As some of you know, I live in northern Italy with my husband (and Teddy Roosevelt, our cat). There are many adventures in living abroad, and though we definitely enjoy the actual adventure-taking to new places and food touring, the actual living part took some adjusting to!
Italian homes are quite different from American homes. The biggest difference in our apartment is that there are no closets, and very little storage — basically, no where to hide all that extra crap we have. When we moved in, we had one kitchen cabinet, one medicine cabinet and three wardrobes that were supplied to us. We have tile floors (which I like!), concrete walls (which I hate), and also my favorite feature: a bidet! Seriously, that bidet is life-changing.
My husband's employer provided housing, so we didn't have much of a choice on where we wanted to live, or what it would look like. Plus, he signed the lease before I even arrived in Italy (and "forgot" to take pictures for me!) so when we moved in, everything was a surprise to me. Nothing like moving into your mystery home in a foreign country, I'll tell you that.
The apartment has two bedrooms and is around 900 square feet, which is about the same size as my last apartment. We also have a garage, which unfortunately our very long Jaguar, which I call a "luxury jalopy" cannot fit into — but it's excellent for storage. My husband, Tyler, would tell you he's not too fond of the place that he wishes it were bigger, but I do not mind the size and see any issues with the place just as problems to be solved!
The first thing we did when we moved in was buy cabinets. Someone was moving and selling theirs, in addition to an oven hood (which we didn't need but came with it), so we brought the cabinets home, hired a handyman, and had them installed! Tyler is very fond of open shelving, but I am not, and am glad we have the cabinets to store food inside (especially mass quantities of popcorn).
Next was a trip to IKEA to buy a buffet for our appliances and pots, a small cart so we could actually have a place to prep food, an under-the-sink cabinet for the bathroom, and some temporary shelving for books and dishes. And that's about where we're at, at the moment! We've got a lot more furniture to build up — most of the pieces in our apartment are hand-me-downs or thrift store finds, which are great, but we're now in a position to move up to new pieces (as long as they're from IKEA or Target. We're not millionaires). Whoo, semi-adulthood!
We just moved in about four months ago, in October, so our place is in progress. I don't mean for this post to be a, "Look at my perfect house!" blog post, because it's obviously not (but I mean, will it ever be?). This is meant to be a starting point post so I can show changes on it as we work on it as we get settled. There are a lot of clutter in these pictures — something we hope to fix as time goes on.
Every year, I take part in Apartment Therapy's January Cure, which I highly recommend. It focuses on reducing clutter, planning for projects and problem areas in the home, and also cleaning areas that are often overlooked, like pantries. This year it's especially helpful, because there are a ton of projects we want to tackle!
One of the first assignments is to do a walkthrough of your home and make a list of projects. Luckily, I already had a very long mental list of things we wanted to complete, but writing them down helped to focus on what was most important and what needed to be done soonest.
I thought I would share my list of projects planned for our home and also show pictures of what it looks like currently — in all of it's mostly unorganized glory. I will (try to) update this list with links as we complete projects and share pictures when I can! I'm excited to share our home with you, especially because I know it has a lot of potential, but just needs to be improved in functionality and storage — and have some color added. Agh, and get some things on those walls!
- Paint one wall blue
- Add vertical storage, including wine glass rack and knife rack to create more countertop space
- Put up shelves for dishes around fridge
- Hang up pictures
- Stain kitchen cart
- Sand/stain kitchen buffet
- Get bins for tupperware, rags
- Cover lower sink in contact paper
- Organize beneath the sink
- Reupholster kitchen chairs
- Paint one wall blue (living room and kitchen are combined open space)
- Put up shelves for books, DVDs, knick knacks
- Replace coffee table with one that has better storage
- Replace entertainment console with something more modern
- Hang up pictures
- Replace light fixtures
- Style bar cart, remove coffee items
- Make statement wall with stencil and paint
- Hang up pictures
- Buy hamper for clothing (we don't have one!)
- Paint walls green
- Hang things up
- Cover wardrobes in white contact paper
- Get decorative shower curtain
- Replace bathroom rugs
- Buy new towels
- Organize shelves
- Hem curtains (they're currently folded with safety pins 'cause I'm classy)
- Move books, media to living room once shelves are hung
- Streamline printer area, make space for craft supplies
- Buy mattress topper so guests don't hate us
- Create storage space for Tyler's equipment, cleaning supplies
Photos and text © Katie Currid, 2015.