How To Use Italian Wooden Flooring in Your Home
Italian craftsmanship is renowned the world over, with the ‘Made in Italy’ stamp being associated with high quality products and a symbol of ancient skills that have been handed down through generations.
One of the most rewarding things about restoring Italian vacation homes is being able to utilise the abundance of local talent in our area, particularly our favourite Italian wooden flooring artisan who helps bring our ideas to life.
Giovanni creates works of art out of wood, and supplies the most beautiful flooring to the rest of Italy, and across the world. And all from his modest workshop in the hills of Le Marche. We have actually used his wooden floors on a UK project, where the price, even including shipping came in far lower than had we bought it in the UK.
He creates custom floors in oak, teak or pine and even designs mosaic flooring in wood, for a fraction of the price but just as great quality as any high end designer.
Restoring a Living Room
Our clients, Tina & Charles bought a partially restored farmhouse in the hills of Le Marche and wanted to put their own stamp on it, turning it into a vacation-ready home. The living room was a dark space with a low ceiling and damp patches at the bottom of its plastered walls, which was blown and flaky after years of neglect.
As this was the room that needed the most attention, we began to lay out our plans to create a functional space for the family to enjoy.
The Design process
Before we begin a project, we follow a design process that involves really getting to the heart of our client’s tastes and wishes for their home. Many people think that they don’t have a specific taste or style, but the truth is that everybody does – and it’s our job to discover this when designing any space. This is actually the most important part of what we do.
READ MORE: DESIGNING AN ITALIAN BATHROOM
Designing a Space
Even though they didn’t realise it, Tina and Charles loved oak wooden floors and ceiling beams, and also had an attraction for light, airy spaces and large windows that let in plenty of light.
The windows in this room were small, and rested at ceiling level (which was already pretty low), where the stained wooden beams made the room feel imposing. As all of these elements were the exact opposite to Tina and Charle’s tastes and their budget didn’t stretch to installing larger windows (a costly exercise which also would have required planning permission) we set about working with what we had.
We took a trip to Giovanni’s workshop and collected samples of flooring that we thought would be a good fit, came up with various schemes that would make the most of the light and the space, and rendered our favourites for Tina and Charles to review.
Restore & More!
As many old Italian homes have stone walls, our idea was to remove the tired old plaster and restore what lay beneath (hoping that the stone was in good condition – there are sometimes unpleasant surprises!), adding uplights to new wooden flooring, staining the ceiling and beams white, and including light furniture to keep the room bright and airy.
David restored the old stone walls by cleaning them and pointing in a lime based mortar, this ensures that they can breathe and can help prevent damp. We asked Giovanni to design the flooring with holes on the edge pieces to allow for upward facing spotlights – showing off his handiwork beautifully and also creating a statement, you can’t help but notice the sand-coloured stone.
As this was a holiday home and Tina and Charles did not want it loaded with furniture that they will never use, we kept the design simple yet functional – cream furnishings with accents of light grey, combined with a white ceiling, spotlights and white ceiling beams.
READ MORE: RENOVATING A HOUSE IN ITALY (PART ONE)
When flooring is this beautiful, it’s important to show as much as you can when combined with a minimalist theme – this ensures that the home doesn’t look to sparce and can still retain a cosy feel. We were thrilled with how the living room turned out, and thankfully, so were Tina and Charles!
READ MORE: RENOVATING ITALY