My Dream Home

Torre Bellosguardo as seen on
"Here is my secret.  It's quite simple:  One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes." 
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

"Springtime view"image via VRBO 116641, as seen on

Though I picture the design elements particular to my taste and personal aesthetic values when I’m asked to describe my dream home, what is most important to me is the "spirit" of the place - that oft intangible quality, - the way a space makes us feel. 

As I wrote about previously in Nesting Instinct, if there is a common thread in my life it is that I nest.  As a little girl, I somehow managed to move around furniture much larger and heavier than I should have been able to manage for my size because I had ideas I just had to try.  - I learned about leverage and the power of sheer determination at an early age(!) - and this drive to design has been a defining trait of mine throughout my life.    

So it came as no surprise when I ended up doing home design for others and I was fortunate to work with some lovely people resulting in some beautiful homes I am proud to have had a hand in creating.  That said, there was always something missing in it for me.  

Not long ago, I had the realization that if I instead created spaces for people to come to and enjoy, then I could focus on this intangible quality more.  In fact, my primary focus could be uplifting and inspiring others in spaces designed for this purpose! (This seems an obvious conclusion but it was an exciting epiphany for me.)  

Taking it a step further, when I combined all the things I am most passionate about,  I could see myself owning a boutique spa hotel and retreat - a healing, restorative, i n s p i r i n g  place for people to come to practice yoga and meditation and overall just a serene, uplifting and special place to be. I would design it, live there and welcome guests to a unique accommodation with custom amenities and a variety of life-enhancing activities and classes.
"Power of Light" by photographer Martin Rak (cz) as seen on
Once I had this clarity, the details of my vision came pouring out of me and I began writing a description of every aspect of what the building and gardens would look like, feel like and how every space would function. 

LeAnn in window sill at Il Cassero, Lucignano Italy as seen on linenandlavender.netEach morning I looked forward to the time I had allotted to meditate and write about Casa di Lucia and each day I expanded on the vision and thoroughly enjoyed visiting this place of my dreams.

So when Cindy Hattersley of Rough Luxe Perspective recently asked a group of us to write about our Dream Home, I thought "Great, this will be easy.  I'll just share excerpts from the many pages I've written describing Casa di Lucia, my ultimate dream home. "

It's so obvious now, but I guess because Casa di Lucia lives so vividly in my heart and imagination, it didn't really occur to me that it would be difficult and time-consuming, if not down right impossible, to find images to share here to adequately convey my vision. (help!)  Still, I was determined to try,  so without further ado, what follows are a few lines from what I've written about my dream home (aka Casa di Lucia) along with a few photos that I hope will at least give you a glimpse of this special place I visit in my dreams...  


[The very first thing I did was to draw up the floor plan I saw in my mind's eye.  It has a center courtyard which is an integral part of the design so it became clear early on that I should look for convents or monasteries in my property hunt as they often have this feature.] 

Casa di Lucia is a rectangular shaped structure comprised of ancient stone and plaster with a courtyard at center... 

 Cloister of Old Convent for sale near Florence Italy, image via Romolini, as seen on

...There is an interior balcony overlooking the courtyard on all sides.  All rooms open out to the balcony with stairs in each corner leading to the lower level courtyard.

Monastery for Sale dot com "Eremo" as seen on
 Monastery for Sale dot com "Eremo" as seen on

There is a large balcony on the west side extending out from the kitchen and this stretches the length of the building, with stairs for access out to the pool area and yoga pavilion ( an iron structure which opens up completely to the panoramic view.)

Il Cortile Buonconvento, image via Frank Knight Properties as seen on
Cabana style beds, image via ad from unknown source, as seen on
Cabana type beds surround the pool.

View via Vinzano dot com as seen on
Casa di Lucia is reached by a classic cypress-lined drive and has a remarkable secluded-yet easily accessible feeling to it. 
View to Firenze, Property 13003, image via Frank Knight Properties as seen on linenandlavender.netWe have our own (organic, of course!) vegetable and herb garden and several beautiful villages are nearby for all the other goods we need.  We are a short drive from wonderful shops and restaurants and not far from cultural events and festivals held in the area with Firenze just a short distance from us.  Casa di Lucia is centrally located to all of this, yet somehow feels secluded too.

