Thursday, 18 April 2013

house tour: a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea

I am taking you back to Sicily, or to the small island Salina, part of the Aeolian islands north of Sicily. By the way, Salina was one of the filming locations of Il Postino (1994), or The Postman, one of my favourite films; all the rural and beach scenes were filmed in the north-west part of the island.

Italian architect James Cavagnari and American interior designer Erin Quiros are the couple behind the firm Prima Design, which is based in Florence. They bought an old farmhouse in Salina, dating back to 1700, renovated it and turned it into a beautiful summer house for the family. It was featured in the January 2005 issue of Architectural Digest and as you can see, the view is stunning.

When they bought the old farmhouse it was in ruins and the renovation was hard work. They replaced the ceiling beams and the floor material, and Cavagnari decided to go for hand-applied calce bianca, or white lime, walls with curved corners to add softness.

For the couple the outdoor spaces are the heart of the house. One can only imagine how peaceful it must be to sit on any of the terraces, enjoying that Tyrrhenian Sea view. The one upstairs, in the first and third photo, is called the "opium deck." They often entertain guests and on that terrace they project films on the crisp white screen-like walls. The other terrace is the dining area and that one is shaded by a roof made of timber and bamboo.

The chestnut table and benches in the kitchen are their own design and the tiles were hand-painted in Sicily (most of the material in the house came from Florence but the tiles were done locally). I like the open shelves in the kitchen and how the kitchenware is beautifully displayed.

All the rooms in the house open onto a terrace and there are no pictures hanging on the walls. Who needs pictures with that gorgeous view? The floor material is handmade Sicilian terracotta and in the living room they have added a sea grass rug. By the way, that is a Dries Van Noten shawl on the sofa.

photo credit:
Scott Frances for Architectural Digest, January 2005


  1. I had my eyes on that shawl even before I read that it was Dries van Noten. :) And yes, who needs pictures on the walls with that view? Ah, I wish I were there!

  2. I want to beam myself there right now. Love the earthy look of the interior thus connecting the outer environment and landscape with the interior design.

  3. What a beautiful design! The wood is so classic and is a perfect combination with the white! It looks so natural :)

  4. This is such a beautiful place. The interior design is beautiful. I wish I was there!

  5. So stunning, imagine waking up to that view every day?

  6. the view brought me back to the beautiful island of carloforte in sardinia the view over look the big island of sardinia just hoping my ex is taking good care of my modest home the house with that 160 degree view of the bay complimenti just plain beautiful those views

  7. will copy the bed using water pipes


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