And the stazzu (the farm house annex) is ready for rental.

Finally ! After nearly three years’ hard graft, the original farm house is finished and ready for rental next year in 2018. Here it is on the homeaway website : https://www.homeaway.co.uk/p6973432

And just to reiterate this point, the annex will only be rented with the villa to one group of 10 people maximum. In other words, these two villas will not be rented separately so your privacy is guaranteed if you book your holiday with us .

The stone built annex is here in red.

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The annex is the original farmhouse building on this site. All of the original rustic features have been preserved and the decoration is reminiscent of past country life.

So let’s get straight to it and enjoy some pictures now !!

The outside :

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The lounge / kitchenette as you walk in:

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The double master bedroom with en suite to the left of the lounge:

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The double bedroom (2 single beds) with en suite to the right of the lounge:

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Update : “Grand Designs” in Sardinia.

The alternative title for this blog was “The last pleasureable touches after the slog in the stazzu lounge”

That’s often the most satisfying bit in a DIY/ rebuild, the part where you get to hang or position your favorite objects in a room. ( I guess you would call it “decoration”. There was a lot of hanging and positioning on shelves in our case though, lol)

Already, with a coat of white paint and the new ceiling, we were happy with the results.But with those sardinian antiques pieces in place, we are pretty delighted now … ( there is still the floor to lay down and the furniture to get but we shan’t think of that yet 😉 )                 And Malcolm thought of an ingenious and traditional way to hang our antiques too. I wonder if you’ll guess what he used … (Tip : it’s recycled from excess material 🙂 )
So let me take you through a series of before and after pictures of the lounge.

The fire place (We chose an original colour for the fireplace as back in the day, only a small handfull of natural dye colours were widely available. That shade of brown was , and still is the most common for fireplaces.)

The kitchenette ( not quite finished)

The new shelves ( with traditional and ornemental kitchen objects )

The bread oven

An existing hole for the old electricity meter box is turned into a sweet alcove

The addition of a stone container in the lounge

A few decorative items

More beautiful and natural outdoors space at Villa Nuraghe.

Malc and I had always planned to open up our land and woodlands at the back and side of the villa. If not immediately for the clients ‘ pleasure, at least to allow us to walk around and harvest useful fire wood.
Those plans for the land and small forest had to be put on the back burner for a couple of years as different priorities were establised (repair and increase the height of the stone walls at the front of the villa, put in the swimming pool etc).
Malcolm always wanted to make the most of the land and existing forest to plant and harvest more fire wood. Free renewable energy , you see 🙂                                                  With that in mind, he bought and seeded 500 eucalyptus in May last year (the“ Sydney Blue Gum” variety for the tree geeks amongst us 😉 ) . My , my … Did they grow !! By September, they were nearly my height (a diminutive but strong 1.60m, lol).

Come the end of October and November, we worked like dogs !!!

I actually forgot to take different pictures of the land at the back of the stazzu before we set off to clear it, but the back left corner was full of trees , shrubs and massive granite stones; all of it covered in thick brambles and vine like weeds.


What I presumed would take 2 weeks took  4 weeks plus of full on work. Malc was on the strimmer and chainsaw. I was dragging piles of cuttings and burning as well as taking down and piling the wood with Malc .

That might have taken us 3 weeks just clearing the site but our neighbour Martino was chomping at the bit to get the stone walls between our 2 properties repaired. The thicket had prevented the sheep from straying into our land but with the now apparent gaps in the walls, Martino was keen to repair them . And ” sooner rather than later” was his motto. So in between 2 or 3 fires on the go, dragging mounts of cut branches and gathering of useful stones, me and my sprightly 93 years’ old neighbour got to work …


I am really glad we did all this clearing and planting. The real pleasure was in uncovering trees and truly stunning stones that hadn’t seen the light of day for nearly 3 decades….

And our clients can now benefit from more unspoilt space to discover in our small woodland … and enjoy a different panorama too.

And in January this year, Malc planted the eucalyptus trees ( you know, the ones grown from seeds .. nearly 400 of them !!) . Free and renewable fire wood forever as well as a different kind of forest to walk through …

‘Grand Designs’ in Sardinia (or ‘Small Sympathetic Rebuild ‘ in Perfugas)

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.

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We are in a very peaceful and green location indeed . Our only neighbour is 200m away. I always thought it was more like 600 as Martino looks like a big ant when seen from the front garden.

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There is another building on the property  (highlighted in red) but nodody lives there but the odd lizard !
So here is the story of a eco-rebuild-whilst-keeping-all-the-authentic-features-in-project.

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!

Lessons learnt after 2 years of working on Villa Nuraghe…

I was musing the other day with Malcolm about how we naturally seem to go with the flow with what we usually call “the project”. It wasn’t always so.

Malc is very much the highly motivated / get up at 6 am driven force behind this “villa renting” project; with the building / technical skills to boost.

I am more the translating, networking woman with the ability to follow instructions (or not so much so if you speak to Malc) and mislay tools. I have also learnt to lay floor tiles & can do a mean plaster wall !

Malc is more ” We should have had the permit for the swimming pool last year”, whilst I’m more “We should be lucky to have it by October 2013″.

So lesson number 1 : “Whether you like it or not, planning permission / building work / bike registration/ you name it etc. will happen in their own time in Sardinia.”

From this derives lesson 1: “Getting annoyed / telling people to hurry up will rarely work…”

And consequently math theory 1 : “If you think something will happen in (say) 6 months, then double up that time and then add some …”

Truly frustrating for Malcolm who’s used to British efficiency (he used to take that for granted in the UK) , not so much for a French national like me who’s used to encourage and cajole her way to nudge things along.

We just had our 1st feedback from our Easter clients. All great. Interestingly, their only improvement suggestion concerned a room they didn’t sleep in. They thought the light streaming in the morning through the shutters would wake up the guests or their children early. And who wants to wake up at 7 am on holidays ?? So down to Sassari for a blackout curtain it was !!

We indeed believe a key ingredient in any business success is feedback. Whilst we tried to create maximum comfort at an affordable rental price for our clients, we are bound to have omitted something. This is a rather fine balance as not everything will be to all of our clients’ taste. For example: mattress firmness. Where do you stand (or lay down) on this issue ? The king size bed is too firm for my liking but perfect for Malc. The single ones are medium whilst the sofa bed one is deliciously soft to me but would probably give Malc backache in the long run. (Update July 2013: As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry about the king mattress. A client wrote in his review that it was one of the most confortable bed he ever slept in ( the sofa got a special too) and others have mentionned sleeping very well indeed.)

And the last lesson for us : “Go with the flow if you haven’t the strength to swim against the current or when you have no choice”. We thought we would have a wooden / above ground pool in the back garden by now… We are beyond getting upset about it now. In fact, 2 friends have offered to buy the pool from us & we will consider the huge plastic type instead. Less pretty but you don’t need a permission for it and it does the job !I

So it’s all come and go, re-prioritising in this life (Note to self : add an eco friendly section to the web site !) . Luckily, we at least now know when to let some things go and when to pursue… in this beautiful and sometimes strange land that is Sardinia !

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