Monastery for Sale dot com, Eremo, as seen on
Our property is the perfect combination of a well-maintained landscape, but not overly formal or manicured.  It is a romantic garden but not fussy and blends seamlessly with the surrounding area, comprised of many lovely old trees.  We have a variety of beautiful plants and flowers...climbing roses and fig vines, rosemary, lavender, wisteria, verbena, lemon trees, olive trees, cypress...many mature beautiful plants and trees were already in place allowing us to tailor the remainder of the garden to compliment the house with meandering paths and tranquil meditation spots throughout the property.
Olive and Cypress via Les Bastide de Marie as seen on
Fountain image via Vinzano dot com, as seen on
Garden bench via Vinzano dot com as seen on

Ruins on property 100006, Frank Knight Properties, as seen on
Torre Bellosguardo gardens as seen on
Torre Bellosguardo lemon tree as seen on
 Property 100006, via Frank Knight Properties as seen on

Residence near Florence, Italy, image by lb for linenandlavender.netResidence near Florence, Italy, image by lb for
Massive arched and beautifully-carved wood and iron entry doors are intriguing and beckon guests to them. They appear as guardians of the house, shielding and protecting its inhabitants while also hinting of the wonderful revelations to come.

Stepping inside the front doors, you feel as though you have entered another dimension, embraced by a quiet peaceful quality in the entry and from here you can glimpse the inner courtyard and garden and pick up the sound of the courtyard fountain as you continue through.

[In old buildings such as this, the kitchen is often tucked away somewhere with very little natural light so I'm imagining I'll need a big, light-filled space where I can design my ideal kitchen for this home/business.] 
Image 120027, great room, Frank Knight Properties, as seen on
The kitchen is a grand space, but very cozy and efficient at the same time.  The island is large and used for a variety of purposes.  One of two stone sinks is located here and there is much room on either side for prep.  On the west side of the island, there is plenty of space for guests to sit and watch and interact with the cook (which she encourages/enjoys.)  It is ideal for cooking classes.  The fireplace on the west of the kitchen is flanked by 2 pairs of French doors on each side.  
Image 120027, great room, Frank Knight Properties, as seen on
The long farmhouse table is centered off from the fireplace.  This allows everyone a view of the fireplace as well as a view out the windows and French doors to the pool area and panoramic view beyond.  The long balcony running all along this side of the house is perfect for sipping wine and enjoying the sunset.  Everyone naturally congregates in the kitchen as it has such a warm feeling to it and a variety of seating options for large or intimate gatherings.  
Stone Sink and Fireplace, image via Côté Sud Fev-Mar 2003 as seen on
110027 image via Frank Knight Properties as seen on

Axel Vervoordt, summer resort, image from Timeless Interiors, as seen on

The loggia below the kitchen has a long wooden dining table. It contains a small kitchen on one end concealed by large rustic doors.  There is a large fireplace and pizza/bread oven here.  The loggia can be closed off in inclement weather, but otherwise the doors are kept open on both sides (to the interior courtyard) and out to the view of the pool and beyond.

Chapel via Monastery for Sale dot com, Eremo, as seen on
The house is in move-in condition, but the property has several outbuildings we can renovate/restore at our leisure such as an old chapel.  There are other outbuildings, barns and cottages, for conversion to further guest accommodations or to be used for staff housing.
image via DaVinci Properties as seen on

image via DaVinci Properties as seen on

Wood ceilings, 120027, image via Frank Knight Properties as seen on
Casa di Lucia has beautiful beamed ceilings and elegant rustic features throughout. 
Lounge, 100006 property via Frank Knight Properties, as seen on

Spa Tub image via property 13003, Frank Knight Properties, as seen on
Spa treatments are available in our intimate on-site spa.  Massages and other treatments can also be taken in the Cabana type beds surrounding the pool.
palazzo wine cellar, image via DaVinci Properties as seen on
We have a well-stocked wine cellar and an intimate grotto-like dining/tasting area within it.  

Canonica bedroom, Todi, Umbria as seen on
Guest rooms  - Each room is simply furnished - All white linens, stone floors and stone or plaster walls.  Dark wood beds (custom design), fireplace in every room and private bathroom attached to each room.  The decor changes with the seasons...thick area rugs in winter...warmer tones and textures in the pillows and accents.  In summer months, everything is changed out to lighter rugs, white or light shades on the pillows and white slipcovers on the furnishings.
Bedroom image via Frank Knight Properties as seen on
Artwork is one-of-a-kind and commissioned for each space and fresh flowers are always part of the decor.


There's so much more I could tell you about Casa di Lucia, but it's getting late so perhaps I'll share more on another day.  

In parting, I want you to know that as much as I have enjoyed imagining my ultimate grand dream in Italy, I'm grateful for where I am right now, in the cozy little cottage I call home, about to settle into a bit of meditation.  Namaste.

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Be sure to visit each of these talented ladies to see the beautiful homes of their dreams:

Jeanne at Collage of Life
Sharon at Roses and Rust
Marsha at Splenderosa
Julie at T&G Interiors
Kelley at The Polished Pebble

Italian Country Living as seen on

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