January 13, 2010

What about the palazzo ?

"What about your palazzo?"
"Is your house in Italy done?"
"When can we come to visit you?"

These are the questions that friends, family and neighbours and everybody who knows about our crazy Italian acqusition ask us whenever we meet them.

In case you want to know but have not dared to ask yet:
The renovation of the exterior is done and finished. The palazzo looks ready from the outside.

However, the inside is far from ready - and at the moment we are not working on it. The piping for water and heat is done. Electricity is all installed. The flooring is not done yet (only outside, for the balcony and terrace) But this should be the next step. Preserving some old tiles and choosing the right wood for wooden floors. Making one floor liveable for next summer is the goal.

Why we are not working on it right now?
Two reasons that go hand in hand: 
time & money

There must be someone of the family on site, at least for some initial and major supervision. My little family has moved from China to Germany, so although we are closer to Italy right now, we are not living close enough to just travel to Calabria for a few days and back. There are no direct flys during winter time, and during spring they are too expensive still. My father-in-law who officially is retired is involved in some important consulting projects, at the moment in La Spezia (Liguria, Italy). This is a bit closer to the South of Italy, but still he has little time to go back and forward. He might be ready to spent time in Pizzo from this April on.

And the second bottle neck is money. A subject one do not like to talk about. But in an economic crisis like this one, everyone has to calculate harder, some more, some less. And I do not want to lament here - don't get me wrong - as this would be on a high level ... but selling the palazzo is not an option! We just take it easy. One step at a time - with the help of the family.

Therefore I cannot report any progress and post pretty pictures from Italy for the moment. I only can offer to review the before and after posts.

view from my "office", Germany

I am writing this post from Germany, from a flat, that has less than half the space of our Italian home. Of course it would make more sense to have a house with a garden here in Germany - but we are global nomads, have been living 8 years in Asia, my husband is Italian and has never lived more than five years on a spot. The last time we settled in Germany was for two years. It was not planned, but happened. Now we are here again, since 1 1/2 years, and do not know for how long. While we were living in China, we have been looking for a home base in Italy, where we could go for holidays when living abroad and gather with family and friends - like the large French families do in their maison de campagne. And that's the plan we have with the palazzo in Pizzo.

Meanwhile I cannot do anything about the palazzo - I have another subject for my German home: there is an urgent need to de-clutter everywhere ! I always smiled when decluttering was mentioned in connection with feng shui, modern feng shui. But there is something about it. I feel totally blocked with all the mess around ! I even do not know where to start and where to drop all the things I need to throw out / give away. My problem are a bit my 'collector' genes, I cannot separate from things, I hesitate to throw away things - and I have mover's boxes in the basement I do not even know what is in it. I could throw them away without looking inside. But I am lost, when I do look inside....

I have to start decluttering. NOW. One of the targets is our bookshelf. Do I really need all these paperback bestsellers that no one reads twice? And dictionaries when you can google?

Happy day from my winter wonderland in Germany!

winterwonderland view in Stuttgart, Germany

bookshelf awaiting decluttering, Germany

PS: Can anyone tell me where to find the spelling check with blogger ? This would be great, I feel like writing blind...
Update (to PS): I am actually using the updated editor and there is no ABC spelling function. However, when changing back to the old editor with the spelling function, it still does not work for me. Strange because the language is set to English and I have not change anything on the computer (before no problem).


  1. I have read that to declutter you must be brutal but be kind to yourself. Prepare three boxes marked to keep, to give away, and to go to garbage. Start in one corner and only work for 15 minutes. I just went through my books and now have two bookshelves, before I had four. It feels really good.

  2. When you are doing a post on blogger, just above is an icon marked abc, click on that to check your spelling.

  3. We are moving around a lot, too. So decluttering became my hobby. Like you said, it feels so much better in the house with less stuff around.
    After our last move, we lived in temp housing for 3 months with only 40%of our stuff. And to be honest - that was enough...
    Good luck!

  4. To Annavallance: thanks for your tip with the 3 boxes - it will make it easier to have 3 options -and for mentioning the need of being "brutal" - I wondered if I am the only one who has difficulties to let go stuff (beside the trash junkies).

    For the spelling: the ABC does not show up when you upgrade the editing function - do not really want to go back to the old way, but maybe should when posting long text.

    THANKS !

  5. To Yvalie: you are right, we can live with much less - and all the stuff we do not use, let's say at least once a year, is too heavy in every meaning (dust cleaning, storage, handling, transportation cost etc.)

    It is easier to forget about a box in the basement, but if you see an item with memories in front of you it is more difficult to get rid of it, even when you have not thought about it for 5 years or more.

    Maybe I should put the 3rd box (garbage) that Annavallance mentioned into the basement for a little time and then, when I do not miss a thing, throw it out without looking into the box again.

  6. Suzie,
    Our Visas came today (yea!) and we will be moving permanently to Santa Domenica Talao on February 17.
    I love anything having to do with design and restoration. Can't wait to finish our place... and we would be happy to help you in any way that makes sense with your long-distance restoration stuff. Don't know what that might be, but if you need anything that a semi-close neighbor could help with, just let us know.
    Love any excuse to go to Pizzo. di

  7. Hiya Suzie,
    Clutter? You call that clutter??
    That bookcase looks ever so tidy to me, as does the room around it :-)

    I know what it means to be 'between homes'. Even though ours are only 20 KM apart, we are forever ferrying things up and down.

  8. To Diana and Guido:
    Grazie, thank you ! That is really kind of you!! How far are you away from us (Pizzo)?!
    At the moment there is nothing happening in our house. Also we do have some local friends in case something would be urgent.
    Your offer is very sweet and much appreciated!
    Hope to get together with you in summer?!

  9. To Joco:
    First, I am shy and do not dare to post the "real" clutter", the mess that I have in many corners all of the house (I pile things one over the other).
    And second, I took a close-up picture for a before and after post, this will show more details.
    But you are right - the pic I have choosen is not really suiting the subject... it was also a first step to post a bit about my German home.

  10. I agree- you're "cluttered" bookshelves look beautiful to me!! :)