Project Name: Italian Lakeside Villa

Location: Lake Como

Date Completed: 2016

Interior Designer: Stephanie Dunning Interiors

Architect: Italian Architect, and we were under the guidance of the Heritage Committee of Rome due to the Historical nature of the building

This property included a full redesign project, an unmodernised house that had not been lived in for decades, originally built in the 17th Century which required careful planning to ensure the integrity of the building remained intact. A returning client with whom Dunning & Everard had worked with on a number of their properties, commissioned them to renovate and restore this beautiful 17th Century Lakeside Villa and adjoining property. The buildings had not been lived in for decades, it had fallen into disrepair and required full scale restoration. This included all re-wiring and re-plumbing, modernisation of facilities, underfloor heating, and the frescoes on nearly all of the ceilings had to be restored under the direction of the Conservation Officer from Rome. Every paint used, including those to the exterior, windows, woodwork, walls and joinery had to be signed off by the Conservation Officer. The dining hall had such a degree of historical value that we were not permitted to restore the mosaics, and the wiring for the electrics had to be surface mounted rather than channelled into the wall.

The majority of the furnishings and antiques were purchased in the UK and shipped over to Como in a container. The residence is not the clients’ main residence, but needed to provide all of the amenities and space for full family gatherings and entertaining guests in a comfortable and welcoming setting. For Dunning & Everard, working in Italy was a dream, the reliability of the weather made for a cheerful break from the British weather. The dining room was certainly the focal point of the properties and the designers found it a pleasure to work in a room that was designed and built over 500 years ago. The floor was also a particular gem – laid out using tiny pebbles it looked from a distance like a rug, but was in fact a work of art in its own right. The water fed down from the mountain and ran out through the lion’s heads on the wall.

The overall design flows through each room and create points of interest with key pieces of furniture or artwork without detracting from the beautiful architectural details and the painted frescoes. Every period aspect of the building was carefully retained and the design scheme was chosen to complement. Despite the age of the building, Dunning & Everard were able to successfully modernise the property without compromising the integrity of the building. The designers believe that it is always better to have a design that is simple and works well, rather than a design that looks good but does not serve its practical purpose. It is also crucial that designers protect the historical interiors that have been entrusted to them, and Dunning & Everard had the key responsibility to restore this property sympathetically, for future generations to enjoy.