Muted tones and calm comforts have a soothing effect in this Italian home

A new take on minimalism, this abode is proof you don’t have to forego colour to live the simple life

contemporary home bologna
Photography Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside

There’s a tendency to think minimalism means a lack of colour. That only white surfaces, uncluttered by signs of family life – photographs, mementoes, stacks of mail discarded on your way through the front door – can be classed as truly minimal. But isn’t it time for a perception shift? Could the term perhaps be redefined to mean not a lack of things, but a mood that we can all create – one of calm, homely comfort?

That was the thinking behind including this home just outside the picturesque Italian city of Bologna in our simple living edit. Because, even though its owners Valentina Muggia and Giuliano di Paolo have not held back on displaying their beloved items, the choice of soft, pared-back colours – greyish tones of blue, green and white – shows artful restraint. As a result, rooms that could have felt busy or cluttered strike a more tranquil tone.

living room home bologna
Photography Fabrizio Cicconi/Living inside

‘We placed great importance on the influence that colours and craftsmanship can have on our emotions and wellbeing,’ says Valentina, who runs Borgo delle Tovaglie, a home accessories company, with Guiliano. ‘We could never imagine ourselves living in a house with empty walls,’ adds Guiliano.

‘We love to create environments that are characterised by contrasts’

‘The small details of our home enrich us and make us feel full of poetry.’ Poetic is indeed a fitting way to describe the ambience of this house, with its gentle, romantic lighting and textures. ‘I love the atmosphere that lamps create,’ Valentina says, referring to the collection of original 1950s designs that pepper each room in her home, giving off a cosy, diffused glow.

contemporary bedroom home bologna
Photography Fabrizio Cicconi/Living Inside

‘We love to create environments that are characterised by contrasts,’ adds Valentina, alluding perhaps to the aspect of this home that makes it such a masterpiece of minimal design, despite its owners’ refusal to adhere to any of the usual rules of that aesthetic. Here, the rich bustle of everyday family life exists in a space that also allows room to rest and recharge.

For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration May 2018

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