La Dolce Vita
Edoardo and Maria Vittoria Caovilla’s home is built around their love for the Italian lifestyle of family, friends and food, writes Jacqueline Kot
Edoardo and Maria Vittoria Caovilla’s home is built around their love for the Italian lifestyle of family, friends and food
It’s not hard to soak up the Italian way of life as you wander around the streets of downtown Milan, with its cafes abounding with potent cups of espresso, stalls with multicoloured rows of gelato and specialty shops for pastries, salami, chocolate and more.
The lifestyle is mirrored in the home that Edoardo Caovilla—creative director of luxury shoe brand René Caovilla and son of its eponymous founder—and his wife Maria Vittoria created for their two daughters, aged eight and seven, and their four-year-old son. The duplex apartment starts on the higher floor, home to all the main entertaining areas such as the living room, dining room and kitchen, while the bedrooms and study are located on the lower level. The upper level features a rectangular configuration, with the layout of both the rooms and furniture all geared towards the large windows and terrace, that look out onto a stunning view of Milan’s historic Sforza Castle and monument to Giuseppe Garibaldi, a distinguished military leader.
“As an Italian and a Venetian, one of the main criteria for me when I buy a house is whether I can spend quality time there with family and friends,” says Caovilla. “A home is a place where you can share moments with people you love, so I wanted a big living room to host lunches and dinners—and a big kitchen to go with it.”
Caovilla is an avid cook, and after hectic work days and multiple business trips to expand the René Caovilla brand in its top markets of Hong Kong, Mainland China and
“A home is a place where you can share moments with people you love”
the US, he unwinds by spending time in his cheerful kitchen, decorated in tones of warm honey brown and black and lit by an opulent antique chandelier. “I love cooking. I started when I was very young and I would watch my mother, who is a great cook, and learn from her. I started cooking for real when I was between 12 and 15. It’s a way for me to show how much I care,” he explains.
The brown and black colour palette of the kitchen is accented by pops of red from well-chosen appliances such as a Smeg kettle, KitchenAid mixer and a standalone, handoperated cutter for prosciutto that takes up one corner of the space. The use of red as the statement colour follows through in the living room, where one of the first things visitors see is a large painting of an Italian landscape dating back to 1824, set against a deep red wall.
“The painting was commissioned by my wife’s great great grandfather and has never left the family—it was never sold or lost, which was uncommon for that time,” explains Caovilla. “It’s very special to us.”
Also around the apartment are photographs from renowned Italian photographer Mimmo Jodice—landmarks of Venice and of Naples, Maria Vittoria’s hometown. The showstopper, though, is the view of the Giuseppe Garibaldi monument, surrounded by landscaped foliage and an abundance of trees that provides a pleasant contrast to the red accents found around the apartment.
However, Caovilla’s favourite spot is still the kitchen: “I love staying in the kitchen. Good wine and good food is part of the classic Italian lifestyle. I love the whole process of preparing the food and choosing the right
“The first time I walked into the apartment and saw the view, I knew I could turn it into a home”
wine. The way we cook, the way we set the table and entertain, it keeps us in touch with our Italian culture.”
From the kitchen are the stairs that lead down to the bedrooms, the nursery, a cosy nook filled with books and more of the postcard-worthy view. The lower level posed a challenge at first, for the two apartments were separate units and overlap by a mere 43sqft. “It was quite tricky at the time to turn both units into a duplex,” says Caovilla, “but I’m very happy with the solution we came up with: having kept the private areas all on the bottom floor and allowing the entire top floor to be used for the kitchen and living areas.”
The reconfigured space covers the best of both worlds, with the top floor giving Caovilla and his wife plenty of room to indulge in their love of cooking and entertaining. At the heart of the lower level, among the bedrooms, is a large open closet housing another of Caovilla’s passions and his creative legacy—his wife’s vast collection of exquisite René Caovilla shoes. Many of the designs are delicate heels embellished with beading, a nod to the Venetian craftsmanship that is part of the brand’s heritage.
It’s a craftsmanship that extends beyond shoes. “It’s like how I get inspiration for my designs,” says Caovilla. “I will see something, some detail, and will then have an idea of how I can design a René Caovilla shoe from it. The first time I walked into this apartment and I saw the view, I knew I could turn it into a home.”
cHiLDLiKe wonDer The children’s rooms are playful and colourful, each with their own accent tones