The Fortress: Renovation Update

As you all know, if you follow me on social media, I am currently hip deep in our home renovation project, the house named, La Prugna in Tuscany. The truth be told, I live for this sort of chaos, so what can I say? I am like a pig in sh-t right now. My designer and BFF is as well. We are born one day apart, and if he were not a 6 foot 4 big bear of a Colorado man, you would definitely think we were separated at birth. Forrest and I have always had a special bond and have always both been swept up in the idea of any construction project. But I think we would both agree that for the first time in our lives, this project just feels, well…right.

Italy Reno This is the facade of the house. All the old mortar has been blasted away and replaced with new mortar. Italy Reno They pick out the mortar, Forrest says it looks like rotten teeth… Italy Reno Then they fill it in with the new mortar. If they did not do this tedious process, the wind and weather would infiltrate the building. This is the back of the house; it’s the original fortress. You can see that from the architecture. The same mortar treatment is done here. It’s a thankless job, but I am so thankful that we have such great artisans working on the Fortress.

If you remember, Forrest was my constant companion house hunting, not my husband Frank (who is, as they say, a really good sport), but Forrest is my rock, and our creative director. He and I both fell in love with the Fortress, but since it was so huge we were both a little slow to pull the trigger at first. Three and half years and 45 houses later, we did. You’d never know we were hesitant from the way we have launched into the renovation of La Prugna – full speed ahead. With Forrest at the helm and me as the first mate, this ship is sailing along all sails bellowing with wind. Since I left Italy mid-November, we have managed to gut most of the living quarters, expand our kitchen times four, and started gutting the master bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

Italy Reno We blew away all the walls to make the kitchen much bigger.

We’ve blown-out every window in the house, and are quickly replacing them with beautiful new ones painted a deep graphite.

Italy Reno

In the studio, we put on a much needed roof, and added a WC and a sink. We are in the process of laying a heated floor.

Italy Reno

All the plumbing is being laid, and the electrical is also being added.
The out building has been given new life by demolishing the car park, which was a ram shackled portico, and we are building a parking area and a new driveway to that parking area.

Italy Reno Italy Reno Italy Reno They pulled everything down including the pergola, and then cut down some trees. The really cool thing about construction in Italy is there is no waste. The downed trees and rubble are the start of the retaining wall that will support the new driveway.

Phase one the studio and our living quarters is on track even though the wicked winter keeps rearing its ugly head. When it’s too cold outside, the crew heads inside to work. Our crew is amazing, and I feel blessed to have them working with me. Of course Forrest is a saint and a gentleman, and our savior on the project. Our Geometra Marco is a rock star!

The guest quarters will start construction in May, and our students arrive in June and will be able to see the crew in action, as well as enjoy styling and photography workshops with all of our amazing instructors and my incredible team.

So for now, full steam ahead. Look for lots of updates on my Instagram account and follow along as we make this vision come to life. Ciao tutti. xx

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