Once you’ve acquired a seemingly perfect home abroad, you’re ready to remodel it and you want to make it as charming and authentic as possible, there remains one important question. Should I use local craftsman or just have everything made here and then ship it over? Well, there are pros and cons for either option, and these both need to be considered in advance.

Sourcing Local Artisans and Craftsmen

Sourcing craftsmen from your home town is easier; whether joiners, carpenters or ironmongers you can oversee the creation of the artisanal works and ensure they meet your personal specifications. It costs a great deal to have everything shipped abroad, but it would also cost you a lot to keep going back and forth to check on the progress of the laborers. The greatest advantage to using craftsman from home is that they all speak perfect English!

The main obstacle that must be overcome when working abroad is the language barrier, but it must be addressed if you really want an authentic local feel to the fittings and fixtures, which can be attained through the skills and experience of professional local craftsmen. Let’s say you were remodeling a house in Spain. First you need to write out all your specifications in English and then invest in professional Spanish translation services to make sure there will be no mistakes or expensive misunderstandings. You could also save money on trips to Spain by employing a telephone interpreter. There are all kinds of difficulties relating to linguistic differences and geography but these can be overcome if you are determined to achieve that authentic local feel.

Artisanal skills are often being lost due to the effects of mechanization, mass production and globalization. Whether it’s a carpenter, a blacksmith or a thatcher, the work of an artisan can really bring out the unique appearance and cultural heritage of a property. The fact that their skills are in short supply means that their work is increasingly expensive. Although the initial costs may put you off, you should remember that it’s the attention to detail and refusal to cut corners on quality that can make all the difference to the overall value of your property. Without these time-honored traditional skills, every town and village in Europe would look very much the same. Nobody wants to see a cultureless, homogeneous mass of dull buildings everywhere they go, and that’s why quaint little cultural curiosities and architectural peculiarities attract so much attention and admiration.

If you live in an area where few skilled craftsmen are to be found then you could consider sourcing artisanal craftsmen from elsewhere, even abroad. Although this may be out of step with the cultural traditions of the local area, it still brightens up your property with charming bespoke handiwork. Besides making the world a more beautiful place, sourcing local craftsmen is also great for the local economy, providing work for locals and keeping family run businesses alive for generations to come.

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