We utterly adore our Istrian stone house. When we bought it, although it was very structurally sound with a brand new, traditional, tiled roof, new guttering and downpipes, recently installed windows and shutters, it was in need of much renovation to create a “home”. With exposed stonework and wooden floors, it was dark and required a lot of TLC. And, so started our very long renovation journey.
Our home is now a traditional Istrian stone house from the outside, but inside we have a light and airy and very, very contemporary space. It is everything we imagined it could be.
So, why are we asking if you’d like to buy it?
Simply because, out of the blue, another amazing opportunity has presented itself. Not too far away from where we are now, but a completely different project. And, we’re ready to embrace it!
How do you fancy having a look around our house?
You never know, just as happened to us in 2016, you might be looking at your future home…
330 x 285cm
Fully renovated in 2018, the kitchen has views out across the garden, fields, an orchard and beyond to the village, with its church tower. We removed a low, false ceiling to expose an apex ceiling and original beams, replacing a single light fitting with dimmable ceiling spotlights and a concrete pendant light. We created two level steps up into the kitchen, both with underlighting, on a timer facility. The floor was levelled and concreted and underfloor heating installed, which is on a timer facility, and laminate flooring fitted. A brand new concrete effect kitchen was installed, comprising:
- Free standing island, with hob and multiple drawer storage, seating area, eating area and preparation area
- Eye level electric oven with cupboards above and below
- Black Franke sink and draining board (with additional quarter size sink and drainer) with chrome and black mixer filter tap, with double drawer space beneath
- Two tall pull out storage units
- Multiple cupboard and drawer space under main work surface
- Integrated half size dishwasher and fridge freezer, plus washing machine (an electric condenser dryer is installed in the utility area of The Snug)
- Corner concrete effect shelving with underlighting
The kitchen has two windows, one to the front of the house (which was installed when the kitchen was renovated) and an original window overlooking the side aspect. The walls and ceiling have been painted in Farrow and Ball Hague Blue.
Included: all cupboards, shelving, integrated oven, dishwasher, fridge freezer, spotlights, flooring Excluded: all crockery, utensils, personal effects, island chairs, microwave, washing machine, pendant shade
The Well Room
540 x 440cm (less bathroom 1 which is accessed from Well Room)
We have christened this room “The Well Room” because it originally housed a fully working Istrian stone water well. We have had the actual well relocated outside the front door. The chamber was drained and the water access diverted. A triple layered, reinforced, shatter-proof glass cover has been installed, with uplighting in the chamber. (The cover can be removed for access if necessary). We use this room as a dining room, having had a bespoke concrete table made, which comfortably seats four people.
We have additionally created a “day bed” from a concrete platform – the perfect place to cool down, away from the summer heat or curl up in the winter, surrounded by cushions and throws. A false wall has been installed on the back wall of this room, and it is fully insulated. A shelf with uplighting, sits at the back of the day bed. The windows of this room overlook an orchard, belonging to one of the neighbours. Both are shuttered.
The floor in this room is flagged with Istrian stone – to add softness, we have opted for large rugs. Original beams are exposed – we have treated these as they are very old and they are now painted in satin white, which complements the white walls. This room is accessed directly from the front door, and the kitchen leads off it.
Included: Concrete table, reinforced glass well cover Excluded: hard and soft furnishings, curtains, personal effects, concrete light shades
540 x 570cm
This room is light and airy with two windows, one with views up into the village, the other with views over the garden and to the fields and woods beyond. Both windows are shuttered.
We have installed a large woodburner, situated in the corner of the room and have had a new chimney built, which now extends the full height of the house. The ceiling beams in this room are exposed – all have been treated and repaired and painted. Walls (including where original stone work still exists) have been painted white, to enhance the space and the light, and the wooden floors have been painted the same soft grey as the beams. We have painted a feature wall a dark navy blue, giving a very contemporary feel to the room.
To get a sense of the size of this room, the living area is sufficiently large enough to house two corner sofas, a large cabinet and a desk, with additional coffee tables etc. From the living room, a staircase leads down into The Snug. Originally, this staircase was completely open, with exposed pine treads. We have renovated this (and the staircase to the upper floor), by fixing a wooden back, extending the treads and installing industrial chrome grab rails. Farrow and Ball Railings paint completes both sets of stairs.
Included: nothing Excluded: woodburner, personal effects, 2 x grey sofas, hard and soft furnishings
90 x 280cm
This bathroom, which also leads off The Well Room, was fully renovated by us in 2018. Everything was removed and we changed the layout of the sanitary ware to make it a more comfortable and workable room. This included the installation of a new soil pipe.
A new toilet (rimless and with a self-closing seat and lid), sink and shower were installed – all are white with chrome fittings. Underfloor heating, with timer facility, has been installed and the bathroom is tiled throughout with beautiful grey concrete tiles. The walk-in shower has a recess. Dimmable spotlights are fitted.
A small window has views of the stunning abandoned house, within our grounds. It is not overlooked and showering is therefore completely private.
