There’s no denying the romantic allure of the Italian countryside.
From the rolling green hills punctuated with proud cypress trees and the medieval hilltop towns of Tuscany, to the rugged shoreline of the Amalfi coast and its pastel-hued fishing villages, the Boot has an irrefutable charm. For many, owning a villa nestled amid such great beauty is a dream come true. However, challenges can arise when it comes to making your mark on the interiors of your fantasy home.
Ukrainian designers Iryna Dzhemesiuk and Vitaliy Yurov of Kiev-based Diff.Studio were enlisted by a couple in that very position; they wanted to impart a modern-luxe aesthetic without compromising the grandeur and elegance of the architectural structure. In an interview with Portuguese design company Boca do Lobo, whose dramatic pieces fit the brief of this dynamic project, the designers remarked, "It was the beautiful old architecture of the space with its vaulted ceiling that determined the direction of the contemporary style. We conceived the combination of modern furniture and classic techniques to illustrate the passage of time."
Indeed, the canvas that the design duo inherited was already incredibly impressive. They strove to improve on it, adding intarsia parquet flooring to endow a sense of elegance and tactile panelling to enhance the magnificence of the soaring vaulted ceilings, introducing a contemporary facet to time-honoured practices.
The interiors throughout are dominated by white, with gold and other vivid accents applied to delineate the space. "This residence is an experiment with style, colour and texture," the designers told Boca do Lobo. "Each area has its own unique character. We used different wall finishes in each room – there are the ribbed white walls with gold segments in the living room and panels with stucco elements in the entrance hall. In the dining room, we painted the walls in maroon, while the kitchen was kept minimal."
Lighting and appointments play a central role in the success of this abode’s aesthetic, with furniture throughout from luminaries of the design world, including Amuneal, Kristalia, Minotti and Poltrona Frau. In the living room, theatrical lights designed by Danny Fang for Hive are suspended from the ceiling, casting a soft, whimsical glow through layers of muslin. These mingle with the vintage silhouettes of Delightfull’s Hanna lamps, as well as the sumptuous curved lines of emerald- and grey-hued seating – together creating an opulent atmosphere that isn’t ostentatious.
Jewel tones also shine in the dining room, where walls in rich amethyst set the mood for an evening of entertaining, overseen by a large-scale contemporary artwork. The clean, bright kitchen reverts to brilliant white but retains a visual connection with the other spaces through the parquetry and repeated use of marble, both of which elevate the aesthetic value of the area.
It’s in the bathroom that refinement crosses into lavishness – and it does so to great effect. The highlight is an illuminated agate wall in cerulean shades, although high-gloss multifaceted fittings by Maison Valentina come a close second to complete the extravagant look.
According to the design duo, this room, as well as the rest of the abode, is an expression of the homeowners’ characters – and its success is emblematic of what they were hoping to achieve. "Design is always a search for the ideal solutions," they remarked. "Certain knowledge, combined with feelings, gives a perfect result. You should try different options, always seek perfection and never stop."