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Home visit: Italian heritage meets modern style

Find out how Elisa has made a 150-year-old building feel modern, without losing its original character…

A living room with white walls and a grey sofa.
A living room with white walls and a grey sofa.

All-in-one living

At the heart of Elisa’s apartment is a one-room living, dining and kitchen area. Instead of walls creating separate rooms, she and her boyfriend, Guido, have an open-plan space that feels relaxed and lets them unwind together in one place.

A galley kitchen with aged wood and pops of red.

Embrace old and new

Opposite the living area, Elisa’s galley kitchen runs along one wall. Old and new sit side by side. The mix of aged wood and bright-red, modern features is no mistake: “When everything feels mismatched, I love using colour as the common thread. My great-grandmother’s knife collection is the oldest heirloom in here,” says Elisa.

Space to learn your craft

A stream of natural light and a display of notebooks Elisa has collected help her to feel inspired. “My mother is teaching me how to craft with fabrics – I re-cover old notebooks, using pieces of material, to sell in my gift shop,” says Elisa.

A blue and white bedroom, with a red bed cover.

The feeling of warmth

When renovating, Elisa decided to keep the original hand-blown-glass window panes. “The house can still feel draughty as the windows are so old. I’ve learned to use textiles to keep warm. When I’m wrapped up cosy in blankets and throws in the morning, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be,” she says.

Alive with family history

What does it mean to you, to live in a home with such rich heritage?
It’s priceless. To live in the same house, share the same views and walk the same mountains that my father’s side of the family did is just incredible. We haven’t lived here our whole lives, but after my father died in 2009, I felt an emotional pull to come back.

What were your plans when renovating?
My mother and I, we didn’t really have a plan. We just knew we had a lot of work to do. The renovation lasted nine months altogether, but it was worth it – I feel very lucky to live here.

Are there any family traditions that you’ve kept alive?
We Italians are brought together by our love of good food. Our home was used as an ‘osteria’ restaurant until the 1950s and we still serve the same kind of traditional food as a family. There’s no need to ask, you can always guarantee there will be a spread on the table.

    Take a tour of Elisa’s home, where seven generations have lived before her.

    A floorplan of Elisa’s apartment.

    New life with old roots

    Elisa and Guido’s apartment is the top floor of a building that is also home to her brother (ground floor) and mother (second floor). The walls stand as they did in the 1800s, but the functions of each room change with time: “In the future, I hope the craft studio will become a nursery.”

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    Made by
    Interior stylist: Ashlyn Gibson
    Photographer: Benjamin Edwards