Is it possible to retrace the seasons of a place by going backward in time while also moving forward, and to actually go one step beyond contemporary? This challenge of ours happens to be in the shape of a delightful Milan attic which dates back to the 1940s.
After decades of travelling around the world, a career woman decided to go back and live in the same neighbourhood where she grew up, and she found her place just a few meters from her grandparents’ house.
At Spezyale we felt that the style choice should also be one that pays tribute to this extraordinary short-circuit of past and present. This is why we made it a point to have a precise objective in mind regarding the ‘re-look’ of the apartment: to peel away the superfluous sediments of time and leave the essentials unchanged, and to bring out the original soul of the spaces. In a sort of retracing of all the years put together right up to the exact point where the origins of the space could coincide with the seasons to come.
Our starting point was with the true protagonist of the house: the cementine cement tile floors in geometric shapes that clearly took on a leading role in the narration of the space. Gray, orange, apricot, and black: strong colours, surprisingly put together. The colour shades, furniture, and fabrics were all carefully selected as if they were the reverberations reflecting off a multicoloured surface of a lake.
Instead of baseboards there is a twenty centimetre high bordeaux coloured strip. A lovely variety of fabrics play off each other all around: curtains in printed silk twill, velvet, and jacquard in orange silk for a niche in the hallway that hides the broom closet.
It was particularly bold of us to resist the temptation to alter the original floor plan once beyond the entrance to the bathroom and the kitchen; two long, narrow parallel strips that we decided to respect, even though we did modernized and bring things up to contemporary standards.
We had to sacrifice the bathtub and the blue tiles in the bathroom, which were too damaged to be saved. In their place, a crystal shower and a very simple and austere slab of black marble for the counter-top restored new life to it with simplicity. The kitchen turned into a little jewel of retro-contemporary style, gem-set on top of the floor made of “minestrone” style cement tiles: a black marble counter-top, a burgundy shelf, a copper band as a back-splash in the kitchen, steel appliances, a black refrigerator and a vintage chandelier .
Even the furniture respects the rules of the game: each piece was hand picked and rescued strictly from flea markets scattered throughout Northern Italy, along with a selection of the client’s family legacies.
Once again, bold combinations for the terrace: green, aubergine, purple, and black for the plants chosen by La Fleur Rebelle by Guglielmo Donato, which frame an armchair in orange resin.
The space is now ready for its second time around. Which way will the hands of the clock go, forward or backward?