Art & soul
This living art gallery on Venice’s Grand Canal retains all of its mid-century grandeur
Offering breathtaking views across the water, this living art gallery perched on Venice’s Grand Canal retains all of its mid-century grandeur
Clinging to the banks of Venice’s Grand Canal, and basking in the reflected glory of the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni opposite, sits the home of Australian art collector Nikki Mccullagh and her husband Paul. Despite its arched windows and 18th-century frontage, this is no ordinary Venetian dwelling. Once home to another art collector, the famed Peggy Guggenheim, the opulent, three-bedroomed property is now a space that’s been specifically designed for showcasing artworks, with two huge living rooms and a Modernist dining room.
‘ When I was looking to buy, I saw all sorts of houses that were steeped in history and atmosphere,’ recalls Nikki. ‘But here, the canal views are extraordinary, as mesmerising as a Caravaggio painting.’ With so many different viewpoints from the house – the garden of the Casetta Rossa, a much-loved little red palazzo on the canal’s edge, can also be seen to the east – ‘you feel as though you’re on a boat, floating through the city centre,’ says Nikki.
She and Paul commissioned architectural studio Ta Architettura – which specialises in the restoration of period properties in Venice – and Parisian interior designer Jacques Grange to work on the space. ‘It was immediately clear that the main appeal of this home was its natural light and its relationship with the outdoors,’ remembers Nikki. ‘ We wanted the architecture itself to be the protagonist – to take the leading role in the look and feel of the property.’
To that end, almost all of the doors were removed, opening up passages between the mustard-coloured marmorino plaster walls of the entrance and allowing it to glow in the light that trickles in. The original terrazzo floors were restored – ‘and are lovely to walk on; cool, like marble,’ says Nikki – while bronze was used for the kitchen furniture. The décor was purposefully kept uncluttered so as not to overshadow the views of the city. ‘ We treated each window as a portal that would bring the beauty of Venice inside,’ explains Nikki. ‘Like works of art in themselves, they punctuate the space.’ taarchitettura.com
HOW TO BOOK The house is a 20-minute car journey from Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. Book for up to six people, at £1,321 per night, with a minimum stay of three nights, at veniceprestige.com
Bathroom Impressive swathes of Zebrino marble envelop this space, with bronze ‘Tara’ taps by Dornbracht. The bathtub itself is coated in Cremo Tirreno marble Opposite A sleek black basin, along with another set of ‘Tara’ taps, adds a luxurious touch to...
Kitchen The table is by Swiss designer Jurg Bally, paired with ‘Superleggera’ chairs by Gio Ponti for Cassina Main living room ‘Digamma’ armchairs by Ignazio Gardella for Santa & Cole face the window. The coffee table is also by Ignazio Gardella for...
Bedroom A majestic four poster bed rests beneath the ceiling’s original vaulted beams. The ‘TL2’ writing desk is by Franco Albini for Poggi, and the Italian armchairs are from the 1950s. Hanging on the wall is Diamond Dust Shoes, an artwork by Andy...