Okay, so maybe factory chic isn’t actually a design term, but once we saw this space, we knew it should be. Featured in the March 2013 issue of Dwell, this space, by famed Italian designer Paola Navone, has transformed an old, ramshackle tobacco-drying plant into a light-filled, distinctively refined home full of cozy furniture and fabrics and unusual details.
Despite the dark floors and almost entirely neutral palette, this space—essentially one massive 5,300-square-foot room, with 30-foot ceilings and a balcony along part of the perimeter—feels light and airy, thanks to smartly placed groupings of furniture and accessories, lots of flowy fabric, and the liberal use of white on the walls and furniture. The 39-foot dining table, made of ancient kauri wood and set atop an asymmetrical “carpet” of tile, is eye-catching by itself. But when paired with mismatched chairs of varying heights, shapes, colors, and materials, and those custom fabric pendant lights (by American photographer Mark Eden Schooley), it becomes (literally) larger than life. Behind it, in the living room, a printer’s trolley sourced at a flea market serves as creative coffee table for a custom, oversized, slipcovered sofa.
But down the hall is where the design goes from wow to holy cow. It’s impossible to miss those custom encaustic cement tiles—based on a vintage Sicilian design and manufactured in Morocco by the French company Carocim—as well as the floor-to-ceiling swaths of Indian cotton and the industrial painted-metal wall clock. The tiles also make an appearance in the bathroom, along with an elegant freestanding tub. Finally, in the balcony, two overstuffed leather armchairs form a conversation nook around a futuristic-looking Ergofocus hanging fireplace.
The design, while practical and easygoing, is also streamlined and rich-looking, with enough original elements, both large and small (the collection of green ceramic pots, the pops of red in the artwork and decorative objects) to keep the eye moving and taking in every last detail.