For Milanese interior designer Sophie Wannenes, the biggest pitfall to avoid when decorating is ‘using two very similar colours together’. This aversion to safe, expected shades should come as no surprise to anyone who has entered her gallery, PalermoUno, which she set up in her own apartment in the city’s stylish Brera district.
‘You make better colour choices if you know it’s okay to change your mind,’ says Sophie, whose own decisions demonstrate the current trend for clashing home hues. Her approach may be bold, confident and ahead of the curve, but it’s practical, too. ‘Choose the main entrance colour and start from there,’ she advises. ‘Make it neutral, so, for example, I picked a brick-like shade as it fits with most other tones. From there, you can select other colours you like, holding them next to it to see if they’re suited.’
Work on the gallery – where everything from the light fittings to the wall paint is for sale – began in September last year, and it opened in November. ‘Let’s just say I had to do everything pretty fast,’ says Sophie. The two-bed, two-living room, second-floor apartment is classically Milanese, with high ceilings and parquet flooring. It’s a stylish canvas that’s given Sophie the space to be experimental. ‘I am never insecure when decorating,’ she says. ‘I trust my taste and follow my instincts.’ This confidence shows – Sophie has created an elegant space that packs a visual punch. ‘The colours are exaggerated because we want to impress,’ she says. ‘But I always like to be daring.’
A large part of Sophie’s motivation for establishing PalermoUno was to create
a community as well as a place to display the work of designers she likes. The plan is to rearrange the gallery twice a year, with a special showcase for the annual design pilgrimage, the Salone del Mobile. ‘It’s about putting together many different creatives – some known and some unknown, but all very talented,’ she says. It’s a very personal project, but one that, luckily, has a wider appeal. ‘I noticed I had an eye for choosing objects and I love the idea that other people appreciate my selection.’ palermouno.it
For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration August 2019
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