Thursday, August 26, 2010


Dimora is a Latin term meaning home and its plural DIMORÆ became the name of an Interior design firm and unique showroom in a very elegant part of Milan; the moment you enter from the old courtyard you feel you are in a home of a wealthy family. It is in fact located in an eight-room apartment and it is furnished mostly in the French style of the 19th century.

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Here you can find antique furniture, accessories, art, lighting and everything is displayed with great taste and flair by the owners, two creative Milanese ladies who have always been passionate about interior decoration and decided to open this venue in 1990.
I love to visit this place every time I am in Milan and I am sure you will also enjoy to virtually visit it with me today.
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I find this delicate chair irresistible.

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Beautiful gifts.

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I love this desk and it would be great also with a contemporary chair and lamp.
Tables completed with linens, china, flatware and decorations are everywhere and so enchanting you wish you could buy everything on site to reproduce the setting at home.

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Lighting is a special passion of the owners who recently published a gorgeous book titled "Adorning Light" born from the idea of offering a varied view of the art of domestic light. I may write more about this, since I found the book fascinating and full of inspiring ideas.

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If you are in Milan a visit to this "home" is a must, besides it is just across the gorgeous church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where you can admire "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. 

Is there a better way to spend an afternoon?

Photography ©  Albarosa Simonetti

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Congratulations to Elle Decor and to Michael Boodro

From a Press Release I just received:

"ELLE DECOR, the #1 brand in the shelter category, is where style lives.
New York, NY, August 23, 2010:

"Leading Design Magazine Promotes From Within and Retains Editorial Staff (...) ELLE DECOR will also retain its core editorial team led by Anita Sarsidi, Florentino Pamintuan and Vicky Lowry (...) In addition to Mr. Boodro’s promotion, Anita Sarsidi has been promoted to Design Director and Florentino Pamintuan has been elevated to Creative Director. Vicky Lowry will assume the Executive Editor title at the magazine (...)

Congratulations to the new Editor in Chief, I am sure the magazine will be a joy to read as it was with Margaret Russell and speaking about her finally, since she will now be its Editor in Chief, I will buy again Architectural Digest American version. I avoided it for years, finding it not interesting. My favorite AD were always (you guessed) Italian, which my mother started collecting, and at times, when I felt more courageous, since I don't speak German, the German version, both fresh, innovative, full of style.
What is better than having in your hands a beautiful magazine? Yes, I am a blogger, but an avid "paper" reader too, I love books and I love my favorite magazines.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Industrial revolution: Lofts

More and more industrial buildings in several big cities around the world, like London, New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Milan are converted into  lofts, I believe it is a great idea to revitalize part of cities that were abandoned or neglected for decades, a big component of urban revival initiatives that also include renovation of industrial buildings into art galleries and studio spaces.
There are true lofts also called "hard lofts"  when a vintage factory or warehouse is converted into residential space and they are usually constructed of concrete and exposed brick, they retain original wood posts, beams and floors and they mostly have an open space plan with high ceilings, leaving pipes and wires exposed to create more visual interest.
There are also "soft lofts" consisting in new buildings with some characteristics of a hard loft such as high ceilings, large windows, open space, but more similar to apartments otherwise, they could have carpeted floors and the plumbing or electrical system are hidden behind walls.
Then there are "artist live/work" lofts that were restricted to people engaged in artistic activities but overtime they mostly became residence of people simply in love with the loft style.
All these residential spaces usually offer great location in the core of the city with more space than average condos and also opportunities of unusual way of decorating the interiors.

Here is an example in Milan, where an industrial space was converted to residential, leaving the structure intact with its brick walls, large windows, and a big open space. 

A large plasterboard panel in the middle of the wall was painted an unusual eggplant color and has a long line of glass blocks to give some light to the space behind it.  I love the eggplant accent color, I find it quite neutral but at the same time unusual and definitely perfect for such a large space. Notice the two coffee table and their interesting C shape.

