Tag Archives: building

UPDATES on the Ad Lib Artisans website

Interesting how quickly time slides away — and we’re a bit shocked to realise that we are leaving the house that Mark has been working on since November in TWO WEEKS!

We’re headed over to the other side of Normandy for another reno — but it also looks like we’ll be leaving France in mid-June to have some adventures in other countries. Sooooo — it was time to update Mark’s online work portfolio with a LOT of pictures.

Gallery 1 has the images from here in Normandy over the last 5 months. And Gallery 2 is full of the pictures from that huge renovation he did on the Mid Century ranch house in Australia in 2014 through mid-2016.

Want a peek? Then go to Ad Lib Artisans to see what I’m talking about. DOZENS of photos showing the range of the work that Mark does.

Mark inside the Calvados house from the 1400s.

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Settling In, Settling Down, But Not Settling For

It was bound to happen after several years of travelling from country to country over a 3 year period. We were going to want to settle down, buy a house again, and settle in. That doesn’t mean that travel and travel writing or photography is off the radar, but it does mean that we’ll have a stable base to work from. And neither of us feels like we are settling for less than something wonderful!

We thought we had found home in the South of France, but as you have read in past posts, we were unwilling to commit ourselves to a country that wanted 60 percent (and climbing!) of our income in taxes and which would never provide a pension when we retired no matter how many years we had paid into the tax system in France.

Ah well — back to Australia we came after several years away and we landed in Melbourne 7 and 1/2 months ago. But no matter how much we love this city, it really isn’t quite what we are looking for long term. It’s bigger, busier, and noisier than what suits us — so we’ve been looking further afield. And we found it!

In exactly 7 weeks, we”ll be taking possession of our new house in the completely charming regional city of Ballarat — a little over an hour northwest of Melbourne. May I just say that working through the stacks of paperwork for a new mortgage were not my happiest moments, but I had a light-hearted attitude throughout the process because I was working towards our long-term goal. We got the pre-approval and then went looking for a house and what we found is a 1950 ranch house with 3 bedrooms and a huge lot that needs a LOT OF WORK in the months and years ahead. But what fun we are going to have as we transform it.

 

Front of our 1950 ranch house.

Front of our 1950 ranch house.


 

I’m putting this in print so that we can ALL remind Mark that he said this. I showed him a pristine and brand new house that he wouldn’t have needed to do a thing to other than fit out the garage with his racks of tools. But did he want that? No! He said that was too boring and he would prefer a fixer-upper that we could put our own stamp on. There you go — it has been documented!

There will be lots of posts in the coming months of various stages of renovation. And amidst all of those, I will sprinkle more travel posts and photo essays from Melbourne and regional Victoria and even some from Europe. If you plan to come to Australia, you mustn’t just stop at Sydney and forget about Melbourne or Victoria. It’s simply stunning over here.

Now you know why I’ve been posting rather sparsely lately. I’ve been slammed with paperwork and planning and house hunting. But we’re completely thrilled even with the prospect of years of work ahead to make it our ‘forever house.’

Bye for now!

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Stony & Textural Black & White in Barcelona, Spain

Even in sunny Spain, there are cold, wet, and gloomy days when the colour of the sky is flat and bright shades of clothing or advertising are muted and subdued. What better time to switch to black and white photography which actually enhances the image since you are looking at the bones, the structure, or the texture instead of being wowed by snappy-bright colour.

These are from Barcelona on a wet but wonderful Sunday. The building is the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat, the city museum of Barcelona. This 15th Century palace was moved, stone by stone, from its original location in 1931 due to the upcoming construction of a roadway. When the new site on Placa del Rei was being excavated and prepared for the rebuilding of the palace, there was a stunning archaeological find — a large section of the old Roman city was still lying beneath the city streets of Barcelona!

I will have a slide show from the interior of this museum in the coming days.

Enjoy!

 

Upper exterior of the dramatically gloomy 15th Century building housing the Barcelona History Museum. This historic palace is built atop part of an excavated Roman city.


 

Gargoyles ring the upper part of the history museum in Barcelona


 

Entry to the imposing 15th Century stone palace housing the Barcelona History Museum. An excavated section of the former Roman city is on view in the lower levels.


 

One last picture — a glimpse through a narrow passageway which is down the street from the museum.
 

