Let’s restore

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

Decisions, kitchens and furniture

Pool location under a huge pile of rubble

Like most of Europe, Istria continued to freeze in the second week of February. But despite over-night temperatures below -10°C, work moves forward apace in the house and many decisions need to be made. With P away in the UK, I go furniture hunting and … complicating my life even further … started daydreaming...
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Plummeting temperatures and a week of small panics

Mixing concrete in sub-zero temperatures in Kovaci, Istria

Week three of our Istrian house restoration project sees temperatures tumble and my confidence falter, as my translator Miran disappears … and things don’t seem to be going quite to plan.   Abandoned? Week three did not start well. First, I was unable to reach Miran by phone to set up a progress meeting...
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“Please can we demolish your eye-sore?”

Derelict animal shed in Kovaci, Istria

In Istrian villages, older properties often lean against one another: buildings on one plot can get muddled with those on another, boundaries can criss-cross and so on. Very picturesque, but it means that during renovations, something that seems straightforward can rapidly get very complex, involving more and more people. Our place in Kovaci is...
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The pace quickens … and off comes the roof

Skeleton of the oof against a blue, blue Istrian sky

Work progressed very quickly in the first week of our Istrian house restoration project. Will things continue as rapidly and smoothly in week two, when the plumber and electrician arrive on site, the roof’s replaced and the sink debate runs on?   One sink or two? Week two started with me investigating bathroom sinks...
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Meet the neighbours

Our house with neighbouring houses around in Istria

When house hunting, our ideal property would have been detached, on a big plot with distant neighbours. Unfortunately our budget didn’t stretch to that and the property we bought was an old stone Istrian house, part of a terrace in a village location. With sea views, the coast less than ten minutes drive away,...
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The plans for Kovaci

Kovaci old front door

In January 2011 we acquired a property in Kovaci, a district of Kaštelir, about 10 minute’s drive from the Istrian coast. Renovation work started as soon as we were given the key, and I’ll be bringing you regular reports, following our restoration progress. But before we start, what exactly have we bought and what...
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It’s our house – let’s knock it about!

Valter handing us the key for Kovaci in Istria

Busy, busy, busy. At last, we reached final contract stage for our new house. Then, with it barely paid for, we started gutting it. So inevitably, this week’s focus has been restoration, but we also find time for lunch with Pip … and I get a history lesson.   We take ownership… Life in...
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Upstairs – before work began

Landing with doors to bedrooms

Upstairs there is space for two double bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, and a huge, en-suite double in the attic. It’s all in much better shape than downstairs. While old and dilapidated, the walls and floors are fine and just need refurbishing. The roof is in fantastic shape without a single leak....
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Welcome inside – before work began

View from living room to stairs

Downstairs, the house is divided into three rooms. Standing with the front door to your back, the stairs are on your left, the old kitchen is in front and the living room is on your right. The house clearly hasn’t been occupied for decades and, this floor at least, needs totally gutting. Amazingly it still has...
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Outside – before work began

Close-up of front of house

The property consists of a traditional three-storey Istrian house, a barn and two outhouses on about 500m² of land. Looking from the parking at the entrance, the barn and house face each other at the end of a long thin garden. The outhouses are set next to each other on the left-hand side of...
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Let chaos reign!

Builder bringing the ceiling down

    We only bought the house yesterday (Monday). By 9:30 am today (Tuesday), the builders are ripping it apart.                                                    
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