"Who wouldn't want to buy a villa in Tuscany?" So says Diane Lane's character, Frances, in "Under the Tuscan Sun". Well, true. I didn't make it to the countryside on my recent trip to Florence, so I had to make do with a telecast of this 2003 movie. The colors, the patina... bella! Getting that look is easier than one might think. Author Frances Mayes is not only a novelist, she is also a connoisseur of Italian living and owns a Tuscan villa, the inspiration for her novel. Furniture company Drexel Heritage teamed with Ms. Mayes to create the "At Home in Tuscany Line". Since the house in the movie is undergoing renovation most of the time, we don't really see a "finished" product, but we do get the mood.
Tuscan decorating is made up of rough hewn woods and metals, with real, or applied, age. Colors are vibrant earth tones (think field of flowers, red clay roads, Mediterranean blues). Wall colors are washed stuccos, frescoes (plaster mixed with pigments). Colors of interior and exterior walls are natural and vibrant. Decorating paint techniques such as Venetian plaster can help create this look. Companies such as Firenze Enterprises sell imported plasters and offer application seminars. It can be a DIY project for some people, but hiring someone with experience will bring the best result.
Stone work is made much use of in Tuscan decor and interiors with granite, limestone, and marble featuring prominently in Tuscan style kitchens and bathrooms. Fireplace surrounds are available through companies such as The Stone Carver.
And, to top it all off, don't forget the beautiful chandelier that causes Frances to meet the dishy Marcello. This beauty is an antique Italian giltwood and metal chandelier with crystal drops available through Trianon Antiques in Boston.
For the budget conscious, reproductions are readily available such as this pretty little piece from Shades of Light.
Most of all, don't overthink the process. European country homes are often quite spare and unstudied. The right background, something to sit on, something to eat off of, lights to see by. The beauty of the outside drawn inwards.
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