Italian Renovation – we buy the white house

An Italian Renovation


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The White House [Casa Bianca]

Recently the house next to ours came up for sale, the neighbors have moved to the town and the agent let us know it was for sale. Another Italian Renovation and of course we were interested but hadn’t thought it would come up for at least a few years. So we had to do a very fast scramble to try to get enough money to put a deposit and buy it.

We have a contract and once it goes through we can start the next part of “the project” here. It has two bedrooms, a kitchen lounge area, and two cellars underneath (one is the small lower window). Plenty of work to be done cleaning it up and giving it a cosmetic inexpensive make over.

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The Property

The property includes the house and out buildings on the other side of our house,  and a small building directly opposite our large double gates. It also includes various bits of land some with apple trees, and Sam is in his element with plans for our future ‘orto’ (veggie gardens) and fruit trees. Another thing that is a premium here is parking spaces and a garage type shed, so we now have enough work to do for a while.

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The Outbuildings

This shed is missing the floor between the two levels and needs a good clear out, as with our other Italian renovation this one was a bargain. It is accessed via the lane way which we can now clean up.

Previously the neighbors had dogs tied here in the lane way and as they couldn’t take them to the new place they offered us ‘Fiume’ the shaggy white guy who is now part of our family. He is very happy and has settled in with us, Sam and Carina are training him as he is only young, he is a lovely excuse to go for long walks and he adores Sam.

We have also gained another cat, the little tortoiseshell has joined Mishu and she is such a princess in comparison.

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This shed now has the makeshift boards taken down and to the left just inside is a door that leads into a large vaulted room. Above is a hay loft and above the vaulted room another large area that is open to the elements (now the roof has fallen in). As you can see we  have plenty to keep ourselves occupied and plenty of scope for these areas in the future. The best thing about this Italian renovation project is that it gets us dreaming.

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Plans for the Outbuildings

Sam would like to have this room for making the salami, I can imagine it with a big worktable and somewhere for workshops or friends to come and help us process all the food we will grow. We have so many ideas, and I’ll be sharing them with you once we get underway.

We will be clearing this area and keeping it open, I can see a courtyard with plants and a place to sit and relax. I quite like the original wall and window if we fix it up, Sam likes the idea of lowering the wall and putting a railing so you can see out, hmmmmm.

Fiume the Wonder Dog

This little white dog has already made such a difference to our lives and he is endlessly happy now he has some freedom. He is no longer chained in the lane way, and his tail hasn’t stopped wagging. His old owners still visit the borgata to tend to other animals that friends are minding for them. It’s all a bit delicate as you can imagine and we are getting used to the big changes in the borgata.

Health and Wellbeing

Apologies for not sharing sooner about all the news, I didn’t want to say anything until we were sure firstly we could get the money, and secondly it was all actually going ahead. I’ve also been going through early menopause and been up, down and all over the place…..mood swings, depression, low blood pressure, and thinking I was losing the plot. I’ve been to the doctor and looking online for help.

Thanks to everyone who gave me virtual hugs over at our Renovating Italy facebook page, without you all I know I’d be lost.

Things here are shifting to a whole new level, luckily I’m always up for an adventure.

So where would you start, do you have a dream Italian renovation…..?

Take a small step towards your dreams each day…..sending love

and the gang x


48 comments… add one

  • James Vaughan June 27, 2014, 4:39 pm

    Please keep me posted. I am renovating a house in Villaretto near to Bagnolo Piemonte and am very interested in your site. Best wishes!

  • Krista June 13, 2014, 12:01 pm

    I am overjoyed for you, Lisa!!! 🙂 I can’t stop smiling that you got a dog with your house. He is such a lovely fellow. 🙂 We have three big white fluffy dogs and I love them so much. I’m delighted that you have such a dear chap in your life too. XO
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    • Lisa Chiodo June 15, 2014, 3:34 pm

      See now we even have big white fluffy dogs in common lol
      He’s such a sweet dog and has freedom all day, mostly he lays just outside our big double gates and watches what’s happening in the street. It’s been raining all week so no long walks but once it fines up we’ll get him out and about. I haven’t had a dog since I was a teenager and we had to give our two dogs away when my Mum and Step dad separated. It’s great for all of us, so we have a dog, two cats, ten chickens, and nineteen rabbits lol x
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  • Brooke Branson June 2, 2014, 1:27 am

    wow !! What a job you all have Lisa. That takes renovating to a whole new level. How exciting for you all though. Maybe bit by bit you could renovate the whole Borgata !

