Saturday, February 07, 2004


We stopped at the furniture place in Marsciano the other day to see when our kitchen shelves would be ready. We had discussed the design with them in December before we left for the states. At that time we asked if they wanted a deposit, but were told no. Since they knew we were going to the states for six weeks, I figured they wouldn’t start work on the cabinets until we returned, and that we would probably need to make a deposit then.

We stopped by to let them know we were back a day or two after our return, but were again told no deposit was necessary. Since the two brothers speak only Italian, we kept our conversation to a minimum, and in our rush forgot to ask when the shelves would be ready. This is why we decided to stop in the other day. It had been two weeks since our return, and we really weren’t expecting the shelves to be ready, but thought that by now they would have some idea of a due date.

The brother in the store didn’t know the answer to our question, so he called the factory to ask his brother. When we were told the cabinets would be delivered next Monday, we were both amazed! Either they did start on the shelves before we returned or they work very fast!

Earlier in the day we had been to see the fabbro, the iron maker. We dropped off the barrel and the iron band that Gioberto had given us, and then asked if he could make us a wine rack. He told us we could buy one already make, but we told him we couldn’t find anything we liked, and that everything we had seen so far was in wood. My son and his wife had an iron wine rack made while they lived in Formia, and it was beautiful. Since we have a few iron accents in our kitchen (overhead light and stair railing) we thought this would tie in nicely.

The fabbro said that he could make us one, but that he wouldn’t be able to get to it for a while because he was so busy. He told us we would need to supply our measurements, and suggested that we look around, and if we didn’t find anything, to come back. We assured him that we would, and thanked him for his time.

We still need to talk to Gioberto about finding another iron ring, since the one he found for us is not large enough to make the two new ones we need. The fabbro said that the barrel would be ready much sooner if we could supply a pre-hammered, already round piece of iron. This way he wouldn’t have to take the time to beat the iron round and tapered. This would also make the cost less, I guess.

As luck would have it, that same afternoon, while leaving the furniture store in Marsciano, I spotted a wine rack, but of course it was in wood. But, it was VERY attractive, and I showed it to Art. He liked it too, and we asked if the had any other designs. Yes, they did! The first one we saw held 16 bottles of wine. They also made a larger rack that held 30 bottles and a smaller one that held 12. Art immediately wanted the 30 bottle rack. I, being the frugal, practical one, said “There’s no way we need to have 30 bottles of wine!” Of course Art thought that more was better…after all, he IS a man.

Anyway, we decided to think about it, and while the guy was writing down the measurements of all three, we took another look at the first rack. I like the fact that the top had a more finished look…it had picture frame moulding around the top, which gave it a dressed up look. When the man handed us the measurements, he showed us WHY the top had the moulding…it was a lift off tray! Nice touch. Okay, well take that one!

Now all we have to do is decide where to put it. Originally our idea was to sit it in the pantry, in the corner that is visible from the kitchen. That way, we would see something that was attractive, the wine would be in a cooler, darker place, and it would be out of the way. Now, because it’s so cool looking, Art is campaigning to put it next to the oven, directly in the kitchen. He thinks it’s too nice to hide away. I’m still thinking it would be better in the pantry…but I don’t really know what I want to put next to the oven. We saw a small baker’s rack made out of wrought iron in Emmelunga, but thought it was too expensive. We both thought the baker’s rack would look good next to the oven. But…I’m just not sure what I want to do yet! Some decisions come easily, other just take longer. I just can’t rush myself. For now, once we get the wine rack, we can try it in both places and live with it for a while.

I'm still trying to figure out the arrangement for the living room. At first my idea was to put the entertainment center on the wall where the couch now sits. I wanted to float the couch, with it facing the entertainment center, and have room to walk behind it. That way, I planned to put my desk with computer on the short wall to the left of the outside window/door.

Since my computer is a laptop, the space I need for it is minimal. The problem is that my all-in-one printer/scanner/fax needs a certain amount of room. This presents a problem. We are still discussing the merits, or lack thereof, for my plan. Art hates the idea of the couch “in the middle of the room.” He says it makes the room look to small and feel too crowded. He may have a point. My main objective was to have a separate “office” area and a separate “living room area”. With my plan, you wouldn’t even see the desk when you were sitting on the couch. It’s a good plan, but one that just may not be right for this particular room. I hate it when that happens!

We are going to another furniture store this weekend to talk with someone about designing us a combined entertainment/work center. We want to see if we can incorporate the all-in-one and the laptop into the same unit. The store we are going to had a really cool computer desk advertised, and we got to see it in person when we went to the Expo Ragallo at Christmas time. Basically it looks like a piece of furniture. It’s tall, like a dresser, and has a drop down section the middle, which is where the monitor and keyboard sit. The bottom section, which looks like two large drawers, is really a great idea. The drawers are false fronts, and inside this area is one large compartment that slides out, to the left or to the right….it’s basically a large slide out tray for your printer! The unit we saw also had the same type of sliding tray at the top, with a smaller area for a separate scanner. We are hoping that these people can give us some good ideas of how to maximize our space, and have it look attractive.

Maximizing our space is a top priority. Although I got rid of a LOT of stuff, I still have a lot to display. I have many, many books, lots of family pictures, and many, many knick-knacks. I may end up having to buy some shelves for the walls, but that will be later on. For now, I just want to be able to unpack all the boxes and have a place for everything. BTW, if anyone is traveling through Umbria, we have LOTS of large cardboard boxes, and plenty of bubble wrap and foam peanuts. Since we aren’t that far away from Deruta, which is a BIG ceramics center, I thought maybe I could set up a roadside stand this summer to sell some of this packing material! After all I spent on these packing materials, I hate the thought of just throwing it away. So, if you’re ever in the area and need packing material, give us a call.