Our Villa Renovation: Part 3

Our Villa Renovation: Part 3

It’s late October here in Crete. In theory we are in Autumn (along with everywhere else in the northern hemisphere) but Autumn still hasn’t turned up to the party. Summer is still dancing on the tables, knocking back the shots, in denial that the dawn is breaking. We’re clinging to the last summery days, knowing that it can’t be long until the seasons change. By the way, if you just want to see the pictures of our completed villa renovation, then scroll to the bottom. Don’t worry, I’m not offended, it’s fine.

There’s a hint of a chill in the morning air, and the washing hanging on the line (that we keep forgetting to take in) feels a little damp…I really must do that in a minute. It’s good to have freshly aired laundry, but I wonder where the cut off is? How many days is too long on the line? We’re prepared and ready for the impending alteration in the weather. The clocks have turned back an hour, we’ve put the rug back down in the lounge, and the log store is over flowing.

Sorry this post is a little late…

We’ve been very busy over the last week or so, which is why this blog post is a little late. I’m sorry for not writing anything last week. It was playing on my mind and I kept meaning to do it, but you know how it goes. Oh…you didn’t notice? Never mind…not to worry.

It’s been ‘all go’ here, but we’ve achieved a lot. One of the most exciting triumphs was that I mastered rolling my rrrrrrrr’s! I can’t tell you what a disadvantage it’s been to not be able to roll my rrrr’s in a language that requires them. I could hear how words should sound, but all I could muster was a feeble attempt that resulted in a some strange growling noises and a sore throat.

It’s been a long old journey to a proficiency in trilling (that’s the technical term) I remember when I used to spend my days trudging through the sussex countryside walking dogs for a living. I spent many an hour practising my trilling as I wandered through the woods carpeted with bluebells. The dogs would stare at me quizzically with their heads tilted to one side. Luckily dogs don’t judge. Even if they did assume I’d lost my sanity, they were more interested in rolling in fox’s poo or finding a stick.

I tell you what – you stick the kettle on and make a cuppa, and then I’ll show you how the villa is looking nowadays. What do you say? P.s – Don’t forget the biscuits. P.P.S – If you can’t remember how the villa was looking previously, then you can refresh your memory by reading our villa renovation part 1 and our villa renovation part 2.

Materialism: The most important and unimportant finishing touches…

Before we get to the photos of our villa renovation, lets talk about materialism. We all know that materialism isn’t important, but still I find myself scrolling through pictures on Pinterest looking for the perfect style. I’d like to point out that although interior and exterior style are a bit of a hobby, I’m conscious of the fact that the most important things are the people and animals living within the house – Mr Sidestepping-normal, Dora-dog and Nancy-Floss.

Is my life improved by the new villa renovation? No. Do I enjoy looking at pleasing colour combinations, patterned fabrics, tiles and vintage furniture? (*awkward cough)…Ummm…Yes. Yes I do.

I’m battling the knowledge that none of this stuff matters, versus the satisfaction I get when I walk through the door and see the the muted patterned tiles in the kitchen contrasted with the deep reds of my beloved Persian rug. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all about awareness. I am aware that the most important things are love, people, animals and nature. But that doesn’t stop me from making little seasonal displays on the kitchen table and placing colourful crochet blankets at jaunty angles on the armchair.

“I am aware that the most important things are love, people, animals and nature.”

Mr Sidestepping-normal used to laugh at me for placing objects around the house that have no purpose and use. “why do we need an antique metal iron and a writing box from the 1800’s sitting on the book shelf?” Now he just says it looks lovely…I’m not sure whether he’s humouring me or if he genuinely thinks it looks pretty? Plus, you never know, maybe I’ll start writing letters on my walnut writing box complete with stamped leather interior…snail mail may have a resurgence at some point.

*sidenote – We don’t actually iron our clothes with the antique metal iron…I know we do some crazy stuff, so I just wanted to make that clear. It’s not that we think it’s weird to iron with an antique metal iron, it’s more about the fact that we don’t iron. Our motto is: If it’s very crease-ie then put it back in the wardrobe. If it’s a only a little bit crease-ie, then wear it and see if they magically disappear.

Deep and philosophical bit… (it may be best to skip this bit if you’re not looking for the meaning of life)

I’m a homemaker, it gives me immense pleasure to create a warm and inviting home. But, I’ve searched for answers to the meaning of life for long enough (since primary school…so, it’s been quite a few years of pondering) to know that nothing really matters as much as we think it does.

I’m indulging in a virtual reality, I’m a player in a game. I view my life like a film. Sometimes I even watch my life from above as if I’m a spectator. I’m an actress in a movie, and someday someone will yell “cut” and I’ll walk away from the film set without a backwards glance. Stay with me. I promise I haven’t gone crazy, and I know this has gotten a little deep, but I’ve found freedom in the fact that nothing material matters.

