We are winding down the end of our first season at La Bandita Townhouse. It has been an exciting process and despite the stress of getting the place open in time, I loved seeing how the design ideas translated from paper into reality, especially after already surviving the first time around with La Bandita in the countryside. We have been so lucky to work with our architects, Arianna Pieri and Ernesto Bartolini of DA studios, on both projects. And to find custom artisans like Farmobili who created beautifully executed custom pieces. Vintage finds from the likes of Florence furniture mecca Riccardo Barthel helped us to juxtapose the older bones of the building with the contemporary look we wanted.
Once our projects open their doors, my husband runs the daily operations. But during the design process we work as a team. Much of our inspiration came from other places we loved, not so much in terms of specific furniture but more the atmosphere, a place full of light and color, and local pieces that were still surprising. You can read more about our experience of moving to Italy in Lonny and Marie-Claire magazines.
Here are some design ideas that worked for us along the way:
Reinvent the wheel while using traditional materials: Although we like the Tuscan design vernacular in some cases–dark wood beams and furniture, terracotta floors etc—our aesthetic is more airy and light filled. One of our main design desires was to create the look with traditional materials but turning them on their head: terracotta cubes framed the beds and outdoor pergolas, white travertine was pulverized and reassembled to create a more modern and smooth flooring, beams and tiles were whitewashed, and pale repurposed wood became the platform of the pergolas.
Mixing old and new: A huge part of our aesthetic, particularly at the Townhouse, was to use antique pieces to soften contemporary edges. In each guestroom for example one or two items nod to the region’s history—in some by cozy well-worn leather club chairs from turn of the century Florence, in others Art Deco mirrors from Tuscany (I still covet the one that went into the “altar room” for my own home).
Pops of color: Without being too precious or matchy-matchy we found a signature color for both properties. At La Bandita Countryhouse, we went with a bright green hue, the color for the custom boxes that turn into writing desks (the grass around the property is electric green in spring), and at the Townhouse with an orange (the color of the warm stone of Pienza in certain light) that repeats from the stools to the resin shelves and structure that separates bathrooms from bedrooms.