Appearances can be deceiving, and no more than in the case of this extraordinary vacation home in Tuscany, undoubtedly one of the best homes in the world, surrounded by breathtaking views. Built just five years ago, the stone property could easily be mistaken for a centuries-old farm worker’s house.
The architects, Isabel Lange and Matteo Zen, worked hard to create authenticity by researching the local vernacular and implementing period features of ancient Tuscan villas, such as arched doorways, ceilings and doorways wood and exposed stone walls. Step inside and the interior, designed by Munich-based interior designer Stephanie Thatenhorst, is equally surprising. A deliberately minimalist aesthetic puts a strong emphasis on natural materials such as stone, wood and terrazzo and complements them with soft colors, creating a wonderfully calm and serene atmosphere.
Stephanie had designed the interior of the owners’ former home in Munich, which was bright and colorful. When the owners moved to the United States, they wanted a new base in Europe and purchased land in Tuscany to build their dream vacation home. Stephanie worked closely with the architects to achieve this.
“Clients felt that many different colors, textures or materials caught their attention,” says Stephanie. “They wanted the dramatic landscape to be the focus here, so they were keen to scale down the interior right away, using earthy tones and almost no color. It was important that local materials were used in the construction, so the rocks that make up the stone walls were found nearby and the wood used is local chestnut.
Munich-based interior designer Stephanie Thatenhorst is the driving force behind Stephanie Thatenhorst. His style is defined by two different worlds: one is eclectic, fearless and colorful; one is quiet, relaxed, and intimate, largely because Stephanie has homes in the fast-paced, noisy, and colorful city, as well as the quiet, grounded countryside. Stephanie’s motto? “Always follow your instincts and when in doubt, go for a strong splash of color,” and this beautiful Tuscan villa certainly showcases his talent.
The landscape takes center stage as soon as you enter the house. Arches draw the eye through the open-plan living space to arched doorways leading to stunning views of the terrace, pool and hills beyond.
The color palette was chosen to complement the stone and wood. A key feature is the exposed stone walls and Stephanie paired them with clay plaster finished walls. “I wanted to keep the calm spirit of the house, letting the natural stone stand out, so to create a calm contrast, we used clay on the walls rather than paint,” she says.
Living room ideas revolve around thoughtful details, such as how black metal beams and lighting tie together with metal-framed doors, giving the space rustic elegance.
In the living room, the simplicity of the modern staircase finds its just note, integrating perfectly with the refined aesthetics.
Dining room ideas include using pops of color, such as dining chairs, to draw attention to the serene palette.
Against the rustic backdrop, kitchen ideas include a state-of-the-art, bespoke stainless steel kitchen to infuse an industrial touch. “No one would have thought of installing a stainless steel kitchen here, but we thought it would look a lot more interesting than a wooden kitchen,” says Stephanie. The industrial side continues with furniture and lamps that incorporate black steel and tones with the metal windows and doors.
The walls of the whole house are covered with a textured clay plaster. Hallway ideas include rustic artwork to create an understated focal point.
Bathroom ideas include a mix of old and new with a traditional style bathtub with modern legs.
Industrial style pieces bring a contemporary touch to the bathroom.
The terrace is the perfect place to shelter from the Tuscan sun. Oversized wicker pendant lights add to the ambiance.
The owners think the end result is a masterpiece and enjoy spending time here. They invited Stephanie and her family for a vacation. “I’m not used to discovering the houses I design,” says Stephanie. “It was really special to stay in the house for two weeks. It has such a unique, calm atmosphere – it’s a wonderful place to relax.
Interior design/ Stephanie Thatenhorst (opens in a new tab)
Architecture/ Studio Lange (opens in a new tab) and Matteo Zen
Photographs/ Catherine Rancho