A fashion-conscious home for a fashion-centric city, this large apartment by Antonella Tesei Architetto brings the high style and contemporary chic of Milan indoors. Featuring organic forms and white-cream tones, the design ethos of this house is one of well-executed elegance. Sculptural wood and stone objects throughout create a spacial universality and a connection to the natural world, while white tones and squared-off appliances suggest modernity. The apartment is well above average in size, covering two stories with a striking spiral staircase as a connection point. Different rooms are spread out creatively in the home, retaining a sense of distinct space without the feeling of isolation or claustrophobia. The apartment’s white walls, high ceilings, and huge window space are all different facets of that solution.
Located in the heart of historic Milan, the apartment looks out onto centuries of rich architectural styles from every available angle, and the city’s influence is present within. Every structural element or furniture piece in the home has a dramatic flair, while still retaining sophistication and refinement. Where the form of an object is wild, its color is straightforward. Where material choices are mixed, shapes are kept simple. The effortless balance of grandeur and refinement, elegance and simplicity, defines Milan, and it defines this apartment, too.
All the major living spaces of the home are kept simple and bright, with details and decor filling in to provide color and drama to each room. In the living room, the dominant non-white color is gold, exemplified by the painting and ornamental shelf on one wall, as well as the large tree-trunk coffee table at the room’s center.
Every furniture piece in the living room, from the couches to the side table, has organic curves and ripples of shape, avoiding the sharp-corner mindset that often plagues modern home design while still pulling off a thoroughly contemporary look.
Because of careful attention to lighting details in the apartment’s design, the white colors of each room come off as a more soothing off-white at the correct times of day. This space is accented by an almost regal-looking couch and a small collection of paintings, as well as the shadow designs of its curtains.
The home’s stairs are visually distinguished from the rest of the bottom floor by a thick grey carpet circle, a rare design element in modern apartments. The steps themselves are perhaps unintentionally reminiscent of North American pueblo styles, again extending organic, smooth-corner designs through the house.
A small window at the top of the stairs breaks up the ceiling space, giving a sense of scale to the short climb.
The apartment’s kitchen is situated in a widened hallway-style space, positioned around a central island that house both cooking and eating surfaces. The medium-tone woodgrain of the island serves the same purpose as the wooden table in the living room below, dividing a white overall room into distinct sections. Windows on two sides of the kitchen provide sweeping views of Milan.
Unlike the living room and kitchen, the dining room doesn’t rely on its largest horizontal surface to instill color contrast. Instead, that task is spread out among the chairs, artwork, accent table, and fireplace, and further visual division is invoked by the complexity of lines breaking up the white walls and ceiling.
The apartment’s bedroom is the most intimate space of the house, making use of a combined version of many design tricks from elsewhere to create a darker, warmer place to rest. Carpeting is present in the room, integrated with dark shades to decrease the brightness of reflected light streaming in, and the room’s windows are framed on the bottom by plant life to keep prying eyes away.
Like the bedroom, this office and study space bucks the all-white trend to create a greater sense of personality and specificity of purpose in the room. Here, wood flooring is combined with all-dark furniture and decor pieces for an academic air.
In one of the bathrooms, organic sculpting is brought back into play and juxtaposed with manufactured surfaces. Water-containing appliances are kept carefully rounded, while storage areas are boxy and glossy.
In the master bathroom, cream-colored stone tile and dark wood flooring frame fixtures which seem to sprout directly from the ground, filling the space without seeming “installed” or permanent.
The master bathroom’s cabinetry has a mirror finish that echoes and extends the wall mirror above it, and the sinks are ultramodern slits that creating soothing falls of water to rinse off your hands more efficiently.
The apartment sports an outdoor dining deck and a metallic spiral staircase with access to rooftop space as well, extending the functional area of the already-large home even further.
Antonella Tesei Architetto