Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa Bianca

No matter the set backs with our rustic farmhouse we always keep moving forward. Over the past month I’ve been out of action with a mystery illness. Sam has continued to work on ‘Casa Bianca’ next door to our house, we hope to have it habitable so friends and family can come to stay with us and experience life here in the valley we love so much. Lots of work to be done, nothing new for us but we will be taking it slowly till I’m recovered. Maybe I can come in at the end for the ‘house dressing’….I don’t mind missing out on all the cleaning.

Bianco on the outside and gelati flavored on the inside, the latest addition to our rustic farmhouse is just a delight. Sam has been clearing the rubbish from inside the house and the main rooms are now cleared. Four tractor loads so far. Under these stairs are two cellars which are crammed with more rubbish, the doorways are tiny and I haven’t even taken a look. The doors and windows need replacing, every surface needs a good clean and the whole place needs flea bombing.

This room will be gutted, cleaned, painted and something needs to be done with the flooring. All of the rubbish has been cleared out and only the old fridge and cabinet are still in here now. I’m already imagining the transformation photos, I’m picturing the rustic farmhouse of my imagination, somewhere friends and family can come to visit and experience life in the valley. We’ve left all the windows open to start to air it out. It will take shape quickly once cleaned, then we start looking at new sink, and furnishings.


I like the old fireplace, everything else will get pulled out and we’ll start from scratch. The doorway leads into the stairwell and across from this room is another largish airy room that was used as a bedroom. The window looks out over the old original road. After so many renovations this doesn’t phase me at all, although now being unwell I haven’t been able to help out, just supervise from a distance for short periods of time before heading back inside to rest.

One house in Australia that we wanted to buy was beyond belief. We were given access and removed cubic tonnes of rubbish, ended up using a gurney on the walls and the family that lived in the house were hoarders. The house had such a horrific history that I always felt creepy being in it and was actually glad when the contract fell through. One wall had a tombstone drawn complete with a child’s name and date of death, we found out later that the owners had ten foster kids. I always expected to move something and find a body in that house.

So we’ve been through many renovations in Australia and now this is our third rustic farmhouse in Italy, hopefully our last for a few years.

The staircase up to the main bedroom has a small lean, and seems to also have a bit of a twist. It’s an art form making it to the top level without whacking your head on the ceiling, Sam has a few new scars. Ahhh the master bedroom…..what can I say?

Everything is going, the furniture will be broken up so we can get it out, and then used for firewood. The room is actually quite big and although it has the most mold we think it’s coming from a leak somewhere in the rock roof. I’m not sure what will happen with the old stairs, perhaps a spiral staircase instead.

Thank you again for all your well wishes and love, I’m still struggling with exhaustion, and now a bad cough, aches and pains, and menopause thrown into the mix…..Bonus. Having just about given up hope I sent out some messages to our English speaking friends and guess what found a Doctor (I thought he was a musician lol) and I hope to get some thoughts about what might be going on with my health. It’s been almost four weeks now since I went to the hospital and I don’t feel much better. Something has to give……hopefully it won’t be me.

and the gang x

44 comments… add one

  • Kathy Scruggs July 28, 2014, 5:20 am

    I hope you are feeling lots better by now Lisa. 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo July 28, 2014, 1:17 pm

      Yes thanks so much Kathy, I think it was a virus maybe Glandular Fever recurring.
      sending love xxx lisa

  • Junalin @ Doula Training July 8, 2014, 5:54 am

    Getting excited to see the whole renovation. Excited to see the “before and after”. Looking forward to read more. Thanks for posting this great blog post.

  • Karen July 4, 2014, 11:30 pm

    Lisa…your website is gorgeous! I’m so sorry you haven’t been feeling well and hope that you feel better pronto! Mercury Retrograde is over tomorrow and maybe your mystery illness will be too. What a treat to see all these pictures of you in Italy! I’m going to share some of them on my Facebook page now.

    Huge hugs,

  • Lisa Wood July 3, 2014, 11:09 am

    What a beautiful old house – that staircase looks scary!! you sure do have a lot of work ahead of you all for the renovations to be completed, but the outcome will be so worth it.
    Gosh Lisa you so need to find a natural therapist to help you out with what’s going on, can you get to one in Italy, or find one in Paris?
    Sure hope you get well soon xxx
    Lisa Wood recently posted..Flying A KiteMy Profile

  • cathleen crawford July 3, 2014, 11:06 am

    Lisa would have any interest in selling the sink when you remove it? Might be too much trouble to remove without damage, but it is what I am looking for. Maybe some of your new friends there could prepare it for shipping. e-mail me and we can talk about how much it would take for Sam to take on this little project. Please consider my offer.

    • Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Hey Cathleen we’ll most likely reuse the sink but if not I’ll let you know. You’re in the USA…..aren’t you. It’s not in great condition either, funny that something so common over here is hard to find where you are. x
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

      • cathleen crawford July 13, 2014, 10:47 pm

        New and in perfect condition will run into the thousands of dollars, here in California! Happy to hear that you will reuse it. Farm kitchen sinks are the thing here for high end remodels.

