Monthly Archives: October 2012

DECORATING WITH THE 5 SENSES

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When we walk into a generous and cozy home, we can almost sense the comfort in the air. It will smell good, feel warm and look inviting. I try to use all the senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. I go by heart when I create a new space. Our senses should be used to add to the comforts of home. However, I use these charms discretely: too much of a good thing is often as unattractive as too little.

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I love the fireplace especially in winter: it is so nice to read in front of the fire sipping a whisky, and  it’s so relaxing and romantic to stay with someone in front of the fire hearing the crackle of the burning wood while the smell of wood fills the air. This room is one of my favorites: for this reason I tried to make it more friendly as possible. The wood beams that hold up the chimney are 600 year-old, coming originally from an ancient villa. As a souvenir from a journey to Sicily, I placed four ancient ceramic tiles on top of the fireplace. The pieces come from the cathedral’s roof of Palermo.

During spring and summertime I use to decorate the fireplace mouth with olive branches. The fireplace is made of white Vicenza stone. The two redwood deers on both sides of the fireplace were bought in Munich but come from Thailand.

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The only piece of furniture we actually bought is a plain Ikea’s sofa, enriched by  Turkish Kilim pillows and warm sheepskins. Sofas, in the past, were used only with guests, for a formal chat in the living room. That’s why we went for a modern one: it’s more indulging and, the ideal for Sunday’s sweet nothing.

This wrought iron lamp is entirely hand -made. It was forged by Francesco da Cogollo, an artist who doesn’t make such masterpieces anymore because he passed away ten years ago. I found this rare piece in an antique shop in Verona and I thought: I must have it.

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The painting you see up here was a gift for our wedding: ” Woman in red” by Joan Gillespie, a Scottish artist and friend. She looks like me, doesn’t she?

I used an old Tibetan cupboard to place all the good bottles, creating a sort of bar corner where everybody can have their ‘ Grappa’ on tap.

The stereo has been placed in the lower part, along with our old fashioned collection of cd.

A house that smells lovely is instantly inviting. I’m a real candle aficionados and sometimes I use several different scented candles, each in a different room, with each separate fragrance complementing the last and leading the senses on. The candles are magical, they create a very special ambience.

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THE JOY OF AN ORDERLY HOME

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To live in the midst of disorder is disorientating. A real home is a self-contained place where everything works for the benefit of those who live within its walls.

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The easiest way to bring order into a home is to get organized, and the first step for creating a comfortable heaven is to identify the specific aspects of home life that will thrive the most from good care and attention. If I said it’s the easiest, it doesn’t mean it’s the quickest. For instance I happen to spend a great deal of time experimenting with things – moving and swopping objects on a shelf – trying to find the perfect position for each item. I have changed three times the arrangement of this cupboard (above). At first I put white porcelain only, then, I wanted to enrich it with a touch of blue to give more character to the composition. In the end I found, if not the perfect solution, at least one that was both practical for everyday’s use and pleasing to the eye.

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Every corner of this house has been studied in details. Home decoration is a never-ending process of transformation . None of the elements finds peace until I’m not convinced completely. I may sound too demanding but the quest for constant improvement has its own reward.

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What I look for is harmony, balance, taste and elegance, always keeping in mind the soul of the house I’m decorating. The process is time consuming but, on the other hand, a bit of love and commitment can give you great results. Moreover, I believe there’s no need to spend a fortune to give your house that extra, special touch. Quite the opposite, indeed. It’s true that money doesn’t buy taste, but it can always pay the best architects and interior designers. But if you need to respect a budget, money is not the issue.

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The kitchen as seen from the lacy window curtain.

THE COMFORTS OF HOME

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I try to distill the natural comfort and easy charm we can find in all aspects of country living and in every room – from the kitchen to the bedroom –  I translate these particular elements into their own setting. When people say “I feel comfortable”, in many contexts the phrase is actually a synonym for feeling “at home”. Home is an intimate and personal space and should never be a place for showing off but rather one where objects are relevant to the sense of comfort and inner order of its owners.

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It may seem this is rather old-fashioned way of thinking, but it is this sort of  approach that, in the end, makes home a comfortable and warm place.

I am convinced that is possible to create a beautiful home on a budget. Inexpensive home decorating allows you to pay attention to every room in your house while infusing the space with your personal style.

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Planning, for me, is the most important part: I usually make a mind-list of what my dream room would look like and what the are its problems and limitations. This helps to give me a design direction which aims to the biggest impact through my decor.

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Furniture is the expensive bit in a room. Most of the times I shop around garage sales, second-hand shops, flea markets but I also recycle old family things. Recycling is  my real passion: as you can see up here, this old cupboard has been waxed and fully lined with paper of Florence. In order to give a romantic and retrò touch to this furniture I fixed an old lace inside. On the top I placed our garden hydrangeas and an art noveau decor recovered from a cabinet disposed.