...in good company, with food and drinks, sitting by the fire in a tavern, the decision had been made! A stone cottage had been my longtime wish, which started to take shape due to my love for architecture, art and of course, history. I spent plenty of years working in the hospitality industry and I have held different positions over many years as well as travelled the world. Having seen a variety of architectural styles, I decided that something had to be made. The answer: a stone cottage; functional and multi-purpose, while at the same time respecting all the traditional elements (stone construction, Dalmatian window shutters with modern elements) and construction with natural elements (stone, wood, iron).


Construction began in 2009; we acquired rough, unworked stone from the area of Benkovac, which was then carved until it could be incorporated. At the start of construction, tools had to be acquired (chisels and hammers) and it was necessary to be acquainted with natural stone treatment. It was hard and grueling work to transform rough, unworked stone into a block of rock. Stone by itself is multidimensional and could be similar to a type of Lego brick for adults and you need to have patience and be willing to work for each piece of stone. Moreover, there needs to be exceptional physical competence.

The position and the size of the cottage in the olive grove were made in the style of old houses, according to the compass rose and the orientation of the cardinal directions while taking in account the sun position. I made the design project thanks to some advice from my friends who stuck from the initial phase to the end of construction (Marko Smolić, Duje Raspović, Ante Zelić, Milan Galešić, Dado and Ribar and Šime Rođo). Stonework took about a year as I was doing everything independently with breaks. In 2010, the basic outline of the cottage with the roof got finished and the cottage started to look like a beautiful new Dalmatian beauty. After that, everything started to fall into place - photovoltaic system for consumers, thermosiphon water heating system, gas boiler, indoor fireplace for heating and food preparation (under the bell, grill), outdoor fireplace, natural ventilation.


The cottage is self-sufficient as well as completely being off grid and energy plus. It generates electric energy with the photovoltaic system, as for the excess energy, it stores it in batteries in case of bad weather. At the same time, the cottage functions as other “normal ones”. All the appliances there are A+++; there is LED lighting, waste classification, a water tank used for rainwater collecting and the water from it is used for various purposes and it is drinkable.


The cottage is situated in an eco-friendly olive grove, planted on May 15th 2005 and covers an area of 11 000 m2 with a variety of different olive types (oblica, istarska bjelica, frantoio, leccino, bjelica). Apart from olives, you can find rosemary, lavender, immortelle, mint and other authentic Mediterranean plants, quince, marasca cherry, almonds, figs and an artichoke plot of the Romanesco variety with about 300 artichoke shrubs. There are also two fields; one that I intend to use for a small vineyard and the other, which is used for growing vegetables.


The cottage is foremostly intended for those who wish to have a complete holiday with no haste or stress and for those who wish to experience Dalmatia as it was. Along with that, you can try the best food (Dalmatian prosciutto, Slavonian Kulen sausage, cheese from the island of Pag, Mediterranean oils and fish from the Adriatic Sea) and by doing so link Continental with Coastal Croatia. The cottage is located at the end of a peaceful village Raštane Donje, three kilometers away from the sea and two minutes away by car. The Zadar airport is 10km away, to get to Zadar you will need 17km, Biograd 12km. National Parks and Nature Parks: Kornati, Krka, Paklenica and Lake Vrana are close by, some 30 minutes away.


This shows that with 40m2 you can make a superb construction for young families or pensioners to live during the whole year with minimal or no cost which is important to a great number of people today. The cottage is financially worthwhile, functional, pretty and small, quality made, and most importantly multi-purpose and modern. Local people made it and all the material came exclusively from Croatia (stone from Benkovac, wood from Lika). Everything is first class about the cottage: the design, the outline, stonework, tiles, and two fireplaces (one indoor and the other outdoor, both can be used for cooking, especially the one inside which can also be used to heat the place) and there is a wood furnace.

A thank you to Ante the Man, you even sold me the door for the basement where I made the wine cellar & the olive oil bar, for everything I used rough stone. My Marcelo would be with me while I worked and then he would go home alone – he’s a good one! Maja - woman, thank you (you know me, love, your Luigi), sisters, old mom, brother Milan Galešić – known as Klempo… thank you altogether, the olive grove will soon be worthwhile, that is; it will take some time, love and determination, but it all started with love! Solar photovoltaic mini electric power plant by Josip Parić at first with 1000ah batteries with electrolytes, and now with gel (Victron gel) with 180ah and mppt 40A with a 2500w converter. The system is 24V and 220V meaning that everything is safe and usable. Nothing is artificial, everything that is old has to be functional as well as nice and adaptable to the style, which reflects tradition and becomes art in the wine cellar, mural called “FREEDOM” – it doesn’t get any better than that, where the stand was made out of an old machine with discarded stone. The most beautiful dishwasher made by Marko Smolić, the kitchen sink was made by Mario from Polača, the clock was brought by sisters Irena and Tanja, Ante Zelić hardworking - Bobanović and Paraga (Vrkić) water - uncle Krune the sole start of the construction of the cottage, he and I did formwork for the basement and for the rainwater tank. Marko Demo would come say hello with the goats; deceased Ilija Raspović did the same thing, kids who were there at the same time, thank you all. I would go up and down with my two-wheel tractor agria, carrying stones, first the rough ones then the treated ones and then I'd go back to Paljka. It was awesome... uniquely beautiful how after roaming the world I decided to go back to a small village... priceless!

Olive Garden Paljka
Donje Raštane 1a, Sveti Filip Jakov 23207 Croatia
Phone: +385 99 6956097