Our Journey

Starting renovations of La Torre

When our light bulb switched on, we got building!

5 min read

As we were really behind in our expectations of finishing reconstruction of the agriturismo for 2022, we started to prioritise the works that had to be done. The first was our apartment, which we are glad we can sit in comfortably to write this blog! However, our next hurdle was initiating the works of the agriturismo - the main building of accommodation for our future guests. When the construction is over, we are hoping to have 7 en-suite bedrooms, an apartment, a commercial kitchen, a buffet room and a portico for breakfast.

One day, whilst we were looking at some of the ruins of walls within the building, we figured that’s a lot to get done as we were waiting for the designs for the plumbing, electric and thermo systems - suddenly a light bulb switched on! We have been working with Italian builders and traders for over a year, we knew it would take at least 2-3 months for all the design to finalise, so rather than sit and wait for the right designs, the right plans, the right builders, why don’t we just start ourselves and try on doing some works? The first part is demolition, it's not rocket science for breaking things!!

That’s what we did, we brought the hammers and chizzles, having Michele (our farmer turned labour), a new recruit of our farm called Abdul (who had plenty of experiences in construction and farm) and started breaking the tiles on the wall, on the floor and bathroom accessories. It's tough work, very physical demanding, particularly we spent more of our life in office!  But we can't tell you how amazing we feel when we make the progress!  Within 3 weeks, we were able to clear the building and bring it to the core structure for builder to start work. More amazingly, when we looked at the quotation given, we found ourselves saving lots of money and time! The demolition part gave us confident to continue to do the work ourselves. The next work after demolition was digging the grounds on the ground floor for the ventilated floor. When we looked at the quotation, it was over 23k for digging holes in the ground floor! We thought we could do it ourselves, so we hired a small excavator! Viola! Three weeks later, we managed to get all the digging of the ground done! We are extremely proud of ourselves.  We now had what looked like an archeological site ready for the ventilated floor.

Working in progress.... an archeological site!

To build the ventilated floor, we had the help of Michele's friend Paolo, who is a small builder in the area. He guided and helped us to lay the base concrete, then the cupolex on top, which is an interlocking plastic dome used to create a void under the floor so that air can enter and the floor can ‘breath’ to prevent humidity - a problem often found in many agriturismos. Afterwards, more concrete pouring on the top. By mid January we were able to finish most of the ground floor!

Cupolex Ventilated Flooring

As a result of this initial success, we now handed over the site to form carpenter, who will do some structural work (which we cannot do ourselves as it has to be done by licensed labour). However, our building career has not stopped, Abdul, Michele and Angus will be doing a scaffolding course at the end of January, stay tuned!

We now continue to manage and do as much of the works ourselves, whist employing short term specialist labour when needed.  Not only do we feel this is quicker, but also we are saving a lot of money and give us lot of satisfaction as well!