor the terrace. So to use those spaces on the top floor DOES mean there needs to be a kitchen. We have been entertaining on the terrace some. It is difficult and requires a lot of thought about what you make.

On Saturday we invited our friends Debbie and Bob over for lunch. I made potato salad ahead. I grilled tandoori chickens and grilled veggies on the day, both of which I did a little ahead and let them rest while we chatted. It was pretty easy except for carrying all the cutlery, glasses, serving bowls and plates up and down the stairs. Debbie brought the dolce, (thanks Debbie!).
Yesterday we got our new, ginormous refrigerator delivered, which was no small task let me tell you! This was to the 4th floor (North American). Lots of steps. It is an LG French door refrigerator with ice maker. This will help with entertaining…I think. I can at least bring up cold dishes and wine and water ahead of time. That will help a lot. Anyway check out Moby Frig.

And this view is the space where the new kitchen will be. The refrigerator is where it will be, that wall will be torn down and the back wall will be cabinets, sink, oven and dishwasher. In front will be an island with cooktop. Still much to decide.

Deciding what to do with the floor has been a big decision because there are already two types of tiles/stones. Irma (my architect) thinks we should take out a larger portion of the old floors than I wanted so that the three flooring types will stay separated. I’m still thinking about that. I already chose the flooring which will go in the new kitchen. It is a product called gress. It is a very hard, almost indestructible kind of material. Very easy to maintain, zero absorption. They produce big slabs, 2.20 x 2.80 meters. We want to go big so there will be fewer seams so it won’t be busy to clash with the other two floors.

Here is what the product looks like when installed. This is not my color choice.

My color choice is Trust because it is warmer and there is just a hint of red in it and I “hope” it blends with the other two which also have red.

So, once I find my architect, who seems to be MIA since we returned from our trip, I will have a better idea about when this work will start. Not looking forward to the noise and mess. But having a kitchen will be nice.