Rustic Italian Living Room – before and after

It’s all those little moments that make life a very big adventure…


We arrived in Milan airport almost a year ago now, and it seems like yesterday until I look at these photos. Our Rustic Italian living room has slowly progressed and although not finished is now a space I love. Creating our rustic Italian living room has been my favorite part of the renovations. My desk is here, it’s where I write,  it’s where we sit in the evening, where the kids like to play, the spot for my few treasures.

We have slowly peeled, painted, renewed and replaced hundreds of years of wear and tear. The house now breathes again, still much to complete but she knows she’s in good hands. It’s as if she trusts us to care for her, and future generations will still see that original spirit, and hear her voice.

 The first step for our Rustic Italian living room was removing all the plastic paneling, nailed to the rock underneath it was a nightmare to remove. The section around the door to the upper level had been burnt at some stage and was black and buckled. The walls underneath were black with soot and grime, originally a bright blue they showed promise.

The ceiling was pitch black and the beams had been covered with Masonite and blackened over time. With no light we needed a torch to navigate the room even in the day time. We pulled up the timber floor which had rotted in places and widened the doorway to the kitchen. Once we got back to the bare bones of the room we pulled all the nails from the wall one at a time, gave it a wash, sandblasted the ceiling, and finally the windows arrived, it all started coming together.

In the middle of everything we had the House Hunters International crew out with us for five days of filming. Through the year I had to return to Australia for a family issue with my dear Mum. Sam ended up in hospital a few times, we had visitors from Australia and New York, met up with fellow bloggers, laughed, argued and cried.

So here we are almost a year into our Italian Dream and it was all worth it, even with the struggles. Nothing ever works out the way you think it will…..who knows what this year will hold.

Christmas time saw us flooded with cards from all over the world. I asked if you’d send us a Christmas card and never expected the results. Our postman was totally confused and I was almost to tears with the wonder of it all and the outpouring of love. Stories were told and dreams shared, I’m planning a little surprise for you all throughout the year. I also declared that I am going to spend my 50th birthday in Paris and invited you all to Dare to Dream, and to come along if you could.

So when I sit at my desk writing and thinking of our journey it seems we’ve come a long way, yet are only just beginning.

It will be a year since we landed in Milano on the 11th of March 2013…..yes we are still Chasing our Dream xx

Wishing you all love and joy in your own dreams ….

and the gang x


31 comments… add one

  • Linda Chartier Scala March 15, 2015, 11:29 am

    Oh, the dreaded plastic paneling. We have had to remove loads of it, not like you can even burn the stuff. I really admire your positive attitude and sheer gumption with your projects. I have redone 13 places in Sicily since 2005 and when I need inspiration to keep on going with a smile ,I will check into your blog. The snow- just the sight of it freaks me out! You and your lovely family are very inspiring!

  • Reema Marquez February 26, 2015, 8:46 am

    I love it, the vintage looks of the furniture as well as the window. This a perfect example of illustrating Italian art and culture. Thank you for this inspiration.

  • Anne April 13, 2014, 9:35 pm

    Wow what a transformation , it is amazing . Well done to you both ,, a very cosy room , yes a lovely one to have your desk 🙂 xox
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  • lisa wood March 28, 2014, 10:02 am

    Incredible how far you have come….can’t wait to see how far you will all go 🙂
    Love the look of how cosy your place is becoming! Well done Sam, Lisa and Kids xx
    lisa wood recently posted..Crap We Cant Move And The Rain Is HereMy Profile

  • Jo / thedesertecho March 10, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing, it’s fun to see the juxtaposition of the before and after!
    Jo / thedesertecho recently posted..First SnowMy Profile

  • jann March 10, 2014, 4:00 am

    Give yourself a big pat on the back, Lisa, because you deserve it!!! Bravissima!!! It’s so cute and cozy. (So glad that plastic paneling came out–you see it all over Sicily, too–in houses that were renovated in the 60s or so. Seems the whole country went crazy with it.)
    jann recently posted..Comment on My Sicilian Village: Now and Then by JannMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:34 pm

      Oh I loved your before and after images Jann, time seems to have stood still. Our house is cozy and has all we need, and yes that paneling was so ugly no idea what possessed them to put it up. We were almost going to cover the walls with plaster sheeting because of the hundreds of nails but I loved the crooked walls so much and couldn’t stand to think of them all straightened out. So we spent ages getting rid of the nails and thank goodness we did; xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..A rustic Italian kitchen – work in progressMy Profile

  • Jackie Stenhouse March 9, 2014, 2:32 am

    The place is looking fantastic. so cosy and homely. Great job and can’t wait to hear about your adventures the next year

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:36 pm

      I have no idea at all what this year will hold for us Jackie, which is scary but exciting at the same time. the house is turning into a home with plenty of work still to be done xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big BootsMy Profile

  • Selina McGarrigle March 9, 2014, 1:21 am

    Wow!♡love it! BRAVO you guys x Bravo! Can’t wait for the next chapter x bises x

  • Selina McGarrigle March 9, 2014, 1:19 am

    Bravo Beautiful family! BRAVO!

