What constitutes English style in the eyes of an Italian? According to our neighbours at our aperitivo evening it seems to be:
a touch of lo shabby, an old school desk and antique chair, some pieces of slate displayed by a wood burning stove, a birdcage shaped notice board used to hold my necklaces, an old bashed leather chair, a set of (admittedly very English) wooden school lockers rubbed down by us and turned into our larder and finished with ceramic knobs sourced from the south of Italy, our ‘framed’ piece of original stone wall with an Italian vintage (bric-a-brac) market find, all blended with the touches of the past that we have left in the house; the salami/prosciutto curing hooks in the living room, the tethering rings, the bars to hold back the original barn doors.
More than once I was asked: ‘who designed your house? Were you an interior designer in the UK?’ Well, no, I wasn’t, though certainly flattered to be asked. And our house wasn’t ‘designed’. It has evolved as rooms were finished and favourite pieces bought in the UK especially for this house have been fitted in. Some planned for one room have ended up in another. Some were got rid of altogether but mostly it all works. I have upcycled, recycled or just displayed things picked up on walks. Functional meets fun, old mixes with new and items intended for one purpose are now used for another. It is style? Is it English style? Who knows but it is certainly different from many of the Italian homes I have seen so I’ll settle for that.