Decorate A Dreamhouse In Florence Italy

Written By: Patricia Lynne
Editor: Sarahjoy Crain

In my current SB Journal entry "Decorating A Dreamhouse" - - I'm imagining I'm living in a vintage apartment style house, like the one above. In Florence, Italy, that is!

As recorded in my Journal: in every nook and cranny around my vintage Florence home are unbelievably beautiful symbols of Italian and European culture.

I can simply pedal my bicycle and dive right into the European Renaissance by riding the Ring of the Renaissance, which overlooks Florence and borders along the Valdarno and the Valdisieve. This bike ride delightfully combines the elegance of the country's nature with its amazing art and history.

It is impossible not to fall in love with the Country's beautiful places and enjoy its incredible panoramas. Including the view from my own windows - which is to die for.

Close to the heart of the community my location allows me to taste the local foods and scrumptious wines of the area with the greatest of ease. There isn't a day that I cannot take a break and eat in one of the trattorias or cellars for a 'sensorial' experience.

Honoring the vintage style of Italy and the universal geniuses Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo I've accessorized the inside of my home by leaving the walls natural rough fresco. My color scheme celebrates the chromaticity of Tuscany, having incorporated some of the old style formalness (through both the use of antiques and reproduction Italian antique pieces such as from Bennetti's Italia, USA).

We're going inside now so please join me as I write in my SB Journal on decorating the interiors of my worldly apartment style Florence, Italy. Home.

My Dreamhouse Formal Entryway

Benvenuti nel mio Firenze casa - in English, "Welcome To My Florence House" and I do, welcome you. How does one hold in their hands, or more succinctly, place in their entryway, such a piece of history - and then invite friends - it seems so presumptuous. But this is Florence, Italy, everyday!
I love this artwork. And the accessorizing with a few plates and tall candle holders. I felt like I kidnapped this 17th century Italian credenza from Michael Haskell Antiques. Who OWNS something like this - this could be a museum piece. No reproduction here - this is a real find from Michael Haskell's shop. Secret: once in a blue moon, no matter the budget, splurge! I applaud you to invest in a truly fabulous piece, like your name was written all over it. For me, this was it.

My Dreamhouse Living Room

Moviamo per favore al soggiorno e piacere il caffè - or, please let us move to the living room and enjoy coffee.
Now, as you decorate, understand it is okay to use reproductions. Here I have used beautiful reproductions sofa, loveseat and awesome accent chair that are available from the Something Beautiful Shoppe. Their 48" ottoman is comfortable, elegant and useful as a practical spot when entertaining to place a coffee tray and servings. The urn vase full of roses on the ottoman is integral to the overall design of the room - when building the rose display, I utilized the 'more is better' concept to hold the room together. Just in case you wondered, yes, the accent chair is favorite amongst my family and guests.
The Bell 6 Candle Vine chandelier from Studio Steel Lighting is yet another place where I indulged myself - Studio Steel creates one-of-a-kind custom wrought iron fixtures for private residences and public spaces. Each piece has a hand-rubbed finish and exquisite appointments. It adds luxurious luminescence to my home. I've piggybacked splendor and brilliance to my living room by indulging myself with a custom chandelier, picked hopefully to be treasured for generations.

My Florence DreamHouse Dining Room

Dining together is a formal affair for Italians, especially if you are comparing the average American family.

"Il Mio amore che la tavola non e' affittato" will be expressed sharply and distinctly if someone at the table dare rush the Italian dinnertime. This expression means, "My Love, the table is not rented."

This is the time to sit. To enjoy the fruits of your labor. To embrace your family and friends. The adult members know this; but it is the squeamish youngsters who (silently) question this daily European dinner tradition. Questioning of this tradition is met by laughter from family members who've learned to trust this sacred old family tradition. (The dining table and chairs shown here are from the Sorrento Collection By Fremarc.)

My Dreamhouse Master Bedroom

Note how the bed is not flush to the wall. This reflects a style from the Renaissance. Back when the rooms were chilly and high framed beds also were curtained all about in sumptuous woven and embroidered fabrics. Often placed in the center of a chamber, the bed was like an enclosed room, within a room, within a house. The draperies when dropped, offered seclusion for pillow talk.

Here pulling the bed away from the wall allows for artwork to have a separate form of prominence - one can walk right up to it. It gives the room a feeling of layers - the bed and nightstand, the fireplace area, the gallery of artwork.

Staying true to my Florence, Italy home heritage, the black leather upholstered headboard brings a slight feel of the contemporary. But, don't be fooled, the sumptuous over the top bedding is too significant for any real modern feel.
Candles are a must in the bedroom, as well as sensuous lotions and scents. Create a room you are drawn to . . . that your body longs to cuddle up under its covers beside your favorite someone. Create luxury and serenity. Living in Florence, Italy one quickly learns to honor life and its gifts. In the busyness of everyday life, even here, honoring our bedroom is like honoring ourselves. Much less an indulgence than a necessity.

Bedding is Montefalco by Sweet Dreams.

Writing my "Decorating A Dreamhouse" is always a great job for me. Florence, Italy is such a big amazing City. I hope you enjoyed tasting a small slice of what my life would be like in Florence.

