Che Bella was buzzing and very busy last summer while we were managing several client remodels – and designing our future office as well. During this time, we were in need of summer help and hired Calie’s little sister as she was between college semesters and living with her for the Summer. We spent much of our time with her asking questions about her upcoming Fall semester abroad as she was planning to live in Florence Italy for several months. Needless to say we were all jealous and very excited for her. We gave her an assignment to write a blog for us that would incorporate her biggest design inspiration from an Italian insiders perspective. Enjoy!
During my time in Italy I got to experience many amazing types of interiors as each town of Italy has a very different style. I stayed in a modern Ikea furnished Airbnb apartment in Rome, a warm citrus inspired home in Sorrento and of course enjoyed the earthy feeling of homes in the Tuscany Region. The one thing that was consistent in every city I visited was that Italians pay attention to every detail when designing their homes. Small things like repairing the surface of a single aged exterior window sill was a repair that took days as they treat their work like a form of art. Space is always limited, so the Italians have to be creative when trying to find room for storage – or they live with the bare minimum to avoid clutter.
The large Tuscan villas were as to be expected. They had a wonderful combination of natural elements such as wood and stone. Large windows looked out over the silvery leaves of the olive trees. However, what I found out was that the homes within the town was not what I expected. While there I made a friend that purchased an apartment with her significant other and they had completely renovated it themselves. While the particulars of Italian building permits are unknown to me, this couple managed to install a wood-burning fireplace into their apartment that reflected their minimalist style.
The Italians taught me to pay attention to every detail within a room. Even the ceiling in my bedroom had a pattern to give it interest and it seemed as though nearly every doorway was curved. While they often design using earthy tones and natural elements, the younger generations seem to appreciate the modern clean-cut look that incorporates a pop of color with an accent wall or a furniture piece.
My favorite emphasis was bringing nature inside by having as much natural light as possible. While you can’t always see the large windows from the street, most residences have some sort of balcony or large windows that can open for growing plants and hanging laundry.
If you are looking to have bring a little bit of Italy into your home start by bringing in natural elements that mimic earth tones with pops of warm saturated color. Always make sure you are maximizing the light within your space and most importantly… turn off the television and have a good conversation with the people around you. Socializing is extremely important in Italian culture and it is typically done over a great meal and a bottle of wine. An extra tip for those of you that are looking for an Italian experience: the next time you grab a bottle of imported Italian wine look for the “DOC” or “DOCG” sticker on the top of the bottle (see below). You will thank me later – Devon
Check back later for additional Italian design inspiration from Calie’s trip across the pond to visit her sister.