Original Fifties furniture and glass doors make this Florentine apartment classy and modernist

With a new horseshoe-shaped layout that encourages the Italian sunshine to stream in, this apartment is a real treasure

50s living room florence home
Photographer Birgitta Wolfganf/Sisters Agency

When you possess a Florentine apartment that’s blessed with the riverside view E M Forster’s heroine Lucy Honeychurch yearns for in A Room With A View – Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Palace and all – you would be forgiven for spending all of your time relaxing on the terrace. However, the lucky fashion industry insider who owns this modernist 1950s home has been very busy. In want of a larger main bedroom and a more spacious living area, he commissioned Rome-based architect Massimo Adario to reconfigure the interior. The result is not merely a room with a view, but a light-filled 250-square-metre flat that offers breathtaking vistas at every glance.

1950s living room florence home
Photography Birgitta Wolfgang/Sisters Agency

Massimo rearranged the apartment into a horseshoe layout, curved around a small courtyard. He removed all of the internal walls, creating a sizeable kitchen from four smaller rooms and reducing the property from three bedrooms to two. He was not, however, given carte blanche. ‘This building was built after this area was destroyed in World War II, but in a way that was sensitive to the medieval architecture that survived. The walls are irregular and the finishes date back to the mid-century – the owner wanted to maintain a classic 1950s Italian feel.’


That local flavour has been achieved by sourcing a collection of elegant, original 1950s furniture designs by the likes of Giò Ponti, Osvaldo Borsani and Franco Albini, but also through a variety of structural and decorative means. Rich, fluted teak has been used to create the kitchen cabinetry and a curved room divider. An original set of double glass doors has been lovingly restored and additional sets, salvaged from similar apartments, installed to replace walls, lending the apartment a light feel.

double glass doors
Photography Birgitta Wolfgang/Sisters Agency

‘I try to create visual connections between the interior and the outside,’ says Massimo. ‘In most flats, the courtyard would be closed off with curtains. Here, instead, I have used horizontal timber blinds that maintain the views. This new openness creates a generous feeling of space.’ massimoadario.com

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration March 2018

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