’The longer you are in a place the more you get under its layers’
Our rustic lounge room is starting to take shape, this is the room I long to see finished. The one we will live in, the place to read and write, to sit with friends and to cuddle up with the kids. Stripping the awful plastic paneling from the walls gave us back the bones of the room. We had purchased plaster sheeting to cover the damage and all the nail holes but I couldn’t bear to loose the original walls. They have the gentlest undulations and could never be described as even which is of course exactly the way I love the house to be….original and filled with character.
We have taken up the boards, we hoped for the original rock underneath like the kitchen but no luck. The boards are all safely stored and cleaned ready to use again somewhere in the house. Our friend Claudio bought us over one huge slab of rock to go between the two rooms and it is the perfect gift for us, it will be here for hundreds of years to come.
After sandblasting the beams the walls in the kitchen have taken on a buffed ochre tone far from the original chalky white. The difference is clearly seen when one is next to the other. We will now need to clean down the walls in the kitchen and re coat them. I’m thinking of the many layers of color in this room and the people who lived here before us. What is the story behind the traditional deep blues and greens through the house, right now we are happy to see them disappear along with the black soot. I know many readers wanted us to keep these tones but the house is just so dark inside and I need some light to take us into Winter and it’s three months of darkness.
Walking through the lounge at night is an obstacle course ducking the head at both doorways and avoiding the piles of rock. We have no lights in this room or in the stairwell only moonlight coming through the open window. Sam took the window out to lay the stone on the ledge and now we just have the bars with no glass. We have windows and doors being made to measure and can only hope they arrive with time to fit them before it starts getting cold. They are due to be started in September and my friend Molly tells me it gets cold leading into Winter here by October. Keep calling him she tells us, Italian time isn’t like time in Australia.
You could say I’m in love with our beams, each one is unique with a warmth that smiles into the room. I’ve only hit my head once, poor Sam hasn’t been so lucky and has numerous scars. I walk through the house now ducking at just the right moment and don’t even think about it until a visitor arrives and we have to tell them to watch out for the beams.
The doorway has been widened slightly and we won’t be putting a door back on, the rock will continue right through the two rooms. Now we will be able to get the lounge and furniture through, Sam and Claudio have been deep in discussion regarding the opening and how to finish it. Claudio is often over at our house and he has an insight born of the valley. He has lived in Malpertus his entire life and knows the way the buildings breathe, the history and the way they are all intertwined. Each day I fall further in love with this valley and her secrets.