View down a narrow passage in Barcelona, Spain


 

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Days Out In Barcelona: Gaudi’s Casa Mila aka La Pedrera – Part 2

Constructed between 1905 to 1910, Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, is an interesting mix of almost futuristic exterior, as seen in yesterday’s rooftop sculptures post, and the very traditional interiors that certainly reflect the time in which the house was built.
 

Mark on the fascinating sculptural rooftop of Casa Mila — La Pedrera.

An example of the custom furniture Antoni Gaudi made is seen in this settee on display in the Casa Mila — La Pedrera.


 
The slide show below may be a surprise to some people who think of Gaudi as an architect of the fantastic and futuristic.

We need to remember that this was a commission for a family home and that the family surrounded themselves with the type of furniture, fabrics, and accessories that would have felt familiar and comfortable in the early years of the 1900s. You even get a tiny peek at the work spaces for the family’s housemaid.

One additional thing to note, this is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and should be high on the list of places to visit in Barcelona for anyone who is interested in the history of architecture.

The pictures begin in the amazing vaulted brick-tile attic space where there are displays of Gaudi’s building miniatures, discussions of his methodology in film segments, and exhibits of his unique furniture and hardware designs.

Enjoy!
 

 


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16-Kitchen Breakfast Room
17-Maid's Room
18-Sewing Room
19-Boot & Box Room
19-In-House Phone
20-Exterior Entry At Night
1-Brick Attic Arch
2-Casa Mila Scale Model
3-Family Looking At Display
4-Casa Batllo Models
5-Entry Door
6-Diningroom


 

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Barcelona Days Out: Gaudi’s Casa Mila aka La Pedrera

You know you have arrived at one of the more popular tourism sites for art and architecture in Barcelona, Spain when the Barcelona Bus Turistic is parked outside.
 

The Barcelona Bus Turistic parked outside the very popular Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera, in Barcelona, Spain.


 
Casa Mila — which is also known as La Pedrera — is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most beloved architectural creations. Built as a private residence for the Mila family, there was strong objection to Gaudi’s designs and overt religious symbolism at the time of construction and many of the details had to be scaled back to comply with what the governing board deemed acceptable.

We were lucky enough to tour the rooftop area during one of the two ‘golden light’ periods of the day, just before dusk. Although we were jostled constantly by other tourists, I did manage to get several good shots that weren’t cluttered with people.

 


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Rooftop landscape atop Casa Mila - La Pedrera looking toward the sea
Alienlike Upper Chimney Vent at Casa Mila - La Pedrera
Some of the odd shaped chimney vents atop Antoni Gaudi's Casa Mila - La Pedrera
2 Helmut Embrace
10-MosaicTwist.jpg
Standing Tall at Casa Mila - La Pedrera in Barcelona, Spain
Exterior of Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera
Organic Iron Gate Entry to Casa Mila - LaPedrera
Casa Mila - LaPedrera Interior Lightwell
Mosaic Creature Chimney Vent at Casa Mila - La Pedrera
Single Helmet Head Chimney Vent at Casa Mila - La Pedrera
Rooftop landscape atop Casa Mila - La Pedrera looking toward the sea


 

 

A visual link to Gaudi’s masterpiece church, the Sagrada Familia, is available from the rooftop view from Casa Mila – La Pedrera in Barcelona.


 

My next article will be on the interior of the building including the period furnishings that are in place and the architectural details that Gaudi designed. This building is still lived in on several floors, so although the museum floors of the Casa Mila are open to the paying public, many other places are private and only for the use of the residents.

Hope you are enjoying these glimpses of Barcelona!

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Photo Of The Day: Old Apothecary in Hannover, Germany

Today’s photo of the day is the amazingly ornate top half of the Old Apothecary building in Hannover, Germany.
 

The eye-catching and flamboyant architectural style of the Old Apothecary in Hannover, Germany


 

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Working Our Way Around The World as Ad Lib Artisans

I’m proud to announce that the new website for our around-the-world building, decoration, and renovation company, AD LIB ARTISANS, is now live at http://www.adlibartisans.com

Please enjoy the FIVE galleries which are full of pictures of our work on various projects in England, France, Scotland, Germany, and Australia.
 

Mark enameling custom cabinetry that he built in a period home in London


 
In a future post I will explain how this work has allowed us to work our way across the world over the last 10 and 1/2 months!
 
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