Building A Home In Le Marche: Part 1

Once they had decided it was going to be their permanent home, rather than just a holiday retreat, Jane Smith and her husband called in the builders to demolish their farmhouse in Le Marche. Here Jane shares part one of her story: Building A Home In Le Marche…

*house demolition 2012-12-18 012

“Richard, if we don’t speed up they will be demolishing the walls around us!’’ It was 12 December 2012 and we were moving out of our much-loved rustic old farmhouse in Montefiore Dell’Aso, Le Marche. Our building team had arrived on December 10th and began dismantling the old house. The roof tiles and beams went first (preserved to be reused), then the old cotto floors, other timbers worth keeping, old doors too. This part of the job was done with care and precision. Then the bulldozer moved in to take care of the rest!

We had appointed the builder and had fixed D-day (demolition day) back in July and had thereby given ourselves four months to clear the old house, but it was a mammoth task. For ten years we had used this house for holidays and had lived on the upper floor. This area was easy enough to pack and clear, but not the ground floor. This had been (and still was) the old farmer’s storage area and workplace, and it included three generations of small farm machinery, farm tools, wine-making equipment, chicken incubators, numerous rabbit hutches, and (most importantly) two precious barrels of vino cotto – a gift from the old farmer. We realised too late the size of the task and were still clearing this floor two days after D-day, with the roof being dismantled above us!

So why were we demolishing this lovely old house? Well, we did the maths on restoring versus demolition and rebuild, and the latter route won by a decent margin. This was to become our permanent home and doing a rebuild meant we could build a house without the constraints of old supporting walls dictating the size of the rooms and with the benefit of adding all modern services within the build (underfloor heating, thick insulation, solar panels, windows of the precise sizes we wanted). It also allowed us to re-orientate the position of the house to truly maximise the beautiful views.

*old house choice 2

Progress on the demolition was fast. In just ten days the old house had gone except for one corner. This was the first bureaucratic hurdle that we were to face. The mains electricity needed to be disconnected by the supplier (Enel). We could not touch any part of their cabling or meter box (attached to the house) and we gave them three months’ notice of D-day. No one arrived. We chased them two weeks before D-day. No one arrived. So we began the demolition and continued for nine days working around that corner of the house. Finally, on day 10, they arrived and removed the old box and cables in just 30 minutes, and we then demolished the last remnant of our old home.

What remained of the old house, the good stuff, was now neatly stacked on wooden pallets. The remainder had been crushed and smoothed to form the base for a new parking area adjacent to the house.

Now we were ready for the rebuild.

In the coming months I will take you on our journey through the rebuild, culminating in our moving back into our new house exactly 11 months after D-day.


2014-11-16 14.06.17About the author
Jane Smith runs one of the largest estate agencies in southern Le Marche –,
Her husband, Richard, runs a restoration management company –,