A little interval in my Sud Tirol posts to give you a kind of mini tour of the new house, a sort of before and after if you will. There have been a few requests!
Talk to most expats that have made that return trip, and I guarantee that nearly all of them will tell you that the hardest move is always the one back home. There’s nothing more confusing than when your own country suddenly feels completely alien, where so much has changed since you last lived there, and when you constantly feel like you are no longer sure where “home” is…
One thing that has completely made up for all that strangeness is finally living in a house that belongs to us. Gone are the days (for now!) of the prospect of our Landlord turning up on our (their!) doorstep unannounced. As much as we were lucky in that we had lovely Landlords abroad, it was always slightly awkward when Mr R was out when they turned up, as I would have to half murder a language to try to tell them about any issue (apart from the time we had a big flood after huge storms in Bavaria. That was self-explanatory thankfully!).
Having to live with something that you would change in a heartbeat but couldn’t (like 90’s stuck on tile appliques in the bathrooms, or wood chip wall paper you could do nothing about) was always slightly depressing too. As was looking out at a garden that there was not much point in planting stuff in as we were never sure how long we would be in a property for anyway (I could never resist planting a few crocus and snowdrop bulbs under the trees each Autumn in our gardens though as either a nice surprise for the next tenants, or a reminder that we had made it through another year!)… But you know, first world problems and all that…
So despite it all feeling a bit weird beyond the front door sometimes, there really is nothing like feathering your own nest, and being able to chuck out a few twigs and feathers along the way to make it our own… Which is just as well really, have I told you about the previous owners obsession with the colour blue???
They also had a thing for glass tile interior windows, unnecessary frosted glass and swimming pool tiles on the side of the pond, and don’t talk about the blue cabin in the garden that doubles up as Mr R’s office!! If you feel like coming up with an alternative suitable colour, I am well and truly open to suggestions!
Anyway, there’s not much a paint brush won’t sort, and I already have quotes to change the glass throughout, but there are one or two structural projects that we need to finalise a few ideas on (and we STILL have boxes to unpack because of that!). Thanks to a few slightly fractious discussions about what would work best in one particularly awkward room, we have enlisted the help of a lovely space lady (not from space obviously) who has taken our floor plans away and will hopefully come back with some new layouts that we haven’t thought about yet. I will keep you updated!
Thankfully (and necessarily, given the fact that we had opted not to buy any of the owner’s lights and they had taken them all with them), one area that I haven’t needed much help with has been in the lighting department, as along with Scandinavian chairs, my Danish “CV” now includes an unhealthy obsession with all things lighting, and so the dining room lights were chosen in a heartbeat.
To cover up all the holes left where wall lights used to be I opted for plaster up/down lighters, and two Vita Acorns in the hallway and the landing. Then shortly afterwards First Choice Lighting kindly invited me to choose one of their lights. I think at first they thought I wasn’t interested in having one, as it took me a REALLY long time to decide (they have thousands of beautiful specimens to peruse!), but in the end I opted for a black metal pendant to go in the 11 year old’s new room – without telling him thankfully, because when the box turned up and it was almost bigger than him I needed to have a quick rethink (always measure things properly, that’s something else I am quickly learning in this house!).
Thankfully though, it’s like it was meant to be. It works beautifully in the high-pitched ceiling of the porch (sounds much less pretentious than entrance hall doesn’t it?) with its Edison bulb that I can’t but help switch on and off to have a quick look at when I walk past. It fits perfectly where something chandelier sized was needed in a very un-chandeliery house… With super fast delivery too, I can tell that this is a company that I will be ordering many more things from!
My older two have really loved designing their rooms so far (we have group Pinterest boards and everything!), a big deal when you’ve never been able to decorate your own room before, and we have rolls of wall paper at the ready and a decision almost made on a colour in another bedroom. Apart from cosmetic stuff, not much needs doing to the upstairs of the house thankfully!
