Some prospective renters are very careful and thorough in choosing the place they will stay at on holiday. I was still very surprised on the 2 occasions a potential client asked if we had anybody living in the building right near us … Or how far away were the neighbours as they looked pretty close on Gooole Earth ( the answer is no, they are 200 m away). Google Earth ?? I would never have thought of checking a location this way but it is a great idea as you can check the accuracies of any rental claims.
Malc & I are very fond of the TV program ‘Grand Designs’. When we first started doing up the stazzu, it did cross my mind to call the channel to see if they wanted to follow our rebuild. Aren’t I glad I never did it !! More than 3 years down the line and we are finishing it still. Of course, there was bureaucratic hold ups and delays. And the fact we can only work for some part of the off season …. Did I mention the fact Malc is an early bird and I am anything but ? Anyway, we are plodding on and this lovely 19th century stone country house shall be open for rental in the spring 2017 at the very latest. And we have always intended to rent it as an add on annexe to the main house rather than 2 separate rentals. This means the holiday location retains its privacy but is available for couples and smaller groups ; or larger groups of friends, large family etc. Privacy is what Villa Nuraghe is all about !
When we first looked at the stazzu ( “Stazzu” is the sardinian name of their typical country house. They kind of look like a Devon longhouse or farm), it had been unhabited for a good 40 years plus and was used as food and general surplus storage.
The owner , now is her mid sixties was born there as were her parents. There were a total of 4 siblings and the parents living in a 3 room house, a fairly common occurrence back then. There was no mains water and no mains electrics. It was the woman’s job to fetch the water daily from the local fountain (that doubled up as the clothes washing/ gathering place).
The mains electricity only arrived in the hamlet in the early 70’s as did tarmacked roads. I kid you not ! Lighting was by candle lights, oil or gas powered lamp until then. Cooking was mostly done on an open fire indoors (or using a charcoal burner in the rudimentary kitchen) or the traditional oven. With the propagation of gas and electric cookers, washing machines and mains water finally arriving here , women were un-slaved from some of the most time consuming chores.
So here is a series of before / during / after pictures of our stazzu restoration. This is still a work in progress so I will keep adding pictures and details until it is completed.
The outside frontage:
The back of the stazzu:
Left hand room:
We were told the original owners were the first to have such posh tiles in the whole neighbourhood. To celebrate; they invited everybody and they had a massive bal in that room. Accordeon and classic Sardinian music I bet …
Centre room with the oven and fireplace:
Right hand room:
and here is a selection of step by step details close to my heart :
The addition of a stone container in the lounge:
An existing hole for the old electricity meter box is turned into a sweet alcove
the discovery and exposure of beautiful original stones:
The renovation process of our ancient internal wooden doors :
And a couple of small holes in the wall turned out to be hidy holes and runs for lizzards or mice :
Still to do before opening for rental: tile 2 rooms, put the solar panel and 2 ensuite bathrooms in. As for the outside, we need to sandblast the stones and pointing.
Quick to type those jobs up , way longer to achieve !
An English green architect and his artist wife moved into the village recently and we showed them around . They told us about their belief of “integrity in design and honesty in the rebuild”. According to them, an old building should not be done up as new, with straight walls etc. I was quite upset that day as despite 2 thick coats of render and countless hours work to make the roof line good and quasi invisible, you could still see where the edges were between the old building and the current raised room and roof. They both told me they preferred it that way as you could see the changes the building had undergone and it was in effect better having textured / non straight walls as all the stazzu was like that anyway …. So I did let it be. And after a coat of paint, it was looking great in all its authentic glory !
Come back to this website regularly as more will added as the renovation progresses!