From Hvar (Croatia) Imogen’s tale
The Old Twonhouse in Stari Grad, Hvar, Croatia, is an amazing B&B managed by Imogen and Matt, from UK.
After getting married in Italy in 2018, they decided to change their lives: they moved to Hvar where they bought an house – hundreds of years old and abandoned since 50 years – in the centre of Stari Grad and transformed it in a B&B.
In the restorations they used our hemp lime plaster to give an authentic, rustic look and to use a material that offered good thermal and acoustic insulating properties.
We made Imogen a short interview: enjoy the reading!
The Old Townhouse: tell us something more. How was the project born and why?
We are Imy & Matt (Maisy our dog too of course) the couple and team behind The Old Townhouse, luxury serviced apartments, in Stari Grad, Hvar, Croatia. We are from the Lake District in the UK where Matt was a self-employed builder and I owned an interior design company.
After getting married in Italy in 2018 we didn’t want to return to our normal lives but yearned for adventure. Our spontaneity meant that we had made the decision to move abroad, found our wonderful house in Stari Grad and purchased it all within 3 months. So in October 2019 we could make the move to Hvar.
The house itself is hundreds of years old and had not been occupied for at least 50 years with a fire in the 80s causing considerable internal damage.
Our budget and determination meant we did the majority of the work ourselves, from ripping out to installing new floor, constructing the new roof to plastering the walls, painting to tiling and everything in between.
Our leap of faith has lead us down the most challenging but rewarding path where we now have 3 apartments, 1 in which we currently live, and 2 for holiday rental.
How did you find La Banca della Calce? Why did you decide to use our products?
We knew from the outset that we wanted to use Hemp Lime plaster, but we struggled to find a suitable product. We wanted to have visible hemp shives to give an authentic, rustic look while also using a material that offered good thermal and acoustic insulating properties. After much hunting we were delighted (and relieved) to come across La Banca della Calce and Constantino who arranged for the 5 pallets to be sent over to us here on Hvar at the start of the New Year.
Why did you choose lime? Which products did you use and how?
Our intention was always to respect the heritage of the building, keeping as much of the old as possible. Although we had to rip out all of the internal floors, the beautiful stone walls remained intact. It was also incredibly important that we maintained an ethical and sustainable approach to the build. Hemp lime was therefore a natural choice, it worked harmoniously with the old stone and the white lime pointing, offered us the excellent insulating qualities we wanted for our guests and provided the perfect backdrop for our contemporary interiors.
We used La Banca dell Calce’s NHL plaster and ‘personalised’ it with the addition of hemp shives. Used on our internal walls, it has added texture, dynamism and interest to our interiors while being the functional and natural choice we so wanted. We are delighted and I am certain our guests will be too.
Tell us something strange, funny or particular that happened during the construction site.
Our intention was to have our wonderful apartments finished and ready to welcome guests for the summer season 2020. We were relieved and somewhat surprised to finish in time, however with the global pandemic the world wasn’t quite ready. It has been challenging, as it has for many, but despite all of this we do not regret our spontaneous move. We have spent days digging a 30m channel to connect our wastewater with a pick and shovel, lifting ridiculously heavy floor joists in to place, desperately trying to get a roof on before a storm but we have also spent days paddleboardng in the most stunning aquamarine seas, biking through lavender fields, and hiking to the top of the island to catch glimpses of Italy in the distance.