Tuesday, November 30, 2010

and bees...

Here are more assorted photos. Now that we are with out a camera, I doubt I will get many photos up ...I will have to go through what is on the computer to see what I have not updated. But, no worries, the new camera with PANORAMIC abilities will be here soon enough.

Above is the master bath's faucet for the shower, sans the water can that will be above, and has a nice arm that swivels so you can sit on the bench and take a lazy shower.
Above it the chimney...yes, even though we had said we would have a fireplace all along, they never built a real chimney...something to do with the underfloor heating and no one ever speaking to one another. Communication is not a highpoint here. So, this ugly metal tube will be cover with a "chimney" that has to be framed out. Seems like extra work to me.
Above is the courtyard, with the supports for the cement in place. This is a bit late, as the cement is now poured and our exterior wall is also up.

Below is a bee keeper we happened upon while driving the back roads though the Akrotiri. Stupidly, I got out of the car to take the photo and two bees got in.
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This and that

Strange, I thought we had underfloor heating/ cooling. So what is that big this sticking out of the wall? Oh, a dehumidifier. OK...I think...
Odd view of the loft stairs from underneath. With them being done, we can now get onto the loft to view and assess the space. The color of the wood is off in the photo, it has not been stained yet, and hopefully won't be until the wood floors are installed upstairs...but who am I to say that that would be the smart way to do it. I have already resigned myself to the fact that the stairs will probably not match up with the flooring. Below is the main stairwell, now with wood...and covered with cardboard to "protect" it...that is a relative term.
And here is the view from upstairs on the loft.
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bath progress

Above is the shower stall for the guest bath, and below are the faucets for that bath...they are in Italian--so there is a F and a C....I for see some confusion here.

Below is a shot of the girls bath, with the tub installed. We are still waiting for the extra tiles to finish off the front of it. Someone did not do their math correctly...
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out and about

quick notes, prep work for the neighbors new entrance from the side street. and below, the frame work for the cement in the front of our house.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That is not the corner...

Wow, look at that dust! How long will it take to clean before we can actually move in...I am scared to even think about it. Above and below are some photos of the loft space now that it has a floor. The steps are still not in, so the workers go up and down on ladders. The floor will end up being Ash, along with the rest of the upstairs. For some reason, I can not get a link to work on this at all, but not that it matters, as the samples that came in the mail are not even close to what you see in the photos on the internet. We are ordering the wood for the floor from England, and it ends up being a lot less then buying it from the lumber yard here! Problem is that the Ash planks we like are on back order. They should be in by the beginning of December, so we will place the order and get them as soon as we can. Fine by me, since we leave for Vienna on the 9th, and I am not moving between the 21st and the 25th... we will aim for January. Maybe for my birthday... now I have jinxed it!
Now on to the fireplace. I am a bit angry about this most recent mess up, but am not so angry as to spend an additional 200-300 euro to get them to fix it. When Alex and I discussed the placement of the fireplace we both agreed that it should go in the corner. The reasons were that the fireplace itself is a corner unit with two glass panes, so it looks quite nice placed in a corner. Also, the only wall it can go on is the short wall with no windows at the far end of the room. This wall must also accommodate the television, and any shelves or artwork that we might want to place there. This room is one big space with the kitchen at one end, windows and doors to the garden on one wall, and doors and stairs to other parts of the house on the other wall. The actual sitting area is not that big.
Does this fireplace look like it is placed in the corner? No, it is moved out towards the center of the wall. When talking about the placement with the architect, he convinced Alex that centralizing the unit is visually better for when you are entertaining. Everyone will get a nice view of the fireplace and the heat will disperse better. Why wasn't I there, you might ask. They met on a Saturday morning, again, and Jeny had to be at the shop and I had to watch the girls. No one called me, nor did Alex mention the change. Not until I got there and the damage had been done did I find out about it. And don't even get me started on the chimney.
Ok...I can see his point, but he created more problems this way. The first problem is that visually it shortens that already stubby wall. The second problem is that there is just enough space for the T.V. at the end of the wall, right next to the steps leading outside, to the guest room. The T.V. has to be a meter away from the heat if it is on the same line as the fire itself, which it will be. We are planning to build a bench for sitting and storage that is the same hight as the top step and the glass panels of the fireplace. If the fireplace was in the corner, like we had decided, then the T.V. would have plenty of space and not need to be pushed all the way over to one side. Of course, the architect said, "Just get a new T.V. and hang it on the wall." My response was, and no offense to those of you with T.V.s on your walls, " A T.V. is not art, I have limited wall space for art to begin with. Besides the point, with the built out chimney, a T.V. hanging on the wall is going to look unbalanced and lopsided." What I wanted to say was, " Hey, great idea, I will use your fee to buy one!" I would gladly get rid of the T.V., but hey, I need to cook and get things done, and sometimes that is the only way.
Ok, I am a creative gal, and I know I can make this work. It may take some time, but for now all I have to say is- That Is Not The Corner!
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Master bath