        • Lisa Chiodo July 14, 2014, 10:16 am

          Hey Cathleen email me at admin (at)
          Maybe we could find you another sink, we could supply some if you are able to sell them x
          Not sure on the freight costs but worth looking into x
          Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile

  • Sarah Hudson July 1, 2014, 12:17 am

    You certainly know how to pick them and have amazing vision! I would love to do what you’ve been doing but I am definitely going to come and stay in that little house one day – its a promise to myself.
    Take it easy with yourself – recovering form a virus like that ( sound like Glandular fever type of symptoms or Fribromyalgia) takes a long time and rest is best! Menopause – well thats a whole different ball game! Theres a natural tablet here called Harmony and it was like a miracle drug for me. I tried everything else except HRT and this one worked in 3 days. I can get you some and send it if you’d like me to. Much love and hugs xx

    • Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014, 5:01 pm

      Dearest Sarah hope all is well with you. I know one day you’ll be here to wander the valley with us and you have a place to stay anytime. I think it was a virus as well and oh I”m loving the menopause. Don’t worry about sending the tablets I can get my SIL to send some.

      I’m slowly catching up with everything and sorry I haven’t been in touch I just avoided my inbox. sending love xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..My 50th Birthday – putting Paris on holdMy Profile

  • Catherine June 29, 2014, 10:51 am

    I really hope you’re feeling better by now Lisa! The new place looks delightful, even though yes there will be a lot of work. A wonderful project. But keep laying low and get your rest! Xxcat
    Catherine recently posted..The Constant GardenerMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014, 1:21 pm

      Feeling much better now Catherine and now concentrating on getting healthy and fit, and having a spring clean spruce up for myself. I can’t wait to get the new place finished and start decorating….my favorite bit.
      sending love xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating a Simple Life in ItalyMy Profile

  • Krista June 28, 2014, 3:07 am

    I feel so excited for you and am so proud of you for resting, even though you must be itching to start beautifying your new place. 🙂 We’ve been shifting furniture and clearing out and making new little nooks and crannies for ourselves. It feels so good. 🙂
    Krista recently posted..Winter Gardens, Winter BabiesMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014, 2:09 pm

      Resting seemed like hard work for me, I’m always doing something Krista. Feeling better now and starting to catch up, little nooks sound wonderful and I’m loving all the pics of the baby goats, what do you do with them all?? xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile

  • Jenny June 27, 2014, 7:28 pm

    Goodness you are incredible. Such vision to be able to see the possibilities of this house. I look forward to seeing it come to life as part of your lovely home. I really hope that you get a clear diagnosis very soon. It sounds like you’ve had such a difficult time health wise. Keep resting. Sam looks as though his health is now 100% which is great to see.

  • Laney (Ortensia Blu) June 27, 2014, 3:39 pm

    Oh my you have your hands full! But how exciting to completely transform such a rustic house-looking forward to the photos of the progress.

  • Suzanne Gray June 26, 2014, 8:57 pm

    What a delightful project! I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Italy is my soul spot. Though I’m not of Italian descent, I felt like i just belonged there.

    Best of luck on your journey. I love hearing what you’re up to.

  • Donna Marie June 26, 2014, 7:18 pm

    I absolutely love what you do. I cannot wait to see what’s next. You always have me anticipating … I like that. Keep up the good work.
    Also you have a wonderful family .. you are very blessed!

    • Lisa Chiodo July 11, 2014, 2:13 pm

      OH I love that we keep you anticipating Donna, it’s always a surprise to me when the project is completed, I never know exactly how it will turn out. It’s a good reminder to look at all you have and just be thankful, from the inside our family can seem a bit crazy xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile

  • Susan Priano June 26, 2014, 5:56 pm

    Thanks for the photos! It’s great to see the inside. I’ve often wondered the size of the homes in which people from the villages live. Not all of Italy has homes like the one Frances Mayes restored. In Malito, CS, last summer I entered the small home of a family of five, two parents, two boys, and nonna. The main room for entertaining (~9 meters sq) had an older fashioned dining room set with table, chairs, sideboard, and bureau, a sofa, a grand flat screen TV. After they asked of my home I showed them a photo of my living room in Berkeley, CA. I was a little embarrassed as they must have thought it elegant and grand at 30 sq meters! Yet, my home of less than 1200 sq ft or 110 sq meters is small for the US!
    Prayers for your strength and of your family during this difficult time.
    Susan Priano recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile

  • Terri Affanato June 26, 2014, 5:47 pm

    I admire your “stick-to-it” attitude and your vision to see beauty in chaos! I’ve enjoyed following your journey and life in the valley. I am about to undertake a renovation of a lovely 16th century home in Cava dei Tirreni, in the out skirts of Naples and transform this lovely home of my business partners late mother into a B&B. The family is very happy to see the home “come back to life” and I hope that I do not disappoint them! As an American living part-time in Cava, I hope to bring a warm feeling of an American home to this Italian beauty! I have a fraction of the amount of work that you are doing, and already my head is swimming! I tip my hat to you and will keep following your blog and social media to be inspired! My best wishes to you, Sam and the kids for a long and happy life in the valley!

