Unfolded Travels curates itineraries you can’t find online for honeymoons, destination weddings, family getaways, and bucket list trips worldwide.

BON VOYAGE

Unfolded Travels curates itineraries you can’t find online for honeymoons, destination weddings, family getaways, and bucket list trips worldwide.

BON VOYAGE
I'm Brittany!

This blog is a curated space sharing bits of everything I love. As you browse, you’ll find travel advice, style edits, and reflections on life as an American living & raising a family in Italy. 

I hope this space is an endless source of inspiration, insights, and insider knowledge that elevate your travel experiences and day-to-day lifestyle.

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As our renovation journey unfolds (slowly, but surely!), we’re thrilled to share the next chapter of our home, Casa Prima Rosa. In this installment of our renovation diaries, we’re focusing on the exterior of our villa and the exciting plans we have to bring back its historic charm while adding our own personal touch.

A Historic Liberty-Style Villa

Our villa, a Liberty-style property built in 1910, sits proudly on ¾ of an acre in the picturesque hills of Lake Como. While it currently stands in need of some serious TLC, the potential it holds is boundless. It’s always been a dream of mine to renovate such a historical home, and while I must admit – this is a big task! — I am filled with excitement to take on this journey.

Many of my friends and loved ones have looked at the home and told me I’m a bit crazy for taking on a project this large. Personally though, the home renovation design process brings me peace. I love to look at the empty spaces and envision exactly what it will soon become. It’s a weird talent that I possess which enables me to really reimagine the existing rooms and how they will serve us in the future.

The grounds of the property are larger than we first believed when we purchased the home. Every time we visit we make new discoveries of how large the yard is! After we recently had the gardeners come and cut back the overgrown weeds, we found a hidden pathway and much larger garden beds than we anticipated.

Restoring and Enhancing Historical Features

One of our key goals in this home renovation is to honor the rich history while introducing elements that enhance visual appeal. Many of the villa’s original architectural details have been obscured by layers of white paint over the years.

The exterior is a blank canvas waiting to be brought back to life — the original frescoes were painted over and everything made a stark white some time ago. I plan to add more depth through the use of a creamier white paint and deeper tones.

We’re on a mission to meticulously uncover and restore original features, including the repurposing the outdoor iron railings on the terraces, therefore making them safer for the children. We’ll also try to duplicate the original stained glass windows in the future guest apartment, as the original ones have cracked over the years.

You may notice that the back of the house has more architectural interest than the front of the home, which leads us to believe this actually used to be the front of the property when it was built. We’re treating each side of the villa with the respect it deserves, ensuring that every angle is as captivating and welcoming as the next.

Timeless Charm

In keeping with our vision of blending old-world charm with modern elegance, we’ve selected a contrasting color palette for the exterior. Traditional French blue shutters will replace the existing rolling shutters, adding in a more traditional aesthetic.

The façade will feature more contrasting paint colors in shades of creamy whites and taupes, giving the villa a fresh yet timeless appearance. The stark white paint hides too many of the home’s details!

Reimagining Windows

We aim to create a seamless connection between the indoors and the lush outdoors. We’re replacing all the broken original windows with wooden windows that have dual-paned glass.

Another significant addition in the home renovation will be a larger window/door at the front of the house that opens up to the pool area, offering gorgeous views and it will flood the interior with natural light.

Creating Outdoor Living Spaces

The outdoor spaces are just as crucial to our vision as the villa itself. We’re excited to transform our front yard into a space where friends and loved ones will feel at home.

We really enjoy hosting and envision long, leisurely meals, kids swimming in the pool, and plenty of spaces for us to enjoy the beautiful Como weather.

The pool, a long and narrow design aligning perfectly with the contours of the land, will be a central feature. Despite being in the front yard, we are designing it to make it seem as if it has always been a part of the property. Adjacent to the pool, we’re planning an outdoor kitchen equipped with a BBQ and a pergola for al fresco dining. 

Landscaping with Intention

Landscaping is the most overwhelming portion of our project. Although I designed the yards in our previous home, it was on a much smaller scale — and I’m definitely a novice gardener. I quickly learned an important lesson with our last home: always select native plants. I’ll be very intentional with our selections for the backyard, ensuring sustainability and ease of maintenance. 

Our approach to landscaping is to create a space that feels like a natural extension of the villa’s serene environment. We’re avoiding a heavily manicured look in favor of a more purposeful and organic design. There will be no traditional grass planted on the property.

I plan to keep the parklike feel to the backyard. We’re also considering planting a variety of fruit trees and shrubs around the perimeter for added height and privacy.

Everything was in need of major trimming and weed removal, which just happened a few days ago. Some pine trees died from fungus long ago, so they need to be removed. Our landscaper is worried the fungus has spread to the other pines. But we’re crossing our fingers that’s not the case as they’re gorgeous. This is a challenging aspect of the project, but we’re committed to preserving the lush, park-like feel of the property as much as possible.

Join Us on Our Journey

As we continue to breathe new life into Casa Prima Rosa, we’re filled with excitement and gratitude. This home renovation journey is not just about creating a beautiful house, it’s about curating a space where lifelong core memories are made.

Now that the proposed external changes to our villa have been approved by the city commission, we get to move onto designing the interior of the home. It’s my favorite part of the home renovation design process, where I get to bring my many ideas to life. So, stay tuned for the next segment in our renovation diaries. We can’t wait to share more updates, inspiration, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of our renovation journey. If you missed our last segment of this series, you can read it here.

For more frequent updates and a closer look at our progress, be sure to follow us on Instagram at @casaprimarosa. We’ve recently started this account where we post lots of exciting content about the home renovation. Join us there to stay connected!

Best wishes,

Brittany

Lifestyle

Casa Prima Rosa: Home Renovation Diaries II

Lifestyle

Casa Prima Rosa: Home Renovation Diaries II

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The Blog by Unfolded Travels

Meet Brittany.

Your travel-obsessed friend who’s been everywhere (yes, with her kids, too), thinks of everything, and is always willing to share heartfelt support & guidance.

This blog is a curated space sharing bits of everything I love. As you browse, you’ll find travel advice, style edits, and reflections on life as an American living & raising a family in Italy. 

I hope this space is an endless source of inspiration, insights, and insider knowledge that elevate your travel experiences and day-to-day lifestyle. 

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