Here are some shots of the Master bath in progress. The top view is taken from the closet area just outside the bathroom. You can see that Nektarios, the tile guy, has built a little wall on the side of the room where the toilette is. The rest of the enclosure will be in glass. He also built a small bench by that wall, which will be nice if we ever install Alex's dream Hamam (steam bath).
The wall tiles are in an ecru and a chocolate brown, with a whitish over glaze. They have different textures to them, which really don't come across in the photos. Hopefully, once they are complete and a light is installed, I can get a better picture. Below you can see the floor tiles. Inside the shower stall they are the chocolate brown, and outside they are ecru, but smooth, without the texture of the wall tile. In the shop they were part of the series, and looked really good together. We went with the smooth tiles in the main bath area since they would be easier to clean. But, the color is actually a little more yellow looking in the space then the ecru tiles that are on the wall. Makes me wish I had gone over to the house to look at the tile before they were installed, since apparently everyone is a little color blind. I hope that once the vanity is installed that it changes the tone a bit. I think we decided on a walnut, but we shall see what we get.
The ceiling in the shower area is arched, and gives a nice affect, making the space seem even bigger. But, considering that Alex, Sianna, Olivia and myself were all standing in there at the same time, I think the shower is plenty big.
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The girls' bathroom

The girls' bathroom is fully tiled now. Odd, but when we picked out the tile at the shop it appeared to be more minty green, and not so citric. The green totally changes when it is the only thing around itself. Good to know for future tile choosing, not that we will be looking for more tile any time in the near future. I still can't figure out how you can get a true view of color at the shop. I took the tiles outside to see them in the natural light, since we know that the florescence change the color too. Well, in the end they work just fine, since the washer and dryer are white, along with the toilette/ bath and sink. Add some towels... we can only assume pink... and I think it will tone it down a bit.
The white tiles with the floral pattern are opposite the wall with the mirror, so that should give a really nice affect. We think the cabinet for the sink is in light wood, but it has been so long since we picked everything out that we can't remember for sure! Well, it should be delivered this week, and the plumber will begin installing all the fixtures. Since I don't even remember the faucets anymore, it will be a nice surprise, just like Christmas. I do, however, remember the faucets I wanted and was not able to get within Greece. ggggrrrrrr
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Sianna's Veranda

As you know, we decided to save as much of the original tile from the old house as possible. The tile workers have been cleaning them off and getting them in shape, and now they have been happily installed onto Sianna's veranda...which will also be where we hang the clothes to dry. I have to applaud the tile guys, as theirs is a really tough job. First to clean off all those tiles, then measure everything out and cut them down and then place them...the saw alone was so loud that I could not be in this room for more then 5 minutes.
The only mess up we had was when they were doing the border. Apparently, they were nailing in a line to make sure that the tiles would be even and straight, and they hit a water pipe. I am so glad I was not there. Supposedly everything was fixed, and I love how the veranda turned out. Laundry is a thankless chore, so make it nicer for yourself by supplying a stunning view to Psiloritis, the highest peak in the White Mountains, and some funky tile.
Now the veranda only needs lights. Yes, exterior lighting is one of my new quests. We have gone to Iraklion, and throughout Chania. I have combed the internet and still have not gotten anywhere. If it is affordable, there is always a part of it I don't like. If it is perfect, it is 100-300 euro or dollars per light! I now know why everyone has the same lighting outside their homes here...they gave up! Well, Alex and I are determined to find the lights that will play off the copper gutters and the oldish /new blue doors. Any suggestions...please send them our way.
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Guest room in Mexico...