The aluminum windows were painted to resemble wrought iron and they help to maintain the industrial look. A contemporary touch in the kitchen is given by the gas top raised from the wooden counter. I always suggest to have different materials on kitchen counters, marble, wood, steel make a efficient combination of surfaces for different jobs.

The whole apartment was conceived for entertaining, being the residence of a young single man. The floor was raised to create more movement in the open space and more steps where guests can casually sit. I love the choice of covering the floor with resin and giving it a cloudy effect.

The sleek bathroom has an interesting sliding Plexiglas door in a vibrant orange color.

The simple bedroom has a Japanese style bed on a wenge base. The drapes, when closed, create intimacy.

A bonus is the outdoor space, transformed into an Oriental garden, with water features and hidden from the street by a thick curtain of bamboo. An oasis of relaxation in the middle of a busy city.
I will explore other unusual way of building conversions soon, stay connected.

Photography by Cristina Fiorentini

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Friday, August 20, 2010

The joy of summer: dinner al fresco

For the warm, sunny days of summer nothing better than sitting at a table outdoor: a large garden, a small patio, a balcony, use whatever space you have to enjoy the season with the vibrant colors of fruits and flowers.
Nature is at its best.
Use a colorful tablecloth, possibly with flowers, at times garage sales have vintage linens or even vibrant bedspreads like the one above, which can be used to cover a large table. Decorate alternating bowls of fruits, pots of plants or fresh herbs and vases of wildflowers.A bottle of chilled Prosecco and a pitcher of lemonade, a simple plate of prosciutto and melon, some figs and salame, goat cheese and fresh bread is all you need.

Enjoy your family and friends "al fresco" on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to have dogs and a nice house too

Do you have a dog? Are you thinking about one? Then you may like a few tips for decorating with dogs in the house, many from my personal experience since I became the owner (still to be verified who owns who) of Geronimo, my sweet German Shorthaired Pointer.

First lesson: dogs think they are human! They stampede to the door when visitors come (they believe people come to see them of course, not you) so avoid draping fabrics on tables if you don't want the dog greeting guests wrapped in your precious tablecloth leaving a trail of broken china behind. Scatter rugs can also be a problem if the dog runs to greet guests at the door. Rubberized webbing, double sided tape or rubberized sheets cut to measure, all this can avoid scatter rugs to become, well, just scatter.
Most dogs have tails that wag and they could not care less when they knock over cups and glasses, spilling coffee or red wine from a side table. Stay away from little pedestal tables or plant stands and choose sturdy pieces of furniture with...yes...four legs. Some dogs, surprise, surprise, also steal the occasional piece of appetizer from a side table. Does that mean we should have taller occasional tables and smaller dogs? Chihuahua everyone? No, just good training and other options for your coffee and biscuits will help you and your guests relax. Side tables are also a better choice, since they can be pushed against the sofa and become more stable if you have bigger dogs. They give more space for the dog to lie down or walk around but if you feel that the space is too bare warm it up adding an ottoman and a nice rug.

Having dogs does not mean you can't have precious collections, just be sure they are displayed in safe places, higher than dog's tail and paws.

Dogs track in dirt, really? Oh yes! they also spill water and love you so unconditionally they don't care about a tidy, clean, orderly house, they show appreciation for your cleaning skills just like most husbands! So if dogs are allowed on furniture choose dog's friendly fabric, stay away from velvet, silk, ultrasuede and chenille. The best choice is a smooth fabric, like twill which brushes off easily.
Slipcovers are the best solution, made with pre-washed and preshrunk fabric, so you can wash it frequently, I would prefer light colors so you'll know when it is time to wash, don't try to disguise dirt, only try to minimize it, and of course avoid expensive damask or silk pillows, silk and slobber are not a great match, I discovered.

