At “Las Casas de Andriz” we are fully aware of what it is like for some people to live in a hostile environment. We are familiar with María, for example, whom some of you may know, and that is why, La Casina de Noriega (“The Village House”) has been specially designed with you in mind: complete absence of chemical products, electromagnetic waves, scents, pesticides… We want you to feel really at home here. To be able to enjoy the house and its surroundings and enable those who come with you to realise that this is what your world and everyday life are like; all the protocol we have meticulously prepared to ensure your comfort should be strictly adhered to, to ensure you have a wonderful holiday which lives up to your expectations whilst adapting to your many needs. To make it possible, after you go home, for another MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) sufferer to come and enjoy the same level of attention you did at this country lodge, without any fear or misgivings. And that when you depart, you will be longing for your next chance to come visit the Casina de Noriega.
We have made every effort to take into account each and every one of the building and decorative materials, including the household appliances and fittings, discarding any of those “harmful” elements which could affect you, in the same way they affect Maria; our aim is to make you feel comfortable and safe. But we are also aware that each MCS sufferer is different and therefore we would appreciate your personal feedback on things that you do not feel comfortable with or that you would like to see changed, improved, removed …
In order to help you decide if you would like to undertake the adventure that spending a few days at the Casina de Noriega represents, we have listed below all the materials which you will find here during your visit, both those used in its reconstruction and the furniture and fittings. Feel free to change them round to suit your own tastes and needs; if you want to change the bed to make it face in a different direction, relocate the furniture, put away anything that may bother you … feel free to do so.
When you depart, we would ask you to be so kind as to leave the house as you would like to find it: with a sack of pellets and breakfast requirements so the next guests do not have to go out to the shops as soon as they arrive. Come and have a lovely rest …
The house conserves its original old stone walls, on the main facade. The north façade, however, has had to be replaced, and we used the existing original stone mixed with Prompt white cement (also used for the inside walls) and local ochre sand. On this side of the house, most susceptible to rain, has been insulated with Biofa’s harmless mineral oil for natural stone.
The structure which separates the ground floor of the flat is traditional “local, untreated oak”, and no use has been made of autokey or woodworm prevention products for wood (oak supplied by Hijos de Luis Martinez Noreña S.L, Trevías, Valdés). That is why we chose oak, as it is the hardest local wood, even harder that the habitually used chestnut, as this has many less terpenes than coniferous woods such as pine. The structural roof support beams are also made of French oak and oak from Camacho, Noriega. The back door, kitchen countertops, and balcony of the south façade are made of untreated chestnut. The main entrance door has been kept in its natural state; a little worn but aged and beautiful… The ceiling insulation is of Portuguese natural cork with a combination of wood, concrete and traditional roof tiles.
Finally, for the wood finish, natural floor oil was used. For the ceilings, doors and windows, Biofa oil was used. (colourless 1075, blue and white (see specifications )
There are two types of flooring on the ground floor: mainly light grey limestone, from local quarries in the Llanes region, totally untreated (this means they look much nicer but they go dark quickly if water is spilt on them; this is the effect obtained from live, untreated stone). In the kitchen and bathroom hydraulic tiles have been used, with natural pigments, placed entirely by pressure (mechanically), and they contain no additives. Biofa 2100 oil has been used exclusively in areas exposed to the damp. (see specifications)
The paint used on the walls comes in three different colours, all using natural pigments: Caparol brand, models 511 – white -, 240 –beige – and blue.
The electricity is of special note: shielded cable has been used and placed in the areas where it will least affect your health, avoiding as far as possible it reaching areas such as the headboards and placed as far away from the sofa as possible. Furthermore, to improve its efficiency, a bio-switch system has been used, so that when the lights are switched off at night, the flow of electricity all over the house is cut off, until you switch on once more. By pressing hard on any switch, power is switched off and deactivated all over the house.
Hot water is only provided by electric water heater, but the heating, if needed, runs on pellets, which can be found in a sack inside the door on your arrival.
All the flooring on the ground floor has been waterproofed, digging down to 60 cm with a drainage system to prevent damp.
Furniture and fittings, as per room:
As we know how important it is for MCS sufferers to ensure the comfort and support of one of their weakest points, the back, with a good mattress, we have strived to offer all possible options so you can choose the one that suits you best. You may move and change them round if you wish:
- Blue bedroom: twin beds – one with an old-fashioned wool mattress, plumped up as in days gone by. The mattress has a 100% pure cotton cover; the other bed has a natural latex mattress with La Cama Azul (see specificiations) ; bedrests in unvarnished pine. A 20 year old writing desk, an antique chair, a 40 year old small dresser used as a nightstand and two bedside lamps with mercury-free bulbs, like those of days gone by. A 100% pure linen Roman blind on the window, in nude tones with a plain checked 100% cotton border.
- Green bedroom, the master bedroom: one double bed (1.30 m) with old fashioned mattress. No headboard – we were going to put an antique brass one but Maria told us it was better not to “just in case” … a mahogany and marble nightstand and another simple, folding one. A small 50 year old dresser, stripped of its paint, an antique chair and a wardrobe with drawers and antique, untreated doors. Two bedside lamps.
- Lamps on the stairs and landings in untreated wood or glass.
- The living room has an IKEA sofa, model EKTORP with a cotton cover; cotton cushions stuffed with cork. A bamboo armchair, a wooden bench with antique ironwork, wood and glass table, wooden coffee table and wooden lamp with cotton shade (all bulbs are mercury free and not low consumption); television, Grace pellet burning (biomass stove) for pressed wood pellets (note: not dried fruit shells) and a large curtain across the door, made of 100% cotton.
- Bathroom: with bathtub, shower curtain and old fashioned washbasin.
- Kitchen: small fridge, oven, washing machine and ceramic hob cooker (not induction); we are aware this is not the very best option, but is the best of those available … Old wooden table with marble top, white dresser painted with lasur Livos (see specifications) and four chairs. Utensils include: Le Creuset cast iron cooking pot (see specifications) , Fundix, Fundix, Silit Eco Friendly and Eco Green frying pans, LifeStyle ceramic line (see specifications); set of cutlery (see specifications); rest of crockery in glass and antique porcelain; glass juicer and jug; water filter on special Ecogrifo Irisana IR33 tap (see specifications); several cooking utensils made of bamboo, by Usda Organic; the sink is ceramic and the wooden worktop is chestnut treated with Biofa 2052 oil. You will find all you need to ensure you do not need to go shopping on arrival: organic oil, Beltrán Vital washing up liquid (specially made for MCS sufferers, see specifications) bicarbonate, oil, salt, special MCS soap powder for washing machines etc…. (remember never use common one!)
- If you feel more comfortable with this, you are welcome to bring your own sheets and towels, but we also provide 100% cotton sheets, most of them are used and have been washed without detergents or fabric softeners (see specifications); pure wool blankets, cotton towels, some of them have been washed hundreds of times and others fine and new by Fabrindia, 100% raw cotton.