From the outside, it looks like a typical Milan home, but inside, a one-of-a-kind home dreamt up and realized by its homeowner artist awaits. We are in the Città Studi neighborhood, in the small villa of Giovanna La Falce, a multifaceted creative whose works range from paintings to sculptures, from photography to happy forays into the world of tableware.
Made of Ceppo di Gré, a stone that’s typical of Milan’s historic architecture, the building is part of a series of terraced houses designed in the 1990s by award-winning local architect Raul Barbieri. Once La Falce purchased the house, she enlisted her friend, architect Daniele Rotondo, to translate her creative vision and create a house tailored to her lifestyle. A dialogue was created between the formal layout set out by Barbieri and the aesthetic and functional desires of La Falce. Double Ceramic Sink
Spread across four floors, the house was renovated to accommodate a family of five—a couple and three children—and La Falce’s studio. Windows were added to the façade, pre-existing openings were enlarged, and an all-glass, first-floor terrace that fills the living room with light was constructed. Every architectural and design element that was added or tailored corresponds to the precise life of its inhabitants. Raw and unfinished materials such as concrete or rust-effect porcelain stoneware, aged iron elements, copper, plaster, Cadore white parquet, unfinished wood panels, and masonry elements finished by hand confer an organic yet refined look.
On the basement level, which overlooks a small garden, livable rooms were created, including an area for guests, the studio, and the garage. On the ground floor, you’ll find the living room and the kitchen, illuminated by large bow windows and fully clad in sheet iron and back-painted glass brushwork to match the walls. The island top is composed of plastic stucco with transparent resin protection. The living room is outfitted with vintage leather upholstery and artworks, from an octagonal dining table by sculptor Urano Palma to an oil painting by La Falce and sculptures by her and by Maja Thommen.
On the second floor, the main bedroom area has a bed made of ad hoc masonry with niches and finished with edges painted by hand. La Falce designed the cabinets with irregular wooden handles finished in stucco and decorated them herself. Even the bathroom sinks are their own works of art, built on site with oxide-colored and water-repellent-treated cement, with a base cabinet of iron and wood. The staircase that stitches together all four levels is clad in treated rusted sheet iron, beveled to create a contrast with the angularity of the structure. An area dedicated to the three children was carved out of the attic, where pop accents define the space.
Every detail here connects to the life and passions of La Falce who, once her children grew up, reclaimed some spaces for herself to set up her creative workshop. It’s a sculpture-like house made to measure; a house that manifests a temporal, disciplinary, and vital interconnection between different names and worlds of design. And it’s also, simply, full of magical inspiration.
This Milan home tour was first published by AD Italy. The article was translated by Kate Appleton.
The facade of the small villa, designed in 1996 by Raul Barbieri, in typical Ceppo di Gré stone.
Artist Giovanna La Falce in her small villa in Milan. Sculptures and vases by the homeowner.
The living room features a custom-made, iron bookcase and several sculptures and vases by La Falce.
An oil painting by La Falce, lost-wax bronze sculptures by La Falce and additional works by Maja Thommen.
Large windows overlook a small inner courtyard and bring light into the living area with its vintage sofas.
Another look at the living area.
A detail of the living room. La Falce made the bronze sculptures using a lost-wax casting process.
A detail of two lost-wax bronze sculptures by La Falce.
The dining area’s octagonal table is by sculptor Urano Palma and the copper chandelier is by Angela Ardisson.
La Falce has created many pieces for her tailor-made home, including these two oil paintings on iron plates, above the kitchen sink. The homeowner’s passion for raw and “poor” materials, sublimely treated, characterizes each space. The custom-made kitchen is completely clad in sheet iron while back-painted glass matches the walls; the island top is made of plastic stucco with transparent resin.
The small terrace that faces the garden is a quiet oasis removed from Milan’s big-city bustle. Victoria Ghost chairs by Kartell.
A dramatic staircase connects the four floors of the house.
The primary bedroom houses a distinctive headboard-bookcase handcrafted by La Falce to create a textural and organic effect.
In the primary bedroom, a Model 572 rocking chair by Gio Ponti offers a place to relax. The decorative panel captures a bucolic scene from classical art.
La Falce put her own spin on the bathroom fixtures with a pair of unusual concrete sinks.
By Alia How Are You