In a collector’s house, between porcelain and design pieces

We are in the area Missori, a crossroads of buildings of the Milanese bourgeoisie, noble palaces and some remnants of an ancient city, partially demolished in the nineteenth century and annexed in its most modern vision. Right where a medieval building once stood, the first dating back to 1100, he found his home Paolo De Vivocommunications consultant and PR manager for luxury brands such as Valextra, Thun, Marco de Vincenzo And Andrea Pompilio.

© Francesco Dolfo

On the main floor of a period building, here is his fine apartment. One hundred square meters for a house with great character, which turned out to be a constant surprise, as Paolo himself tells us, beauty collector and new entrepreneur: for his PR career, since 2018, he has combined it as a “knitter”, as he says to create handmade luxury brand Denobiliary particle, specializing in unisex and timeless knitwear. “In the beginning, I did not quite understand how the house was decorated, the pictures of the ad were not clear, they did not correspond to the floor plan. But in a picture you could see a terrace, over which a hundred years of wisteria passed, which enchanted me. I became curious and went to see it. It had been split, retouched, messed up. It no longer had its charm. It had been uninhabited for several years. But it had some interesting details that won me over.

© Francesco Dolfo

However, these details are not meant to last for a long time. Reveal another “home”, another story. Paolo, who falls in love above all with the view of his neighbor’s garden – “then I met her and she is a wonderful woman” – leaves the important restoration work for his friend the architect Gianluca Cataldithen first assistant to Vincenzo. De Cotiis. De Vivo’s wish is to preserve the taste of an old house and restore the apartment to its original layout. And this is how the lowered ceilings of the 80s and the floors with concrete casting are dismantled: Slowly during the work, the house with its true nature was revealed.

© Francesco Dolfo

“The farmer I found when I restored it was clearly from the 17th century, but the house turned out to be older. It would be a wing of one former monastery, it appears at least from the reconstructions of the old maps which I found ». Basically, a game of Chinese boxes brings the house back to life. “When I dismantled the 80s fake ceiling, I found that it covered a painted cane: the fresco, however, had collapsed in some parts, and I had to remove it, thus discovering that it was once again hiding the original chest of drawers. . Thereby I got an extra altimeter. Under the concrete floor there was also parquet that hid an old terracotta from ‘600, Lombard Medone: they are all signed tiles with a typical marbling. I brought it to light again, and where there was no original terracotta, we restored it with an old terracotta: laid as it was in the original ».

© Francesco Dolfo

Paolo, who loves to cook and have guests, he needed a home that was welcoming and easy going living. With respect to the original plan, he thus modulated his needs as a landlord and utilized the space as it was presented. “I did not distort, but adapted to what I needed. So a large reception lounge, a large dining room and a smaller private sleeping area. With a walk-in closet that acts as a corridor, thanks to an intelligent trick: when this “volume” is closed, you do not notice it when it is open, the two doors create a small corridor that brings light from the window, directly into the bedroom. read “. But De Vivo not only loves beautiful English ribs, 0 km cooking and his two Afghan hounds Chaos and Heydar (which means “lion” in Persian). His true passion is to collect: “I collect at 360 degrees. And from my series of Chinese rugs come all the shades that gave “it” to the house. Blue, for example, is everywhere, so shades of ecru and pink are added … ».

Detail of a console: Hérmes fly swatter, on a Burmese box, Aunt Marta’s ashtray, where she extinguished her cigarette for 84 years. Twin lamps in Saint Louis crystal, the crystal cabinet from Hérmes.

© Francesco Dolfo

In short, the various pieces of furniture that come from Paolo’s or his family’s former homes, from his ancestors’ inheritance and simple gifts from friends, are put together in this coffin, as if by magic. “There’s a lot of my life in here. The hexagonal tables in the living room are vintage Eameses for Vitra, and Maurizio Pecoraro, a great collector and man of great taste, sold them to me. The green chairs are from Artemis designed by Vico Magistretti. The armchairs, on the other hand, my father had inherited, they are from the 1950s, and are part of a huge living room in the grandparents’ house. I got them reupholstered with the sheets from my grandparents and my relatives, their initials are still there. Then there are the vases, my obsession: they range from Gio Ponti for Richard Ginori, to Lavenia from the 1940s and 1950s, up to the Renaissance pharmacy vases ». Between markets, antique fairs and hunts between modernariats and brocantage shops, Paolo has built his nest, reassuring and smart, with one pleasant chromatic harmony. It was said that the shades of Chinese rugs, also hung on the wall like tapestries, regulate the shades of the house. The celadon color of the room, for example, has an extremely relaxing feeling, enlivened by Rubelli’s curtains. “I chose them with this fantasy that looks like an old still life. I combined it – a trick I learned from a Prada manager – two other fabrics: a dark blue wool cloth from Zegna and a white cotton (for sheets). So I have different lighting effects.The sofa is by Carlo de Carli, found in a market in Liguria.In the room there is also a portrait of a father as a child, old paintings and Naska Loris candles for FontanaArte ».

A Louis Philippe console table, with bois de rose inserts, with a collection of Impruneta vases on top. As De Vivo says: “The golden watering can is a gift from a ceramicist who works closely with children in difficulty for the Lene Thun Foundation and helps them with ceramic therapy. Someone I really enjoyed meeting in a small town. ”

© Francesco Dolfo

In the great hall, the red curtains stand out, these too a pendant relaxed with the blankets. “I bought them in Barcelona, ​​they come from the restoration of a historic building and have the noble family coat of arms. I took 18 meters, found in a market. Crazy to get them here, but I liked them.” The sofa is a vintage that Paolo has reupholstered with a linen velvet.The chairs, chiavarin model, are vintage, with Rubelli fabric cushions.The chair you see is by Ercol, a brand created by Lucian R Ercolani who is considered a kind of British Gio Ponti. The kitchen is modular, with double table top, left and right. The splash guard is made of mirror and the table tops are made of marble. “Here are also my collections. Antique paintings and photos: I have a very nice one of me and Chaos made by the photographer and friend Elena Braghieri. Chaos is a special animal, I took what was in a kennel, treated very well, but still without a master. Since he has been with me, he has helped me a lot. Dogs are energy catalysts, they amplify. He is an excellent travel companion for life. He has become famous on Instagram ».

© Francesco Dolfo

The bathroom is a delight: made of cipollino marble, it looks like a painted storm. The peculiarity of this marble is that it is a full stain: that is, it is mounted so that a continuous stain can be seen. “I paired two brass walls in the shower for you. They are real brass, they reflect. And then I take a shower between the storm and the gold, it’s really very comfortable.” Next to the mirror, a Luigi Filippo, vintage lamps from Seguso, a historic Murano fabrication, below a Goyard suitcase, taken in Florence, over which are placed various vintage leather travel beauty products.

© Francesco Dolfo

And finally a Neapolitan touch, a tribute to the origins of the family. Throughout the house there are coral pendants or necklaces, “They are gods porte-bonheur. I hung them all over, they bring joy ‘.

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