My Life in Photos, May

As many of you know, I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home there, The Fortress. To say it’s been a whirlwind of excitement would be an understatement.

I’ve spending my days unpacking and prepping for students who arrive next month and spending my nights enjoying aperitivo on our terrace or sipping our own vineyard’s wine with friends.

Of course there have been many ups and downs, and I’ve been sharing a lot of my experiences on Instagram. For those of you who don’t follow me there, here’s a glimpse at my life in photos for May.

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

Faucet of my dreams in my own kitchen in Italy.

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

Crostata break – oh, with espresso.

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

Market day! Choosing perfectly aged pecorino.

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

The view out of my window in the mornings.

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

Starting to get to know the light in this place…

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

Bedroom vibes

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

My first night at la Fortezza; it’s quiet as a tomb and was my best sleep in a long time.

I have spent the past few weeks in Italy moving into our new home here, The Fortress. Here's a glimpse at my life in photos for May including moving-in!

Pardon me while I post a million pictures of my love, my La Canche.

By the way, if you really want to see some behind the scenes moments, be sure to checkout my Instagram stories. You never know what peeks at The Fortress you might see.

If you want to see The Fortress for yourself, we have just a few spots left for our July workshops. I’d love to see you there.

xx Annette

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Moving in Day :: Italy

I never thought this day would come....moving in day in Italy! I am grateful to be able to fulfill our dream and share it with students, family and friends.

Well I never thought this day would come….

Moving in day in Italy. From my 3 1/2 year search to phase one of our renovation of the main house, it’s truly been a sweet journey. I could not have done any of this, not one lick of it, without my best friend, and designer/project manager, Forrest Spears. He is truly an angel, and will continue to be as we move into phase two, the guest quarters, commercial kitchen and student lounge. I am hugely overwhelmed with the feelings that the Fortress is finally ours. We are restoring it to its full potential and will welcome our first workshop attendees in June.

I am grateful to be able to fulfill our dream and to share it with our students, family and friends over the next years to come.

Send me good vibes as all of you know moving day is a challenge.

I will be dealing with boxes eaten by what our workers called “field mice”… I think they were trying to be nice. I think the “mice”  are more like rats. We stored all of our belongings in our cantina (which is like a wine cellar), but obviously it’s been home to several rat families and creatures of the field over the past years. I think I will be adopting a few cats this summer. 🙂

So the glamorous life of living in the Italian countryside begins this weekend for me. Rubber gloves and endless buckets of soapy water and giant garbage bags will be there too, as they ate anything made of straw, wicker or paper. I won’t go into detail but a lot of stuff is pretty disgusting.

However, once I move it, the main house will be glorious. All I have to think of is my shiny new Lacanche, and it puts a smile on my face.

lacanche Our new Lacanche range fresh out of the box.

Thank you to all of you that have followed along to this point, cheered me on and were nothing but supportive and excited for us. We love that you continue to send good wishes and thoughts. I hope you all come visit us and share a glass of our wine from the vineyard. Continue to follow as we start phase 2 in the next couple weeks. It’s going to be an action packed summer. In the meantime love to you all, and grazie mille xx

The vineyard view from the guest room.

 

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My Life in Photos, April

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Can you believe that April is almost over? It’s been a busy month, but I’ve loved every second of it. April has been full of wrapping-up phase one of our Italian renovation, whipping-up spring recipes using veggies from my garden, and putting the finishing touches on book two.

I’m both exhausted and excited thinking about it all.

As most of you know, I adore Instagram. It’s truly a place where I can share all of my goings on with you. However, I know some of you like to visit the blog instead, so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite photos from April with you here. There’s so much color, beauty, and of course, memories in these photos. Enjoy!

xx Annette

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Our master bath door waiting to be installed at our renovation.

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Many people ask me how long it takes to put a book together. When I hand in the final manuscript plus all the photos, it will be 3 years.

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How cute was Vivi as a puppy? We brought her home 5 years ago.

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This torta pasqualina was featured on City Sage a few weeks ago.

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Props, props, and more props for Cocktail Italiano.

