Showing posts with label farmhouse style. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farmhouse style. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.


We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 


We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 


The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 


There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 


Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 


Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.





I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 


This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.


There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 


Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...


The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 




The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 


Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!


The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 




One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 


I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 


Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 


It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 


We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 


Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  


Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  


I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite things...you know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Monday, July 31, 2017

Ikea Hemnes Buffet Makeover

Hello friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. I will be going on vacation in just one week and I am so ready! I did some major reorganizing and cleaning around the house getting things ready in the guest bedroom for my mom and some relatives that will be staying with us next week.  While I was at it, I decided to give my buffet a little lovin' because it was looking kind of sad...  
This bad boy was jam packed with crap that I absolutely did not need anymore and it was starting to overflow... So I said enough is enough you are getting a makeover! 


This was my inspiration photo and I fell in love with it! Marissa from Lilly and Cedar did such an amazing job transforming this piece. 
Via

I found these pulls from a local hardware store but wasn't really feeling the gold finish.


So I  gave them a coat of oil rubbed metallic spray paint and it was perfect. 



All I did was clean the buffet thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, sanded and directly applied the water based paint taping off the top. 


I initially wanted to spray paint it as I have seen many DIY bloggers use this approach but it just didn't turn out right. It started dripping and it looked uneven...I'm sure I wasn't applying it correctly but I just preferred switching to the good old fashioned paint and paintbrush technique ;-)


That TV is ridiculously heavy so I left it on there and when I went to stain the top I just moved it to the side and waited for it to dry and stained the other side.  It worked fine for me. I used a water based stain that dried very rapidly. 

Ready for the after pic??


I added those two baskets from Ikea in which I stored extra wires, chargers et cetera in the middle basket and magazines in the lower basket. I cleaned out all the drawers and cabinets organizing everything and throwing unnecessary things away. It feels sooo good to get rid of crap you don't need. 


Here is the view from the family room now. I think the space looks so much brighter now. I love it. 


I'll leave you with another before and after 'cause we all love those..I know I do!


I would love to do a post soon sharing a complete tour of the house. I'm doing some redecorating in the bathrooms and changing things up in the kitchen as well so when I get that done I'll share it here. I like to document the changes I make around the house.  It's funny how taste in home decor changes throughout the years don't you think? 

On Instragram I shared a peak at my upstairs gallery wall.  I have been adding beach themed wall art for a while now.  It's very different than my downstairs living/dining room area. This space is right above the stairs and it connects the three bedrooms and bathroom. I guess you could call it a little reading nook. I'm on the hunt for a cozy arm chair to put in that corner where the lamp is.  I still am quite unsure of what to do here. It's kind of a strange area and I feel like I never know what to do with that that little window for a window treatment.  Any suggestions are more than welcome! 


I know I haven't been sharing any good recipes lately and that's mostly because I haven't been cooking anything particularly share worthy. Hopefully I'll be more inspired soon... 

Until then, I wish you all a fantastic week ahead!

xoxo, 


Monday, May 8, 2017

Kumquat Coconut Cake

Remember in my last post where I shared with you a photo of my bountiful kumquat tree and had no idea what to do with the fruits? Well I tried a great recipe that I'll share here today. It's really simple to make and the kumquats give the cake a delicious citrus flavor that pairs together rather nicely with the coconut. 


I saw many recipes online for kumquat coconut cookies and thought I might try mixing the two ingredients into a cake topped with cream cheese frosting and it turned out fantastic.

So I picked the kumquats from my tree and I used about 30 of them in this cake. If you want a more citrus flavor you can go ahead and just add more. 


Ingredients for the cake: 

 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
 - 3 eggs
 - 1/2 cup milk
 - 1 cup vegetable oil
 - 30 chopped kumquats 
 - 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
 - 1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut 
 - 2 teaspoons baking soda
 - 1 teaspoon salt


When chopping up the kumquats make sure to remove the bitter seeds if they have any. Mine had a lot and it was kind of a pain but it's a necessary step. 


Mix the ingredients together in your mixer until everything is blended evenly. 


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and pour batter into a previously greased and floured baking dish. 


Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 


You can't even begin to imagine how good this cake made my house smell. It smelled divine for the whole day...no Yankee candle can even compare!


I let the cake cool completely and frosted with home made cream cheese frosting which went really well with this cake. 


I shared some with my next door neighbor and her family (so that I wouldn't eat it all myself lol) and they enjoyed it as much as I did so I'm happy to say it was a hit. 


Who says you can't eat cake for breakfast? I sure enjoy it :-)

Have a spectacular week ahead! 

xoxo, 

Silvana