Wednesday, October 22, 2008

After the first week of work...

We got through the first week of work, without too many headaches, and with some tangible results to boot. Can this be an omen of things to come? Did I just jinx it and it's downhill from here???? Only time will tell, so stay tuned...

The worker(s), was able to remove most of the crumbling plaster from the stone walls, and much to our relief, it appears that they are in fairly good condition. However as was pointed out by the contractor, they are more mud than stone :-(, but appear to be sturdy nonetheless. They will be reinforced with a steel mesh, and a concrete "crown" that will tie the walls together for added safety and quake proofing. Although the fact that they have been standing for the last 200+ years should be proof enough of their stability.

We also had our first encounters with public utilities these last 10 days. Namely the electric, water, and telephone companies. I have to confess my amazement on how smoothly (and gasp, even timely) things have gone. Especially if you consider that there is no street address to give them in order to locate the house. So we were able to get power hooked up, a new water meter installed and relocated, and the phone lines moved to prepare for the demolition of the first floor structure.

So now it is time to bring in some more serious machinery, in order to demolish the room on the first floor, as well as the ceiling of the guest room and bathroom. Hopefully without bringing down the other structures. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

* Just a quick note to avoid confusion: In Europe the ground floor is the ground floor, and NOT the first floor, as it is usually referred to in the States. The first floor refers to the first floor you reach as you go up the stairs, and NOT the second floor that the Americans know. I am sure this cleared things up!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Entrance to the yard is opened up from the road. Both the wall and the strange cement basin have been removed.

The pillars that held the grapevine have been removed (as have the weeds from inside the house).

More exposed stone work emerges.

Just one wall left with plaster on it in the downstairs guest room.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hardest worker in Greece!

When Alex told me he had stopped by the house to see if the workers were there in the morning, I was less then pleased to hear that it was singular rather than plural. Yes, one guy, all on his own, was at the house removing all the old tiles from the "newer" building, knocking off plaster on walls to reveal the stones beneath and removing the walling that lined the upstairs veranda. Amazingly, this one guy is one hard worker, as the amount that he has gotten done is quite impressive.
This is the view of the house from the street, the barn is in the foreground and the rest is in the back ground.
More plaster comes down inside the old building, here are the doors to what will be the dining room and the bathroom.
More exposed stone around the front door.
Posted by Picasa

Just 3 days and 1 guy!!!

See, no more wall around the veranda upstairs.
Look, all the tile is up, and all the plaster is off the walls in the guest room!!!
Here he is, hard at work....I really should find out his name.
He also removed the grapevine that was growing over the front courtyard, but don't worry, the trunk is still there and it will grow back in no time!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This is the view over the top of the "older" house. The middle wall will be removed, to create an open kitchen/ family room, and the roof will be oriented the other way.

This is the upstairs room in the "newer" building. The wall with the door will be pushed back to create a larger room, and bath area for Sianna.

These exterior stairs will be removed and the room on the ground floor will become the guest room with private bath.
cornerstone of house

Sianna surveys the area under the grapes.

Front of what was a barn, and is now a storage area (apothiki)

end of barn
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 13, 2008

Here we go...

My husband bought us a house, well , sort of. It is missing a few key elements, like a roof, indoor plumbing or electricity. I think there might be an outhouse out back. There is, however, plenty of potential. Potential for what, you might ask? Good question. Potential for a great house, yes, potential for a mental breakdown or divorce...we shall see, but lets hope not.

Obstacles, well one big one is that said house is in a village on the island of Crete in Greece. If you have had the pleasure of traveling to Greece you will know just how well organized and punctual a place it is. Yes , it is beautiful. Yes the people are warm, friendly and hospitable (that is until you have a construction crew working by 8 am next to their house.) Other obstacles include intermittent strikes, permit issues and architects and engineers that go out of town every week or so.

Our first delay was an engineer who left for4 months to build on another island. We found someone else. Our latest potential delay was the electric company striking for a day. Luckily, Alex made it to both offices before the strike officially began and was able to get the papers processed. Yes, you read correctly, both offices....often you have to go to several public offices in varying locations to get multiple rubber stamps stamped onto insane amounts of forms.

I am Jenn, and Alex will also be updating these pages periodically. But, I will refer to my previous comment about "punctuality". Sianna, our cutie pie will drop in from time to time. You can list her under another obstacle, as starting this endeavor with an 18 month old is just pure insanity....but doable, right???

On to some before photos.
A few interior shots of what was a kitchen. This room will become the downstairs bathroom. We will keep the arches and stone counters and maybe even try to find some cool Turkish tiles.

A view into the back yard. It actually extends further to the left and to the right, behind our neighbors...very odd shaped property lines.

The door on the left leads to what will be the dining room, while the door on the right will be a downstairs bathroom. The wall to the left is that interior wall that will be removed, and a stairwell will be placed in that corner to get to the upstairs bedrooms.

A shot from the inside of what will be the dining room. It has a great domed ceiling, and we hope to leave some stonework exposed.

Sianna and Alex investigate the would be dining room.