We’ve broken ground and we’ve staring building a 36″ Biscotto di Sorrento Cupola cast in place pizza oven, using our own pizza oven mold. I’m going to be blogging the construction process to walk you through the steps and provide some recommendation and suggestions along the way.

First, let’s start with an image of what things looked like to start. When we bought our house in Alexandria, the house had been vacant (read abandoned) for about 8 years, and the few things the previous owner had done were pretty terrible. The house was originally built in 1780, and added onto over the years. This is the second time we’ve renovated a very old (and abandoned) old house, the first time was a farmhouse in France, where we discovered 17th century walls when renovating the barns and horse stables mostly built in the mid 19th century. What I learned was that the you shouldn’t be afraid of the 1770s, or even the 1870s. The thing to really be afraid of is the 1970s, when builders without a lot of care or attention did some pretty terrible things to some great old building.

In this case, our back garden featured a large brick wall the was about to fall over, and a truly awful modern driveway cut into our very old brick terrace. After rebuilding the brick wall with modern, old-looking hollow core read clay bricks, the next step was to remove the modern brick terrace (which ran in the wrong direction from the rest of the terrace) and grade away the concrete pad for the sloped driveway.

Once we were done with that, we were ready re-lay the terrace using a combination of the best of the old, original bricks, a few modern red clay 9×4.5×2.5″ bricks and a good load of newly manufactured, tumbled multicolor bricks that are chipped and worn, and are a very good match for the original bricks.

After we relaid the mix of bricks in a nice herringbone pattern, hiding a well head, and rebuilding some of the border walls for the planting beds, we were ready to tackle the cast in place pizza oven.