    You can see in White dogs face how happy he is. He has found owners that love him.

    • Lisa Chiodo June 15, 2014, 3:22 pm

      He’s such a gorgeous friendly dog, and far more confident now. We still haven’t settled on the white house so can’t go in yet. We have been clearing the stables and Sam has got the tractor parked underneath now. I wouldn’t want to renovate the whole borgata, the big part of it’s character is the fact that it is a working borgata with families who have been here for generations. So much history, we have plenty to work on now with our section thats for sure Brooke. xxx
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  • Janine May 31, 2014, 10:29 am

    What wonderful news Lisa. I love that you say a new renovation ‘keeps you dreaming’. Un abbraccio. Jxx
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  • Lisa Wood May 31, 2014, 2:46 am

    Lisa, how exciting, another project another “New Life” given to a wonderful property. There seems like a lot of work ahead with cleaning out the place but the potential of what it will look like when finished is going to be incredible.
    I reckon it easily could be turned into a B&B for those wanting to visit Italy for a short time, experiencing your life and all that is on offer.
    You guys are amazing with how much you set out to achieve, huge congratulations sent your way xxx
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    • Lisa Chiodo May 31, 2014, 6:24 pm

      Hey Lisa are we crazy or what…I couldn’t believe it when the neighbors moved out. We didn’t expect them to move for a year or so and it’s great for us but must be hard for their kids to make the transition. Still out of our control, and I know it will look great when it’s all cleaned up. A great place for friends and family to stay when they visit…..hmmmmmm x
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  • Caterina B May 30, 2014, 5:28 pm

    Wow, Lisa! That is a project! But….there would not be anything more fun than renovation, I think.
    I am always full of “wonderful” ideas for projects around my little farm. The rub is getting hubby to have the same visions and to carry them out! Good that Sam is so gung ho and willing.
    I have always thought that it’s OK to have projects. Remember….”a house is never done.”
    We often accomplish some small thing and then look at one another and say, “Why didn’t we do that sooner?”
    I also think 50 is not so young for starting menopause. If you have those awful hot flashes I think the remedy is bio identical hormones. I have been taking them for several years and they help a lot.
    Good luck and your Paris adventure must be coming up soon. Here’s an early birthday hug!

    • Lisa Chiodo May 31, 2014, 6:21 pm

      Luckily no hot flushes yet Caterina, just extra strong PMT lol.
      I am lucky that Sam loves all the projects we take on, he is so organized and gets stuck in to even the worst job. I think he gets it from his Dad who is such a hard worker. I like the idea that a house is never done, my Mum is now 80 and still sketching ideas for her house, I wish she could come to visit but it’s a big trip for her. Paris seems a million miles away but is just around the corner, luckily Sam is organized and already has the route planned and our departure date sorted….

      thanks for the early birthday hug and one back to you xxx
      sending hugs and squishes
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  • Rose May 30, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Never doubt your capacity and endless joy of life. Enjoy your wonderful trip to Paris. Sending you all, dog, cats, kids, Sam and of course you, abundant love and heaps of baci.
    We too have grown with three horses (two which Cara rescued from the “doggers” yes, Sam they were going to turn them into dog food.; 5 dogs and a grand mother xxxx

    • Lisa Chiodo May 31, 2014, 6:17 pm

      I saw your new horses, three now and I bet they are happy. And a Grand Mother lol, give her our love. Always a mad house here Rose as you know, at least we’ll have a place for you when you come to visit xxx sending big hugs and miss you all so much xxx
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  • budget jan May 30, 2014, 1:46 pm

    This sounds so exciting. Glad the white dog has his freedom now – he must feel like he’s won dog lotto. I went through menopause at about 47 which was a little early. I really thought I was losing my mind, couldn’t cope with work and felt like a madwoman. Didn’t take long to get over the worst of it. About a year I think. Hang in there.

