Living in Italy

Italian Home Renovation | We’re In!

Italian home renovation recap and timeline, plus a look at what living in the Italian Alps for a year is like.

First please let me apologize. I was a bad friend and blogger in 2021. I had hit a wall. Moving to Italy in the middle of a pandemic was proving to be… hard. I basically ghosted the world and put all my energy into working out, learning Italian, avoiding headlines, and hiking the Italian Alps.

Something tells me given the state of the world in 2021, you get it. How did you get through 2021? Did you cut out or change anything about your life as an act of self-care last year? I’d love to know how you’re doing. Please drop a line in the comments below!

On my side, I’m happy to report that in 2021 we finished our Italian Home renovation, we’re in! Since it’s been a while, here’s a very quick recap.

Italian Home Renovation Timeline

In the fall of 2020, we began our renovation by working with an architect to modernize our Italian home. By December we had finalized the open concept design. Mid-January 2021 construction started!

Demo Begins
Demo Begins

In February, we ran off to Lago Maggiore for a quick break while the floors set and no one could enter the apartment.

Lago Maggiore AIRbnb Balcony
Lago Maggiore AIRbnb Balcony

Looking back it was fun to see firsthand how different construction of homes is in Italy vs America. Electric and plumbing run under concrete floors. Walls are solid brick and plaster no studs or drywall.

Demolition of Italian Home Renovation
Demolition of Italian Home Renovation

End of February we had finished selecting all of the finishings from our bidet and sinks to our countertops.

Italian Home Renovation Kitchen Counter
Kitchen Countertop Check!

With Paolo driving the project we were right on schedule. End of March the walls were plastered and the floors were going in.

Floors Being Laid
Floors Being Laid

Come April things got pretty exciting when our custom handmade tile backsplash went in. From that moment on, things moved fast!

Italian Home Renovation Update. Handmade tile backsplash.
Italian Home Renovation Update. Handmade tile backsplash.

The next thing you know our kitchen was coming together.

SMEG
SMEGgy!

May 7th, 2021 we moved in! We were exhausted but oh so happy.

Move In Day, Italian Home Renovation
Move In Day!

In our first few months, we were still making do with things like camping chairs in the living room. A dining table the owner of our construction company generously loaned us.

Camping Chairs and Borrowed Dining Room Table
Camping Chairs and Borrowed Dining Room Table

None of that mattered though. We were making the most out of living in the Italian Alps with countless hikes.

Grange della Rho Hike Brandy and Paolo
Grange della Rho Hike Brandy and Paolo
Grange della Rho Hike Paolo
Grange della Rho Hike Paolo
Grange della Rho Hike Brandy
Grange della Rho Hike Brandy

Come June our things from the United States arrived. Bardonecchia finally started to feel like home just in time to celebrate our 10th anniversary together.

10 Years Anniversary
10 Years Anniversary

My gift was carry-on luggage small enough for European airlines. Paolo’s gift was books on European wine trails plus a case of my favorite Muga Rioja that he had shipped from Spain. Just months into living in our first home together we were already dreaming of traveling again. It didn’t take us long to do just that. At the end of June, we made it to Liguria and stopped in Portofino.

Brandy in Portofino, Italy
Brandy in Portofino, Italy

In August we received our vaccinations and I high-tailed it back to America to check on my family in Florida and Ohio. A first since our journey of moving to Italy during COVID began. Come September the numbers for COVID were down to a hundred cases per day in parts of Europe. So we seized the window and took a three-week trip through France and Spain to follow the Don Quixote trail!

Brandy & Paolo in Spain exploring the Spanish windmills that inspired Don Quixote
Brandy & Paolo in Spain exploring the Spanish windmills that inspired Don Quixote

The giant windmills are pure magic!

Spanish Windmills that inspired Don Quixote.
Spanish Windmills that inspired Don Quixote.

I’ve just started sharing photos from this trip on our Instagram account now. If you’re on Insta let’s connect!

In November a trip to Venice for my birthday.

46th Birthday in Venice, Italy
46th Birthday in Venice, Italy

Our life here in the Italian Alps is healthy, balanced, and happy. La dolce vita is not a myth. It just took a giant leap of faith in each other to find it in Italy. Today, these guys are our neighbors. Alps Life!

Our backyard in Bardonecchia, Italy
Our backyard in Bardonecchia, Italy

My plan for 2022 is to continue sharing posts about Italian cuisine (lots and lots of Italian Cheese) Italian culture, and destinations. Plus a pretty healthy dose of post sharing what it’s like to live in the Italian Alps.

Bardonecchia, Italy
Bardonecchia, Italy

I hope you’ll continue to join me as I do. Subscribe below for updates and as always don’t be shy. If there is anything you want to know about life in Italy, let me know with a question in the comments below. Wishing you a beautiful weekend my friend!

15 comments

  1. Yeah 🙂 loved reading your update! Kitchen looks fab, you really ripped the place apart. I also found stale mate with blogging last year, hoping to get going again this year.

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    1. Hi Dee! I think it happens to all of us bloggers at one point or another. Thanks for the kind words here. We really did rip everything out and start from the bones. Grateful we didn’t have any major exterior renovations!

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  2. Congratulations and what a wonderful and eventful year! You’ve come a long way…and during a pandemic. That’s quite the accomplishment for you and Paolo. Let’s hope our next year is more “normal” and that we all can live our best lives. Cheers to you an Paolo for 10+ years and “cin cin” to many more. Your adventure remodeling your house is encouraging for my wife and I about our upcoming kitchen rehab here in Laveno.

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  3. Glad to see the renovation photos. Beauticious! Love the blue. The Alpes look like paradise. Bravo for throwing caution to the wind and following your heart.

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  4. Glad to see you back ! Substitute my backyard pool, yoga and learning Italian for your hikes in the Alps and that’s how I am getting through Covid. I look forward to your posts.

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    1. A pool! That is something I really missed in 2021. So happy to hear you were able to relax and enjoy yours at home. Plus 🧘‍♀️ ❤️. I started with Yoga and ended up doing HIIT workouts most days in addition to my hikes. Oddly 2021 was great for focusing on the body for many of us. How is your Italian going?

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  5. Oh my gosh, these are beautiful! And your apartment turned out amazing!!!! I hope you get comfortable chairs soon! 😉 Maybe it came with your things from the states. That would be hard! Did you have a hard time getting appliances due to Covid? A lot of people here are. Have you ever seen anywhere where they sell the huge rolling pins they use to roll pasta? I wondered if they sell them in Italy. I watch Pasta Grannies and they use them and I wondered if there was a place I could order one you knew of or your husband knew of. I’m teaching the kids how to make pasta and I’d like to learn to roll like them! Some day…coming there!!!

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    1. Hi Judy!!!! What a treat to see your name pop up. Thank you for the compliment on the house. I’d love to catch up via FaceTime or zoom and give you a tour so you can see it now. We did get our two favorite comfy chairs from the US. We bought a couch here in Italy but we are still waiting for our dining chairs. What a pain. We renovated at the perfect time before supply chain issues really hit. So our appliances were no problem. We’ve heard from the guys who worked on our home that everything is a mess now. Thank goodness we missed it! I’d love to help you find a rolling pin. Not sure exactly what type you’re looking for but if we zoom/FaceTime you can tell me and I can be on the lookout! Maybe send a photo next time you watch Pasta Grannies? My email is Brandy@alorconsulting.com big hugs and baci baci!

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