The garden has been like having a brilliant further room during the hot summer months, and not that much needs doing to it make it ours – apart from sorting the cabin and the pond (talking of which, does anyone know any waterlily experts? I also need an explanation as to why one of the goldfish looks like it’s swallowed a space hopper, if anyone has any clue?).
I had worried that it would be devoid of wildlife being a much more urban environment than our last 3 properties, but we have frogs and slow worms galore (which can take you by surprise if you have heard any screaming coming from our garden!) , a hedgehog family living under a shed, dragonflies a plenty, and bats that appear as soon as the sun starts to fall and that’s been a really lovely surprise.
I am enjoying planning an area for the toddler that goes beyond his inherited sandpit (mud kitchen plans are being sent to Grandad to build shortly!) and I have a tin of black board paint ready for the back of his Dad’s office (we won’t tell him just yet!)…
Our new neighbours on both sides are just lovely, and our community is beginning to build around us (slowly but surely!), we are getting there with schools, and the toddler started his new nursery this week…
Could it be (that for a while at least) I am beginning to remember what home truly feels like? Watch this space…
Such a lovely home you are creating Em. So lovely after so many years of being an expat. Nothing like your own space x
Thanks Em. It is lovely. I want to go abroad again now though! :D xxx
I really admire people like you who can look at a house and make it a home, working out all the interiors. I’m useless! The garden sounds and looks wonderful.
I am not an expert by any means. I just need to get rid of the blue! :D Thanks Rachael! :) x
Love that you have so much nature in your garden – we have frogs and newts and the kids love finding them
Thanks Kara. Haven’t seen any newts yet, that would be amazing though! :D
Wow, what a fantastic project. So much “potential” bit of cliche but interiors are all about cliches.
After following your adventures for so many years, it is a pleasure to see you finally in your very own home.
Ps. i love the fireplace.
Aw thank you Gemma. I don’t think the adventures are over just yet but it’s nice to have our own home for a while! :) xx
Nice! That is definitely the dream when re-settling in your native country: a home you can hang actual pictures in!
And not have to worry about making holes in the walls! :D Thank you x
Nicola Lawson says
Wow, I don’t care how big it is, I love that light fitting. The whole house is looking great.
Thanks so much! It was like it was meant to go there! :D
Oh wow your new home sounds absolutely fabulous and it’ll be even better once its all finished. I love how spacious it looks xxx
We will get there eventually! :D Thanks Laura!
jade bremner says
It looks lovely. We private rent and I love the idea of maybe owning our own house one day but I also love not having to pay to fix costly problems.
That is definitely one upside of renting for sure! :D Thanks Jade
Yeah Lifestyle says
I love how spacious the inside of your house looks and how lovely your garden looks as well. There is so much potential here and I can see it coming to live with your ideas.
Thank you. We could see the potential, now it’s just getting it done! :) x
Laura Dove says
Oh how gorgeous! I love your home, that light shade is amazing, I so want one for my house! We have so much to do in our own house too!
Thanks so much Laura. It’s nice being able to do our own stuff to a place! :)
I love having a nose around people’s houses, thank you for the tour. It sounds like you’re going to turn it into a lovely family home. I hope your plans all work out. Is it terrible I like the blue shed? Such a happy colour :)
Thank you Tara. I am enjoying the planning part! I love the shade on the shed, just not on the shed! :D x
It must have felt slightly strange moving back home but glad you found you ‘forever’ home?
Thanks so much Anosa. It’s probably more of a “time being” home than a “forever home” but it’s lovely to have our own place again! :)
Sarah Bailey says
How lovely is your new home! I am loving your garden it is just such a lovely size, I am sure you will make many amazing memories.
Thanks so much Sarah. We love the garden especially! :) x
Yay!! So pleased to hear you’re more settled!! The house and garden is beautiful. I love the sound of the Space Lady!!!! Love all your lights too xxx
Thank you. It will be nice once we’ve finished!! The space lady is fabulous, you would love her. I would love to have a brain that worked like that! :D Not long till you get to feather your own new nest! xxx