New Year’s Eve at Il Poggiolo…

Kind of a dreary looking day for New Year’s Eve… cloudy, very grey, humid & cold. Here’s the rest of how Il Poggiolo appears today… on the last day of 2010…
the Cortile and L’Esseccatoio… or, drying shed… and its perfectly working forno… or, oven. The pre-Christmas cold has killed some plants. Oh, well…
walking up the path from the Cortile to the Upstairs Apartment. The tree… I think it is called a persimmon in English… makes me think of a Christmas tree with gigantic bulbs dangling on its naked branches. Most of the fruit has since fallen to the ground. Newton’s Law has squished them into a weird sort of ground-based jam… unfortunately, a very messy finish… 
La Casa Grande, the new retaining wall with its fish swimming pool and some of the 150 lavender I planted so the re-built terraces wouldn’t wash away in all the rain that has fallen since September…
more lavender, the Upstairs Apartment and its large square window & the Castle borgo… or, stone village… above us.
I am hoping the New Year will be us some much needed sunshine, drying out the place. And, that I can post some pretty photos with blue skies as a welcomed back-ground. Gads.

Upstairs apartment…

The Upstairs Apartment… the Front Door is under the house’s eaves… the two top floor windows are for the Bathroom on the right and the Bedroom on the left… with just a tip of the eventual terrace seen on the far left…
a good winter shot of the Front Door and the persimmon tree. A pergola will be built to the left of the entrance…
another view from the upper most garden terrace…
It all looks so quaint. I never thought. Gads.

Plans…

Ah… the fun of floor plans, materials & colors!!! The Upstairs Apartment’s program begins to take form & shape…
That hunk of wood is an example of the walnut planking & finish we want to put down as flooring throughout the apartment. The terrace, however… on the far left of the pencil-drawn floor plan in the photo… will have the same terra-cotta tiles we have used in La Casetta, naturally, weather-proofed to withstand freezing temperatures and tons of rain-water.
You can barely see the four areas which make up the Upstairs Apartment in the Floor Plan… the Terrace on the far left, followed by the Bedroom, the Bathroom is sectioned off by the new-construction walls… the walls are darkened in the drawing… with the rest of the apartment an open space main room of a Kitchen… upper right corner of the large room… Dining & Living Room. The Front Door is on the right in the large main room. The pergola will be outside the future Bathroom’s right-hand wall.
The paint color I like… and it will call for a trial panel, or two, before yelling, This is it!… is a medium blue with just a tiny touch of green paint example… 58B-50. I think it goes rather well with the flooring finish. However, I can just hear someone say… Ohhh! Eeets tooo darrrkk!!! Gads.

Open space…

Open space… yes, the Italians love to say “open space” because they can say it without mangling the English into another dimension of incomprehension. If they were to use our standard word “loft” it would come out as… lauwffffttt! So, here is our open space referred to as the Upstairs Apartment which, will be fitted-out next…
The Front Door to the apartment is on the left. From that ceiling cross-beam nearest that far window… it overlooks the Cortile below… will be a wall to enclose a bathroom. A sleeping lauwffffttt will be above it & reach-out to the cross-beam nearest the Front Door. The niche in the corner on the left will be where an old stone sink will be mounted. The toilette & bidet will be on the wall between the sink and the window. The shower… for lack of space… will be placed in front of the window. Poor window. A sliding door will close off & give some privacy between the bathroom and the bedroom, whose doorway is out of sight in this photo. On the right-hand & opposite the Front Door will be a fireplace with large metal tubes to furnish warm air throughout the apartment. 
Now, the Front Door… barely visible… is on the right in this photo. The new Kitchen will be housed as a built-in bank on the right & close to the niche on the right of that window. It overlooks The Garden. There’s an old stone sink in that niche which will go to the Bathroom. The fireplace will be on the left-hand wall right about where there is a little indentation in the wall. The rest of this open space will be unobstructed up to the new ceiling… these photos were taken before the new roof was put on… and used as Kitchen, Dining & Living Rooms. Those far cross-beams will be removed & used for a pergola outside the Front Door covering a lovely area for long summer lunches under the shade.
This is a shot of the Bedroom and the doorway out to the terrace. Its ceiling will be visible, just like in the open space of the living area. There is another window overlooking the Cortile below and the olive strewn hills in the distance. All the walls will be freshly stucco-ed & painted a medium blue. And, imagine hardwood planking flooring through-out the apartment.
The work is to start in January after Epiphany on the 6th. I have to sign another contract. However, before I scribble my “John Hancock”, I want resolved The Big Question of how soon the builder thinks he can finish the work what with all the humidity from the rains of late & predicted to last for some time into Spring. Gads.

The difference a year can make…

Here is the state of Il Poggiolo one year ago. Besides all that crap strewn about The Garden… and, I must say, after days of rain before this shot was taken, The Mess does look less menacing. It has all gone to mud… please note the Key Item… No! Not the orange ruspa… or, bulldozer… but, the old roofs right about to collapse, so sodden are they!!! Inside a couple of the larger rooms of La Casa Grande… the lower roof behind the orange ruspa… there was more than a foot of water. No kidding. An indoor swimming pool.
And now, nearly upon this year’s New Year’s Eve, here is Il Poggiolo a year later. Again, this shot was taken after a long spell of heavy rains. In fact, the locals all tell me they have never seen so much acqua… or, water… in all their lives. Some of them are over 90 years old!!! There was a lull long enough for me to traipse out with my knee-high Wellies to take pictures. Soon afterwards, the wall of water returned. Thank God, Marcello… The Ruspa Jockey Par Excellence… and his mighty work of rebuilding the garden still holds against the watery onslaught.

What’s up? Well, I have PAID everyone off, so to speak. The second contract of rebuilding the roofs & consolidating the structures of La Casa Grande & l’Esseccatoio… or, drying shed… is finished. We are in discussion with our builder & geometra about how to properly fit-out the Upstairs Apartment. It is the part of the house in the left of the photo… we love the large window above the new-built reinforced concrete & stone wall of the ramp down to the grassy Spianata… or, “scenic” overlook… on the right in the photo. This apartment was the living quarters of the family who had rented Il Poggiolo for more than four generations. The last generation abandoned the Upstairs Apartment and its lack of conveniences… like an inside toilette!!!… for the modern renovations of La Casetta back in the 70’s. Then, there is the ongoing adventure of The Garden. But that is not until February… or, whenever The Rains stop. Gads.