Choose floor covering with earth tones, to minimize dirt and scratches (this sounds weird but try to match the color to the dirt...) if you have tiles have pity of their joints and cover some areas with rugs. Carpeting is ideal but dirt will reign so a combination of floors is best, kitchen and entryway could use slate, which is not slippery when wet.
Wood floor is beautiful but slippery, so you can't play fetch inside, on the bright side you'll be forced to go out and walk more often. Always choose mid-tones, dark will show every hair, same for lighter wood color. Choose a very dense hardwood, because fir, cherry, pine and maple will show claw marks and scratches sooner than later. If possible have the floor sanded-on site, it gives better results than pre finished floors.

Add Oriental carpets or carpets with colors and patterns that help minimize dirt, hair and stains (always keep specific products handy if "accidents" happen and be sure to use those with ingredients that also take away any smell of...specially if you have a puppy not fully trained, unless you want him to go back to the same familiar spot).
A great vacuum will be your best friend, even if they think it is their worst enemy or at least Geronimo thinks so.

I could write more, and perhaps I will, but lastly, since dogs love short and long naps ...
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unless you want them to take over the sofa, don't forget a few comfortable and stylish dog beds, the best for them to feel safe are the ones fully washable and shaped like doughnuts, with a soft roll around where they can put their sweet muzzle and look at you with adoring eyes.

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Or be totally oblivious of your presence while dreaming of chasing squirrels.
I said it is preferable to have a few dog beds because we all know dogs love to be with us wherever we are so most of them will not like a single bed hidden around a corner, away from you.
Let them be part of your life in a dog friendly house.
Now I would love to hear from you about your "dog-house":
Do you have any tips to share? Any funny story? Geronimo would also love to hear them!

Photography of Geronimo by Albarosa Simonetti

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brillante choice: B&B Italia

Canasta chair
Canasta in Spanish means basket. Perfect name for defining this chair part of the outdoor collection of
B & B Italia designed by the Spanish- Milanese Patricia Urquiola.
The texture was inspired by the Viennese chairs of the past. Using traditional motifs and modern technologies allowed B&B to produce a very contemporary piece of furniture with a classic appeal.
I can see this chair on a terrace in the city, in a garden and even, why not? in a living or in a bedroom, making a nice contrasting statement with other pieces of furniture.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Michelle, ma belle!

What can I say when a friend, great designer and blogger calls me a Goddess? I was stunned and surprised and I giggled of course. To know more about what I am talking you need to go to the Blog A Schematic Life, by Michelle Morelan, and you will read about my daily life in
"Six objets de vie"
starting with my precious cup of coffee in the morning.
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It was an honor to be part of this extraordinary blog, always full of superb drawings, educational videos, new ideas. A true learning experience.
Thank you Michelle!

Monday, August 2, 2010

A White Summer

It is already August but summer is still here to stay, hopefully into September. A few suggestions for a cool summer look with white outdoor furniture. To start I hope you would admire the above outdoor sofa Grand Plié, by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba for Driade and in the foreground the Cocoa sofa by Marc Sadler for Danese.
White is often the protagonist of outdoor furniture, I am sure you all agree that it immediately gives a sense of freshness and it is always exalted by the lush green of the vegetation. Perfect when pure, perfect when blended with strong colors like red or yellow, perfect with black, always a winning combination.

Modular sofa Basket by Roda with metallic structure. Magic the suspended aluminum light Inside Out by Casamania. On the foreground a fun little ceramic table which could also serve as an extra sitting place called The Fool On The Hill by Moroso.

Re-trouvé table and chairs by Patricia Urquiola for Emu, so ethereal and feminine.

A more masculine Diamante table by Ydf, in aluminum, with plastic chairs Lisboa by Serralunga. On the left the unusual shape, at least for a lamp, of Uovo light by Fontanaarte.

Chairs Inout 109 and Sweet 27 designed by the very creative Paola Navone for Gervasoni are light and comfortable and can surely enhance any corner of a garden, patio, terrace. All images above were taken on the grounds of a XVI century castle in the Franciacorta area of the Italian Lombardy region.

White is not a trend but a timeless elegant choice for any space.
Photography by Adriano Brusaferri
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