We had done an interior design project for Lino Losani a long time ago-17, maybe 20 years back. And when he decided to build this house, he thought of us. He knew our work over the past few years and called us, and we were thrilled. He’s a very genuine, warm person and the home is certainly a reflection of him-and his partner Sonya, to be sure-but Lino was quite specific about what he wanted. He wanted an Italian villa, and the house had to be all about being a fabulous entertaining spot. And naturally he wanted it to be a comfortable home for himself and Sonya.

It was hugely important that it be good for family because theirs is a large extended one, so one of the things that was of prime importance to them was that they be able to seat 14 to 16 people easily for family gatherings and for when friends come over. The house is really set up for that purpose, with the wine grotto. They also have walk-in freezers, which is something you don’t normally see in a house.

You can tell from the front entry hall-there’s a fireplace prominently situated, which immediately creates a sense of established warmth. The ceiling detail, which Morley designed, is also one of those elementsthat you might discover in a villa somewhere, and not typical of new construction.

The home’s flooring was inspired by great Italian homes and that stone went through the entire first floor with the exception of the master bedroom area, great room and study, which were in wood, to warm it up. In our climate, too much stone can stay cool; it Italy, particularly the south, that stone stays warm almost 12 months of the year. Here it’s as much a perception that wood is warmer than stone. Tne other things that were inspired by that Mediterranean feel were many of the light fixtures, the columns, the archways, the iron in the kitchen and wine grotto area, painted ceiling and the textured fresco treatment in the powder room.

At the rear of the house, incorporated into the roofline, is a huge loggia that really incorporates a lot of the outdoors and brings it inside for entertaining. It’s heated with outdoor fireplaces and overhead heaters, giving you outdoor livingmaybe nine months of the year. There are power screens that drop down to create an enclosure, there’s an outdoor kitchen that is totally equipped, so you can actually live out there a good portion of the year. There really is a wonderful extension. And from that point they have beautiful landscaping out the back that’s really quite spectacular. Wherever you are, your views are amazing.

Lino is immensely enjoyable and easy to work with because he has lots of great ideas and it’s often just a matter of taking those ideas and finding the best way to make them work. I think this house was about Lino being able to indulge his wish list. This was a personal expression about what’s important to him. It’s a gathering place for family and friends, and also about having all of the comforts. He doesn’t need or want a cottage. This is his escape.

Lino works very hard and when he comes home, this is when he really enjoys the house-being able to come in, enjoy great meals and fine wines, and family and friends. Yet even though it has that old-world feel to it, the house is right up to the second in automation and technology.

For us, success is measured in how happy the client is, and Lino was absolutely thrilled, over-the-moon happy. The project manager on this job was BJ Cadman, who has since retired, and one of the strongest attributes a designer can have is the ability to listen. And this project in particular certainly reflects that credo-BJ did that exceptionally well.


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