Restoration diary

Restoration work started on our old Istrian stone house in January 2012. What horrors would we uncover when the work began? Follow our adventure below.

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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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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Finishing floors and bye-bye stone

July 20, 2012
Miro starts laying flagstones at Kovaci, Istria

Basically, it’s been two weeks of flooring! With the flagstones laid, at last the house is finished – sort of. And while flagstones go into the barn downstairs, Toni lays wood floors upstairs. Then attention shifts into the parking area, where we finally say “Bye-bye” to the mountain of stone … and “hello” to...
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Bathroom irritations and light solutions

July 18, 2012
Toni in unfinished pool in Kovaci, Istria

At last, I feel we’re entering the end-game at Kovaci. Bathroom fittings arrive (and bring some niggles…). I get a second go at deciding paint colours – will I get my way this time? Then, with everything else racing forward, I turn my attention to lighting and pray choosing light fittings proves easier than...
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Win some, lose some – a week of compromises

July 5, 2012
Garden works at Kovaci, Istria

In lovely Spring weather, attention shifts onto the garden and I see a lot of progress. But it’s an anxious week for me with various niggles and debates – some of which I even win!     Garden compromises Wednesday after May Day, I arrive in Kovaci to mountains of earth: top-soil has been...
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More tile tales … and loads of chipping

June 22, 2012
Amir re-pointing barn in Kovaci, Istria

In the last two weeks of April, I’m preoccupied with tiles – the lack of them – and Miro gives me a kitchen panic. The pace of work ebbs and flows; we get shutters, gutters and a new front door. Amir keeps working on the barn’s walls and the month closes with a tiling...
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Tiling troubles

June 8, 2012
Sign builders are around - beer bottles in window at Kovaci, Istria

Unnoticed by me, unwell in bed, the rain finally arrives for Easter. Despite cold, miserable weather, work progresses in Kovaci: Miro has lots of questions, the barn gains windows, I continue to worry about paint …and then there’s the tiles. I probably ought to have stayed in bed on Tuesday morning – I certainly...
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