With its enchanting views of the Tuscan countryside, where the olive trees and cypresses are often draped in a haze of mist, this is a home that encourages moments of quiet contemplation. Its history, however, is more industrious. The 19th-century farmhouse was once home to not only a farmer, but a small herd of cows and a stable of pigs, too. Today, the busiest it gets is when its Italian owners, who live in Switzerland for most of the year, welcome their grown-up children for family get-togethers.
The pace of life here may have changed, but architect Rocco Borromini aimed to ‘preserve everything that could be preserved’, to respect the surrounding environment and retain as much of the property’s original charm as possible. ‘The first time the family saw the place, it was foggy, rainy and cold, and the house lay abandoned,’ says Rocco. ‘But their decision was as much about the landscape as the building, and they fell completely in love.’
Stone walls have been left raw, and the beams painstakingly restored after having fallen into disrepair from years of neglect. At each window is a brickwork trellis, typical of farmhouse architecture in this region. In another labour of love, Rocco removed crumbling stones and poor replicas, replacing them with salvaged bricks. Now, the restored latticework makes golden sunlight fall in a dappled effect across the concrete floors and transforms the vista into a series of intricately framed landscapes.
Inside, elegant furniture draws on Italy’s rich design heritage and includes pink velvet ‘D.153.1’ armchairs by Milan-born Gio Ponti, and a ‘Tufty-Time’ sofa and ‘Tufty-Bed’ by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia. ‘The owners were keen on contemporary details, but also wanted their home to be warm and cosy,’ says Rocco. ‘I just love the contrast of modernity and tradition.’
This feature appeared in ELLE Decoration Country Volume 13.
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