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

Advertisements

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 …

The little green train is back from July to end of September.

From Perfugas to Tempio or to Palau. A great day out !

For more information : http://sardegna.blogosfere.it/2013/06/trenino-verde-sardegna-2013-ecco-il-nuovo-catalogo-con-i-percorsi-gli-orari-e-tutte-le-info-utili.html?fb_action_ids=611468245544909&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%22611468245544909%22%3A537468649623434%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22611468245544909%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D as well as http://www.treninoverde.com/fly/6.pdf     Check out page 6 for the prices and page 8 for the timetable.

And new for 2013 : the little train plus a trip on a Mississipi style boat on the “lago liscia”.  Departure from Perfugas Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

All aboard !

website translator plugin

On being an eco-friendly rental business.

Another issue very close to our heart is eco-sustainability. A lot of what & how we have rebuilt Villa Nuraghe has environmental awareness at its core.

Malcolm was a landscape gardener and tree surgeon living on Dartmoor, growing organic vegetables and campaigning for disarmament in the 70′s.

Through living in the UK for so long and living with somebody like Malc, I have grown keener & more aware of the environmental challenges of our times. Despite my mum’ s obsession for water saving and my dad coming from a farming background, I can’t cite my roots as anything to do with it. I grew greener as time went on. I have to thank England ands its great wildlife TV programs for it too. Now, when I go back to my parents in Northern France; I berate my Dad for his pesticides’ use and he mocks me for being unrealistic and some kind of hippie. We both agree though that his palet – built workshop is great … even if mum has baptised it “shanty town”.

So, in accordance with our beliefs and our concerns for best practice, we went for a minimum of A + rating for all the appliances (fridge, washing machine and dishwasher), put in a water solar panel (backed with a gas boiler if necessary) and just finished a solar powered fountain. We have also some solar powered fairy lights on the pergola.

But how does that fit in with the rental business? We don’t believe this is a major concern for potential clients. After all, we don’t necessarily check the eco-credentials of the places we stay at even though we really appreciate them when present. Whilst I don’t think people will choose us rather than another villa because of our 3 recycling bins or water saving devices , we do what we feel is right whilst trying not to be eco-evangelical about it.

In fact, the best eco features are the ones that reap the rewards without you having to do anything about it (once all the systems are in place) . For ex : put the dishwashing on eco wash, have that free hot shower thanks to the solar panel, enjoy the cooling splashing sounds of the solar powered fountain etc.

The other kind of eco rewards comes from you putting in some efforts before you reap the rewards. I guess I would say that as I was brought up in a house where the bath water was reused to wash the floor & mum always switches the lights off if you forget & tell you off. The trick in a rental setting I believe is to encourage people by making it easy for them. So we provided recycling bins at the back of the villa but we will empty them ourselves. There is a bucket near the shower so clients can fill it up before the hot water arrives and use that to either flush the loo or water the plants. My little brother had never done that before but religiously watered the plants every morning, pointing out it took no time & he seemed to appreciate the impact everyday gesture could have long term. Coming from him, that certainly is a result

So the lesson here might be ”Make it easy for your guests to be green by having the infrastructures in place and encourage environmentally friendly practices”. We shall see at the end of the season if the people who readily recycled the shower water (for ex.) already considered themselves green or whether they got round the idea quickly (or not). Will this turn out to be preaching to the choir or converting new adepts ?

The soft glow under the pergola certainly works in a subtle way.

And that solar water is so hot I made a Health and Safety warning about it in the welcome information pack !

Still, that solar fountain certainly rocks in more ways in 1 !!

website translator plugin