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That’s a wrap on photographing book 2! Love this mash-up of the wrap party for Picture Perfect Parties 5 years ago.

 

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The Fortress:: a renovation update from Italy

Ciao! As many of you know, I have been hopping back and forth from the US to Italy while we are closing in on our deadline for our renovation.

This renovation has been in over drive since November 14, 2016. It’s completion date is April 30th. Whatever you have heard about building and renovating in Italy, in this case I would throw it out the window. Our team in Italy has been amazing…no really really amazing. I am gobsmacked how quickly and efficiently this mammoth project is coming along. Granted we still have phase 2 which will commence in May.

I will say, we could not have done it without our designer/project manager extraordinaire Forrest and our Geometra Marco.

I have been hopping back and forth from the US to Italy while we are closing in on our renovation deadline, and today I have a renovation update for you. *Pictured here is the Terracotta finished, and the hand-painted vintage tiles from the 70s will be placed on the banquette as the kick-plate all the way around.

Last week: The new terrace tiles were laid, and I met with the blacksmith to design custom railings and a gate. We also met with a stone mason about marble counters, and stone seating for the wrap around banquette. I can hardly wait to enjoy aperitivo on the terrace with family and friends.

The terracotta tiles will be laid on all the walkways and in the studio space, as well as in the guest quarters’ out building.

Renovation update: our kitchen This is where the Lacanche stove will be, I adore the vintage pale red and greyish creamy checked tiles.

We observed the completion of the bones of the new kitchen. We took out a tiny pantry and bathroom to expand the kitchen, and when finished it will have 2 refrigerators, 2 dishwashers, 1 Lacanche stove and 2 vintage marble sinks. It will also feature vintage tiles, an antique larder, handmade lighting and plumbing fixtures, metal shelves, Carrara marble counters and back splashes, and plenty of copper. Not to mention nonstop sunlight with 3 windows covering all exposures. Needless to say, I am thrilled and excited to start cooking in my new kitchen.

kitchen before Kitchen Before kitchen after Kitchen expanded (hint: the sink is still in the same place)

It was a crazy week, and it went by in the blink of an eye. I’m back for the summer May 4th, so be sure check out my instagram stories; it is going to be a crazy ride to the completion and the finished styling of our spaces.

Grazie tutti xx

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Shopping for upcycled tile in Italy

Shopping for upcycled tile in Italy.

Ciao everyone! As you might know, I am busy outfitting our new home and big renovation project in Tuscany. Last week we were busy flea-marketing, antiquing, and browsing junk stores for goodies for the Fortress. Frank and I were gobsmacked at the progress that has been made on the house thus far.

Phase one should be completed on schedule. Phase one includes: our residence, the photo studio, and wrap-around terrace, and all walkways, a hand cobbled driveway, and parking lot. This will also include refinishing all the stone facing and replacing all the mortar, 3 new roofs, new windows, HVAC, and plumbing for the entire compound.

Phase two will start May 1st and will include all guest rooms including the outbuilding. The rooms will be newly appointed and the commercial kitchen and lounge area will also be built out. We will be enlarging the vineyard, and fingers crossed, putting up our first vintage of Rose this fall. So as you can see, it’s a very all encompassing project.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy. I particularly am in love with cement tiles. We are going to try to use and reuse as much material as we can. It’s the Italian way and honestly, it makes the most sense. All the furniture, with the exception of our bed and the sofa in our living room, are all vintage, antiques, and upcycled. I feel it’s an important mission and something that we believe in strongly.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

I selected a red and white cement tile to surround our new Lacanche French blue range.

Up-Cycled Tiles

These super cool tailored stripes will surround the upcycled trough in the studio.

Tile shopping was such fun. We looked for upcycled tiles. In other words, tiles that have come from vintage Italian homes, mostly in southern Italy.

So many beautiful tile combinations! I can hardly wait to use these as photo backdrops for our workshops this summer. It’s going to be a beautiful location to create and enjoy. If you’re interested in seeing the Fortress, in person make sure to sign up to join us. Sign up here.

Keep watching our progress on instagram.

xx, Annette

 

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