If you thought you’d see my designs today for every room of Casa Montagne Verde, well then you and I are on the same page because that’s what I thought as well.
Alas, I only have the living room completed. However, I’ve prepared several designs for that space to show you my process and how I arrived at the final design. Let’s roll things back for a second.
Here’s what the living room area of my imaginary home, Casa Montagne Verde, located high in the hills of Northern Italy, looks like:
Reminder, this space is part of the L shaped first floor. In my floorplan you’ll see that the living room, dining room and kitchen all are connected along the wall with the view. And then behind the living room there’s an additional space that I’m calling an entry/lounge, but it could also double as a sleeping or additional entertaining area.
Last week, I gave you a sense of the design for the entire home and today I’m focused on just that little square of a living space. Without further adieu, here’s my first design option. And, oh by the way, I now have a little logo for mi casa. I couldn’t help myself.
This is the first design that sort of spilled out of me. Here’s a breakdown of all the elements and why I chose them:
Pendants: The Casa is all exposed beams and vaulted ceilings. The beams and ceilings would be stained to match the floors. These incredible glass and brass pendants would be hanging down off the beams, literally. If its possible to make it look like they’ve been casually thrown up there with rope, that’s what I want.
Walls: The walls are currently a brick and though I love exposed brick, I’d want to plaster these babies. Think a nice white/cream with texture. I like the idea of the plaster extending up to the beams and then the rest of the space up to the ceiling being painted to match but having that exposed texture of the brick and concrete.
Diamonds: When I thought of 60’s and Italian glamour, diamonds came to mind and I’m obsessed with these large scale painted diamonds by Kurt Pio. Had to be used! Take a look at his gallery to get the full sense of the scale of these beauties. Brian, this is the kind of big diamond that I want!
La Perla in Bocca: And what to balance my diamonds on the other side of the window? This dramatic painting of a woman with a pearl in her month by Italian artist, Claudio di Carlo. I thought the black would just pop off the white wall and be a nice balance to the set of diamonds. I love how dramatic this is.
Sofa: Velvelty soft, the sofa would be structured so that the side in front of the panels would be the daybed. I liked the idea of it being modular so that it would be reset or moved apart when desired.
Side Table and Lamp: I just love the combination of the lighter grey with the alabaster lamp. Also, the table is based on a Corinthian capitol, a slight nod to the Roman architecture that is just down the road from this house. Btw, I have like three lamps like this in my apartment now. I didn’t even realize!
Floor Lamp: The floor lamp, by contrast, has got some style. I love lights like this when they are lit up on a dark night, it almost looks like stars.
Coffee Table: I really wanted a sculptural coffee table and this fit the bill. Also, glass seemed right given this table’s placement and proximity to the view which I want to be as exposed as possible.
Panels: Ah, the panels. So this crazy idea came from a desire to close off a space on the main floor so that it could be an additional sleeping zone. Since the space is vaulted, there would need to be plaster/dry wall above the panels. And then these guys would be on tracks that could move them all around. They could all be pushed completely off the wall. They could completely close off the room. They could have 1 opening or 2. Very flexible. I choose colored glass so that when stacked they’d make new colors – I’m squealing with glee at the prospect!
Fireplace: There was no fireplace in this structure so I added my own. It’s casually leaning up against a wall. Not the star of the room, but there to add some ambiance and warmth.
Bar Cart: I actually wasn’t looking for bar carts for this space, but turns out there were a lot of italian bar carts in the 60’s and so it felt right to use one. I chose a glass one, again, to keep things light.
Exterior Door: Love the idea of the sheet of glass door on an axis like this. The only stipulation is that the balcony be large enough that you could get around the door if it were open.
Rug: A nice, soft, mauvey pink’ish rug to ground things.
Floors: And, I toyed with concrete floors, but ultimately decided on the classic, wide plank wood floors in a light honey stain.
I really loved this design, however, it seemed a little overly feminine. Perhaps it was the heavy reliance on blush? I can’t imagine my husband feeling super comfortable in this space so I swapped some things out to get to option 2.
Hello sir! These simple changes went a long way in manning this up, if you will. Here are the swaps:
Diamond: I still loved the diamonds, but rather than three smaller ones, how about one large dramatic one?
Chess: I had a really hard time selecting the image to pair. Ultimately, this chess photograph by Italian artist, Alessandro Passerini, has the presence to balance the diamond and keeps the overall dark coloration, which I really liked against the lighter wall.
Side Table and Lamp: From grey and girly to wood, black and boxy. I thought the marble lamp still worked and the change of lines helped.
Coffee Table: I’m obsessed with this “elliptical” glass topped coffee table. Again, sculptural but a little less hard than the previous one.
Panels: Made some tweaks to the colors to bring the contrast (and pinks) down a bit.
Side Chair: Not as cozy as the previous one, but this chair by Catoni is beautiful and very functional. It swivels so you could turn towards the conversation or towards the view.
Rug: This rug is so interesting and lends a contemporary feel. I honestly don’t even love it individually but it seems so right in this design so it made the cut.
I like design two, but it was nagging me a bit. Something just wasn’t quite right. My original design vision was the combination of rustic, 60’s glam, and modern – option 2 was trying a little too hard and needed just a touch more simplicity. So, with a few more swaps:
Still Life Art: I had been looking only at Italian artists and I just gave up and went into my Shopping for Art Pinterest board and found this still life painting. The artist, Rafael Ochoa is just magical. He creates these digital, btw! I think this captures that rustic simplicity that I wanted but the colors still work against the large diamond. I need one of Ochoa’s paintings, like, badly.
Side Table and Lamp: Another quick swap, the lamp remained but I like that this new side table had the straight lines and some curves.
Panels: Another minor tweak to the panel colors. Deciding on the final colors would be such a bear IRL.
Rug: Simple and clean, just a soft white/silvery silk rug to ground the space.
Whew, there. I think that’s it! Yes, it still errs on the side of sweet and soft… But it seems balanced to me. What do you think?
Just for fun, here’s all three side by side. It’s interesting to see the slight shift. Small changes can make a big impact. Do you have a preference?
Clearly, this process is taking longer than expected, so we may be working through this one room at a time for a few weeks. And once I get all the individual spaces designed, I’ll want to look at everything all together and make some tweaks, I’m sure.
It’s a long road to realize the vision that is Casa Montagne Verde.*
*I had to end dramatically, no?
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