We are Pete and Helen, a couple who have sold our house in Manchester, England, and have moved out to the beautiful region of Istria in northern Croatia. We have bought an Istrian stone house which we are in the process of renovating. The major structural work is completed, as well as most of the big internal renovation, so we're now onto the really nice work - the finishing touches. Although, there are a lot of them - and this is what we need help with. As well as renovating our home, we also still run our business, designing websites, and so we can't devote as much time as we would like to this phase of renovation.
Our house is in a rural location, in a village setting. However, we are not isolated. The Adriatic coast can be reached in under 40 minutes and Slovenia and Italy are very accessible. Although public transport is virtually non-existent, we do have an insured car that can be used by visitors, who have a full, clean driving licence - and we also have a couple of bicycles which could be at your disposal. You would have a double bedroom, with two single beds which can be combined to make a double bed. We have two bathrooms - one upstairs (which, if we have someone from WorkAWay who is able to do plumbing, could be one of the jobs we'd like to do) and one downstairs, which has been fully renovated.
We think that our house is a beautiful place for people who appreciate stunning surroundings, good food, good music and good company, to come and stay. We have a variety of projects we are hoping to work on, from building a garden wall to renovating a small bathroom, so we appreciate contact from people who have the kinds of skills we are looking for, in return for a slice of Istrian life.
Anyone wanting to immerse themselves in culture and history, needs to come and stay in Istria. Influenced by the Romans, the Venetians and the Austro-Hungarians, it is rich and diverse. Although English is spoken extensively (even in the more remote areas, although you will find it's maybe not quite as easy to be understood as in the towns), if you can speak - or want to learn - Croatian, Slovenian or Italian, this is where you need to be. If food and wine are your thing, this is most definitely the place to be - we are surrounded by vineyards and some of the best restaurants in Croatia are to be found in Istria. From Roman Pula in the south, to the Austro-Hungarian spa resort of Opatija in the east, the inland medieval hilltop towns and the islands of Krk and Cres, Istria is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to experience something just a little bit out of the ordinary.
UPDATED INFORMATION : 8/5/19
Our inherited water boiler has finally died and we are currently having a new boiler fitted. This will mean that we can finally begin to think about renovating our (quite small) upstairs bathroom. So, we'd be particularly interested from anyone who has plumbing experience and who could work with us to remove the current bathroom and fit a new one. Anyone who can do tiling would also be most welcome to come and stay with us.
We are still open to hosting people who can also help with outdoor construction work & internal painting work, as detailed below.
Now that the structural part of our renovation is largely complete, we are looking for help with the nicer, less messy, more immediately visual parts of our project. We want to create a boundary wall around our property but are keen to have something constructed which is a bit more original than just an ordinary stone wall. We like clean lines and so are veering towards a concrete wall, which would be rendered and painted, but with recesses for planting and seating. So, anyone with some building experience, who can help us to create a visually very attractive boundary wall, would be most welcome.
We'd also like to quickly create a "garden", which will be easy to manage and able to thrive successfully. We have an unusual outdoor space - our house adjoins an abandoned stone house which is ivy covered and as a backdrop is just gorgeous. We'd like the garden to complement this very unique feature, so anyone who can provide gardening advice & can help to plant up, would be most welcome, too.
We also would love to have someone (or a couple) come stay with us, who can do "general maintenance" - by this we mean, moving electrical sockets, plastering and painting (especially of very high beams right up in ceiling apexes - we don't like very high heights!). So, anyone who is a general all-rounder, but not afraid of heights, would be most welcome too. Anyone who is a competent electrician or plumber would be very much welcome, too.
It is important to be aware that although we don't require any work of a structural nature, a lot of the project will involve quite physical, outdoor work.
English & learning Italian
Our house is an (almost) renovated Istrian stone house. We have three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large lounge, a newly renovated kitchen, a converted indoor cellar, an outdoor cellar for storage and ample outside space. Plus, our Well Room... In detail, the accommodation comprises :
Kitchen - newly renovated with washing machine, dishwasher, eye level oven, hob, breakfast bar, fridge freezer, underfloor heating.
Lounge - two large sofas, TV (with English, Croatian & Italian channels), woodburner.
Well Room - this room used to have an internal Istrian stone well - we had this relocated outside the house, the chamber drained and a reinforced glass cover installed. A very unique feature! We also have had a concrete dining table made, as well as creating a day bed, for when you fancy a lie down...
Downstairs bathroom - newly renovated, with power shower and underfloor heating
Three double bedrooms - the one you would have has views out to the village. There are two single beds, which can be combined into a double bed - perfect for couples and friends. There is also workspace in this room, so if you needed to be on your laptop in privacy, this is all set up.
Upstairs bathroom - to be renovated at some point, but perfectly functioning, as is. It does have a bath, but it is small, so if you are very tall, you may find this not overly comfortable.
Internal cellar - we call this "The Snug", because that's what it is. We have a big sofa, lots of shelves full of books, vinyl LPs, an old school record player and a cosy woodburner. Plus, hidden away in a recess, a tumble dryer and a small fridge.
We have fixed line internet and a 4G internet - as we are quite high up, weather conditions can sometimes affect the 4G signal, so we do have the option of both. Unless extremely foggy or stormy, mobile phone signals are very good.
We are looking for fairly self-sufficient travellers to come & stay with us. Obviously, once you are in our home, we will provide you with what you need to be comfortable and relaxed and feel at home - and we'd extend the invitation for you to eat with us at mealtimes. We'd understand however, if you preferred not to do this, all the time.
If you cannot drive, where we live is perhaps not right for you, as public transport is virtually non-existent. We have an appropriately insured, taxed & MOTd Fiat Punto which could be at your disposal, as we will still need to work on our design business and so would be unable to drive you, all the time. Although, when we could, we would be delighted to show you the sights - of which there are many! We'd ask that if you used the car, you would also fill with petrol when necessary - a full tank will be available at the start to get you on your way, though. The Istrian peninsula, once you get to know it, is small and you can explore very easily. Main roads are very good and we have a toll road which takes you north to south, relatively inexpensively. Our Punto insurance only covers the car for Istria, but we would be happy to take you on trips to Ljubljana in Slovenia and Trieste in Italy, if we agreed on this, in advance.
We'd prefer to have a couple stay with us, as we think this will be easier all round, as you can choose to be as involved in our routine, or as self-sufficient, as you prefer. Unfortunately, we can't really accommodate a family, as we don't think we have the amount of space we'd all need, and we do still need to do our day to day work.
We think we are easy going and don't have too many house rules - as long as you help along the way after mealtimes etc, and obviously understand that this is our full time home, not a holiday house, we're sure we'll get along fine.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week