  • Kaye Bonato June 26, 2014, 3:33 pm

    People were living there? It will be fantastic I’m sure when you and Sam work your magick on it.
    I do hope you start recovering from whatever has been ailing you.oxoxox

  • Wynne June 26, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Wow…amazing what Sam has accomplished already! Can’t wait to see it in all its glory.

    Glad you found a doctor…fingers crossed this illness gets a proper diagnosis and treatment. Love to all!

  • Kerrie June 26, 2014, 2:46 pm

    As requested trying to leave you a message on the blog. Looking forward to following your renovation of this house. I agree with Debbie the Kitchen dresser would look great revamped unless of course it is full of worm! The Italian treatment for woodworm is half camphor half diesel painted all over a couple if times . Mindi expect you have found that diesel has many uses other than as fuel in Italy, makes a great deter ant for the dreaded calibroni!

    • Lisa Chiodo July 1, 2014, 4:14 pm

      Oh thanks for that Kerrie, it really does make a difference for bloggers if you leave comments. FB is wonderful and I love sharing at fb but the blog belongs to me lol .
      Keeping the dresser and will just clean and give it a clear finish. xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Our Italian Life – a work in progressMy Profile

  • Gina - Our Global Adventure June 26, 2014, 12:46 pm

    Wow! I can’t wait to see how you and Sam work your magic on this new project of yours, so much potential there, I know you will create a welcoming retreat for your friends and family 🙂

  • Debbie Rein June 26, 2014, 12:45 pm

    Hey Lisa
    Hope your health improves quickly now. That house is something TV shows are made of, so top effort to you both. I actually like that kitchen dresser looking cabinet – are you going to do something with that? Is it as good as the photos make it look?
    We are still going with our renos – still. Making headway.
    Keep writing and taking photos – love them.
    Debbie Rein

    • Lisa Chiodo July 1, 2014, 4:10 pm

      Well we were going to get rid of the kitchen cabinet but you convinced me otherwise. It was just a gut reaction to get rid of all the remains of the previous people and start fresh. At least now when house hunters international come back in a year we’ll have something to show them lol .
      I love hearing about your reno’s, makes me feel less crazy….we’re not the only ones mad enough to do it xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile

      • Debbie Rein July 2, 2014, 2:09 am

        Yeah Lisa, I sometimes think crazy is a good description. I badly sprained my ankle just over a week ago. Yesterday decided to see if I could climb a ladder (I really want the last coat of paint on this built-in cupboard I am doing – for linen) Got growled at from my Farmer. OK maybe I will leave it a bit longer haha

        Think we ‘may’ go rustic timber look in the kitchen.

        Keep your photos coming – love seeing them. xx

  • lynda sharples June 26, 2014, 12:29 pm

    Oh Lisa , I am in love immediately! What an exciting project this will be …….Hoping it will be a distraction from your illhealth I hope……Just rest and open your arms to receive all the good wishes and good health vibes, love and light that are being sent to you. I can already envision a beautiful guest house ……xxx

    • Lisa Chiodo July 1, 2014, 4:08 pm

      I think after so many renovations I don’t even see the mess rather the end result. A beautiful guest house…..that makes me smile, I can’t wait to fill it with wonderful memories and yes taking it slowly until I am fully recovered from this virus x
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Farmhouse – Clearing out Casa BiancaMy Profile

  • Ryrie Wild June 26, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Wow this looks like so much hard work to get into a liveable state! I cannot believe the amount of stuff that the previous people left behind. Sam has certainly done a good job of getting rid of the junk. Please whitewash those pink walls, and I have to say those stairs do not look at all safe. It is going to be interesting watching the changes that you will make in this new house.
    Hope you are feeling better soon, Lisa. There is nothing worse than feeling ill and not knowing what it is. Hope the new doctor can get you sorted out 🙂
    All the best,

    • Lisa Chiodo July 1, 2014, 4:06 pm

      Not really Ryrie, a good clean and paint can work wonders. The stairs are a piece of work and no idea who put them in, they must have been drunk. The pink walls will be going and we will have neutral walls and new wooden windows and doors.

      The Doctor friend really put my mind at rest and it was so nice to be able to explain my own symptoms in my own words and understand the reply. xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Italian Renovation – we buy the white house My Profile

  • Korrine MIller June 26, 2014, 12:12 pm

    Oh my goodness Lisa! lol! Definitely a lot of work ahead but if anyone can make it look amazing it’s you and Sam. Love the staircase and it certainly has so much character to it, can’t wait to watch it transform and see the final result. I hope you start feeling better soon xxx


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