When we think of images of Italy, we’re used to picturing sizzling colour – hot ochres, dazzling blues and geranium reds.
But there’s another side to Bella Italia; a cool and graceful monochrome world behind the shutters that reflects the chilled-out nature of smooth marble and polished alabaster.
So inspired by the lovely city in the limpid lagoon, we created our Little Venice look. In Spring, Venice is peaceful and inviting, its streets shadowed by tall palazzos full of elegantly luxurious rooms.
Can you replicate that feeling in your home? Of course – if you choose with care.
Monochrome is a theme that can be handled many ways, and for our Little Venice look we have added a dash of lustre to reflect the light and intensify the effect of texture and pattern.
It’s the little touches that do this, such as the Como Pewter Cushion with pom-poms and the wonderfully-sequinned Aquilla Platinum Doorstop – a witty take that looks like a gorgeous designer evening bag. Their soft metallic sheen is a delightful riposte to anyone who thinks neutrals are dull…
Comfort is an absolute must in this rich design scheme, and I love the Parker Knoll Celestine grand sofa, which brings together understated elegance and a beautifully-coordinated range of fabrics. This superbly soft seating comes with four decorative scatter cushions, and I particularly like the geometric ones – they give a contemporary sharpness to a classic look.
You can feel free to take the geometric edge quite a bit further in this look. For instance, the Parker Knoll Cecile Accent chair combines a smart pattern in charcoals and neutrals with a luxurious velvet touch. The show-wood turned legs and castors add a touch of period glamour, too.
That’s not to say this is a particularly historic look, though. We’ve been careful to mix it up a bit to keep the ambience fresh and contemporary, particularly when it comes to the smaller but highly important features such as side-tables and storage.
The Hermes lamp table contrasts stunning solid natural fossil marble – a key theme – with stainless steel and glass sides. Because the top is natural, each piece is beautifully individual, helping to create a bespoke feel to the room.
It looks wonderful supporting a substantial lamp of generous proportions, such as the Volcanic White Onion table lamp, which has a base made of lustrous volcanic-effect glass and a cream shade for subtle mood lighting.
The Doges, dukes of Venice, were famed for their sumptuous lifestyles, and our look has to reflect that with plenty of luxury. So alongside the strong geometric shapes and cool shades we’ve added plenty of snugglesome comfort in the shape of soft-filled cushions, plump footstools and rugs to treat the feet such as the Oceans rug. In this delectable piece, faded layers of colour overlay neutral backgrounds to give a gently distressed two-tone effect that’s easy on the eye.
The people who live in Venice call it La Serenissima, and we can see why. Cool, dreamy shades, a hint of perfect pattern and simply divine comfort – really, what could be more serene?