Building La Dolce Vita
Building La Dolce Vita with Debbie Travis is a new documentary series that takes viewers on design icon Debbie Travis’ most personal journey yet: risking her life’s savings to buy and transform a 13th century medieval watchtower and farmhouse into a luxurious 14 bedroom all-woman’s retreat in Tuscany, Italy. Inspiring, touching, and heart-warming – the series explores the highs and lows of buying and renovating a large property in a foreign country. In Tuscany, which is deemed an international heritage site, Debbie is forced to conform to rigid historical protection laws and red-tape committees. Working with some of the best architects, designers and tradesmen in Italy, she struggles to grasp the language and assimilate to a new culture, and also has to wrap her head around what it takes to run a 200-acre farm with 800 olive trees and vineyard. While the property slowly transforms, so does Debbie. At the heart of the series is her personal journey to find a new happiness through her desire to create a one-of-a-kind retreat that captures the transformative spirit of Tuscany and the experience of La Dolce Vita – The Sweet Life.
This week: Episode 1
Debbie Travis is on the hunt for an Italian property to transform into the permanent home for her women’s retreats. Over more than 2 years she and her husband Hans scour the country – and when they finally fall in love with the idyllic region of Tuscany, they struggle to find the perfect place.
STILL TO COME
Hans’ hot tip on a property isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and he has his work cut out to convince Debbie the place has potential. Bolko, a charismatic Italian architect, helps get the renovation started; but drops a bombshell on Debbie – it’s going to take more than 2 years to complete!
After more than 18 months of construction Debbie’s Tuscan dream is bogged down in a mess of mud and bureaucracy. With only 6 months until the first group of women arrives Hans has to leave Debbie alone to run the site. As she tries to juggle language classes, never ending permit applications and her all male renovation crew Debbie digs deep to keep the project on track.
In an attempt to bounce back from the setbacks on site Debbie turns to two unlikely allies – Frances Mayes , the world-famous author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and Laura, a plucky local with dreams of becoming a designer, so she can finally start planning the details of the first retreat.
Spring has sprung and the first group of women are due to arrive in only 12 weeks. Major construction is wrapping up, but the pressure is on to finish the decorating and Debbie struggles to trust her landscape designer, Peter, to transform a construction site into a lush Tuscan garden in time.
The mad rush to get the property finished is pushed to the next level as Debbie’s friend Marilyn comes to test the place out. And in the chaos before the women’s arrival Debbie puts her improved Italian to the test to say thank you to her crew.