Our Guest room is now fully tiled, and coming along really well. It definately has more of a "hacienda" feel to it then the rest of the house, with its terracotta tiles and bright blue and grey bathroom. It is one of my favorite parts of the house. I still have issues about the size, as I had wanted to keep it its original generous size by inclosing a portion of the landing outside to have the bathroom. But, it still works this way, and we did not have to re-file and pay for new plans...or try to do it illegally. As we all know, everyone bulds everything illegally here in Greece. But, if some one is going to get caught...it is going to be us.
This is only a sneak peek of the bathroom. There is a small shower stall to the right, that will have a glass door. But, the sink will be rather cute. A small space needs a small sink, but who says it can't have character? http://www.duravit.com/products/series/bacino/washbasins/washbowl--032542_washbasins_94271_useo6r6cbp.html
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More progress...

The metal worker was in and installed a railing for the loft and the stairs leading to it from the upper floor. This will probably end up being painted, as they already had primed the beam under the loft. Leaving it exposed or just a clear coat would have been a nice NYC loft kind of a look. Oh, well...
But, the tile is done downstairs. It turned out great, and though you can't really get a good idea from the photos, it is a rather large tile, the color of dirt. Quite similar to the Zara stores here in Greece.
The girls bathtub was delivered, and eventually relocated to Olivia's room upstairs, to await installation after the tiling of the girls bathroom. Below, Alex took a photo of " a meeting of the minds" and we use that term loosely. These are all the key players, contractors, architect, Takis, etc... BUT NOT ME...had I been there, perhaps the fireplace would not have been installed too far into the room, but more on that later as it is enough for its own post!
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Clear out the yard...

After striking a deal with our back corner neighbor, Alex arranged for our septic tank to be dug. You see, he wants to make a new entrance to his house through his back yard. That spot touches our back yard corner...where the "out house" was, and borders a small road that I doubt we will ever use. So, he will get a small corner to make a pass through. If you look at the photo below, that is the corner to the left of the yard where the cinder block wall gets higher. Our original wall was stone, and someone else had built the cement one. But, the stones have all fallen over as the yard was cleared out to make way for the machines. Now they are scattered throughout the yard, and I need to get them collected, in the hopes of recreating that wall.
And here are the machines, starting to dig what will be the septic tank. It is a lot of machinery in a rather small space, and this was apparently annoying to the other workers, who were going in and out of the barn and the house to do tiling and dry wall. Some how they can't seem to grasp the importance of a place to put your poop. If you are concerned that the S%@* hole is in the front of the house, well, so am I. I think my sister has 2, and they are on either side of her house. Then I remembered that scene from Meet the Parents...where the toilette runs all night and the septic over flows in the area where the wedding will be. Well, Alex has assured me that this will be covered with cement, and not be an issue. We shall see.
One lovely issue was the fact that it began to rain, for several days during the digging of the septic tank. Since the machines were going in and out of the space, along with workers and trucks, a bit of dirt ended up on the street in front of our house. Then, when it rained, the dirt ran down into the drive way of the guy who lives across from us. Yeah, I know.. it is unbelievable that a construction site might produce dirt. Or that it might rain in November in Crete. It was not so much dirt, and the dude has a menagerie of animals across from us, but he had to complain. Do you think construction workers are going to sweep the street before they go? NO. So now, Alex goes over in the evenings to sweep up....gotta love that. I think I need a photo, as I doubt we will ever see that happen after the construction is over!
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