Included: all sanitary ware, shelf Excluded:wall mirror, personal effects
540 x 540cm
This was originally an internal cellar space, but we have completely renovated this room and it is now an additional living space. The floor and walls are painted white and the beams, as with all other rooms, are exposed and are in the process of being painted a soft pale grey. The windows are in the same position as the living room above, but because they are at a lower level, they look directly onto our garden at the front of the house and the grassed area at the back. A woodburner has been installed in this room.
The area under the stairs has been sectioned off and we use this for storage and to house our condenser tumble dryer. We have christened this room “The Snug” because it is a little bit of a hideaway – full of our books and vinyl LPs and hi-fi system. We have a large L-shaped sofa in this room, which also converts into a sofa-bed and have used this room as a fourth bedroom, when necessary.
We have been informed that it is very unusual for a stone house, in the style of ours, to have a habitable internal cellar – so we consider this room to be a bit of a bonus.
Included: sofa bed Excluded: Dovre woodburner, condenser dryer, all storage units, two chairs and footstool, personal effects
First Floor Landing
“L” shape – 370 x 260cm (at its widest)
This is a bright, light and airy space on the upper floor, with Bedroom 1 leading off to the right and the other rooms to the left. A shuttered window provides views across the garden to the fields and woods. The wooden floor is painted with Farrow and Ball Railings, which complements the white walls and ceilings.
Exposed beams and a very high, vaulted ceiling make this area feel very spacious.
530 x 460cm
With a high, vaulted, apex ceiling and exposed beams, this room is currently used as our main bedroom. Three of the walls are painted white, with the fourth a deep green. The wooden floor is varnished with a deep walnut stain. The two shuttered windows are directly above those in The Well Room, but because they are higher, they afford even better views. There is scope in this room to create an en-suite area – there is a recess which adjoins the upstairs bathroom, making such an addition very doable.
Included: bed frame, wardrobe, cabinet Excluded: small woodburner, light pendants, all faux foliage, bed mattress, chair, mirror, personal effects
390 x 260cm
With white walls, pale grey exposed beams, a high ceiling and a floor painted in Farrow and Ball Railings, this room is a favourite with our guests. Although smaller than Bedroom 1, it houses a double bed, and a dressing table. (We have chosen to keep this room minimal, but it has previously also housed a double wardrobe and a single wardrobe, to give an indication of size). We have installed industrial style wall lights to each side of the bed.
Included: nothing Excluded: bed, double wardrobe, single wardrobe, personal effects
390 x 260cm
Painted and decorated in the same style as Bedroom 2, with a shuttered window with views up to the village, this room is used as a guest room and has also been used as our home office. This is a versatile room as we have two single beds, which can fit together to make a large double. The room has sufficient space to comfortably accommodate a desk, although currently it houses two wardrobes – a double and a single.
Included: nothing Excluded: two single beds, hard and soft furnishings, personal effects
260 x 150cm
The upstairs bathroom, whilst quite small, has everything you would need. Recently fully renovated, we have fitted new white sanitary ware, which includes a deep, full size bath. A small shower head, more suited to hairwashing than showering, is also fitted. Painted largely white, with a feature pale grey wall and deep navy blue wooden floor, it has a small shuttered window, with views across the village. For heating in the winter, we have installed a bathroom-specific, wall-mounted white panel electric heater. This room is a calm and relaxing space at the top of the house.
Included: sanitary ware Excluded: all personal effects
350 x 260cm
Sited just outside this cellar, we have an external ceramic sink (salvaged from the original kitchen when we renovated), which has a cold water tap and is built into a plinth of Istrian stones. The cellar is separate from the house, accessed by its own door and is perfect for storage. It is spacious enough to also house a second fridge freezer, and two bicycles.
Included: electric boiler Excluded: all personal effects
Front of House
We have a large area at the front of the house and have had our boundaries officially established (documentation available). The garden includes an area for parking – it currently accommodates two cars. The main paved patio area houses garden furniture, with ample space for sun loungers and umbrellas. Our house is connected to an abandoned house, and so we have a green wall, covered in ivy and vines, which creates a dramatic backdrop in the garden – especially at night, as we have installed uplights. A communal grassed area runs between our garden and the fields to the side of our house. However, this area is rarely used by any one other than our neighbour to access his fields and we have been able to make use of it, creating a small raised bed area and adding an additional table and chairs under the trees. Plus a hammock.
Included: glass table and wicker chairs, selection of potted plants (by agreement), outside sink Excluded: white vintage garden table & four chairs, white plastic sunseats, potted bamboos and bay trees
Rear of House
Behind the main house sits an abandoned dwelling (approx 600 x 450cms in floor space and potentially double height), which we believe was originally used to house farm animals, and like many unused buildings in Istria, it has fallen into disrepair. We have now purchased this little dwelling and the land surrounding it from a neighbour. The boundaries at the rear of the house have been officially established and the small house and adjoining land are also included in the overall sale. Because there is already a property on this land, permission is in place to build on it, if required – as such, this could be the perfect spot for an annexe or a self contained dwelling. Equally, the building could be demolished and a private garden created – although we have been advised that the footprint of the building is left intact, as without this, any future building work would need to be approved. We have made the decision NOT to renovate this property at this stage, as we feel that a new owner may appreciate an opportunity to make their own decision about the future use of this building and land. However, we have cleared the house of vines and ivy and made good the area around it.
