A love story which embraces the dream of a beautiful home in Italy too. Jennifer and Carlos Trujillo, Californian entrepreneurs, have entrusted themselves to Great Estate to make their desire of purchasing a property in Tuscany come true. Jennifer herself, in a long letter to our Group, tells about her family, their project and how, thanks to the help of Great Estate, could be possible to realize them.
FOOD AND FAMILY: THE KEYWORDS OF THE TRUJILLO SPOUSES
My husband and I live in Northern California. We own a catering company. We cater high-end weddings for clients who want high quality, local, fine dining style food at their wedding.
My husband Carlos is a chef. We met when I was in college and he was the Executive Chef at a fine dining restaurant near San Francisco. We moved to the mountains of Northern California when we bought a restaurant there. We live in a small (for California standards) town, in the mountains of Northern California.
Food, wine, family and travel are the most important things for us. We have four children and we are very close to my parents Frank and Kathy, who also live in our town. Personally, I have discovered Europe when I was a child and now I tell about it to our children, as both me and my husband have always been in love with this continent. Moreover, during the years of the University, I studied in England.
LET’S BUY A HOME IN ITALY! FROM DREAM TO REALITY
Before buying a property in Italy, I had been to the Bel Paese twice, while Carlos only once. However, we had always dreamed of buying a home in Italy when we retired, even if I thought it was just something we joked about. I never thought it would actually happen! We would daydream about a little villa on a hill surrounded by vineyards. Isn’t that what everyone dreams of?
I was afraid it would remained just a dream for us, even if the destiny had suggested us where to look at too: the place where we live in California is along the same latitude lines as Tuscany, so we grow the same products there. A signal that we were destined to this territory. Moreover, Carlos is specialized in California Cuisine, a style which was subject of some Central/Northern Italian influence. So, we love the Italian culture and really wanted the slower pace of life in a small town.
Tuscany seemed perfect for us because close to major Italian airports and to large cities as Rome and Florence. In addition to that, it is also surrounded by countryside and rich of beautiful historic villages to explore.
Chiusi, the small town where we bought our apartment, seemed to be precisely the right place: a small and quiet town, close to the highway, train station and to interesting touristic towns like Montepulciano, Montalcino, Orvieto, Assisi and Florence. Moreover, by an economic point of view, Chiusi was cheapest than other places as for example the beautiful Montepulciano.
We were watching House Hunters International one evening and in that episode a woman was looking for a place in Orvieto. Her place was only $600 a month to rent- which is VERY LOW for us in California. So, I opened my computer and started a search. Something like “Houses for sale in Tuscany.”
I showed the computer to Carlos and said “We could afford this!!!!”
I ended up staying up really late that night exploring other properties in the area. I found some solutions and people that did not convince me but, at the same time, I decided what I was looking for: a property in an a historic city centre – not the countryside – mostly for safety.
The house would be sitting empty for months at a time and it seemed better to have a place in town than out in the countryside. It had to be fully restored: we had read and heard lots and lots of stories about how long it takes and how expensive it is to restore a property in Italy and we did not want to deal with that. Two bedrooms and ideally 2 bathrooms (but 1 would be ok). As Carlos loves to cook, a full kitchen with stove and oven. Authentic touches: exposed beams, tile floors, wood windows, antique doors – something that shows the history of the place. So, something updated and pretty to look at, bright and airy with lots of windows, and with a budget of maximum 150,000 euros.
With the exchange rate, and need to purchase furniture, we did not want to spend more than $200,000 US dollars. In any case, in our property we did not want: bright colours in the bathroom and kitchen, as well as terrible, outdated looking kitchens, laminate floors, dark and small rooms, no personality/history in the building.
“MY HOME APARTMENT”: LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
As we went to “My Home Apartment” (click here to discover the property), I immediately understood that we had found our home. What did we love the most? Everything! It was divided into two floors – great for privacy with our children. Even though it was a cloudy winter day, light was streaming in through the large south-facing windows in the living room. The rooms were large and had lots of big windows. It was large and fully renovated.
The apartment has two bathrooms, two large bedrooms with high ceilings, brick arch in the hallway, terracotta tile floors, marble stairs, a small balcony, a modern updated full kitchen – with a dishwasher and a large refrigerator! Neutral colours – warm white and wood – nothing bright or super modern. Beautifully decorated – reminded me of our home. Loved the recycled wood table. And the wood closet and shelf in the study. It was perfect – I loved everything about it!
Plus, I loved Chiara, the ex-owner of “My Home Apartment”. She was warm and friendly and an inviting person. I could tell she really loved her home and she had taken great care in renovating it, and I wanted to take good care of it for her.
..to be continued..
Would you like to know every single detail about the collaboration between the American couple and the Great Estate Group? Follow us in our Magazine: the second part of Jennifer’s letter will be coming soon.