Real-estate in the veins...

When I was a kid up until the age of 16 when I gained independence with a Driver’s License and a used-car to go with it, I was pretty much obligated to accompany My Mother on her antiquing forays into the hinterlands of whatever State of the US Union we happened to be inhabiting at the time. I was an available gentleman companion. A bit small, but able. My Mother called these jaunts junquing. I am not a shopper, especially for junque. Being somewhat of an authoritarian personality, any contrary comments or reluctance to enter a tasty Junque Emporium… to My salivating Mother, that is… were hardly tolerated. My obstinance was referred to as not getting with the Program. For awhile, Misery was my middle name. Over the arch of so many indentured years of servitude to The Program, A Law of the Universe was made evident to me, one I learned to grapple with first hand… Junque attracts other junque. Or is found nearby. ZOOMING down a country lane in hot pursuit of some Junque Store… It’s right around the next bend, Forrest. I can feel it!!!… which had come highly recommended in a Sunday newspaper advertisement, a forlorn and/or maligned looking dilapidated clapboard house would zip by us at 80 mph. My Mother, even today at 89 years of age, knows of only one speed: full-steam ahead. Any other setting is ignored. Probably why I am bald & fat. At any rate, in passing some junquely piece of residential architecture, My Mother would hurl out to the passing winds this call-to-Real-estate-arms… Ah, now that has Distinct Possibilities for renovation!!! What? I’d say. That? She would. Too late. I was hooked. Lined. Sunk. Smitten. Saved, too. Surveying the horizons for Distinct Possibilities offered needed relief from emporium invasions. Got good at spotting them at any mph well before My Mother. And in the intimate privacy of my own brain I would fantasize just how I’d do the place up. What to keep, what to knock down. By now, an incurable disease.

Years later…

Most of the time, and yet, not without some effort to contain any pop-up urges, I have managed to be clean of evidentiary Real-Estate Lust, i.e. to the house hunt, until we came upon il Poggiolo in 2009. Normally, I just look but, I do not touch.

Then it happened. Uncontained. Here is the the culprit… proposed by a friend who had innocently asked if I knew of the house. Yes, of course. I look at it every time I drive by. Even the Dogs know it. Why? Oh, just curious. Hard to resist such a quaint & charming villa. I’ve got Real-estate in my veins.

This villa might just be a flirt though. Haven’t seen inside. Have an appointment this Thursday. Time to touch?


Perhaps it would be wise of me to share my Big Real-estate Loves before discovering and doing all that stuff to il Poggiolo back in ‘09. From L to R in order of their respective hits:

Giuseppe the Wood-working meets Frank Lloyd Wright in the Lunigiana, Castiglione del Terziere, to be exact. Friends in the village pointed us to this Moderne-Meets-Medieval Compound. Two ruins bought by an American-Italian and expensively renovated with the deft hands of a local architect and falegname. Both with great taste. So deft were their hands, the American-Italian brought a suit against them for theft. He lost! The man never stepped inside again and immediately put the houses up For Sale. You and I feel madly in love. You for no grass to mow and me for the salotto with a stepped terrace beyond the French-doors in 1/2 of the unified properties. Was not our Destiny to buy. Wildly too high asking price… Euro 600,000… and overly complicated purchase terms of the American-Italian, further confounded by an archaic real-estate agent and his extraordinarily stupid wife, we said Basta! Moved on after a year-long mourning period. By the way, we offered Euro 380,000. Today the selling price is Euro 225,000.

A magnificent early 19th Century Story-book Mansion, the seat of a family of prosperous farmers, naturally requiring an equally prosperous seat. Now in the hands of two recalcitrant brothers who have also dismantle the agro-business, the house and garden and Empire chapel through the woods have been left to decay. Asking price is in the several millions of Euros category. They will watch it fall down to pieces. Another Law of the Universe: When the roof goes, so go the walls. This dream house is quickly nearing that End. But I want it. Not to be.

A Vineyard House in Liguria scouted by a friend who was hot to have this. I wanted her to have it too. Alas, the house did not exist in black & white on paper and to restore it to that state… classic Italian tax dodge… had sent the asking price out of the solar system. That can hurt.

Rustic farm-house, perched above verdant fields, rustle of water coursing through a near-by river, solitude, privacy, your own retreat. This house was Love Numero Due for the same friend who angsted for the Vineyard House. Then, intelligently, we hired a geometra to explain why the place had ENORMOUS cracks. He hired a geologist and his report was not encouraging. The place, THE ENTIRE PLACE, was sinking into the surrounding mud. At this point, these loves just bring you more Laws of the Universe. The latest would be: You’ve got to spend money to save money. My friend saved herself a bunch of money… and trouble. That takes care of any spurned love.

My Biggest Fall for Real-estate… with an added push from Dr. You… of course, was, is il Poggiolo a Codiponte. Nothing beats it. Well, except… It was not love at first sight though. Just seemed a place with most of the boxes ticked-off. We made an offer. It was accepted. Lots of time and money spent. We moved in. Tackled the garden. Filled it up with You’s stuff. The Happy Result is we have a special house in the Italian countryside. To our taste and liking. Let me leave you with one last Law of the Universe: With renovation, it gets worse before getting much more beautiful!

Il Poggiolo Before…

And 4 years later…

So we’ll see about the villetta. Got to ease into it.

In the meantime, and I cannot resist this. In the interest of being Democratic in this age when that ideal is continually chucked in the trash of politics, You too has had his Real-estate flirts. How about A Little House on the Italian Prairie?… Oh, John-boy, wherefore art thou? It’s a mystery house too.