    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 9:35 pm

      It’s a pain in the neck isn’t it Jan, and yes I thought I was going crazy for a while. Now I just try to bite my tongue and get out for a little bit each day .
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      • budget jan May 31, 2014, 12:45 pm

        Going out helps most things doesn’t it, especially if it involves coffee and friends, or a walk in the open air with your dog!

        • Lisa Chiodo May 31, 2014, 6:11 pm

          Oh a coffee just with girl friends would be nice Jann!! I miss being able to jump in the car and get out for a bit, now we are 99% of the time together or at the house. A nice long walk….yep sounds good xx
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  • jann May 30, 2014, 1:40 pm

    Lisa, you have so many projects–not to mention new dogs, etc–that I get a little faint just reading about it all!!! You both seem to have boundless energy (Sam & salami!)!!! BUON LAVORO, Bella and don’t forget to relax once in a while. xxxxx
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    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 9:25 pm

      Ahhh yes it’s raining cats and dogs here Jann….I am the borgata cat lady and loving it. Our energy levels are low and Sam hurt his back a few weeks ago doing the wood so he is getting pain from that. Still onward ever onward lol x
      sending love, xx
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  • Anne May 30, 2014, 1:03 pm

    Hi Lisa .. wow you and Sam are just amazing. I see a rentable little cottage 🙂 like a gite ..I think that would be fab.

    I don’t think you are that early for menopause at all . I personally think that you are in what they call the Peri menopause stage .. exactly what I went through. Here is a link …..I had it for quite a few years but never with Hot sweats . It was really like PMT if you get my meaning. I have gone through the menopause now but I still get mood swings , not every month though, xox
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    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 9:22 pm

      Yes that’s what I’m thinking as well Anne, and I know Sams parents want to come and stay next year. Sam is complaining because I’m just finishing and Carina is just starting so he is copping it from both sides ha ha. Mine is also like severe PMT so Sam knows to run for cover.
      hope you’re enjoying your trip away and that the rain has stopped xx
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  • Catherine May 30, 2014, 10:48 am

    Yes I second Francesca – look after yourself! Whatta view however, and all that rich oxygen. One day I think I will have to drive up to you for a coffee!! Xxcat
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    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 9:05 pm

      You had me in the giggles with those cheeky men trying to pick you up, short shorts…that will sort the men from the boys. Loved your cherries and reminded me of our own cherry tree in our yard when I was a kid…sending love xx
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  • Francesca Muir May 30, 2014, 1:15 am

    Wow how I admire your foresight – well done but take care of yourself – these things take much energy and strength. Bacci F xx
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    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 8:04 pm

      Oh I can hear you laughing at us right now, sometimes I shake my head. It’s mostly the clean out as all the sheds and the house will take some effort. I don’t really want to say anything regards the state of the place but you can imagine. I”m looking forward to the transformation to come. xx
      Maybe a place to stay if you get to visit xxx
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  • Glenn May 30, 2014, 1:14 am

    I follow you on facebook as well (obviously) on your blog. I noticed hen reading tonight you asked if any of us had bought a house in Italy…have a written before? I would enjoy sharing stories!! 😀


    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 8:01 pm

      Ciao Glenn,
      Great to see you here, have you renovated in Italy? Sorry wasn’t sure, being Aussies we always love a good story xx
      ciao lisa
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      • Glenn May 31, 2014, 12:40 pm

        Yes….we have purchased a house from 1500’s in Italy…about 45 minutes west of Naples….just finished the closing, although we bought in August! LOL I have a blog (Not near anything like yours) we must compare notes. You could probably help us immensely. Ciao from Canada!
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        • Lisa Chiodo June 15, 2014, 3:27 pm

          sorry for the delay replying Glenn, I’ve been sick. I’ll take a look at your site, our internet has been playing up this week so trying to catch up when I can. You most likely would know Clare then, love to compare notes xx
          ciao ciao lisa
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  • Meredith mancini May 30, 2014, 12:20 am

    Fantastic news Lisa. Did someone actually live in this before you bought it? Will you join them together and run a B and B? So many possibilities. My husband wants to know the name of your nearest town, he is curious. Such great news about White Dog too. Peri-menopause is a cow so I really hope you can find something to ease it. Stay well Lisa.

