Timber & sky
Pairing wood with shades of cerulean blue brings out the depth of both. It’s a cutting-edge way to add heat to the coolest of palettes
Pairing wood with shades of blue brings out the depth of both. It’s a cuttingedge way to add heat to the coolest of palettes
Comfort is important in the home, but it is bold decorating choices that define your living space. Today, natural wood, with its Scandinavian aesthetic, is being teamed with uplifting colours to elevate it beyond the neutral and make a strong, contemporary statement. This combination of timber and brights isn’t just on display in this dreamy home in northern Italy. It can also be seen at the new Market Hall in London’s Victoria – a beguiling mix of wooden tables and emerald and sapphire hued tiles – and Casa Pastor, a restaurant in the new Coal Drops Yard retail development at King’s Cross (see p52), where an indoor tree has been paired with neon chairs. Confidence and warmth: it’s the perfect combination for 2019.
Stefan Rier, architect and owner of this spectacular home in Siusi, northern Italy, elected to mix natural wood with a single colour: blue. This restricted palette anchors his home in its natural surroundings. The pairing is as fresh as the clear mountain air of the Dolomites. Teal – classic and refined – gives weight to the pale timber tones and offsets metallic accents, such as copper side tables in the living area and a polished brass countertop and fittings in the kitchen.
The choice of colour and material also has personal resonance. Stefan grew up in this village, and by using timber and the local farmhouse vernacular – the structure is designed to reflect the hay barns that dot this landscape – he is paying homage to his roots. He spent decades living on the coast in southern Italy, too, and the blues also reflect the sea, the sky and the effect of ‘sunlight on tiles,’ he recalls from his time there. ‘Blue is traditionally thought of as a cold colour but here, the reddish-toned wood and the fabric walls warm it up.’ The trick to working a concise scheme like this, he says, is not to rush: ‘The build took four years, so I had time to create moodboards, do mock-ups of the rooms, and find exactly the right shades.’
The house that Stefan shares with his wife Stefanie and baby daughter Tilda consists of a timber frame that contains a ten-metrehigh, open-plan living/dining/kitchen space. With a woodburning stove at its heart, this is the social hub of the home. ‘I designed it to be an outward-looking space, like a town square,’ explains Stefan.
Two cubes containing bedrooms are clad in geometric-patterned blue fabric by Arte and suspended at first-floor level, and another at the top of the building houses a sauna. These spaces are connected by a decorative, laser-cut metal staircase that winds its way through the property like a ribbon. Only the bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms have doors, lending the building an airy feel.
Three sides of the house are clad entirely in wood. The fourth façade is floor-to-ceiling glass, decorated with a slender crossbeam lattice – the effect is especially striking in the sauna, where the timbers frame the views of the nearby mountains. There are playful touches throughout: white mice – in the form of Seletti lights – scuttle along beams, and a ‘Monkey’ pendant light hangs in the living area. ‘I tried to create a playful space,’ says Stefan. ‘Life is fun – it isn’t just for work.’
TEAMING WOOD WITH BRIGHT COLOUR ELEVATES IT BEYOND THE NEUTRAL TO MAKE A STATEMENT