A Dreamy Italian Villa on a Working Vineyard & Farm

updated Feb 19, 2019

A Dreamy Italian Villa on a Working Vineyard & Farm

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Name: Melissa Frankenfield, her husband, Jason, and their three children
Location: Vicenza, Italy
Size: 2,500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, renting

When Melissa first found out she would be moving to Italy, she had fantasies of grandeur about her future home — how it might sit on a vineyard, overlooking a quaint Italian farm, with a vine-covered barn and rustic wood ceilings inside. Amazingly, those fantasies came true with this home for Melissa, her husband and their three children.

The family moved to Italy three years ago and scored this incredible home that was formerly a 17th-century convent converted into a two-family home (they share the property with their Italian landlords). Parts of the home were updated to make it livable, like the sun room that is covered on two sides with floor-to-ceiling windows, which was formerly the convent’s open veranda. The other parts of the home are new additions. The property still contains an old chapel that was originally used by everyone in the village, and is still a working vineyard and farm.

Now, the couple uses the home to teach their children, who are all home schooled, and explore the vineyards in their free time. Melissa fills the home with antique Italian treasures that she finds at local markets, matching it with her traditional aesthetic. Each piece makes you wonder whether the furniture was already in the home when they moved in, or if it was hers all along.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Italian villa coupled with French country and a healthy dose of irrepressible Hamptons style.

Inspiration: Southern Living

Favorite element: My grandmother’s baby grand piano. Music is utterly transportive and wholly essential. This weathered antique captures my past, yet plays to the present.

Biggest challenge: My dwarf-size washer and dryer located inches from the master bathroom toilet. Totally gross. Super inconvenient. Bonus: running both appliances with my AC trips the circuit breaker every. darn. time.

What friends say: “They throw a great party.” (Fingers-crossed)

Biggest embarrassment: My three kids. Coincidentally, they are also the greatest assets to my home. Their mess contributes character. Otherwise, you might mistake my home for a museum. (P.S. I secretly adore them.)

Proudest DIY: Hanging photos against our concrete walls. This was a *big* deal for me. Look, I am no Joanna Gaines.

Biggest indulgence: Our Ethan Allen dining room set: Purchased when we had zero kids and a double income and we were yuppie fools. Now, while everyone is eating on farmhouse tables made from repurposed barn doors, we eat fancy with our friends. And I love it. Hopefully, our grandchildren will too. That’s the dream, anyhow.

Best advice: May your home be a place where people feel the love of Christ from the moment they walk in the door. That’s our prayerful hope.

Dream sources: The Villa Da Schio (in Costozza, Italy), Paula Deen’s kitchen, Scarlet O’Hara’s plantation, “Tara,” coupled with Burano, Italy with a healthy dose of Charleston, SC gentility. Does this cocktail exist?



Mirror: Antique

Table: Antique

Vase: Murano Italy – gifted from friend


Couch: Ethan Allen

Side tables: Thomasville (bought off Craigslist)

Painting above couch: Homegoods

Decanters: Soave Antique Market and gift from mom

Piano: Grandmother’s antique

Armchair: Ethan Allen

Painting: Marostica, Italy antique market

Dining room table & chairs: Ethan Allen

Candlesticks: Wedding gift

China cabinet: Thomasville (bought off Craigslist)

Sideboard: handmade by Italian furniture crafter

Lamps: Homegoods


Couches: Bassett

Rug: Turkish wool, Homegoods

Pillows: Homegoods

Plates on wall: Ceramics stores in Nove, Italy

Mirror: Homegoods

Side table: Homegoods

Demijohns: Antique market in Vicenza, Italy

Lamp: Homegoods

Candlesticks: Homegoods

Selzter bottle: Italian antique store


Kitchen table & chairs: Ethan Allen

Colander: Italian ceramics market

China cabinet: Ethan Allen, thrifted

Scale: Soave, Italy antique market

Glassware: Italian crystal wine glasses

Vases above fireplace: Antique market in Italy

Utensil holder: Pottery Barn

Cooking jars: Homegoods


Bed: Ethan Allen Craigslist

Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids

Artwork: Pottery Barn Kids

Dollhouse: Pottery Barn Kids

Dresser: Thrifted

Vanity: Pottery Barn Kids

Bookcase: Pottery Barn Kids (bought off Craigslist)


Bed: Bassett

Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids (bought off Craigslist)

Dresser: Pottery Barn kids

Art above bed: Pottery Barn Kids

Bookcase: Pottery Barn Kids (bought off Craigslist)

Boats, planes and trucks: Restoration Hardware

Crib: Pottery Barn Kids

Rocking horse: Pottery Barn Kids (bought off Craigslist)


Bed: Thomasville (bought off Craigslist)

Bedding: Pottery Barn

Nightstand: Thomasville (bought off Craigslist)

Dresser: Thomasville (bought off Craigslist)

Artwork above bed: Homegoods

Mirror: Thomasville


Linen cabinet: Antique market in Piazzola sul Brenta

Vases above cabinet: Homegoods

Thanks, Melissa and family!

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