city, houses

An Italian Home with Artistic Flair

Modern art and design meet vintage-feel styling in an eclectic house full of personality.
Helenio Barbetta/Living Inside

Photographs by Lakin Ogunbanwo take pride of place in the study-cum-guest room of this art-filled home on the Arno riverbank in Florence, Italy. From the Flair Edition sofas upholstered in More is More textural tartan bouclé by Dedar to the 1970s Belgian resin coffee table and Turkish carpet from the 1960s, the interiors are both tactile and visually interesting, which is due in large part to Italian architect Massimo Adario who helped design the abode.

 

Located on the Arno riverbank in Florence, Italy, a stone’s throw from Flair furniture gallery, is a home that is testament to the immaculate tastes of those who live there. Owned by Flair founders Alessandra Tabacchi and Franco Mariotti, the house’s interiors are similar to the gallery itself – elegant, sophisticated and full of art and design in a mix that combines the prominent names of the past century with anonymous but characterful pieces. The property wasn’t always this impressive. ‘When we found it, it was an office in a lousy state, but we could already see its potential,’ says Alessandra, who recognised the building’s charm and unique historic details such as the fact that its facade dates back to the 1800s. So the couple called on the services of Italian architect Massimo Adario to help them transform the house. ‘I trained as an architect, but gradually my interest has shifted to interiors,’ he says. ‘They allow me to build a story based on the place and context in which I am working.’

Homeowners Alessandra Tabacchi and Franco Mariotti stand in front of a brass wall in their dining area, which Alessandra had envisioned before even buying the house. As the founders of Flair furniture gallery, their home is a natural extension of their profession and reflects the couple’s impeccable tastes.

 

As an art lover with a passion for objects, Adario’s interiors are simultaneously adorned and minimalist, reflecting his belief that unnecessary details should be eliminated to make room for spatial harmony and a natural rhythm. And it was exactly this that was the guiding principle when designing the abode. The entrance hall forms a backbone to the space around which the rest of the rooms are laid out, united by a grey colour palette that encourages the flow Adario values so much. This was especially crucial as there is a definite distinction between the ‘day’ and ‘night’ areas of the house, with each possessing a distinguishable atmosphere and function. In the ‘day’ areas you’ll find the dining and conversation zones as well as a small kitchen and study-cum-guest room. To enter the ‘night’ areas, you cross a threshold that marks the shift from day to night, transitioning from wooden floors that have been stained black to fitted carpets in a passage lined with brown-hued tapestry.

Italian homeEchoing the black-stained oak floors in the dining room is a Sandy dining table by Atelier Stefan Leo with a smoked Plexiglas top.

 

Thanks to the 4m-high ceilings, every room features large glass doors and windows that allow for a flood of natural light, yet each has its own unmistakable personality. Intent on creating visual and tactile interest, Adario used a variety of materials in a plethora of combinations to create expressive interiors. The brass wall in the dining area, for example, forms a grand backdrop to the space and both diffuses light from the Ragno ceiling sconce by Serge Mouille and contains the door to the kitchen as well as illuminated cabinets. ‘I had it in mind before even buying the house,’ says Alessandra. In the centre of the room is Stefan Leo’s Sandy dining table, whose sculptural presence is emphasised by silk curtains in petrol blue. From the bouclé of the guests’ sofa and the velvet chairs in the living room to the silk headboard that injects pattern and colour into the main bedroom, most of the fabrics used in the house are from material manufacturer Dedar and the result of precise choices. The same can be said for the natural finishes used, as seen in carved wooden furniture and a Flair Edition brass console in the living area, stone tiles lining the bathrooms, and tinted alabaster that’s been kept naturally jagged on a pair of coffee tables and shaped into a block that serves as a base for a Flair Edition lamp in the study-cum-guest room.

Complete with shimmering draped curtains made from vintage raw silk, a Danish walnut armchair upholstered in petrol-blue velvet, a brass Mahari floor lamp by William Pianta for Nahoor, a Guatemala green marble fireplace and the blue optical artwork ‘Abrasione N° I0231’ by Ivano Fabbri, the study-cum-guest room combines a variety of finishes and hues to sophisticated effect.

 

This attention to detail is also apparent in the couple’s art collection, which is decidedly contemporary and helps direct the eye from one room to the next. An abstract from Olimpia Benini’s ‘Russian Roots’ series backed by a smoked mirror takes up the majority of the entrance hall wall that leads into the living area, while in the study, a pair of photographs by Lakin Ogunbanwo create a vibrant dialogue with the artwork ‘Abrasione N° I0231’ by Ivano Fabbri above the mantle. Be it a resin sculpture of French origin or a classic piece of furniture such as the Easy chair by Warren Platner, everything in this house is thought out and pays homage to the craftsmen who created the item. With Adario’s clear vision and the homeowners’ aesthetic prowess, it comes as no surprise that the building has a consistent yet complex design language, and can be viewed as a natural extension of Flair gallery. Alessandra and Franco have made this house a stylish manifesto that distinguishes them in their profession while also providing a domestic retreat that’s tailored to their life together. Because as well as refined, curated and rich with one-of-a-kind objets d’art, their home is charming, personal and a place designed to be lived in.

The living area is essentially an extension of the dining room, which features a sculpture by Roger Desserprit on the left and an artwork by Marco Croce resting on the radiator on the right. A dusty pink Easy chair by Warren Platner for Knoll is positioned between the two spaces, and the alabaster and brass coffee tables in the seating area are by Flair Edition.

 

At the back of the living room, a French green resin sculpture from the ’70s is displayed on top of an engraved wooden cabinet by Nerone Patrussi, a Beni Ourain Moroccan rug grounds the space, while the alabaster lamp and sofas upholstered in grey velvet from Dedar are all Flair Edition pieces.

 

Atop a light walnut chest of drawers is a shagreen lamp by R&Y Augousti, whose blocky shapes are reflected in the Danish white leather armchair from the ’70s. A photographic work by Regina Barroso provides an intriguing backdrop to more vessels by Caffier and an Italian sculpture by an unknown artist.

 

The majority of the entrance hall’s wall that leads from the front door into the living room is taken up by an abstract from Olimpia Benini’s ‘Russian Roots’ series.

 

Textures abound in the main bedroom, as seen in the fabric-upholstered walls, headboard covered in silk from Dedar and Parchment bedside table and lamp with alabaster base, both by Flair. The painting on the right is of French origin and dates back to the 1950s.