    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 8:00 pm

      Oh yes a family of two adults and three kids were living here for a few years Meredith. They have moved out of the borgata to the village and we see them here from time to time when they come to visit one of the other families here.

      No we don’t really want to do a B and B, more for friends or family that come to stay and visit us. The name of our closest town is Bobbio Pellice, which you should be able to google. I’m laughing at the cow term as we have lots of those around here usually with great big bells. Say ciao to your husband….he can always chat to sam lol, my husband says he gets outnumbered now. xx
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  • Margaret | Destination Here&Now May 30, 2014, 12:15 am

    Man you guys are suckers for punishment! (smiling broadly)

  • Kaye Bonato May 29, 2014, 11:44 pm

    Hi Liza, such wonderful exciting times…..will you make the new place part of your original house or will you keep it separate? Love that new pup, Fiume, must be very very happy to have found a new home with you, no wonder he’s got such a grin on his face.

    Best of wishes as always,
    Kaye Bonato

    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 7:56 pm

      Ciao Kaye, don’t think we can connect the house next to ours so it will remain a stand alone house, we will change the doors and windows, clean it up and paint of course, nothing certain just yet.
      The gorgeous dog is so happy now, he has a constant bounce in his step and wag in his tail. I’m so happy to be able to give him the kindness he deserves.

      sending love xxx
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  • Margaret May 29, 2014, 10:45 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    The project looks great. Just wanted to let you know that I am already subscribed to ‘renovatingitaly’ and when the pop-up asking me to subscribe appears (it comes up slowly) I see no way to close it. That is very frustrating. I know you are working on your blog so I thought I would mention this. I do not expect to see this comment on the blog as it is just a note to you. I love reading your blog – you are a fine writer and the photos are great.
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    • Sam Chiodo May 30, 2014, 9:54 am

      HI Margaret, Sam here i checked the pop up for the subscribe screen and the Cross X button is on the top right of the popup. Also, the pop up once you close it, should only pop up again in 30 days or so unless you clear you cache in that case it will pop up again as soon as you access the site. Strange… Yep, we are having some speed issues and we are in the process of changing the way we do things on the site. Let me know if you still have an issue with the popup and i will try to work out what is going on. thanks for you feedback it really helps us..

  • sally May 29, 2014, 10:40 pm

    It’s all so wonderful to see you’re leading the life you wanted. You guys deserve all the best ! xxoo

  • Wynne May 29, 2014, 10:27 pm

    Wow – you all really know how to keep busy! I can’t WAIT to see how this place shapes up. I SOOOOO wish I could be there for a long period of time to help. And I LOVE that you have a dog! I’m so glad he’s free and happy with all of you. Such a gift. AND a new kitty?! Oh, you’re living the life!

    Rest assured the hormonal stuff will even out in time; you’re utterly normal there! And perhaps you’ll get to be so busy, you’ll not even notice some of the symptoms.

    Congratulations, love to all, and good luck! xo

    PS: Sent you an e-mail earlier this week. 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 7:53 pm

      Oh sorry Wynne I’m hopeless with keeping up with my email xx
      We have two full time cats and one that sneaks in for a feed when he thinks I’m not looking. I love the dog and he is Sams constant companion now, it is so nice to see them together. I wish I know what happened to Black but I’m fairly sure he is okay. My symptoms seem to have stopped for a bit, not sure if they come and go….guess we are all going to find out lol. When you get back here you will see lots of changes xxx till then sending love xx
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    • Wynne May 30, 2014, 8:36 pm

      I, too, was thinking of Black and hoping he is ok. Missing you all…xo

  • Alison May 29, 2014, 10:19 pm

    Nothing like a bit of renovating to keep you occupied!!! LOL, looks great Lisa. Keep having fun and living your dream – and your life.

  • Ingrid May 29, 2014, 10:09 pm

    You won’t be stopping for a while – looks like plenty to do I hope you get breathing space between projects!! Congratulations xox
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    • Lisa Chiodo May 30, 2014, 7:03 pm

      Hey Ingrid we have lots of work now but it’s all the good kind that we love. We are going to Paris soon so that will be a great break and a bit of girl time for Carina and I with the photo shoot. Can’t wait xx
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