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

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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

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