  • Debra Mulcair March 8, 2014, 9:47 pm

    Simply amazing. I look forward to the next year of pics and blogs from you. 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:39 pm

      Deb you ought to start a blog, you have the most adventures and fun of anyone I know. I love seeing what you are all doing on fb, and the kids are fantastic, send them our love and say ciao to all at Petrie xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big BootsMy Profile

  • Catherine March 8, 2014, 10:10 am

    How wonderful to see and share this Lisa! You’ve all been so brave, so hardy, so determined. Whatta year! I hope the next one is a little easier and you find more writing time for yourself, now that a few creature comforts have been installed and you are all settled. Good luck and big hugs xxcat
    Catherine recently posted..Blog Her Award – Shoes, Stones and TriumphMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:42 pm

      Oh I’m looking forward to this new year in Italy and finding our feet a little. It’s been really stressful without an income and the uncertainty of limited funds. I think we’re back on track and I am working towards some new big goals and dreams. Can’t wait to one day meet up with you in person and give you a big hug, you always see past the gloss to the hidden surface underneath….sending love xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Rustic Italian Living Room – before and afterMy Profile

  • Krista March 8, 2014, 6:41 am

    Oh my goodness! You have worked SO HARD and the results are amazing. 🙂 The room was so dark and felt squished and unloved before, now it is light and bright and warm and welcoming and wonderful. 🙂 Well done!!! XO
    Krista recently posted..Autumn in Queensland and Port Wine Beef StewMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:45 pm

      It was unloved, gloomy and filled with soot, now it is such a warm and cozy space and once we get a comfy couch we’ll spend more time in here. Sam worked like a dog to get this done and between us all we’ve got lots done, I don’t think we see it ourselves until someone else tells us so. Sending love and Autumn is my favorite season, hope you are crunching through autumn leaves xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big BootsMy Profile

  • Wynne March 8, 2014, 3:03 am

    Happy anniversary! What a year, eh? Can’t wait to see what this year…and many more…brings for all of you! And I’m looking forward to having nearly a front-row seat.

    Enjoy the adventure!

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:47 pm

      It’s so much fun sharing with you Wynne now you know what we’re talking about. Who knows what this year will bring us both, you have so many new experiences and adventures ahead so we’ll have to do that skype walk xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Little Moments – creating moreMy Profile

  • Doug Porter March 8, 2014, 12:37 am

    Bravo !!!
    You are an inspiration!! The progress you, as a family, have made in one year is amazing.
    baci a tutti
    Doug & June

  • lynda sharples March 7, 2014, 11:51 pm

    Hi Lisa ,
    Thats a WOW from me ! The progress you Sam Luca and Carina have made with your new life, and your gorgeous home, must fill you with a renewed spirit and confirm all your brave choices.Looking forward to devouring all your photos and descriptive writings 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:51 pm

      Thanks for that WOW Lynda, it’s great to hear and yes it has been a big venture for us all. I’m so proud of the way our kids have managed to settle in even when Mummy and Daddy are loosing the plot. I’m planning some new things for the blog and our story, this year should be interesting. Hope you are well, sending love lisa xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..A rustic Italian kitchen – work in progressMy Profile

  • Kylie March 7, 2014, 11:27 pm

    So great to see the year and how far you have come (complete with photos – of course!). We are nearing the end of a “dream” for us (until we move onto the next dream!!) and I can so relate to your comments about not knowing how things will work out exactly and that you have “laughed, argued and cried.” My favourite comment when things don’t quite got to plan is “it’s all part of the adventure”.

    Go well Lisa….and keep up the great blogging


    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:54 pm

      Well I hope your new dream brings you joy Kylie, it is a big step into the unknown most days and not many people can do that. Your spirit shines through with that saying, sometimes it’s hard to remember that this is the adventure we asked for lol x
      sending love and more adventuring xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Christmas in Italy – just to thank you My Profile

  • Ryrie Wild March 7, 2014, 10:52 pm

    Wow, Lisa you have come a long way in a year and shown everyone that dreams are possible. I so love sharing your dream through your many posts and love all the photos of the borgata. I am really looking forward to the next year to see the progress you make with the house, your travels and your language studies 🙂 All the best.

    • Lisa Chiodo March 10, 2014, 9:58 pm

      I didn’t really see how far we’ve come until I started looking back through all the photos. I’m so passionate about showing everyone that it is possible to follow those dreams whatever they may be and worth it all in the end. The Borgata is on a continual time clock with the seasons setting everyone to work, they all know exactly what needs doing and when, it’s a living history lesson here. This year I’m scheduling in time for my Italian, my daughter is now fluent, it’s embarrassing lol x ciao ciao lisa xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Little Moments – creating moreMy Profile


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