Italian Texture by Chris Walker

We just completed a two week trip through Italy with some great friends. Here are the highlights:


  • The Pantheon
  • A "three tenors" concert
  • Everything was covered in deep time + flamboyance + majesty: I kept thinking of Gondor.


  • Hiking towards a hill-top town beneath a rainbow
  • Chancing upon a still-functional Roman tunnel
  • Discovering the best wooden doors I have ever seen.


  • Climbing inside Brunelleschi's Duomo (largest brick-and-mortar dome in the world)
  • Haggling with vendors over leather goods
  • Trattoria Mario (great lunch spot with handwritten menu, cheap wine, fantastically large steaks)


  • Entirely gorgeous
  • Proof that highly functional city-states can be built on different organizational principles
  • Organic growth of a space filling network


  • visiting Como and taking the funicular railway up to the nearby hills
  • running from the funicular railway across Como to the train station (turns out the funicular is every 30 minutes, not every 15)
  • getting back to Milano in time to view Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper

Would we return? In a heartbeat.

The architecture

Instead of posting the typical selfies, I thought it would be fun to focus on some of the details of Italian architecture. Some day I'd love to build a house using materials like stone and wrought iron. Traditionally built buildings can be so much better than modern stick-framed houses!

  • Durable materials with character > wear in, not out, over centuries 
  • High thermal mass > comfortable temperature
  • Thick, high vapor permeance walls > cleaner air with fewer mold problems 

US building codes and contractor experience in other techniques would make this a challenge. I wonder if there are high-tech solutions, e.g. 3D printing the main structure of a stone house out of hydraulic lime "concrete" similar to that used by the Romans. But that's a challenge for another day.

Here are a few snapshots.

Art: New materials by Kate Walker

Art: Map progress... by Kate Walker

Art: Merry Motifs by Kate Walker

Art: Tools and Materials by Kate Walker

Kate: Here are a few shots of tools and materials that I love to use....

Visit the shop: MerryMotifsAtelier