Jun 4

Italian villas and Spanish-style abodes

Phew! It’s been a busy few weeks in my small sphere. Lots of exciting projects on the go, but also some business at home. Without officially putting our house on the market, we have been allowing an estate agent to show potential buyers through, which as anyone with children or pets who has tried to sell knows, means constant cleaning! But beginning the path to selling means that I can start to dream about what might be next!

A dream I always come back to is how wonderful it would be to design and built a house from scratch. Of course, this would mean deciding on a style in which to built, which would not be an easy task. I’ve fantasized about French chateau’s (not in a McMansion style but a more provincial style), English-style Georgian symmetry, Hamptons-style white and timber (though I don’t think this would wholly suit the likely rural build location), and a whole range of European-inspired abodes.

It seems slightly odd I know to lump Italian and Spanish home styles in together, but my latest home building fantasy would be a fusion of these styles. In my mind both styles suit an Australian landscape – I’m thinking solid rendered blockwork walls, terraces and levels to cope with uneven ground, a covered patio area to protect against the Western sun. I love the idea of terracotta roof tiles, unpainted timbers for ceilings, windows and doors, maybe a little wrought ironwork for stair rails.

It sounds as though I’m expecting a mansion, but honestly I’d be happy with a very scaled-down version of this sort of style. I love the idea of rooms with different views, arched doorways, dark rustic timbers and central courtyards.

As for the interiors, I actually have a floorplan for my Dream Build already laid out in detail in my mind. I’m thinking a big central living room opening onto a terrace or courtyard with a big stone fireplace, rooms that flow onto one another, and lots of high ceilings. Do you know the Spanish mission-style house in Brothers and Sisters? That house has a great feel (though it’s not pictured here).

Those curtains would have to go if this were mine (above), but I love the design and materials of this stairwell.

I think it must be the cold weather here, but I’m craving warmer colours, more luxurious materials, darker and cosier spaces. Here are some of the rooms from my files – high ceilings, stone, timber, and generally a more formal style.

I don’t like the rug here, the fireplace mantle, or the shelving accessories (above), but I do love the double-height ceiling, the timber floors, and the idea of a tall stone fireplace flanked by tall shelving.

Another thing that comes to mind when I think of building a Spanish-style house is the use of tiled stairs between rooms, and interesting staircases. Do you remember Sheryl Crow’s house in Architectural Digest magazine?:

My favourite view is this one (above), through the living room to the staircase. I love all the interesting arched shapes and the levels- the dining level up some steps on the left, the lower level visible behind the sofa, and the staircase leading to a level above. Why don’t they built houses like this in Australia!?

Love the terracotta tiled floors and the white subway tiles on the kitchen walls and range canopy.

Another amazing house in this style that springs to mind is Ellen Pompeo’s, that was featured in Elle Decor:

This is a great idea for giving a ceiling character in a new-build – especially if it’s not possible to have pitched cathedral-type ceilings – add some aged-looking plaster corbels and rustic timber beams instead of cornicing.

There’s that amazing staircase! The arches, the columns and ironwork are all beautiful -and I love the glimpse through to another level half-way up.

That’s probably enough dreaming for now! Back to real work and reality..

Have a great day, and welcome to a new week.

Naomi xx

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