It doesn’t seem possible that we have been living in Italy for 7 years now. In August and September of 2010, we were hard at work bringing Casa La Pace to life.
One important improvement that I completed that autumn was to refinish all of the doors and windows. Our windows and doors are actually made of two types of wood. The lighter wood is abate (a type of fir, I believe). The darker is castagno, chestnut. Abate was cheaper that castagno.
In 2010, they hasn’t been attended to in several years, so I wasn’t sure that they could be saved. I also considered replacing the abate with castagno in order to have uniformity. But when I sanded and scrubbed, I managed to remove most of the grayish-black damage. When I applied the varnish, it revealed a beautiful honey color. It seemed a shame to discard such beautiful wood, especially as they were original to the house when we bought it. So other than a few that were rotted, most of the windows are the original abate.
In the intervening years since I completed the refinishing, the wood and varnish have withstood cold, wet winter days and scorching-hot summer afternoons. The stress of 7 years of such extremes was evident. I decided, after a long stretch of procrastination, to refinish the abate again. (The castagno, being a more resistant wood, can wait a while longer). We had a very few days without guests this autumn; I took advantage of the empty house
First, some light sanding – not nearly as drastic as in 2010. The second day, I applied the varnish.
The house reeked of varnish and varnish remover for a couple of days. But the fumes dissipated before the next guests arrived. (Or at least, none of them complained of a strange smell!)
And now the windows and balcony door are as beautiful as new!