Luciano & Marzia’s Labor of Love
Name: Luciano, Marzia, and Margherita
Location: Modena, Italy
Size: 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo
Years lived in: 28
Modena, an ancient city in Emilia-Romagna, is home to the Ferrari company, Italy’s best balsamic vinegar, and this incredible pre-war apartment, shared by Luciano, his wife Marzia, and their daughter Margherita. The building dates back to 1906, and the first thing you notice when you walk through the door are the hand-painted walls and ceilings, which Luciano and Marzia had restored to their original colors and motifs.
The interior wall and ceiling designs are original to the building, although when Luciano purchased the property in 1981, the walls had been painted over. In 2000, the family renovated their apartment and hired a specialist to research the 1906 paint colors, and then to carefully restore the surfaces by hand.
Style: The hand-painted walls endow each room with a different style. The living room is stencil painted in a leafy green motif, the study’s theme is “liberty,” and the bedroom is Baroque.
Inspiration: Luciano works for Confiindustria Ceramica, the Association of Italian Ceramic Tile Manufacturers, and travels a lot for work. He and Marzia (who works as an accountant) love to take trips together and collect artwork abroad. They’ve amassed a number of mid-century Russian Social Realist paintings, as well as artworks from Indonesia, Bali, and Namibia.
Layout: The apartment has multiple levels. The living room, master bedroom, bath, study, and kitchen / dining room are all on one floor. A small loft above the dining room houses Margherita’s bedroom and a second bath. Luciano also has access to an attic space, where he keeps a home office and library.
Favorite Element: In addition to the incredible walls, the apartment has a glass staircase that leads upstairs to Margherita’s loft.
Biggest Challenge: The renovation was a big undertaking and the restoration of the walls took several months. Although it was expensive to hire a specialist, Luciano says it was important to them to preserve some of the building’s inherent character.
Proudest DIY: Luciano designed the mailboxes in the front yard, which rotate on a post so that the mailman can access them through the gate.
• The paintings in the kitchen were purchased at a gallery in Moscow.
• The living room painting is by the Indonesian artist Soedibio.
• The Balinese artist Sudarso painted the image of the two women.
• A sculpture in the living room is from Namibia.
• The painting over Luciano’s desk is a 1940 piece by a Russian artist.
• The living room rug is Anatolian.
• Other carpets are Kazak antiques.
• Philippe Starck designed the sectional sofa from Cassina.
• The bed is from Treca, a French company.
• Bathroom tile is from Bizassa.
• Fixtures are by Philippe Starck for AXOR.
Kitchen / Dining Room
• Kitchen design is by Bulthaup.
• Table was designed by Le Corbusier.
• Mies van der Rohe’s Brno chairs surround the table.
• Kitchen light fixture is by Antonio Citterio for FLOS.
• Lamp on the dresser is Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s Bauhaus Lamp, designed in 1924.
• Secretary is an 18th century piece that Luciano inherited from his mother.
(Thanks, Luciano, Marzia, and Margherita!)
Images: Sarah Coffey