Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Visiting Italy in My Downtime

I've been busy upgrading the house, room by room. Once all the kids and pets are gone there are so many places to repair and upgrade. I'm amazed at the volume of work - painting, caulking dents in the walls, and finding dirt where I'd never seen it before. Like behind doors, stuck in the hinges!

I've not had the time or the inclination to do any of this deep cleaning, and I simply didn't care as long as I felt anything I did would be undone in a matter of hours by people who have more interest in exiting a home than in repairing it!

I've been making a list for the week, so I can get George involved some evenings for a simple project - like putting handles and knobs on the kitchen cupboards. My arthritis acts up from time to time and these handles sure make it easy to open a cupboard. But, before they were installed, I had to sand the old varnish off the cupboards, and reapply it for a fresher, cleaner look. That was a lot of work.

I got rid of the metal blinds in my bathroom (installed by the contractor), and replaced them with wooden ones, changed the corroded light fixture, removed an old dust-covered bouquet, and added fresh baby roses. Yellow, fringed with red, they compliment the bouquet of orange, russet and red leaves from branches picked out in the yard. I'm determined to have these small $6.00 bouquets of fresh roses in my bathroom every week. When I finally sit down from all this work I have something exquisite to enjoy!

It is amazing how just a few little upgrades can restore freshness to a home.
I've removed all the old, patched, shredded furniture in the livingroom, vowing to never have cats again! We gave it to Matt and Ruhiyyih - she has purchased new slipcovers for the chairs and sofa for their home up in Bremerton.

I still have more painting to do, and look forward to planning my vegetable garden. When I take my coffee break in the afternoon I sometimes visit Google Earth, use their street-view tool, and wander the village streets of Italy.

I like this tool because it goes at my pace and allows me to turn around and look at all the details. This is exactly how I would travel in Italy if I went there - traveling through villages in the countryside.

Recently I found a chapel, Madonna della Neve in Tussio. I 'drove along', stopped, and noticed two small bouquets of red roses on the step at the doorway. Heading back uphill, the Google camera photographed several old ladies walking along the edge of the road. I imagined that they had placed the flowers there.

I do enjoy visiting the side-streets of Naples, with images of laundry hanging out to dry, the dark shadows and markets. The only things missing are the sounds of traffic and people, the aromas that change from early morning into the afternoon, and the glint of sunshine that startles the senses as one walks onto a terrace. These I'd love to experience again.

I have been watching House Hunters International on HGTV. It features properties that are for sale. One is chosen and often repaired and remodeled. The remodeling is so interesting, with cute propane stoves and candelabras, plastering and painting. I recall one gentleman who bought a little house in Italy and remodeled it. I found his Facebook site, and enjoyed all the upgrading photos . His wife repainted the scrolls around a ceiling fixture. She spent 12 hours facing upwards, restoring it, paintbrush in hand. I just loved that dedication, and imagined the happiness they would share while staying in the little house. This last beautiful photo shows her on their recent trip to Venice.


Sarah said...

It's good that your house repairs are getting done. Hope it turns out nice for you.

You and me both, I look at many blogs and pictures of Tuscany and Florence. The Italian way of life looks amazing. So laid back and slower pace.

bubbie dear said...

This photo of a simple lamp on a table makes me want to see the rest of your upgrades. Just as a lantern in the window welcomes home the person who says "this is where I live," that soft glow promises more beauty to come.

Jess said...

I imagine you *really* appreciate this little house upgrades since you had five very busy children in your house for so many years! I adore my kids but I have to admit I am already weary of the crumbs and sticky prints everywhere. I am hoping that now that Gabriel is turning 4 this winter that he'll finally be past the stage where he'll wipe his nose on anything - including my furniture!