Letting the sunshine in! We proudly present our first before and after shots!

The renovation of our house has been the source of many hours of discussion and debate between the two of us. Where exactly do we start? We had witnessed home renovation chaos via our friend’s projects here in Canada as well as watching a seemingly endless stream of real estate shows (all in the name of research of course haha). With the further complication of not actually living in the country, we both knew that baby steps and lots of planning would be the best and only way forward for us.

With a limited budget, we sat down with a list and created a timeline of what would be best done now, then soon, then later. If Steffanie could be described as having a super power it would be the Master of Lists and List-making. Thankfully, we have different strengths in different areas and my marginal input in list creating is balanced out in other pursuits. Otherwise, it would be me staring at an excel spreadsheet yelling at the screen in a variety of exotic swear words for hours on end.

With so much to do, it was hard to focus but with our crafty spreadsheets, it was easy to make the first major decision – to upgrade the windows. The old windows were single-paned, no screens and some of them were missing glass entirely.  As a result, the drafts were enough to force us to wear mittens at the table when we were there at Christmas time!  And in the spring … all manner of irritating, stinging bugs nibbled on us while we slept.  Since marinating in calamine lotion isn’t how we envision our vacations, we decided that windows would make a big difference in a variety of ways.

Steffanie on the balcony

Steffanie on the balcony with the old windows and doors

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The balcony with new windows and shutters! Ta Daaaaaah!

balcony without new shutters

Balcony without new shutters

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The balcony with new shutters!

In addition, we also decided to pay the extra money to add two new windows in the bedrooms. Apparently, this caused a lot of additional discussion with the contractor as to why we needed more windows in our bedrooms since we were only there at night (says you).  After making it quite clear we were determined and much to the irritation of our neighbours, new window holes and no doubt lots of noise were created.

Laura's bedroom

Once where only reptiles roamed….

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Behold! A new window and light!

Another less controversial window was also made in what is now our living room. Previously, the room had two French style doors and a window in between. With such an amazing vista, we decided to create a third door and expand the view of the castle. And why not!  Being able to look across at a castle was part of the reason we fell in love with the place and we both want  see as much of the landscape as possible no matter where we are sitting and at any time of day.

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The window on the left becomes ….

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A door!

Of course there were a few delays but in the end, as with most things in Italy, it got done – just not with our city-girl Canadian sense of time.  Italian timing is best calculated with a glass of wine (or several) in hand and lots and lots of patience. Like an opera there are stages and acts involved: Anticipation, Anxiety, Stress, Negotiating , Re-negotiating, Appreciation and then Relief  – in the end, a few extra weeks of waiting versus the many future years of light and beautiful scenery makes it worth the wait.

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Castle of Cleto, Calabria

Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton


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