let’s pretend this is a home renovation blog for awhile now, shall we?

You might want to sit down for this. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

This is where we are moving. That’s the kitchen, and you can see the door to the pantry there at the back.

I know.

You’d think I’d be more depressed about the new place, right?

I know. I know! I should be more depressed about it. I mean, look at it!

So either I’m in denial or it’s like my six-year-old says: “You always like old things. Really old things!”

And this one is a couple hundred years old. (With the ORIGINAL FLOORS! AND ORIGINAL CEILINGS!)

So what if it is filthy and the floor is crooked and the ceiling beams are too? It’s charming!

So what if it needs a lot of work and I am going to end up having to do most of it myself or pay to have it done even though I am renting. It is cheap!

And besides, that was kind of the deal going in. In exchange for not making a stink, despite the mess left over from the previous disgusting undomesticated tenants, my rent is about 30-40% lower than it should be and I get decorating help from my landlord’s daughter, who is a close friend and architect/professional interior decorator/artist/chef. She’ll also come over and cook for me, not every night, of course, but she is doing most of the cooking for my first dinner party, which is already planned for October 8th.

I see some potential in it. Lot’s of potential, actually. (Bear with me!)

How about a proper tour?

Our new front door. Definitely an improvement on the 70’s reinforced aluminum door we have now.

But please, come in!

Don’t you just LOVE the view of the TOILET as you walk in? (Note to self: ALWAYS REMEMBER TO CLOSE THE BATHROOM DOOR.) That bright blue plastic toilet seat will be the first thing I replace. I’ve already scraped off the “Hazardous waste” sticker and the pictures of the Pope that were attached to the tank.

To the left is the kitchen. To the right, the living room.

This is the view of the living from the kitchen.

If you head straight through the front door, past the stairs, you go through my new office before reaching the bathroom and shower/laundry room.

That’s one side of my office.

And look! There’s the other side.

That’s my new toolbox, by the way. As a newly self-sufficient single woman I figured I’d need one, and it has actually been coming in handy. The screwdrivers work great for scraping pictures of the Pope off toilets.

I will spare you the close-ups of the bathroom until it has been cleaned more thoroughly.

Let’s go on upstairs, instead!

That little niche at the top of the stairs used to be a door, but I am going to make it into bookshelves.

Now you are in my room, looking across the hall into my two-and-a-half-year-old’s room.

And there’s my six-year-old’s room, just across the landing.

So, yeah. It’s old. But it will be charming when I am done with it.

I spent four hours over there this afternoon, mostly scrubbing that small strip of kitchen tiles. I kept telling my friend I’d probably cover up those brown tiles or have them replaced they were so ugly, but she kept insisting they weren’t that bad. Around five o’clock, when I actually started to see what they looked like under all the grime, I realized they weren’t that bad after all. And also, they are not brown.

I also swept the kitchen, and before I was done, I had a mound of dust and dirt and god knows what else bigger than anything I’ve ever swept up before. Then I vacuumed. Then I mopped. And it was then that I realized at some point I am going to have to get down on my knees and scrub those floors clean. I am not looking forward to that. And then there will be the rest of the place to do. But it is therapeutic, I have to admit, and it makes the place feel mine.

And here I am! Quite the self-sufficient thirty-three-year-old who owns her own toolbox. Don’t I look calm and capable? I managed to get all my utilities hooked up on Friday, except for internet/phone, and now I have one week to pack and clean and order a new kitchen and have it delivered and installed before we move in on October 1st. Good thing I took off work.


About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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19 Responses to let’s pretend this is a home renovation blog for awhile now, shall we?

  1. meredith says:

    I know it’s empty, but your kitchen looks big! Keep us posted with photos of your handiwork. I am sure you are going to make your new flat look great. LOL for the Pope photos on the toilet tank 🙂

  2. Jill says:

    It looks like the new apartment has really good bones and once you get past the cleaning (blech but therapeutic all the same!) and make it yours with your things, I know it will be amazing! I love attic apartments and you are so lucky to have those gorgeous beams and skylights!

  3. Antonia says:

    It looks lovely and well done for all your efforts. Cant wait to see the final result.
    We have just returned from vacation in Trentino (near Rovereto).

    take care

  4. k_sam says:

    I love it!! I definitely see the potential there. I don’t know if you remember seeing the pictures on my blog, but our apartment was in a similar state when we got it – also with a 30% rent reduction, which for Paris is great. It took about a month of elbow-grease and a whole lot of paint, but now it looks like a totally different place and we always get lots of compliments. And you are so creative that I have no doubt that you will manage to turn that apartment into a cosy little home in no time!

  5. picotieres says:

    I think it looks great, I like the space a lot, and you look great despite everything that’s been going on. Can’t wait to see what you do with this place.

    Good luck



  6. Sara says:

    Excellent! Thanks for the tour – I love seeing how people transform spaces. Can’t wait to see your touch on the place! 🙂

  7. oldmdgirl says:

    I like the place, and definitely see the potential. Also, you look ripped!

  8. Mary Ann says:

    I love it and can’t wait to see the finished product.

  9. Lora says:

    I love it! Then, I love old places with lots of character too. I see a ton of potential!

  10. Suzanne says:

    I love it! It’s totally charming – and what fun to get to redo it yourself. I myself just installed a new Ikea light in place of the tacky old brass fan that was in my bedroom. Makes me feel very handy. (Hopefully nothing catches fire tonight 🙂
    I can’t wait to see the changes you make.

  11. Chris says:

    I think the place looks great! I’m sure the boys will love it.

  12. britt says:

    The place has INCREDIBLE potential! I love the front door, the floors, your office (those skylights!!) and the stairway (with the built-in bookshelf!) – very unique, very cool. Looks like you will have some fun projects ahead of you 🙂

  13. Gil says:

    Looks like you’ve made at lot of progress already! Looks great.

  14. Amy from TX says:

    Great job already! Can’t wait to see it when you’re all moved in! 🙂

  15. Hilary says:

    You are a super mom! I love to clean floors! I wish I lived closer. I would have come over and helped you!!!

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