Let’s restore

Restoration work started on our old stone Istrian house in January 2012. Follow our progress here in words and pictures.

Let renovation begin

January 21, 2015
Amir tunnelling out under the front wall

Renovating an old property can be challenging – even when you delegate all the hard work. So, doing it for the first time, with a builder who doesn’t speak your language, might be called fool-hardy. I guess I was about to find out – let the work begin!   Renovation projects in Istria come...
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Kovaci’s transformation

April 6, 2013
house & barn in Kovaci, Istria after restoration

Just a few before and after shots to highlight the transformation in our Istrian property, before and after restoration. The photos are mainly of the house and garden, as there was something to photograph before hand. With the barn, the place was so full of junk it was impossible to get in and there...
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Outside – a restoration photo story

April 3, 2013
trenches for water near the pool in Kovaci, Istria

While a holiday home must be lovely inside, outside is just as important – if not more so. It’s where guests will spend most of their time, so I wanted it to be special. Little did I realise how much work this would entail.  Also see: The restoration tale continues with the house Downstairs and Upstairs, and...
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Upstairs – a restoration photo story

April 2, 2013
exposed roof beams in Kovaci, Istria

Upstairs, our Istrian house was in much better condition than downstairs but there was still an awful lot of work as the roof had to come off – and go on again. There was no inside plumbing, so two new shower-rooms needed creating and everywhere needed rewiring. Also see: The restoration tale continues with the house...
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Downstairs – a restoration photo story

March 30, 2013
walls gone, so plenty of open space in Kovaci, Istria

Long, long neglected, the downstairs of our Istrian house originally had three rooms: entrance, kitchen and living room. Our plan was to turn it into an open plan kitchen-diner with a loo under the stairs and a snug library tucked behind. This major undertaking involved gutting the whole floor, stripping it back to the bare...
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The barn – a restoration photo story

March 29, 2013
Front of barn before work began in Kovaci, Istria

A picture’s worth a thousand words and here’s the barn’s restoration tale. Even though it had four strong, straight walls and an old, but intact roof, it was no small undertaking transforming it from a storage dump into a cosy holiday home.  Also see: The restoration tale continues with the house – Downstairs and Upstairs, and Outside Compare...
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And that was that!

February 12, 2013
Kovaci property garden, ready and waiting inspection in Istria

At last we are ready. The formidable Tourist Classification lady visits, as we take the plunge and apply for our tourist rental licence. Websites are created and, with Kovaci close to being declared ‘ready’, our restoration project draws to a close. It’s been a long, hard slog. Was it all worth it and …...
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The final push

January 27, 2013
Master bedroom in Kovaci, Istria, all ready

After the watering ban set-back, it’s a week before I can face Kovaci again. But I can’t put things off for ever. So with August going into its second week, I resume the battle. The air-co’s fixed … sort of … and Miro lends a helping hand; I play with furniture and go shopping...
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Battling with air, water … and furniture

November 22, 2012
Just a few of the rubbish boxes from Kovaci, Istria

As July finishes and August begins, the weather stays unusually hot and dry. The missing bedroom furniture arrives – with a twist (again!) – and I battle on with furniture assembly and dodgy air-co. But the heat’s taking its toll and then, when the water’s turned off …   Furniture: well, sort of …...
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Pool perfect … bedroom disaster!

September 28, 2012
P prepares to go for a first dip in the pool at Kovaci, Istria

With P’s parents safely dispatched back to the UK, I plan to make fast progress at Kovaci, but it is not to be. Instead, I’m in for delays, frustrations and upsets as I battle on in soaring temperatures. Bedroom furniture starts to arrive, along with a host of problems … but at least the...
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So near … and yet so far

September 21, 2012
Pool filling at Kovaci, Istria

Time is getting extremely tight and there’s an awful lot still to do at Kovaci. To have any hope of having guests this year, I have a real race on my hands. This is a crucial week: the kitchens go in and the pool is finished. But with soaring temperatures and visiting parents, do...
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Miro’s finished!!! Sort of …

August 29, 2012
Gardeners start work in Kovaci Istria

At last, Miro’s finished – in a way – so I should be celebrating, but somehow it doesn’t happen. Soaring temperatures, kitchen delays and garden issues preoccupy me so much, this momentous event slips past unnoticed. My focus is on finishing in time for possible guests: but we’re now so far behind schedule, I...
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Frustrating week

August 22, 2012
Garden near pool terrace at Kovaci, Istria with low soil level

It’s a short one this time ‘cos, frustratingly, not a lot’s happening. A short rain burst seems to stop play at the start of the week. Then, just when it’s set to resume … I fly away! Will everyone be able to cope without me?   The cold week June seems to be shaping...
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We clash with the tourist season

August 15, 2012
The pergolas that caused the problem in Kovaci, Istria

Work drags on and we’re now moving into the early tourist season. Noisy workmen and sleepy tourists don’t mix well, as I soon find out. Outside, everything’s so nearly finished: flowerbeds, paving and pergolas are almost done, and I finally see the barn’s stained flooring. And, as for the kitchens and furniture – do...
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Let there be lights! And paving! But no kitchen …

August 6, 2012
Miro & Amir pave with t-shirts on their heads in Kovaci, Istria

We’re oh so nearly there. The house is finished and this week, the barn receives its finishing touches and the remaining furniture is due. With Miro racing through the paving outside, I feel confident we’ll have everything ready for the season – until the phone goes …   Honorary builder for a day Today’s...
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