Norwegian v interior designer Hanne Lise Poli has brought a calming sense of Scandinavian style to her Italian country house, combining muted greys, brass accents and raw finishes
An Italian country house decorated with Scandinavian flair. Plus, a guide to the interior’s calming textural surface finishes
Norwegian interior designer Hanne Lise Poli moved to rural Italy in search of la dolce vita with her then-husband and their two children, Alexander and Sebastian, 17 years ago. ‘The Italian way of life had always inspired me,’ she says. ‘I like the relaxed pace here, but it’s always tempered by my Scandinavian side.’ This sense of duality pervades every room of Hanne’s home, which nestles on the fringes of Trevignano Romano, a small town on the shore of Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. The property has the romantic air of an old country estate, but, in fact, Hanne built it over the course of nine years. ‘ When I first viewed the house, it was little more than eight pillars with a roof, but it had a good energy,’ she says. The new single-storey abode that she has created feels at one with its surroundings. The building peeks through trees, and vines trail over its terracotta roof tiles.
Inside, the 250-square-metre home is modern, almost monastic in its simplicity. ‘I love straight lines and high ceilings,’ Hanne explains. ‘All of my projects are about creating a sense of space. For me, this is real luxury – it’s not about gold accessories and taps.’
At the rear of the house is a glass extension, which Hanne fondly refers to as her ‘glasshouse’. Here, the five-metre-high ceiling and oversized reclaimed fireplace reference the drama of a medieval great hall. The room’s iron frame was made by a local blacksmith and encases what was originally an external drystone wall, creating a wonderfully rugged feel. ‘It does leak a little when it rains, but I don’t care. There’s nothing in there that can be ruined,’ Hanne says nonchalantly.
The glasshouse leads into an open-plan kitchen and dining room; from here, a hallway lined with family photos connects to three bedrooms and the main living space. The heated floors, which flow throughout, are coated in epoxy resin. ‘I have kids, dogs and cats running in and out of the house all day, so had to have something hardwearing,’ Hanne says, as she explains that the muted grey tone was custom-mixed for her (for more details, see Materials Checklist on p124). The plaster walls are also a bespoke shade of cool grey. To bring some character, comfort and warmth to the house, Hanne has included pale wood furnishings, brass accents and slubby linens, as well as flowers, foliage and antique candelabras.
Hanne’s home is now shared with her youngest son, Sebastian (18), her partner, Raffaele, and their new puppy, Araba. Nieces Olivia (five) and Vilja (three; both pictured right) regularly visit too. ‘I don’t need lots of “things” around me to make me happy – just my kids, my partner, and my dog. This is a house, not a museum and I’m not a perfectionist,’ she insists. ‘I don’t strive for perfection because I don’t think it truly exists.’ hannepoli.com
‘I LOVE STRAIGHT LINES AND HIGH CEILINGS. ALL OF MY PROJECTS ARE ABOUT CREATING A SENSE OF SPACE. FOR ME, THIS IS REAL LUXURY’
THE FIVE-METRE-HIGH CEILINGS AND OVERSIZED RECLAIMED FIREPLACE RECALL THE GRANDEUR OF A MEDIEVAL GREAT HALL
‘I HAVE KIDS, DOGS AND CATS RUNNING IN AND OUT OF THE HOUSE ALL DAY, SO HAD TO USE MATERIALS THAT ARE HARDWEARING’