- The title of the house is clear, with ourselves as the registered owners, and boundaries established – all documentation is available for inspection
- A new electric boiler, with increased capacity was installed in summer 2019 – a five year guarantee is in place
- The house is currently heated by two woodburners, one in the living room and one in The Snug, as well as additional heaters. So far, we have not found it necessary to consider installing radiators. In the summer, when it is very warm, the house is cool. All windows are fitted with new insect blinds
Four smoke alarms are fitted throughout the house – one just outside the kitchen entrance in the Well Room, one at the bottom of the stairs in the living room, one at the bottom of the stairs in The Snug and one on the top landing
The house was originally a holiday home, but since we bought it, we have lived in it full time and we have worked extensively to “winter proof” it. All windows have internal sealant strips, increased insulation has been added on the most exposed wall in the Well Room, underfloor heating has been installed in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom and throughout the house, any gaps/cracks have been filled
- All windows have white roller blinds and these will be included in the sale
- There is a covered wood store, which you will need for your winter log storage. We can advise of best way to source logs
- All windows are finished with Istrian stone surrounds
- The house is connected to mains electricity and mains water and we have increased the electricity supply to the house
- We currently are not connected to mains gas. If gas is required it is usually delivered in cannisters and stored in a tank. We have chosen not to have a gas supply
- We have a landline telephone connection and two sources of Internet – fixed line broadband and a 4G router. All areas of the house have good connection
- We have a satellite dish which has enabled us to access Croatian, Italian and German television. We do not use this any longer, as the broadband allows us to now access UK TV, through a box, which also includes Netflix, BT Sport, BBC iPlayer etc. However, should anyone wish to access satellite TV, this would be possible by transferring the account
- In addition to water, electricity and broadband/mobile phone, bills which vary according to usage, we also pay a monthly refuse bill and the equivalent of a monthly council tax bill, the total of which is approximately the equivalent of £25 / €28 per month
- The Croatian postal service is quite different to the UK postal service – we have a delivery once a week, on a Friday. We do order online and there are no problems with delivery
So, you want to move abroad. Istria could be the place and we’ve whetted your appetite. What now?
We could be wrong, but we’re assuming that you don’t live here already and that, like we did, you will want to view the house and the area, if you are serious about a potential purchase. We’re very aware that it’s not going to be as simple as viewing a house in the UK – or wherever you are based – but we have done it ourselves and so we hope we can help make it as simple and as stress-free as possible for you. You may be the kind of buyer who’s looked at our website and that’s it for you. In which case, we’d better start packing our bags!
However, we’re guessing that you will want to do at least one viewing and we think this can be done in a couple of ways, in normal times. See below. But these times aren’t quite normal and so we want to introduce you to our safe viewings in these days of Covid-19…
We are currently preparing a virtual tour of our home, where we’ll walk you through the house, room by room and the outside area. We hope to have this online by mid July 2020. If this then whets your appetite, we’d suggest that you drop us an email via the contact form and we can arrange to delve deeper via Zoom or FaceTime or WhatsApp. We’ll also be able to answer any questions you have in real time.
We would still welcome serious viewings in person, but we would obviously insist on all safety measures being adhered to, including the wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser. In a move that is just not us, because we are very much “people people”, we’d also request, sadly, no hand-shaking and no touchng of anything around the house. As the visit would be relatively short, we would ask that our bathrooms not be used. We are so very sorry that we need to ask these things, but we would much prefer to be safe than sorry…
Under Your Own Steam
You might decide to incorporate a viewing of our home with a break in Istria. If so, we can advise you on flights, car hire, hotels, apartments – basically whatever you need to know. When we know that you have a definite date for coming out, we would then provide you with all the information you will need to find the house. For obvious reasons, we have not included such details on the website as we will only share this information with people who are definitely interested in taking the next step. We would give you a comprehensive tour of the house and answer all questions as honestly as we can. We would then suggest places you could visit to get a “feel” for Istria.
Under Our Steam
If we are honest, we did feel a little bit daunted when we set off from Manchester to come and view a house in a country we didn’t know. We did cope and look where we are now. But, we know that for some people it might be easier to do it with our help. Therefore, we can offer the following service:
We will have communicated with you prior to your arrival by phone and/or email and will meet you at the airport, or wherever you arrive, within reason. If your stay will be a short one, we would bring you back to the house in our car, and if previously arranged, you would be our guest in our home. If your stay was going to be longer than a couple of days, if required, we would help you to book additional accommodation by recommending places we know to be of a high standard. During your stay with us, we would provide meals and take you on a number of trips around the peninsula, so that you could get a real “feel” for Istria. Should you choose to view our home in this way, we would discuss the finer details with you prior to your trip. To cover our costs (petrol, food, drink, our time etc.), a charge of £150 (for two people) per night, would be payable, in advance. Please note we can only offer this service for a maximum of two nights. Should you subsequently purchase this house, this fee will be refunded back to you, in full.
What are you waiting for?
We’re ready to pack our bags. Are you ready to pack yours? Contact us here.