International Style: Italian-Inspired Design Ideas
Italian design is known for being elegant, distinguished and casually grand. From traditional Old World Italian architecture to vibrant Tuscan-style designs, these extravagant and eye-catching rooms will leave you longing for Italia.
Tuscan design celebrates its simple luxury and at-home feel through this warm kitchen. A low, cove-vaulted brick ceiling, hex terra-cotta flooring and rustic sage cabinetry in this kitchen deliver natural warmth while comfortably enclosing the space for an intimate feel. Designer Lori Venners incorporated notable Tuscan themes by displaying copper pots, vases and a dramatic wrought iron chandelier above the island. In Italy, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and this Western-Italian representation elegantly mirrors the designs found among the Tuscan countryside. Architecture by Thom Oppelt. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty
Nothing says Old World magnificence quite like the hand-painted cathedral ceiling and two-tier chandelier of this elegant gathering room. Looking up, the room emits a feeling of Italian renaissance and splendor, while the furnishings and accessories deliver a traditional and comfortable spin on Old World style. The most spectacular piece in the room is the 16th-century fireplace imported from Cyprus. The stone detail looks especially stunning against Austrian hand-scraped wood floors. Designer Lori Venners added beige Knole sofas to pull in the gold hues from the ceiling detail, while also complementing the chocolate-brown draperies and dark wood furniture. Architecture by Thom Oppelt. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty
This inviting master bathroom will compel you to leave all worries at the door. Bath time is never complete without enjoying the warmth from a gas-burning fireplace or staring at soothing water reflections on a vaulted ceiling above. Jerusalem stone, travertine floors, walls and countertops, and solid wood accents deliver an overwhelming cozy Italian feel within the small space. Travertine, a traditional building material, is especially symbolic in Italian design as it was the primary material used in the construction of the Colosseum in 72 A.D. Design by Debra Campbell Design
Perfect for both holiday entertaining and everyday meals, this Old World dining room offers elegant, Italian Renaissance appeal with a comfortable and cozy dining experience. Cantera stone walls, often used in Spanish and Southwestern designs, immediately set this room apart from the home's plastered walls and intricate murals. The brick barrel-vaulted ceiling subtly mimics the kitchen's ceiling detail, while providing a delicate contrast from the stone walls. For a decorative feature against au naturel surroundings, designer Lori Venners added coordinating artwork and accessories to the back-lit art niches and built-in cabinets, as well as the 19th-century Italian neoclassical brass chandelier. Convenient for entertaining, storage alcoves house the owner's fine wine collection. Architecture by Thom Oppelt. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty
Just off the master bedroom, this sanctuary room is truly a unique in-house getaway. The most dramatic and eye-catching feature of the room is undeniably the ornate, hand-carved reclaimed ceiling from Ecuador. Venetian plastered walls in a fresh ivory hue serve as a soft complement to the ceiling detail and reclaimed ash wood flooring. Mirroring the elaborate ceiling designs, designer Lori Venners added a custom sake wood hearth as a welcoming accompaniment to a simple tiled fireplace. No home sanctuary is complete without an oversized chaise lounge ideal for reading, relaxing or taking an afternoon nap. Dark wood French doors open to a private balcony, providing sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and lake. Architecture by Thom Oppelt. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty
Chilled to Perfection
Designer Cindy Aplanalp transformed a small walk-in closet and former office into a stylish Old World wine grotto. Viticulture, also known as winemaking, has been around since 3200 B.C., but it wasn't until the 2nd century B.C. that winemaking really began to thrive in Italy. Now, Italy is known for being one of the world's top wine producers, and proper wine storage is a common asset in Italian homes. A welcoming staple of this room in particular is the octagonal stone mosaic that breaks up the storage shelves and provides a unique focal point. A Mediterranean-gothic light fixture delivers additional European edge among the wood beamed ceiling and stone surround. Soft, diffused lighting further enhances the overall mood and tone of the space. Vertical storage shelves guarantee that the wine bottles will be properly stored (horizontally), ensuring graceful aging. Small cubbies allow proud collectors to show off their finest pieces, while keeping others stored, chilled and organized.
Warm, natural elements, like stone walls, wood cabinetry and green marble countertops, enhance the cozy feel of this Italian-style kitchen. The wood-beamed cathedral ceilings and natural stone focal wall add to the grandeur of the room along with the antique wrought iron chandelier and wall sconces. The copper range hood, tumbled marble backdrop and cabinetry hint at traditional Old World kitchens, while providing an eclectic mix of old and new elements. Image courtesy of White River
A Taste of Tuscany
Although simple in design, this antique 12-light chandelier makes a dramatic statement in a cozy white casita. True to traditional Italian style, designer Lori Venners coordinated wood-beamed ceiling, reclaimed larch hardwood floors and a neutral color palette for an open, airy feel. The white walls and linens allow the Old World-inspired furnishings to provide visual interest in the room. With an ebonized finish and detailed hand carvings, the antique four-poster bed ensures guests will have opulent dreams. Architecture by Thom Oppelt. Image courtesy of Gene Northup of Synergy Sotheby's International Realty
Modern Take on Tradition
Old World design elements look especially stunning when paired with a more traditional Mediterranean style. While natural stone walls like to remain as such, stucco walls are often covered with colored Venetian plaster or faux-painting techniques for a textured and aged look. Venetian plastered walls, cypress beams and custom-made wrought iron lighting set an elegant tone upon entering the living room. Designer Troy Beasley mixes contemporary chairs, tables and accessories with charming Moorish art and rich, Tuscan hues. Tuscan style is known for its natural, earth-toned colors, like golden yellow, terra cotta and green for an airy effect in warm-weather places, and this ivory and gold color scheme provides just that.
For a contemporary take on Italian style, this home welcomes guests with custom wrought iron doors and a gothic-inspired lantern chandelier hanging from a dramatic dome ceiling. An ornate chest and mirror incorporate Tuscan-style copper hues, while drawing in the hand-painted details prominent in Italian design. A pair of antique Italian gilded altar sticks makes perfect lamps for a contemporary Old World foyer.
Nestled in the California hills, designer Debra Ryan of Debra Kay George Interiors brought the feel of Tuscany straight into this Pacific home. To evoke that warm, Italian feel, she used several architectural details to deeply portray the Mediterranean style, like limestone, artistic murals, Venetian plastered walls, rough-hewn beams and coffered wood ceilings. "The use of honed and distressed materials creates an inviting, warm atmosphere for this home that retains a feel of grandeur and elegance," Debra says. A custom-made stone fireplace serves as the living room's focal point, while a coffered wood ceiling with embossed metal insets provides Italian details unique to the home.
Old World Charm
Gold Venetian plastered walls and wide archways set the stage for this Old World living room. HGTV fan hodji combined cozy leather furniture with unique accessories and decor to bring in the cultural elements that help make up traditional Italian design. Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, is often seen in Roman Catholic environments and Old World designs, particularly through antique artwork like the small piece hanging above the mantel. The floor-standing candelabrum provides an additional Old World element among a mixture of Spanish- and Southwestern-inspired accessories.
This modern Tuscan-style kitchen pays homage to the traditional details associated with the design through its use of color, architecture and accessories. Wood rafters help enclose the kitchen, while exposing the cathedral ceilings and intricate, artistic murals along the walls and ceilings. Simple wrought iron fixtures showcase Old World appeal with a contemporary edge.