House Hunters International – meets Renovating Italy

house hunters international

House Hunters International

Our episode of House Hunters International is set to air at last. It feels like we’re almost famous, no seriously, the blog is already expanding with new readers (ciao to you if you are new here). Friends that have been reading along from the very start are sharing all over the place and my Mum is trying to figure out how to view our House Hunters International episode in Australia.

Renovating Italy is about to go International……House Hunters International (click on this link for air times and date)

house hunters international

You might have read about our adventures with the crew from House Hunters International back in December. I think we are one of the few families to be featured at Christmas…and yep complete with snow. Well we have an air date for American viewers (July 27th) and once the episode has aired we will be sent a copy. Hopefully we wont be cringing, and will find a way to let you all see the episode asap.

I can’t wait to see the finished product, and find out which house we bought ……. I seriously fell in love with the wrong house.

We were asked to send in a 4 minute audition video (see below), did a skype call with the producer and had five days of filming in total.


Luckily we’re not shy, I was doing wardrobe changes in the car and in the end just thought ‘Oh well this is us, no make up and totally exhausted towards the end’…..

I figure that if we tried to act in some way that wasn’t us then why bother, we want people to see that dreams are possible and changing country can be the best thing you ever do.

So much has happened in the nine months since our House Hunters International episode was filmed. We have purchased further property in the borgata to renovate. Buying the ‘White House’  right next to ours was a lucky break, and came with outbuildings and land. We aim to have it ready for friends and guests to visit come 2015.

In the meantime I hope you are able to enjoy our House Hunters International episode.

Thanks again to all involved you made the entire experience priceless.

Signatureand the gang x






Italian Renovations – the window guy

Italian men

‘Who would have thought I’d be dreaming of windows…’


We found our ‘window guy’ (his name is Sergio) through our neighbor two doors down, a relative who with one quick phone call was out to measure up and give us a quote. A little Italian haggling and a price was agreed upon, in a community this small things like this are always done through word of mouth.

Yesterday we took a trip out to his workshop to choose the color of the stain and found a treasure trove. A true craftsman’s place filled with our windows which made my heart almost skip a beat! We already have snow on the mountains and the soft powder looks as if I could reach up and touch it. The nights are getting cold and the temperatures dropping.

I’ll be counting down the days till those windows are mine.

For many years I worked in a major decorating store in Australia. We sold paint, wallpaper and wood finishes, it was quite normal for customers to come in and agonize over the wall color or want us to put some stain onto a bit of wood only to end up with so many options they were never able to make a decision. Quarter strength off white, half strength off white…can we get an eighth strength…no you can’t!

So it was refreshing to be shown our color options for the windows via strips of off cuts stacked by the door. This one I say optimistically, close enough will do I guess, I’m hoping they will roughly match the few existing new doors and windows put in by the last owner. Things like this which I would have agonized over in Australia are just minute questions here, no color cards or paint swatches just a rough idea and go with that.

These things are really just not that important, just another Italian life lesson I’m learning.

wood guy dbl

wood guy samples

Our current windows are held together with ancient tiny tacks and no putty. They rattle and the chill night air seems to seep right through the thin panes of glass. One window is missing a pane and we have temporarily covered it over. I can’t wait to be rid of them. We will also have a new door both up and downstairs, the one leading from the kitchen out onto the upper terrace will be glass to let in the light. The old doors will be put to good use somewhere else in the house.

We are also looking at sealing up the cavity in the upper bedroom ceiling, at the moment it is open as the wardrobe we were given won’t fit any other way. It was nice in the summer to be able to see the starlight coming in through the roof but not now.

I wonder how old these windows would be?

wood guy house

window guy dbl madonna

While waiting for Sergio to return his father suggested we take a walk around the borgata, the tiny road did a loop which took us about ten minutes. Chestnut and walnut trees with the ground covered in nuts had us wishing we’d bought some plastic bags. I usually carry one in my pocket now for just such a discovery. Two half breed Burmese cats followed us on our circuit weaving through my legs and purring loudly when I stopped to stroke them.

One doorway caught my eye  with the brightly colored layers of paint peeling over time….

wood guy village

window guy door

The seasons are changing right before our eyes…


Italian Men – life in the valley

living italy

Bobbio Pellice ~ hidden treasures

“A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid”

J.R.R Tolkien

bobbio pellice 2013 bed dbl

Our home in Bobbio Pellice has a tiny circular window high up on the crest of the roof line. Although I searched I couldn’t find it inside. My husband being a little more inventive worked out that it must be over the second bedroom. Pushing the ceiling panels he soon found the hidden opening and a whole treasure trove of history. Using on old handmade wooden ladder Sam and Carina braved the loft and were soon passing down ancient baskets, round green bottles, an old stirrup, a partially made boot, a leather suitcase, old magazines from the 50’s, a hand drawn map with a child’s writing…..each one a window into the lives led here.