I could so move here. Couldn't you?

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If decorating isn't easy for you or if you are in need of some particular interior design assistance, our designers at the Something Beautiful Shoppe will be happy to work with you - working with professional helps assure you get the look you deserve while helping eliminate costly mistakes.

Transforming Space With Light

Getting the lighting right in our homes will transform our spaces. Additionally, we know that the human eye is instinctively drawn to light sources upon visiting someone's home. Light fixtures create warmth and visual movement around the room.

Most homes are underlit. Underlit homes often tend to make rooms feel smaller and can cast an unappealing light on the room as well as on the folks who live there.

Here are some tips in getting your lighting right to help you transform your space. The tips will be simple but not obvious if you haven't thought about this before.

* Three Points of Light: Every room should have at least three points of light, which allow for the basic triangle of visual flow around the room. In the bedroom above, from Studio Steel Lighting, for example, this is the lights on either side of the bed and the chandelier. Another form of how to incorporate the three points of light in a bedroom would be lamps on nightstands on each side of the bed and a third lamp on top of a dresser. FYI: More light is always fine. (Studio Steel Lighting Chandelier)

* No Bare Bulbs: Indirect light is most comfortable and most flattering. Contrary to the below photo, for the most part you should remove, redirect or cover any bare bulbs that you can see. I included the below photo (from Skona Hemm a Swedish interior design magazine with regular features on home decor) knowing that it is a break-the-rules bare bulb light fixture because it is so unique and it does work. I believe that is because the bulbs are at a low level and additionally, they give off a soft, not harsh light.

* Keep Light Below Eye Level: Low positioning is best so that it lives on the level where you live - not on the ceiling.

Table and floor lamps should do most of your lighting, and track or ceiling fixtures (pendants and chandeliers) should shield their sources and direct light downward onto furniture or walls so that you notice the light most by where it is shining, not where it's coming from.

* Dimmers, Dimmers, Dimmers: Dimmers are easy to install, don't cost much, save electricity and allow you to adjust your lighting for many different occasions. They make a huge difference.

Design Concept - Golden Mean And Golden Rectangle

Understanding design concepts such as the Golden Mean regarding proportion - the ideal relationship of things to themselves - will help you not only be better prepared to create beauty around you but it will enhance your enjoyment of that beauty.

It is noteworthy that since Renaissance times, the concept of the Golden Mean and the Golden Rectangle have been used in the undertaking of art and architecture. Not just artists and architects have incorporated the Golden Mean, but mathematicians (and more recently, readers of "The Da Vinci Code,) have been fascinated by mathematical proportions and the Golden Mean. It's the basis of much of the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Today for architects and designers, the Golden Mean has become a standard proportion used:
  • in facades of buildings,

  • in first story to second story proportion,

  • in the dimensions of paintings and picture frames,

  • in planning a room or elevating a wall and the sizes of the windows or the spaces between or above or below.

  • Definition of Golden Mean: is a formula for dividing a line at between 2/3 and 1/2 its length. This formula is believed to result in the segments being satisfactory proportions, believed to be pleasing to the human being.

    Definition Of The Golden Rectangle: is any rectangle in which the ratio of the short side to the long side is 3 to 5 or of course any extensions of this ratio such as 4 x 6, 6 x 9, etc.

    Example of Golden Rectangle in an area rug, a typical interior decor item:

    This Ocean Corsaro area rug from Gumps San Francisco measures 4' x 6', it is an example of the golden rectangle.

    Example of Golden Rectangle in a significant historical architecture - the Parthenon.

    The Greeks built the Parthenon so that its width is perfect in relation to its height, as in the golden rectangle.

    Determining the Golden Rectangle: Let's say you are considering adding on a room addition and your available area is 18' in width and plenty of land, what should be the length of your room? Divide the 18' by 2 and arrive at 9'. Add the 9' to the 18' and you have 27'. Therefore the dimensions of your new room should be 18' x 27'.

    You can create the ideal proportion whether you base the measurement on the length or the width. For example, suppose the length of the room were 18'. What would be the ideal width? It would be 12', because when you divide 18 by 1.5, it becomes 12; therefore the ideal dimensions would be 12' x 18'.

    When you know good proportion, you can see why an area rug is so satisfying and why a long hall gives you claustrophobia.

    Interior designers have ways to correct flawed proportions in many instances. The hallway shown in the above photograph has been architecturally corrected by the beautiful archways. If you have a long narrow hallway, a less expensive idea is to place a mirror at the end of the hall to bring in light and visually widen the space. You can either hang a traditional mirror in a frame or mirror the whole wall from cornice to baseboard.

    When you learn how to see ideal proportions, you feel great satisfaction. You can use your knowledge of proportion in every aspect of your life. Although there is a scientific standard for ideal proportions, your eye can be trained to see and envision proper proportions as well as to recognize ill proportion. To the untrained eye, proportion is abstract and complex, yet it is the most pervasive principle of seeing. The ancient Greeks called proportion the soul of what we see.

    The Design Concept Series endeavors to help you bring more beauty and harmony into your home by helping you learn to see better and by helping you to know how to incorporate important design principles