And just like that, it’s January. This post finds us living downstairs in the renovated (more or less) portion of the house, which we will call The Bungalow, to distinguish it from the un-renovated, upstairs part of the house, where we spent the second half of 2019.
We will remain in our 21st century “bungalow” until the whole house has been renovated, and then we’ll live in a 21st century house. Given that since 2012 we’ve lived in a military “married quarter”, then an apartment, then a 1970s house, then “the penthouse”, right now, life is wonderful!
December passed in an absolute flurry, as The Builder, The Electrician, The Plumber and their various helpers scrambled to get us into The Bungalow and out of The Penthouse in time for Christmas. By 7.30 every morning, the house was full of cheerful workmen bashing, crashing and smashing their way through our future home.
The kitchen was a bit of a stumbling block.
A year ago now, whilst at home in Yorkshire following Darling Daughter’s surgery, I popped in to a local kitchen manufacturer, and realised that I didn’t really want an Italian kitchen in my Italian home. Don’t get me wrong, Italian kitchens are stunningly beautiful. But that beauty comes with an eye watering price tag. And yes, IKEA make great kitchens, but even the modest price tag somehow failed to convince me that a flat pack kitchen would be the perfect centre piece in my future home.
So, I popped into Kitchen Warehouse. Because I was (sort of) passing, and my best friend was actually shopping for a kitchen.
Fast forward ten months, and the lovely people at Kitchen Warehouse delivered my Made in Yorkshire kitchen to central Italy. Of course, I say Made in Yorkshire, but in fact the doors are Italian, and the metal bits are German, and it was bought and delivered before Brexit.
So surely I had bought a European kitchen?
And surely all kitchens are basically the same?
I mean, really. How was I to know that Yorkshire kitchens are not installed in the same manner as Sabina kitchens???
I hope that by now, you’ve realised that our builder is an absolute gem. His work ethic is outstanding, his workmanship is superb, and his ability to tackle any task is a source of constant surprise and delight to us. But even Paolo had to resort to the university of Google to work out how to install our kitchen. Scott also spent several hours on the phone to the long suffering Simon at Kitchen Warehouse, and in scenes straight out of Allo Allo, Scott would switch between Yorkshire and Italian as he asked how to do something, then explained to Paolo, who would then translate from Italian into dialect so that various bits of wood could be turned into The Most Stunning kitchen.
And so it came to pass, that the week before Christmas, we found ourselves alone in the house, moving all of our belongings downstairs. And bringing our furniture out of its temporary home in the cantina, up the rather steep hill into the house on a tiny little trolley with a flat tyre. Scott provided the braun for these manoevres, while the dogs got in his way, and I offered opinions on why he was finding things so difficult. I even helpfully reminded him that the trolley tyre was flat from time to time … The “children” arrived just before Christmas, to find us comfortably settled in a twenty first century bungalow. We had also thoughtfully provided two 1970s bedrooms upstairs in the former penthouse for them to sleep in.
A couple of months back I wrote a sad little piece about our life on a construction site which you can read here:https://olivehillsabina.com/2019/07/13/construction-site-living/
I cannot begin to tell you how good it feels to live in the 21st century! We’re still missing a few bits and pieces, like a draining board, work tops, 21st century cooking facilities, and all of the internal doors, but I have a kitchen sink! And double glazed, waterproof windows! And central heating! And a shower that makes you clean, without any risk to life! And a sofa! And curtains! Oh! And a table!
Christmas in the 21st century was good. No, it was wonderful. And we managed to fit the little portable stove into the kitchen so that we could cook stuff. So we had a delicious Christmas meal, sitting at a real table, watching the sunset through double glazed windows.
And now it’s January. The Penthouse has been stripped and emptied, and on Monday The Builder will return to start the process of bringing it into the 21st century. And then we’ll have a whole house!
But first, we’ve got another renovation project to get through …