There’s no place like home. Dorothy knew this. It’s the phrase that magically transported her, with three clicks of her sparkly, ruby red heels, out of Oz and back to Aunty Em in Kansas.
It’s fitting then that for talented footwear designer Samuele Failli, a man who has created exquisite heels for the likes of Prada, Azzedine Alaïa and Yves Saint Laurent, it is also something of a mantra.
His home, which he shares with his Parson Russell Terrier Brando is, he says, his ‘place to be’. His perfect escape from an otherwise hectic life. ‘Every time I return after my business trips, I feel like I am finally safe from stress,’ he explains.
That instant relaxation is partly down to surroundings. Located in a corner of Tuscany noted for its natural beauty, not far from the artistic city of Arezzo, his villa, built in 1721, benefits from 360-degree views of rolling green hills. It’s like a postcard. Inside, however, there are surprises, with rural tranquillity replaced by a daring use of colour and intense pattern.
When Samuele first set eyes on this ancient property it was totally abandoned and unloved. ‘I was well aware of all the work that would be necessary to make it my dream home,’ he admits, but with the help of architects Margherita Bacci and Cosimo Bonciani who, at the time, both worked at Studio1 Architetti (and were both just 25 years old when the project began) he has been able to create something quite special.
Divided across three floors, the villa’s rooms are linked by a confident use of one colour: cobalt blue. Spilling out from Samuele’s study, the shade covers not just the walls but also the floor, as part of an installation by Florence-based artist and interior designer Duccio Maria Gambi.
In the living area, blue ‘Lady’ sofas by Marco Zanuso for Cassina continue the scheme while, in the dining room beyond, oversized dots of the same hue act as decoration.
Upstairs, in Samuele’s bedroom and in the guest room on the floor above, the saturation becomes even more intense, with wardrobes covered in luxurious deep blue velvet and a vintage wallpaper from the 1930s adding to the visual drama. Throughout, classic items of furniture – largely from Samuele’s favourite decade, the 1950s – lend the whole place, what he calls, ‘a très chic attitude’.
The final effect is, he declares, ‘outstanding’. ‘Looking out of the windows, I see only countryside and tiny villages in the distance. It’s a unique contrast: a villa that looks like something out of Palm Springs but is, instead, immersed in the Tuscan landscape.’ studio1architetti.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration April 2021
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