We are at the very beginning!

This Sunday gave me satisfaction because, besides going to work in our lovely house, I could finally visit the antiques market that takes place monthly in Moncalvo, the smallest city in Italy, a few kilometers from here.

Ok, but… where’s “here” exactely???
Ok, but… where’s “here” exactly???
Perrona, frazione di Calliano, Asti
Perrona, frazione di Calliano, Asti
At the market you can find all sorts of things, from renovated farmers tools to granny’s laces, passing through books, vinyls, pictures, handicrafts, but alas! I have to spare money. I must resist a bit more, I can’t start buying and filling the house with stuff before it is habitable! And to tell the truth, I’m looking for modern furniture rather than antiques, particularly old Fifties furniture made of Formica, such as tables, chairs, cupboards, coffee tables, and then glass lamps, tableware, glasses, china… I’ll need them for the b&b!

Ok, today’s issue: removing plaster from the red room with the fireplace, removing wallpaper from the entrance walls, plus a couple of little hydraulic and electrical works.

That’s how we started
That’s how we started
Luckily we could borrow a small scaffolding, and with the demolition mallet (and some muscles, and SOME good will) the work goes on well. Using the mallet so that it works parallel to the wall, not against it, is fundamental, in this way you can remove plaster without any damage to the bricks underneath. This is what our neighbour suggested!

Even here we had some surprises as we found, under the layers of stucco, old windows and doors that were successively closed with bricks, with amazing wooden lintels that we would love to leave on display. Moreover, we found some big yellowish tuff rocks inserted among the bricks, in regular lines, another detail very typical of this area, and in this case we’ll decide whether we prefer keeping them in view or covering them with new stucco.

Tuff and bricks
Tuff and bricks
Daniele decided to leave unaltered the plaster on doors openings, so the wall is already straight for the successive daubing. Also the fireplace received some special attention, in fact taking off the layers of stucco with the mallet was a bit risky, particularly because we could not understand what’s under the paint. I think we will have to sand it by hand, we noticed that the many layers of painting slightly ruined the decorations which are now almost shapeless, it is clear that the frame suffered some reshuffle in the course of time. We still don’t know if it’s better keeping it like this or dismantling it after all.

Fireplace in the red room
Fireplace in the red room
At the end of the day Daniele managed to remove plaster from three half walls, and being the first time he does this job, it’s not bad at all! I interviewed him!!! He said “Quite an easy job where the old plaster was about to detach, more difficult on the most recent parts where cement grabs the bricks with major strenght”.

Plaster on bricks
Plaster on bricks
Oh! Look where the fake boiserie had disappeared!!
Oh! Look where the fake boiserie had gone!!
Well, anyway, I had some work to do, too, I dealt with removing all the wallpaper from the entrance room, and also frames and skirting boards. All by means of a stiff spatula and the mallet.

stiff spatula and the mallet to take off wallpaper and skirting boards
stiff spatula and the mallet to take off wallpaper and skirting boards
Fortunately the wallpaper was already half unsticked in many points, so taking it off was not that difficult, otherwise I would have needed water to get it soaked and facilitate the removal.

Removing wallpaper
Removing wallpaper
Here’s the job done:

The entrance without wallpaper
The entrance without wallpaper
But if I think about all the work we still have to do… Well let’s make a fantastic brand new to-do list in no particular order:

  • Remove frames and skirting boards placed everywhere with a quantity of nails that neither a hardware store would imagine…
  • Remove linoleum from one bedroom (still horrified and incredulous about placing it onto the cotto floor);
  • Remove wallpaper from one bedroom and related entrance;
  • Fix the toilet at the basement (might be useful…);
  • Demolish the bathroom on the first floor: toilet, bath tub, tiles on the wall and on the floor;
  • Disinstall the old heating boiler;
  • Demolish two walls of the bathroom (so there will be no more bathroom);
  • Remove fake wood tiles from one bedroom and two landings;
  • Dismantle switches and their covers for a possible future reuse;
  • Make a selection of the original materials stocked in the basement and in the garage (among prehistorical monsters in a vegetative state and spiderwebs like lianas…);
  • Bring some garbage at the dump (old materasses&co, enjoy…);
  • Remove the “Minestrone” floor of living room and kitchen;
  • Sand some walls in order to take off old paint layers which are already almost unsticked (which ones and how many still to be understood);
  • Remove the plaster which is about to detach from some walls (same as before);
  • Make etches for the new electrical, sanitary and termical systems;
  • Replace outdoor lighting cables;
  • Dismantle, remove paint, fix and repaint shutters, window frames, doors;
  • A first cutting of bushes in the wood;

As said before, this order is quite random, anyway we shall have to proceed in a logical method, so that we can speed up the beginning of the works made by the building company. To tell the truth our primary aim is moving to the new house within a few months, so we need to concentrate our efforts on a few rooms that can soon become inhabitable, in order to achieve this purpose. Those rooms correspond to the longer side of the house, where the previous owners used to live. Only afterwards we’ll proceed renovating the storehouse, the barns, the basement and the garage. This means this is only a very first part of the whole operation!! And we are at the very beginning…

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