After almost five years and an abundance of obstacles later, I am finally in my own place again.
I’m grateful and thrilled to have four walls that allow me to fully decompress and recharge. Looking around, I believe this place has the potential to become a very special space.
To give you a proper visualization/idea of this new place, if you have seen Under The Tuscan Sun, it is pretty much how Katherine describes Bramasole at the beginning of the film: “Run down, but redeemable.”
The previous tenants of this condo were, (how does one put this gently?) maliciously careless with almost every square inch of the property. They and their canine companion left behind massive holes in the drywall (sheetrock to you Southern people out there), destroyed carpet, demolished baseboards, broken plumbing, undusted doorframes, beneath the fridge yuck, enough mildew, mold, discolored grout and Drano damaged sink (among other issues) to make Happy Quinn on Scorpion go “Not good.”
Because of time constraints and other issues, I had to move in before the completion of all the repairs which means that, yep, you guessed it, it hasn’t seen the final deep clean you would expect to be done before moving in to a new rental; leaving me with moldy toilet tanks, splatter painted toilet bowls and all kinds of fun smells to tackle on my own until the repairs are completed.
Welcome to Bramasole West. Like it’s namesake in Italy, it just needs some tender, loving care.
But tender, loving care was the very last thing I thought of when I walked in to see the unscrubbed tub, the dirty grout and so forth after an exhausting day of moving. At that point, I sat down on the newly-laid wood floors and cried. Then, before I became completely hysterical, I promptly got a hotel room for the night.
Laying in bed at 2am trying desperately to calm my 20-on-a-10-scale triggered PTSD, I remembered what Frances said about Bramasole upon moving in:
Buyer’s remorse is a very common affliction among new homeowners. Just because you have an acid stomach and a sudden urge to weep, that doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake.
Everybody knows old houses have their quirks. Especially 300-year-old houses.
I have inherited 10,000 empty wine bottles, one grape, every issue of “La Nazione” printed in 1958, and assorted previous “tenants.”
The trick to overcoming buyer’s remorse is to have a plan.
Pick one room and make it yours.
Go slowly through the house.
so it can introduce itself to you.
So, here we go. Bramasole West, meet everyone. Everyone meet Bramasole West. I am hoping after the final repairs are done, a cleaning service will come in to attempt the undertaking of cleaning up what is left of what the previous tenants left behind. If not, it’s going to be me and enough cleaning supplies to choke a metaphorical horse, going room by room, introducing myself, so it can introduce itself to me.
I am open to advice (that’s what the comments section is for) and donations so I can hire the proper people and/or buy the mountain of cleaning supplies required before I can even THINK of bringing in my sister in to start the interior design. (If Nan saw the condition of this place right now, she’d have a coronary! So, I am waiting to bring her in AFTER the repairs are finished and it’s been properly cleaned and disinfected.)
This is definitely a case of “Restoration BEFORE Decoration” because the very first time I went to the bathroom, the toilet overflowed as a “welcome home gift,” leaving me scrambling, trying to prevent water from seeping into the cracks above the tile and into the walls. Well, at least I don’t have an owl in the house or have to witness a washing machine being electrocuted by a storm.
With the right attitude, it’s doable. It’s a great cautionary tale of how NOT to treat a rental. Most of all, I am going to treat it as what it is: an obstacle to overcome. And when I leave, I hope this place is infinitely more beautiful than how I found it. That’s what having a restorative strength is all about.
And just in case you feel like donating to this daunting project, here ya go:
If you want to send a mop or a bucket or grout cleaner, let me know in the comments so I can tell you where to send it!
For song of the day, from the Under The Tuscan Sun soundtrack, here’s “Buyer’s Remorse.”