This young, energetic couple have restructured their antique farm house into a spectacle of modernity! We love the contradiction of the exterior appearance and the interior functionality. Their variety of art: paintings from local painters; famous ones too; photgraphs; sculpture. Instead of exclusively embracing the local flavor, their interior design could be mistaken for a New York City aparment on Central Park West. There is a taste of many different cultures instead of a concentration of Italian themes.
We hope our readers will understand a little better who Gianni and Angelina are after seeing their living space. It is quite an intimate experience isn’t it? Congratulations Angelina and Gianni! Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us!
The Mag: We love that your ancient house is so modern inside. Tell us about this choice.
G&A: “Our own preference is contemporary but our holiday home is in a protected area which meant that we could not change the external appearance. So, instead, we created a ‘house within a house’. Before we purchased the property, it housed pigs and cattle for over 50 years so our solution also has a practical purpose. The new interior does not touch the original farmhouse so we are insulated from the dreaded ‘rising damp’ of animal waste!”
The Mag: Was this the first house you ever restored?
G&A: “It’s the first house we have completely restored. Our home in England is a Regency townhouse which we modernised. For that project we took a different route and embraced the classic interior design of the Georgian era – lots of wood panels, fabrics and old furniture.”
The Mag: Were you satisfied with your Architect, Builder, Geometra?
G&A: “Of course we had to use a local architect to obtain the permesso but… we really struggled with him when it came to the interior design. We wanted industrial floorings and a minimalist design but he was obsessed with ever darker chestnut beams and filling the place with terracotta.
So we parted company and project managed the restoration ourselves, using local craftsmen and specialists – all of whom we now regard as friends.”
The Mag: What advise would you give someone just setting out to restructure a house?
G&A: “Get personal recommendations from people you trust. Shop around (as you know there are two set of prices here one for the locals and one for the stranieri), be patient (essential!) and, finally, don’t rush things. Old properties need time to evolve and settle after big changes – and even little mistakes can cost you dear!”
The Mag: What do you think of the photos of Anna Cuzzolin? Do you have many purchased photographs hanging in your home?
G&A: “Anna’s work is creative and has a mysterious quality. She has an eye for colours, movement and story-telling. Nearly all the photographs in our house are selected from Gianni’s collection from his 25 years’ as a journalist. But we do have one very special photograph – inspired by Delacroix’s Bastille painting – by Byron Newman, a London-based Playboy photographer which occupies an entire wall in our dining room.”
The Mag: We noticed that you have a very sophisticated alarm system, dogs and neighbours. Is it safe here in the hills of central Italy?
G&A: ”Of course it’s safe but like any rural place there is a risk of burglary! We are lucky as our house isn’t isolated and we have great Italian and Brit neighbours. We all look out for each other.”
The Mag: Are you connected to both the ex-pat and local communities?
G&A: “Yes, in fact we see them all as one and – with Angelina being italian by birth but raised in England – we feel part of both communities. There’s a danger of becoming entrenched into just one side of the community but bridging both sets of people is so much more rewarding. Where else in the world would you get paid in rabbit meat to fix a neighbour’s laptop!”