“I’ve found freedom in the fact that nothing material matters.”

I can enjoy it more because I’m aware that it’s insignificant. That doesn’t mean that I frivolously buy and waste material objects, quite the opposite. What’s the point of buying so much stuff that you have to work and pay for? What’s the point in abusing mother earth any more than we already do? I don’t need any more things. I’m quite happy with my lot. I’d rather spend my time doing what I want to do, than working to pay for things that I don’t need.

Before I get sidetracked again, I guess you really want to see the end result of our villa renovation? Without further ado, I give you…our renovated villa. (I had to google the correct spelling of ‘ado’…you learn something new every day.

Here it is…our villa renovation…Ta daaaaaa…

Here is our vegetable garden. It was formerly a driveway, but we wanted space to grow things. Doesn’t it look lovely and ordered? It looked really lovely until everything died. It turns out that soil PH and nutrients are crucial after all…
Mr Sidestepping-normal’s man cave. Notice the concrete ramp leading to the doors…we made that!
Our ‘bijoux’ second bedroom. Painting the wardrobes has really lightened the space up, and the shelves are very handy for storage (and houseplants.)

Our bedroom. Again, painting the wardrobes has made the room feel so much bigger. Also, the new shelving holds all of my beloved books plus space for my vintage writing box and the laptop etc. Did you read my post on customising internal doors? This picture shows the newly customised doors in all their glory. They are white and bright with a vintage feel…I love them!

Here is the open plan kitchen and living area. It’s still not 100% finished, but I’m so happy with the result so far.

My favourite Persian rug! This is our winter set-up. It’s a little different in the summer when the rug isn’t down. The little table is a trunk from an olive tree, and the dresser (which I painted up) was in the house when we bought it. The arm chair was from an old cruise ship and the blue and white cushions tie in the windows and doors and give a mediterranean feel to the space.

In the bathroom, mediterranean patterned floor tiles and duck-egg wall tiles create a classic yet modern space. Add a vintage mirror and a couple of house plants and you can’t go wrong.

The outside space is clear and bright, but we have lots of ideas that still haven’t come to fruition yet.
What a view…


It’s been a whirlwind, but villa Theodora is now home sweet home. Although the majority of projects have been tackled in our villa renovation, there are still plenty of things that need doing. I guess that’s what you get when you own your own home; a constant list of maintenance problems combined with satisfaction and permanence.

Right now, we have more pressing jobs to tackle – like renovating Walnut cottage. I should probably go and pick up a shovel and look busy…maybe I’ll have a quick cuppa first.

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17 thoughts on “Our Villa Renovation: Part 3

    1. Thank you. We’ve got so used to the heat that I think the UK might be a bit of a shock! When it gets to about 16c, we feel really chilly!

  1. Thank you for sharing. I’m late to reading your blog, however finally catching up. I went to sleep having read multiple posts, and awoke to continue. You are both truly inspirational! ?

    1. Hiya:) Thank you so much. If we can inspire people whilst doing what we love, then we really are living the dream.

  2. If you ever have time to read, here are two recommendations. The first is very touching. The 2nd has many moments of trying to do business in Greece – amusing if you are not the person involved!
    The Greek for Love: A Memoir of Corfu by James Chatto
    Crete On The Half Shell by Byron Ayanoglu

    1. Hello! Thanks for your message. I love reading, although I don’t seem to be doing an awful lot of it lately! I’ll definitely look these two up. Thank you!

  3. I live in the United states in Virginia. I had never heard of your story til now I love reading your blogs and want to watch the show. But o don’t think it comes on TV over here k M the states. Its something I’m going to google. You two have done a great job renovating the Villa, I can’t wait to see how the renovation goes for the cottage. I can’t wait to keep reading. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Wow, the United States! That’s so far away! I forget that anybody else reads my blog half the time? I’m so glad you are enjoying it, I’ll continue to blog about our adventures here. We’re still waiting for the electricity connection at the cottage, and then it’s full steam ahead!

  4. Hi, first saw you on the telly and was inspired by you both (and envious you had the courage to do what you were doing …, something I have thought about often but yet to fulfill) – I then found your webpage and have so enjoyed your articles, thoughts and watching you progress – your house has become a home and is beautiful with a feeling of love and warmth – well done to you and Mr SN ….. and your dad :). Just finished reading your 15 tips to getting to your goals – WONDERFUL!

    1. Thank you. Yes, it’s finally all coming together. When we open the front door, it really feels like home now ?

  5. Hi from Australia – one of your articles popped up on my ipad today about moving to Greece – a really entertaining read – I will continue with your posts in the future – your tips are spot on – my husband is from Morocco so we are entertaining the idea of living somewhere in the Meditteranean like Greece in the future – your house renovating looks really succesful – all the best and congratulations on your new home – it looks a beauty!

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