A Classic Glam Apartment in Italy Designed on a Budget

updated Apr 30, 2019

A Classic Glam Apartment in Italy Designed on a Budget

updated Apr 30, 2019
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Name: Marci and Carlos Cordero, with children Penelope and Mitchell
Location: Vicenza, Italy
Size: 2,150 square feet
Years lived in: 5 months, renting

Marci and Carlos have only lived in their Italian apartment for five months, but you’d never know it from looking around. There are photos and art hung (even with the stubborn concrete walls!) and every piece of furniture seems to fit into place and have a home. This could be because of Marci’s philosophy of being incredibly intentional with bringing things into her home, or because they’re a military family and pros at moving by now.

One thing’s for sure, Marci has an eye for design and how to improve basic, inexpensive pieces. While stateside, she used to make a living by finding designer pieces at thrift stores and reselling them internationally online. She brings that eye into all corners of her home, especially into her kids’ rooms, and does it in a thrifty way. Her ability to take everyday, boring pieces and make them work for her style is enviable, as is her ability to give each of her kids’ rooms such individual personality and organization. Can we say mom goals?

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Your style: Classic Glam

Inspiration: Our inspiration is to have a warm and welcoming home; an oasis where we can decompress from “adulting” and our children can play, explore, and create.

Favorite element: Our dining room “travel wall.” It captures some of our favorite memories and reminds us there is always more to see and do—together.

Biggest challenge: Working with non-standard room angles. The apartment is actually made up of two adjacent units that were connected to make one large home; more importantly, however, we joke that the builders must have “eyed” much of the measuring, because the rooms widen or narrow in places. This made the apartments unique but hard to decorate.

What friends say: “The views are incredible.” The corner apartment is located slightly above the Italian terracotta rooftops—giving us a 180˚ view of downtown Vicenza and the Dolomites. To our South we see a medieval tower built in the 1400s with Monte Berico in the background. To our East we have two churches that play the most beautiful tunes with their bells throughout the day. And to our North, you can see the Dolomites and their imposing peaks.

Biggest embarrassment: Honestly, we don’t have one. We put a lot of thought into our home decorating, so if we are not “absolutely IN LOVE with it, we don’t buy it.”

Proudest DIY: Most of our decor consists of DIY, but if we had to choose one, it would have to be our dining room table. We started building it while pregnant with Penelope and in transition from living in Virginia to being stationed in Italy. So we had to be patient, work as a team, and be persistent.

Biggest indulgence: Prior to our Italian move, we lived in our 175-square foot Airstream while Carlos finished school in Chapel Hill. As a present to ourselves for living in such close quarters, we decided to splurge on a nice bed.

Best advice: Do not buy anything unless you have a plan for it! Often we find ourselves moving items, furniture, and rugs just to incorporate that one piece that we just “had to have.”

Dream sources: One Kings Lane and frequent visits to Pinterest



Kitchen table — DIY

Kitchen chairs — Safavieh

Table runner Pottery Barn

Fruit bowl — In Vietri (Nove, Italy)

Picture frames — IKEA

Candlesticks — Pottery Barn

Side table — Thrift store find

Chairs — Homegoods

China cabinet — Henkel Harris

Gramophone/speaker — Restoration Hardware

Sideboard — came with apartment

Shell bowl — Pottery Barn

Copper hurricanes — Williams Sonoma

Bar cart — Target

Bar cart picture — Thrift store find

Pineapple Tumblers — Target


Headboard/bed — Restoration Hardware

Linens/pillows — Pottery Barn

Side tables — DIY

Crystal table lamps — Restoration Hardware

Dresser — Thrift store find (painted)

Gold table lamps — Nate Berkus for Target

Jewelry holder — Pottery Barn

Pineapple dish —Target

Mirror — DIY

Bench at end of bed — DIY

Gold mirror — DIY

Poufs — Target

Rug — Purchased in Afghanistan

Framed Agate — DIY

Hanging jewelry display — DIY


Wardrobes — Included in apartment

Vanity — IKEA

Mirror — IKEA

Lamp — Target

Chair — IKEA

Sheepskin — IKEA


Hallway mirror — Target

Linen shelf — IKEA

Towels — Ralph Lauren

Cabinet — IKEA


Dining nook table — IKEA

High chair — Keekaroo

Stools — Target

Bottle drying rack — Boon

Kitchen towels — Anthropologie

Pantry shelves — Williams-Sonoma


Buffet — Included in apartment

Small table — Family hand-me-down

Shell prints — DIY

Lamb children’s walker — Family hand-me-down


Crib: https — Jenny Lind

Fitted Sheet — IKEA

Crib Skir — DIY

Blanket — Gap

Palm pillow — DIY (fabric)

Starburst mirror — Safavieh

Stenciled Wall — Royal Design Studio

Soapbox derby toy — Schylling

Jute rug — Pottery Barn

Dresser — DIY

Changing pad — Babies R Us

Table lamp — Hobby Lobby (lampshade DIY’d)

Gold mirror — Thrifted

Rocking chairs — IKEA

Palm pouf — DIY (fabric)

Stand-up lamp — IKEA

Pineapple print — Etsy

Flamingo print — Etsy

Sheepskin rug — IKEA

Gold bookshelf — IKEA (painted)

Palm prints — DIY

Gold pineapple — Target

Wooden blocks — Melissa & Doug

Piggybank — Tiffany & Co

Baskets — IKEA


Bed — Heirloom

Linens + bed spread — Land of Nod

End-of-bed stools — Target

Monogrammed canvas — Etsy (DIY)

Rocket poster — Target

Fox — Gift

Rocket toy (next to bed) — KidKraft

Dresser — Thrift store

Mirror — Thrift store

Rug — Purchased in Afghanistan

Blue chair — Target

Boat toy — Teamson Kids

Space posters — DIY

Mirrored frames — Target

Piggybank — Tiffany & Co

Lamp — Thrift store

Globe — DIY

Train set — Melissa & Doug & Thomas the Train

Play table — Melissa & Doug

Giraffe — Melissa & Doug

Blue mirror — DIY


Yellow/gray rug — Homegoods

Bench/shelf organizers — IKEA

Gray bins — IKEA

Book rail — Target

Pillows — Ralph Lauren

“Follow that dream” print — Hobby Lobby

Kitchen set — IKEA

Red rug — Purchased in Afghanistan

Lego organizers — IKEA


Patio set — IKEA

Pink pillows — Pottery Barn

Starfish pillow — Pottery Barn

Candle holders — Target

Jute rug — Pottery Barn

Coral rug — Purchased in Africa


Couch and armchair — Craigslist find

Gold nesting tables — IKEA (painted and adhered faux marble contact paper)

Blue pillows — Pottery Barn

Coral pillows — Pottery Barn

Embroidered pillows —Pottery Barn

Bird prints —Pottery Barn

Throw blanket — Homegoods

Rug — Pottery Barn

Side table — Henkel Harris

Table lamp — Thrift store find

Coral table — DIY

Children’s tent — IKEA

Mirror — Homegoods

Children’s chair — Pottery Barn

Thanks, Marci!

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