The Tuscany Project

Last year I wrote about the vacation home in Tuscany I’m working on with architect Domenico Minchili.

Our clients had some photos taken and below are a few of them.

First, a before shot of the living room.



The room is so much lighter.  The new “old” floors make a huge difference as does the paint color.  I was consumed for days regarding which shade of Farrow & Ball white was the best white for the  walls.  We decided to use Skimming Stone.

The chairs were custom made by Tondini & Radicchi. So were all the draperies in the house.


One of the bedrooms mid-renovation.




A bathroom before.




Wider shot of the living room.  The sofas, coffee table, and sconces are custom.

The studio.

This room receives little natural light.  Many people assume that a small dark room must be painted a very light color in order to make it look bigger.  Not true.  It seems counter-intuitive but going darker gives a small room more depth.

_MG_7828_MG_7879_MG_7876_MG_7884_MG_7888 _MG_7892_MG_7905 _MG_7924_MG_7933_MG_7941P1050086

One of my Italian friends called this décor, “Relaxed Chic.”   Another friend said it was “Casual Luxury.”  Both work for me.

Every bedroom, and its bathroom is unique, yet the entire home is cohesive.

The paint is from Farrow & Ball.

Most of the new furniture was custom made.  We also sourced pieces from Flamant, Barthel, and small shops in Rome and Tuscany.

Our fabric sources were, Dedar, Ralph Lauren Home, Kathryn M. Ireland, and Pierre Frey.

If you would like to know the specific colors or more information about the fabric or furniture, please feel free to ask me in the comments section.

This property is available for vacation rental.  It’s in the heart of the Chianti region surrounded by vineyards.  The views are stupendous.

For more information (and some exterior photos), please visit the luxury rental  Abercrombie & Kent website.

Photos by: Mario Flores

  1. dgibber123 said:

    All I can say is WOW. Congrats on a fantastic job Arlene. You should be so proud of the amazing work done here. Every picture is more beautiful than the next. In the words of Liz Lemon, I want to go to there!!

  2. Valerie said:

    Beautiful – well done! I love the color in that living room and *so* want that bathtub! Looking at the rubble that became a bathroom – that looks like the adjacent stall we’ll someday turn into some kind of living space. When we do, want a road trip to Basilicata? ;)

    • Grazie, Valerie. I want that tub as well (and the chandelier). Wait, first I would need a bathroom big enough for said tub. Certo, would love a road trip Basilicata!

  3. tracie p said:

    really really beautiful!! wow! i love the modern take on rustic minimalism in the bedrooms. of course, i know nothing of design, but that’s how it strikes me. i also love the mirrors in the bathrooms, they look like picture frames. what about the kitchen?

    great work!! congrats, i hope you are very very proud of yourself!

    • Grazie mille, Tracie P!!

      There’s a photo of the kitchen on the A&K website.

      Rustic minimalism… I like that turn of phrase.

  4. I don’t know that I would get out of the tub facing that window. And I swear the wider shot of the living room made every knot in my shoulders release… Very “relaxed chic.”

    • I would sit in that tub with a book or magazine, a bottle of Franciacorta and chill out!

  5. Gloria Bryant said:

    You go girl. Great work!

  6. chiara barzini said:


  7. Joanna Hamil said:

    Absolutely stunning work. I have a much more rustic medieval town house. Wondering about how you budget. Any hints?

    • Thank you, Joanna.

      Regarding budgeting, it depends on the project. If it’s a small one, for example just one room or a terrace, we might decide on an hourly rate. For larger projects, it’s a percentage of the budget. I don’t do the standard 35% – 40% markup.

      All designer discounts are passed on to my client and they pay the vendor directly. It’s more transparent. Even if my company were based in the US, I would do it this way instead of a fee PLUS markup.

  8. Paola said:

    Well Arlene, you left me speechless. And you are so right about the colour in that room with little natural light. I would have goen for white but THAT is great! You rocked it all!

    • Thank you, Paola! At night that room looks amazing thanks in part to the dark green color.

  9. Kathryn Tyus-Adair said:

    Elegant and beckoning design with such confidence in its execution. Stunning, Arlene!

  10. Bellissimo! Complimenti. Molto buon gusto e perfetta per la regione

  11. It’s fabulous. What I like the most is that it retained its traditional heritage while bringing in a fresh, contemporary feel. Really excellent. My favorite pictures are the before and after of the bathroom! haha. I hope this catapults you into lots of new projects and and exciting future!!! You so deserve it.

    • Thank you, Diana! The paint color in the Studio was inspired by a certain Terrace Room in Piemonte.

  12. Gina… amazing, Arlene. WOW! The bathroom is my favorite but I also love how you had the style flow all throughout the home.

  13. Mary Kasbar said:

    Beautiful! I looked on the Abercrombie website but couldn’t tell which villa it is. Do you know the name and region?

  14. kislanykim said:

    Arlene — that is just crazy that you achieved all that beauty!!!! What a transition you have made. Your talent (and hard work) shines through. Congratulations to you and I hope to see many more dream projects from you!!

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