Room with a view

When dreaming of faraway places or planning an escape to distant shores it’s the stunning views and sweeping landscapes that come to mind. Whether an architectural contemporary house, a converted cave, a charming country cottage or a peaceful hotel it will be the surrounding vistas that will entice us. A piece of driftwood from a beach walk, a well haggled rug from the local market or an inspired idea for that spare room; mementoes of these holidays will filter through to our interior d├ęcor upon our return and help recreate that room with a view. Please see a selection below…
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Casa Sette, Italy.

Originally an incongruent cluster of disparate buildings, the “Seven Millers’” house was created as a single villa by two ladies who were amongst the first to discover the remote Sicilian island of Panarea back in the late 1950s. Toto Koopman and Erica Brausen were society ladies who lived together for over 40 years, and who are as responsible as any for making Panarea into the most chic and glamorous island in Italy. Koopman was a celebrated model in the pre-war era, the first to grace the cover of Vogue magazine in colour, and Brausen ran one of the most successful contemporary art galleries in London, launching the careers of artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti. Many of their illustrious friends and clients, including Hollywood celebrities and aristocrats, came to Panarea as guests in what was - and still is - the most beautiful villa on Panarea Their house is now owned by a South African family, who have carefully and sensitively looked after the cascading gardens, the many tiled terraces with stunning views to the Mediterranean Sea, and the myriads of rooms with interweaving pathways… view interior feature
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Marina Grotto, Italy.

Marina Klemente first came to the island of Filicudi as a carefree tourist enjoying a holiday. Whilst there, she met a remarkable man who had made himself a home in a grotto, and Marina decided that she wanted to do the same. She managed to buy an old cave high up on a hill overlooking the main port and a promontory called Capo Graziano, and with the help of a few friends, began to dig herself a home. She never went back to her native Naples. Over a dozen years later, she is still firmly settled here, making decorative lamps from painted driftwood which she sells. Her remarkably comfortable grotto, roughly hewn from the bare rock and limewashed, consists of a bedroom, lounge with skylight, kitchen and bathroom, and is surrounded by outdoor terraces on various levels boasting outstanding views, especially from a from the hammock tied between two olive trees trunk. A mattress and cushions form a seating area, opposite a copper fireplace with a millstone as hearth, and the low wooden table is used for reading as well as eating on. The grotto is wired for electricity, but water has to be collected from rainfall in the winter and stored in a cistern. A stunningly unique yet amazingly cosy home… view interior feature
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Lomac Treehouse, USA.

Nestled amidst dense eucalyptus trees, this dramatic and beautiful house is perched high up on the edge of a canyon in the Mission Hills area of San Diego. It is designed by the architects Taal Safdie and Ricardo Rabines, who just happen to be the neighbours. “They knew us, they knew how we entertained, and they just designed it,” owner Jill Schmidt says. Although encompassing only 1,600 square feet, the house is just the right fit for her, husband John Lomac, their macaw, Mookie, and their chocolate Labrador. This is a wonderful example of site-specific architecture that is both socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. Design features include wall-to-wall pocket doors and clerestory windows that let in tons of light, as well as offering dramatic views over the canyon, and the deck system makes the space feel bigger than it is. Wooden African sculpture and furnishings animate the interior, which are however kept relatively open and sparse in order to maximise the limited space. But as the owners would tell you, “Sometimes small is nice.”... view interior feature
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Country House, Umbria

Sitting on a hill above Lake Corbara, near Orvieto in the beautiful Umbrian countryside, is the house of Daniela Levy. It was built from the remains of an old church dating back to the beginning of the 1700s, with alongside a barn, set amidst a large swathe of land with over 700 ancient olive trees. Daniela strove to use only local materials and craftsmanship in the restructuring of this country house, and this can clearly be seen in the style as well as the details of the interior – terracotta tiles, antique oak doors, walls rendered with white plaster, imposing oak beams in the ceilings, natural stone and wrought iron handrails are evident throughout. The bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the old church section of the house and feature wooden flooring, marble fireplaces and cast iron bathtubs and stoves. Needless to say, the views are spectacular from the upper floor windows… view interior feature
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The Colonsay Hotel, Scotland.

Set on the hillside above the harbour, The Colonsay hotel commands spectacular views over the sea to the neighbouring island of Jura. Built in 1750 as an inn for the local population, the exterior of The Colonsay has remained largely unchanged. It is now possible to fly on and off the island (on one of four scheduled flights), but most visitors and locals come and go by ferry, just as their forebears have for hundreds of years, alighting at the tiny harbour which looks up a single-track road to the hotel. The white-washed walls of the hotel are a heart-warming sight for the traveller and a warm welcome awaits inside. When Jane and Alex Howard bought The Colonsay hotel in 2004 it was more than 30 years since the family had been forced to sell in harder times. As they refurbished the building they were aware of how important it was to make every aspect welcoming to islanders as well as visitors… view interior feature
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In Nature's Embrace, Denmark

Bees landing heavily in pale pink dog roses, whose fragrance mingles with salt water as the birds chirp loudly accompanying the rolling waves. All a pleasant background music for Danish summer life, at its best. The cottage was inherited by the Potts family as a holiday home and soon, as one good idea lead to the next, it wasn't long before they had built the house completely. "We have deliberately made sure that we can see the water from all windows and doorways. I never get tired of looking down. When we come up here, I go down and look at the water and it is also the last thing I do before we leave here," says Suzanne Potts, who along with her husband, own the company No Mess, which specializes in products for storage… view interior feature
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