Bobbio Pellice ladder

Bobbio Pellice scoop

Running water inside the house straight from the sorgente is priceless we are told. Freezing cold and crystal clear it runs throughout the house and means we won’t need town water. The trough is deep and worn in places, a new generation to splash with icy delight.

Bobbio Pellice water

Bobbio Pellice water trough

We continue to discover glimpses of past lives, the house holds many secrets yet to unfold. x

Journey to the Italian Dream – At last we’re on our way

Since starting this blog it has been you my friends who have kept our spirits up, encouraged, shared and given our family a gift I never imagined that day I wrote my very first post.

This has been a long time coming yet now the time is here to finally share with you our great news I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I’d love you’d like to know how I feel right now so please take a moment to listen to this track and know that I am sending these words to you.

A movie that has long been a huge favorite of mine, and although the context is out I hope you’ll get the sentiment. This song still has the power to move me to tears and is one of my special ways to say thank you.

On Monday our house sale went unconditional, it was also a day fraught with emotional overload around a family issue we’ve been working through. I found it almost impossible to share our great news with you all then, so now is our chance to sit back and take it all in.

This dream we dreamed is underway, we move from our home next week and head to Scarborough to finish off the units.

Then yes at last board that plane and head off into the unknown adventure that we have so longed for.

Our plans are to leave from Melbourne (where the tough part awaits…saying goodbye to my Mum, family and friends) late February. Which means our children will get to see out the school year with friends and we will miss an Italian Winter and go straight into Spring.

So I’d like to dedicate this post to all the dreamers out there who dream big dreams….without you all the world would be a dull place indeed.

with love Lisa x

title image ~ unknown

Memories of Venice


An unstamped passport – dreams don’t always come true.


I’m sure  my brother always meant to travel one day, older than me by four years he was a home body.  I heard he’d applied for a passport, and that he knew how to ski. After he died I found out many things about my big brother that I never knew. And luckily in the years before, we reconnected and started to share our memories. One thing that always secretly delighted me when I’d visit was that he had an image I’d sent him as his screen saver. I expected racing cars or his yellow peril Ford GT but no it was this image he wanted and saw each time he opened his computer.

Once someone changed the photo yet sure enough there it was back again shortly after. I always wished he would come and visit us in Italy, all those crooked houses would have sent him nuts. He trained as a fitter and turner which meant he worked to a fraction of a millimeter. He once surprised me by letting me drive his car, and showing me his dream home a few streets from where he lived with Mum, he often did that…surprised me!

Each email joke he sent me I saved to a folder called Brad, he would send so many that I would often file them without opening.  Every now and then I go to that folder and open another (there are hundreds enough for a lifetime) and have a laugh with him.  I’m taking a little of his ashes with me to Italy and sprinkling them at Monza, I like to think of him under the Italian sun at last.  I miss him so.

Life’s Postcards

An Italian Passion – it’s in the blood

Italian Passion

Do I live with passion, are you kidding? My passion is travel, ever since I was a kid I wanted to get out and see the world. I blame it all on my love of reading and my families artistic bent that had me longing for a chance to view the greats first hand.

There was never any doubt that I would travel, I was the first of my siblings to leave Australia. I went for a ten week trip to England and stayed almost four years.

When once asked for a word that summed me up I chose “excitable” it’s sometimes exhausting being so passionate about life. That was until I met my husband Salvatore (or Sam as he is called in Oz). He had never left the country and was keen to go to China. That ‘s right, full on Italian family and he longed to see Asia.

It took us some time, a marriage and three children before we set off but we did it. There was never any doubt, I met my match another gypsy soul with an Italian passion.

Together we discovered a passion for renovating, which led us to an Italian passion. We have been renovating houses since we met, and now we are up to number fifteen in as many years. Soon we will be starting on our house in Italy. A big job but I can’t wait to get started.

Most of my friends think me a little odd as I’d rather be up to my elbows sanding, filling and painting than at the shops looking for the next pair of shoes.

Now, at last all my loves have collided. Art, photography, travel, writing, renovating, and singing loudly and out of tune in the car. Blogging has become my newest Italian passion. It’s intense, a way to connect with you all. Like having a great conversation with someone who loves the same things, and not wanting to stop.

The wonderful part has been meeting other bloggers who are equally passionate. I’ve made friendships I’m sure will last forever, that feel like the oldest of friends. 

I thought I’d share some with you, each one has touched my life and made it better, passionate, generous, incredible women….thank  you all. xx

Lisa ~ New life on the Road

Melissa ~ Suger Coat It

Carla ~ Carla loves Photography

Di ~ Di Mackey

Michele ~ Bleeding Espresso

Francesca ~ Postcard Pictures

Krista ~ Rambling Tart

Catherine ~ The Divorced Lady’s Companion to Living in Italy

apologies to the friends I have missed here, I’ll keep adding when I get the chance there are just so many of you. xxx

 Signatureand the gang x

dare to dream